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On CES Opening Day, AI Steals The Spotlight.

AI is a major theme at CES 2024 and the technology was ubiquitous Tuesday, the official opening day of the enormous techfest. From Google to Walmart, the technology was showcased across the Las Vegas Convention Center. Car companies in particular are integrating AI in a variety of ways, from voice assistants to technology that anticipates the driver’s mood. “The two leading automotive trends are personalization and anticipating what the driver wants,” said Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs on the show floor, combing through as many of the 4,000 exhibitors as time will allow for exclusive reports for Inside Radio.

Electric car start-up Mullen Automotive unveiled a new concept car to compete with Tesla and Lucid. Its sporty EV SUV Mullen Five uses an AI platform dubbed Persona that relies on facial recognition to configures all of your preferences as you approach the vehicle. No key necessary. “It anticipates your mood – and this is where the AI kicks in – in terms of predicting what kind of music or experience your you're going to find appealing,” Jacobs said.

Several EVs that include AM/FM radio in the dash were spotted by Jacobs Media, although their initial spot checks were by no means exhaustive – even if trekking around the LVCC was.

Volkswagen showcased the first vehicles with ChatGPT integrated into its IDA voice assistant. An alliance with technology partner Cerence will give VW motorists access to researched content read out to them while driving. Volkswagen says it will be the first volume manufacturer to offer Chat GPT as a standard feature in its ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.3 models, along with the all-new Tiguan, the all-new Passat, and the new Golf, starting in the second quarter of 2024. The IDA voice assistant can be used to control the infotainment, navigation, and air conditioning, or to answer general knowledge questions. The chatbot will add continuously expanding capabilities in the future.

“The automotive sector will be bigger than ever at CES 2024, one of the largest global auto shows with more than 250 exhibitors across an expanded West Hall, North Hall, Central Plaza and the outdoor Diamond Lot,” Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Technology Association, said as reported in Tuesday morning’s Jacobs Media blog. “Innovation will focus on concept cars, connected vehicles and autonomous mobility.”

As increasingly cluttered in-car infotainment systems get harder to use, BMW presented its new voice assistant that uses the power of large language models to access all the information about features within the car. It allows BMW owners to ask questions about all of the vehicles functions and modes without knowing the technical terms, as reported by Engadget.

Another automotive trend at CES are features targeting the passengers. Merecedes-Benz has integrated Zoom and Microsoft Teams into its passenger screens while electronics manufacturer Harman offers WebEx.

“The anticipation is that people are doing these virtual meetings and calls from their cars anyway,” Jacobs said. “This is obviously a thing.”

Exhibits at CES aren’t your typical convention booths. For the biggest exhibitors, they take the shape of massive multiroom physical structures. The Google House, for example, has multiple rooms where AI applications play a starring role.

The tech behemoth showcased applications that can speed up and customize many of the tasks that that a radio station might do, from YouTube video editing to photo customization and enhancement, to Gmail thought starters. “It’s suites of services are designed to help you do your job better and probably do it with fewer people. And, with radio stations operating with fewer people, in or out of the building, these kinds of tools actually look perfect for the types of things that radio has to do,” Jacobs said.

Beyond its ubiquitous presence in technology, AI is also sparking policy discussions at CES 2024. There is a bi-partisan panel about emerging tech policy featuring U.S. Senators Ben Ray Lujan, Jacky Rosen, and Cynthia Lummis, as reported by Digiday. Other conversations feature representatives from the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the National Security Council, and U.S. Treasury Department.

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