Proof, if it were needed, of just how much of CES has become an auto show landed at the 2023 opening keynote, which was hosted by BMW and featured its color-changing i Vision Dee concept. Sidekicks wheeled out onto the stage included Herbie, KITT, and, yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Once the show itself got underway, legacy giants including BMW as well as Audi and Volkswagen shared the show floor with auto tech firms such as Harman, tier-two suppliers like ZF, and startups turning classic cars electric, such as Zero Labs. There was even a collaboration that would have sounded like a Gran Turismo exclusive only a few years ago, in the form of Sony Honda Mobility and its new car brand, Afeela.
With more car news coming out of CES this week than the dedicated 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, it’s perhaps no surprise that the future of the traditional car show is in question. This was an event where automakers and tech firms grew ever closer, providing a clearer picture of how they will work together, and, most importantly, how they will need each other to survive.
Here, then, are WIRED’s auto tech highlights from CES 2023.
Sony Honda Mobility Afeela
Three years after Sony surprised attendees of CES 2020 with its first concept car, the company now has a manufacturing partner in the form of Honda, and a brand name: Afeela. The first model of Afeela will be available to preorder in the US during the first half of 2025, Sony said, with the first customer cars arriving in the spring of 2026.
The car on show boasts 45 sensors, Sony said, along with a digital display on the front bumper, Lidar for autonomous driving, and 3D graphics made using the Unreal Engine by Epic Games, creators of Fortnite. The first Afeela car will apparently use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon “Digital Chassis,” a new car platform that integrates telematics, connectivity, driver assistance, and autonomy. Other car brands will be using the Qualcomm chassis, too.
BMW i Vision Dee
BMW used CES to show off a new concept car that can change its exterior color in a matter of seconds. The body is covered in panels that work like the screen of your Kindle ebook reader. Up to 32 hues are available on this prototype, and graduated patterns can be created to blend from one tone to another.
Inside, the i Vision Dee features what BMW hopes will be the future of head-up display (HUD) technology. Replacing a conventional dashboard display, an interface is projected on the entire windshield, with the driver able to pick from five levels of immersion, from a simple, shallow band of driving and vehicle info, up to the entire screen showing a virtual world.