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CES 2024 Recap: Unpacking the Latest in Technology and Innovation

January 23, 2024 Mobility News

CES 2024 – ‘nuf said, right?  Well, maybe not, so let me dive in. CES 2024 was everything it promised to be – groundbreaking, futuristic, surprising, inspiring, and massive for all sectors of innovation, all over the world. Mobility was absolutely one of the top sectors represented with eye catching displays, demonstrations, and unveilings from exciting leaders in the industry. Flying cars, drones, ADAS technologies, and AI were prevailing themes throughout the show floors.

I have never seen so many people and so many gigantic displays of innovation mania in all my life!  Everything was All On at CES 2024.

This was my first time experiencing CES.  It reminded me of the Detroit Auto Show of my childhood, but seriously amped up! I felt like a kid again walking the show floors. The displays and new tech leave you buzzing with wonder, excitement, and visions of what is yet to come! I felt like a character in the Jetson’s walking around LVCC-West Hall: 12+ miles of walking per day, wearing my packable coat as I traversed “The Strip” to get as much out of CES as I possibly could. 

The highlight of my time at CES 2024 was the Connected Vehicle Systems Alliance (COVESA) reception that was held on Tuesday evening, January 9th, at the Bellagio. Ann Arbor SPARK was proud to have five mobility clients showcasing at this reception, sponsored by MEDC’s OFME. Seeing my clients gain traction at a global showcase was exactly what I needed after a long day.  Retrospect, FreightMiner, Thought Labs, Betterfrost, and Surge Mobility were all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at this reception, making connections, showing they have skin in the game, and building their businesses.

In addition to the COVESA reception, I had the opportunity to participate in two Michigan-focused roundtables. These roundtables gave Michigan leaders, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, OFME’s Chief Mobility Officer Justine Johnson, and MEDC’s CEO Quentin Messer Jr., an opportunity to ask questions from a curated group of sector-specific industry leaders and investors assembled by Silicon Foundry.  The first roundtable focused on Advanced Air Mobility and how Michigan can gain and maintain leadership in this sector. The short story is that Michigan needs to invest in infrastructure for drones and eVTOLs, enabling the state to move beyond pilots and proof of concepts, pushing towards commercialization. This is an opportunity that Michigan does not want to miss out on! 

The second roundtable focused on the importance of developing cleantech solutions for freight and how Michigan is collaborating with cleantech companies to further establish the state as a national leader in this space. State leadership shared with the group that they are available and aim to help remove regulatory barriers. Much of this conversation focused on talent attraction and retention, and again, capital investment. The clear message from both roundtables was that Michigan cares. Michigan wants and intends to continue to be a pioneer in mobility, and not in just vehicles, but air taxis, drones, shipping, cleantech solutions – you name it. 

Flying cars?  Yes, flying cars.  Check out these two from CES 2024! Xpeng’s AeroHT and Hyundai’s Supernal. Supernal’s CEO, Diana Cooper, gave Michigan a shoutout during the “Where should air taxis land?” panel conversation recognizing Michigan for being the first state to invest $10 million in advanced air mobility infrastructure.

Honda unveiled some sleek EVs that I would be more than happy to try out on their behalf!  The Space-Hub and the Saloon:

Horwin’s Senmenti electric motorcycle display definitely caught my attention.  These bikes are slick, electric, have a decent range, and are fast!

I saw two ADAS technologies that really stuck with me. Goodyear unveiled smart, road condition-sensing tires. I never imagined rubber could become intelligent, but it has and how sweet it is. I love innovation in safety that can save lives. Also, Magna debuted an in-cabin driver impairment sensing system using sensors and cameras to measure alcohol from a driver’s exhaled breath, and head and eye movements. Driver impairment is a leading cause of traffic-related fatalities in the United States.

Outside of mobility, the Richtech Robotics’ robotic barista was serving up handcrafted drinks to CES 2024 attendees by name!

Another robot that I found interesting was iYU’s robotic masseuse arm.  You can have their entire system installed in your home for on-demand massage therapy, improving health, and decreasing stress. I was amazed that CES attendees were lying face down, relaxing, and enjoying massages right in the middle of Eureka Park at the Venetian Expo — good for them! I don’t think I could relax in that environment, but I could enjoy it in the privacy of my own home…

I saw tech products I would never think of – an AI device to decipher a baby’s cry (I had to learn that the hard way with my children), and a face scanning software with a robotic bartender designed to create unique libations for a customer’s current mood. 

I also had the pleasure of attending the Autonocast party!  This was a suave gathering at Sahara’s Azilo Lounge. This was an insider party full of mobility gurus.  Thank you to the Autonocast team, it was great to sit down amongst my peeps and just relax.  If you haven’t checked out their podcast, I would highly recommend it!

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I missed seeing some of my favorite mobility companies at CES, including our traditional OEMs like Toyota, Ford, GM, and Stellantis. I would love to see an increased presence from domestic OEMs in the future. Even better, I would like to see the biggest mobility technology and innovation show in the world, right here in Michigan!

So many things seemed so far out of reach and yet many previous technologies unveiled at CES have come to fruition, matured, and even reached the end of their road. CES 2024 was a showcase of what lies ahead, and I am excited!