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Watch out! Self-driving cars will be key @CES 2017

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URB-E is finally here

A few years back, while at CES, I’d watched in wonder as a Toyota driverless prototype drew up to the CES stands, with execs inside. Just two years back it was an interesting peek at what might be. Not so much now, as driverless cars are a focus at all major brands. Every car brand has a self-driving prototype in the final stages of development, and what is definitely the next step in the process has been signaled by Honda's partnership with Waymo (the Alphabet company formerly known as Google X's self-driving car project).

Take Nissan, for instance. The Japanese company will make its debut at CES 2017, with Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn delivering the keynote on January 5 at the Westgate Theater. In his role as leader of The Renault-Nissan Alliance, one of the world’s largest automotive groups, Ghosn is set to reveal what is described as the realization of a zero-emissions, zero-fatality world for everyone. It's speculated he will also announce either the next-generation Nissan Leaf, or an all-new electric vehicle with a range exceeding 200 miles per charge.

Nissan will exhibit at CES 2017 in North Hall as part of the Vehicle Technology Category. Interestingly, one of the newest additions to this category is the Autonomous Vehicles Marketplace, which has grown by 75% since its inception in 2014.

So what else can we expect from other automotive brands at CES 2017?

Mercedes EQ all-electric SUV and electric Vision Van

The Concept EQ was first shown at the Paris Motor Show this year in September. The EQ features a range of 310 miles per charge and a large 24-inch display that sprawls across the dashboard.  A production version is expected in 2019.

As for the Mercedes all-electric Vision Van, this is something right out of a Jeff Bezos dream. The Vision Van features a drone on top that automatically fetches and delivers packages, an automated cargo space that loads packages, and a telematics systems that can share the status of a parcel with the distribution center.  It also has an all-electric range of 168 miles per charge.

Toyota concept car

In a statement, the company said the vehicle will highlight "the critical importance of UX in the development of highly automated vehicles and robots." The company is also expected to share its plans for the connected vehicles and telematics systems.

URB-E

It’s touted as the world's most compact e-vehicle, and for no small reason. Weighing just under 35 pounds, the foldable scooter can carry an adult up to 20 miles at a top speed of around 15 MPH. It was announced a few years back, and its finally here. It can fold small enough to fit next to you on a train or bus. All models are made using aircraft-grade anodized aluminum and carbon fiber handles, and include a removable lithium-ion battery that is fully chargeable within four hours. Interestingly, the battery has a USB connection, meaning you can plug in accessories.

Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2015 and 2016. Reach him at: [email protected]
@anildotgeorge