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Future Automotive Fantasy Pales Next To Today’s Technology

The first auto show of the new decade is in the books – well, technically, the Consumer Electronics Show (now simply known as CES) in Las Vegas is not really a CAR show so much as a glimpse at the future – or what some think the future will be. Since our ongoing transportation needs and the methods by which they’ll be served continue to evolve and challenge us, CES gives many manufacturers in many different industries the chance to show off how they believe the future will develop.

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Let’s face it – for most of us, this IS the future. The Robinsons left Earth and got Lost in Space in the year 1997. Moonbase Alpha and its inhabitants were hurtled uncontrollably out of Earth’s orbit in Space: 1999. H.A.L. 9000 sang “Daisy” in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

It’s 2020 for crying out loud! Spacely Sprockets, Cogswell Cogs, flying cars, teleportation devices – they’re all supposed to be part of our everyday lives by now, right?

The automotive industry is trying to make sense of the technology shift as well, of course. Between introducing the newest and most incredible gadgets into their cars, OEMs are faced with the reality that new car sales are falling, used car sales are at their highest point in years and the average vehicle in service is over 11 years old. Dealers are working harder than ever to capture the service opportunities that have been surrendered to the aftermarket for years.

According to Automotive News Europe, the disruption to the industry from “electrification, autonomous driving and upstart business models” means that CES requires car makers to show off their creativity and innovation. Will they succeed?

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The same report says that 10 major automakers and more than 160 automotive technology suppliers will exhibit at this year’s CES. The big news ahead of the show’s opening seems to be luxurious interiors (the new BMW is said to have “the relaxed feel of a boutique hotel”), new electric vehicles from Fisker, Mercedes, Nissan and Renault and more robust artificial intelligence for connected devices from GM and Honda. Hyundai, at least, is taking this future thing seriously, and is expected to reveal details about an all new flying vehicle platform.

Our industry has already seen the future in Las Vegas, of course – visitors to the AAPEX and SEMA shows don’t worry about theoretical possibilities. Instead, they find real solutions to today’s challenges and to those they’ll be facing soon.

2020 will be an exciting year – we’re glad you’re here and coming along for the ride!

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