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Coolest automotive tech, trends and takeaways from CES 2020: Part 1

Updated: May 12, 2020

Carzaam Automotive News Episode 14: Coolest automotive tech, trends and takeaways from CES 2020: Part 1

Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR

Mercedes-Benz was the talk of CES2020 where it revealed its take on the vehicle as a "living creature" with a futuristic new model called the Vision Avatar which was developed in close collaboration with James Cameron and the team behind the sci-fi fantasy film of the same name.

Unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Vision AVTR concept car is a more imaginative version of Mercedes' Vision EQS luxury saloon which was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019 and is set for production in 2021.

Both models feature a structure that Mercedes-Benz calls a "one bow" proportion, which features a stretched profile with a long cabin, short bonnet and expansive doors.

The front and rear axles of the car can be driven in the same or opposite direction, enabling the car to move sideways by around 30 degrees "like a crab” giving the vehicle a reptile-like appearance even in its movement.

In the keynote speech at CES 2020, Mercedes-Benz chief design officer Gordon Wagener said "We didn't want to create a car, we wanted to create something like a living organism. We created a futuristic vehicle that had to authentically look like it came out of the amazing Avatar world of Pandora”.

Keeping with it’s bid to create a truly organic structure, the vehicle incorporates battery technology centred on a graphene-based organic cell chemistry that is free of "rare earths" and metals such as nickel and cobalt and features an automated, conductive charging technology that fully recharges in less than 15 minutes with a range of more than 700 kilometres.


Nobody saw this coming. Sony, the company that used to define Consumer Electronics Shows of the past, rolled out an electric concept car, the Vision-S.

The Vision-S was created, quietly and with zero publicity, as a testbed for the various sensors and infotainment systems that can be used in passenger cars. Sony is looking for more sales, and more respect, for the automotive technology it has developed and is chasing the Samsung-Harman juggernaut that sells multiple suites of safety, entertainment and advanced driver-assistance systems to manufacturers.

The Vision-S looks like a Tesla from many angles and uses the now-common skateboard concept with heavy batteries as a slice at the bottom of the vehicle, improving stability.

The car has 33 sensors embedded in the car which can detect and recognize passengers in the cabin and their location relative to the nearest Sony screen. Other sensors track vehicles and pedestrians outside the car.

The car also has a set of speakers built into the headrest to create a “deep and immersive experience … to encapsulate passengers in sound” and deliver navigation or safety prompts that only the driver can hear.


Automotive applications are the next logical step for biometrics after their successful implementation in smartphones and laptops to reduce password use.

Automakers are exploring the potential of fingerprint sensors, eye scans, voice and facial recognition to provide access to the car and start its engine and these were all born out in the prevalence of automotive biometrics at CES 2020.

EyeLock partners with SiriusXM

EyeLock announced a collaboration with SiriusXM to apply its iris biometric authentication technology to create a highly secure, touchless e-wallet gateway.

SiriusXM plans to offer the e-Wallet to automakers to allow drivers and passengers to conduct in-car commerce including to find and pay or for coffee, gas, movie tickets or parking while on the go.

Byton SUV uses voice and facial biometrics

Also at CES 2020, electric carmaker Byton is showing off its new M-Byte SUV with personalized dashboards provided for different users through biometric facial recognition.

The vehicle also features voice control with biometric voice recognition to enable drivers and passengers to call up playlists, contacts, and preferred apps.

The massive 48-inch dashboard screen is a standout feature, and the vehicle also understands seven languages, can open apps, find directions, make calls and send money. Voice will be critical to the vehicle’s operation, as the dashboard screen is not a touchscreen.

The M-Byte is expected to reach a commercial launch in the U.S. in 2021 with a $45,000 starting price.

Sensory and Aiquido partner for voice solution

Sensory and Aiquido have partnered for a white label voice solution with biometrics and action execution for vehicles.

The automotive market is the initial integration target for the companies, who showcased their technology which enables seamless use of mobile devices in the car through voice control.

“Users just need to enter the cabin with their smartphones and the personalized wake word and voice biometrics allow users to instantly access their personal apps seamlessly and securely.”

Gentex iris authentication system

Gentex showed off a variety of new technologies at CES 2020, including its in-vehicle biometric system with iris authentication.

The auto iris recognition system includes a mirror-integrated display, near-infrared emitters, an iris-scanning camera, and system-level intelligence.

Gentex Chief Executive Officer Steve Downing said 2020 stands to be a hallmark year. We’re committed to leveraging our skill sets in unique ways, integrating technology concepts that are ideal for new mobility models and the coming autonomous age.

Bosch sun visor and Wallbox EV charger

Bosch has developed an innovative sun visor for vehicles which combines biometric face detection and a transparent LCD panel to block the sun’s glare without impeding the driver’s view of the road.

The Virtual Visor, which uses a facial recognition-enabled camera facing the driver, and uses AI to analyze shadows, won Best of Innovation recognition from the CES 2020 Innovation Awards. The visor shades the driver’s eyes and remains otherwise transparent.

However due to the current high cost, this technology may be first implemented in luxury vehicles.

Meanwhile, leading EV charging station-maker Wallbox, demonstrated its new Quasar smart home charger, which features optional advanced face recognition and gesture control technology for easy, secure access and use, with the flexibility to extend credentials to friends and neighbours.

The Quasar, which the company says is the first bidirectional EV charger for home use, can also perform authentication through Bluetooth, the Wallbox app, and RFID.

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