Proof, if it were needed, how much of CES has become an auto show landed during the 2023 opening keynote hosted by BMW, which featured the color-changing i Vision Dee concept. Sidekicks riding on stage included Herbie, KITT and, yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Once the show itself got underway, legacy giants including BMW, Audi and Volkswagen shared the show floor with auto tech companies like Harman, second-tier suppliers like ZF and startups turning classic cars electric like Zero Labs. There was even a collaboration that would have sounded like one Gran Turismo exclusive only a few years ago, in the form of Sony Honda Mobility and its new car brand, Afeela.
With more auto news coming out of CES this week than the special 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, it may come as no surprise that the future of the traditional auto show is in question. This was an event where automakers and tech companies grew closer together, creating 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 automotive highlights from CES 2023.
Sony Honda Mobility Afeela
Three years after Sony surprised attendees at CES 2020 with its first concept car, the company now has a production partner in the form of Honda, and a brand name: Afeela. The first Afeela model will be available for pre-order in the US in the first half of 2025, Sony said, and the first customer cars will arrive in spring 2026.
The car on display features 45 sensors, Sony said, along with a digital display on the front bumper, Lidar for autonomous driving and 3D graphics created using the Unreal Engine from Epic Games, the makers 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 also use the Qualcomm chassis.
BMW i Vision Dee
BMW used CES to show off a new concept car that can change exterior color in seconds. The body is covered with panels that act like your Kindle ebook reader screen. Up to 32 shades are available on this prototype and graduated patterns can be created to transition from one tone to another.
Inside, the i Vision Dee includes what BMW hopes will be the future of head-up display (HUD) technology. Replacing a conventional dashboard display, an interface is projected onto the entire windshield, allowing the driver to choose from five levels of immersion, from a simple, shallow band of driving and vehicle information to the full screen displaying a virtual world.