This year, there was still plenty of automotive news to share at Consumer Electronics Show, which ended on January 12. Unlike last year’s event, however, which was packed with concept cars and vehicle debuts, the latest show has shifted to more of a showcase for how we’ll use our cars in the future—that geeky, intangible stuff that delights computer nerds but often anaesthetizes traditional car buffs. Although these innovations can’t often be conveyed in a few pretty pictures, they are significant nonetheless. Some of the highlights include:

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Ferrari

Intel announced it would bring its artificial intelligence technology to the Ferrari Challenge of North America racing series, which includes using drones to analyze driving performance and enhance the spectator experience.

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A race in the Ferrari Challenge of North America series.

 

Mercedes-Benz

 A redesigned interface will appear on future Mercedes-Benz vehicles. It uses artificial intelligence for enhanced natural language recognition and other functions, integrated into sleek, widescreen displays. CES also marks the last leg of the marque’s “Intelligent World Drive” campaign, an extensive data-gathering project to analyze traffic patterns which will help fine-tune the company’s semi-autonomous driving systems.

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A hands-on introduction to new widescreen displays and an AI-enhanced interface from Mercedes-Benz.

 

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BMW

The shopping experience at BMW dealerships will soon be augmented with virtual reality via VR@Retail, a new tool that allows potential buyers to configure and explore vehicles more in-depth. The tool is on display at Consumer Electronics Show with BMW’s new X2 compact SUV.

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A BMW display at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

 

Volkswagen

 Chip-maker NVIDIA announced it would provide its artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies to future Volkswagen vehicles (and likely, by extension, to VW Group’s other luxury brands such as Audi). This includes support for autonomous diving technologies as well as facial recognition, gesture controls, and voice recognition.

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Inside the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, an all-electric version of the MicroBus that includes the integration of artificial intelligence features from Nvidia.

 

Byton

 The startup, led by former BMW and Apple employees, hopes to be the next Tesla competitor with a new electric “smart” car. Sporting an SUV-type body and a whopping 49-inch widescreen display, the company plans to make cars only for the Chinese market. Time will tell whether Byton will succeed or go the way of Faraday Future, whose financial struggles have been well documented.

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Byton’s electric concept vehicle.

 

Without actual products to show, some question whether automakers will continue to invest millions of dollars at Consumer Electronics Show in the coming years, especially when it’s so close to the Detroit Auto Show, traditionally one of the most important venues for new vehicle debuts.

 

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