CES 2019 round-up: the 5 best things you need to know about

Published: 10 January 2019

► CES 2019 news round-up
► Car news from the tech show
► At-a-glance rundown

CES – also known as the Consumer Electronic Show – used to just be about smartphones, TVs and robots, but in 2019 it’s transforming into an important show for car makers too. As technology becomes one of the main differentiators between brands, the likes of Ford, Mercedes and Audi are now exhibiting their developments alongside more traditional exhibitors such as Samsung and Amazon.

This year has already seen a number of important developments focused around CASE (Connectivity, Autonomous tech, Sharing and Electrification), but we’ve also seen a brand new car revealed, too. Keep reading for everything you should care about at CES 2019. 

1) New Mercedes CLA

Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz has decided to launch a car not at the upcoming Detroit motor show, but here in Las Vegas – and it’s a car we weren’t really asking for either. The new CLA is a four-door version of the A-Class, but sits separately to the already announced A-Class Saloon. What’s more, Mercedes appears to have picked CES as a launch venue to emphasise just how good its MBUX software, which it shares with the A-Class, is.

2) Audi's Holoride

Like many trade shows, CES is packed with AR and VR tech demos – and they’re usually far out concepts we’ll never see on the road this century. Audi however has bucked the trend with its new VR tech. Simply put, Holoride is a VR system for rear passengers, but it uses the car’s own dynamics data to help build and create the virtual world you’re gaming in.

That way anything that happens in the real world will correlate to something in the game. Go round a corner in real life, and you’ll do so in the virtual world with no lag - so you won’t feel sick. Audi says that while a demo, it’s likely this tech will be expanded to productivity apps, too. One day it may even help prevent car sickness altogether.

3) Hyundai Elevate

Probably the most unusual vehicle at CES 2019, Hyundai’s robo-walker uses a four-legged wheel-based system to get to hard reach places. It’s being targeted at emergency scenarios, but could serve other purposes such as taxis or mobility help for the less able.

4) Byton M-Byte interior

Byton returned to CES this year with a new, revised take on its M-Byte SUV's interior. There’s still a huge, 49-inch screen, but there are now a few more buttons, space for airbags and an extra touchpad for passengers to use. We think it’s a step forward, and comes after feedback from last year’s design. Now Byton just needs to show us a complete car.

5) Mercedes and Nvidia team up

The new A-Class and CLA's MBUX infotainment system is a joint development between the German firm and Nvidia, and at CES we learnt the companies would be working together on an altogether more ambitious project. Nvidia CEO and founder Jensen Huang and Mercedes’ executive vice president Sajjad revealed both organisations are working on an AI computer for cars that will link up connectivity, autonomous features, sharing and electrification – or CASE for short. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast