By Gary S. Vasilash

The CES show, which is produced by the Consumer Technology Association, was once an event that when by the non-acronymic moniker: Consumer Electronics Show.

That seemed to be somewhat limiting, so the official name was changed to just the three letters.

One could argue that it worked out fairly well because now CES is what some say the best auto show running.

At the recent 2023 CES there were some 3,200 exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center at nearly 10% of the total were in the Vehicle Technology category, with everything from suppliers of sensors to well-known OEMs like VW to want-to-be-known ones like Sony Honda Mobility.

Clever, color-changing camo for the VW ID.7, a vehicle shown at the 2023 CES. (Image: Volkswagen)

On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Chris Thomas, former chief technology officer at BorgWarner who is now an industry consultant and Paul Eisenstein, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Detroit Bureau, join “Autoline’s” John McElroy and me to talk about what they saw at CES. (The other three were there. I wasn’t.)

The conversation ranges from small radar sensors that could be deployed in vehicle interiors to determine what’s on a given seat and under the hood to determine the level of washer fluid (they are both small and economical) to the BMW concept car that features an exterior material that allows the selection of 32 different colors and combinations thereof—when you want them.

The consensus of the group is that technology is what is driving changes in the auto industry and CES is the correct venue for the exhibition of that technology. (It should also be noted that the CEOs of BMW and Stellantis made keynote addresses; the show also has a conference element to it.)

While there continues to be some doubt about the prospect of traditional auto shows going beyond the function of showing the consumers the latest in vehicles that they can also see at their local dealers, going back to the function of providing a look at what could be, it seems that there is no question about the viability of CES providing the latter function in a very big way.

You can see the show here.

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