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CES Asia 2018 Showcases the Bleeding Edge in Mobility Tech and More

Held in Shanghai over the course of three days, CES Asia 2018 brings the world’s hottest consumer electronics show to Asia. In its fourth instalment in the Chinese city, CES Asia refined and developed its goal of showcasing the tech of the region in one place. With the main show in Las Vegas held six months earlier in January, CES 2018 had set the stage for what to expect in developments in technology this year.

Expectedly, the show floor and keynote events were dominated by local Chinese companies. With one of the highest growth rates in the region, China and its companies have experienced some of the greatest leaps in innovation to date. A fair share of companies outside the country had the chance to showcase their developments in the exhibition grounds that spanned all five halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. 

Bearing testament to the exponential growth in technology in the region, the CES Asia show floor had also expanded by 2.5 times since the inaugural show in 2015 and featured products from 500 companies around the world, including 100 startups. Here, VR Zone explored some of the main highlights of the show.

1. Self-driving Cars

Some of the main highlights were in the hall allocated for automobiles. We witnessed how cars are increasingly marketed and developed as entertainment platforms with the integration of innovations and technological features from other markets.

Byton, a Chinese car manufacturer, showcased its M-Byte concept car that drew a large crowd, after teasing it at the main CES event in January. Featuring an ultra-wide curved display integrated into the dashboard and an AR heads-up display, the Byton concept offered a glimpse into the future of the automobile industry.

BYTON’s Shared Experience Display enables content shown to be shared with other passengers in the car. Image: BYTON

Cadillac also premiered their Super Cruise, a hands-free driving system for use on highways.

Korean carmaker Kia announced its Boundless For All vision for mobility in the manufacture of its cars.


Many other brands showcased self-driving technology and smart object recognition.

Facial recognition was a big thing, too. While useful in identifying pedestrians, a company took it a step further with an algorithm that could identify where the subject was looking. This is particularly useful in self-driving cars by allowing systems to recognise when pedestrians have paid attention to the car.

The algorithm recognises when eye contact is established, enabling self-driving systems to predict pedestrian movement, or even where the attention of the driver is directed. Image: Ian Ling

Another prominent trend was the showcase of different methods for V2X (vehicle to others) communication. “Please lower your high beam” scrolled across the LED panel on the front of one of the showcase vehicles in mandarin.

Chinese EV startup Singulato’s iS6 concept car features an LED panel between the headlights to make V2X communication possible. Image: Ian Ling

SMART displayed a driverless vehicle with a large integrated LED panel that could display the names of passengers for pick up, arrows to indicate direction, or messages to other drivers and pedestrians. When not in use, it ran an adorable animation of a cartoon face.

Pretty smart: screens mounted on the fronts of driverless cars lets pedestrians anticipate traffic better. Image: Ian Ling

2. AI

While the three-cornered fight between Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa persists in the West, the Chinese market has spawned effective variants of its own.

With a smart speaker penetration rivalling that in the US, tech giants T-mall and Alibaba have created an AI home assistant, the T-mall Genie, that has seen tens of millions of units sold within China alone within four years.

The T-mall genie comes in a wide, wide variety of forms. Bunny ears seem to be a theme, though. Image: Ian Ling

Where the choice of our smart home peripherals are limited by the compatibility of proprietary and OEM production, T-mall showcased a vision of a myriad of home appliances being centrally controlled by the T-mall Genie.   

From robotic cleaning devices to rice cookers, T-mall shared a vision of a truly smart home in their keynote speech. In it, users are able to control a variety of appliances with the T-mall Genie by utilising smart commands. In a demonstration, by greeting “good morning” to the smart assistant,

Artificial Intelligence was not confined to the realm of smart speakers. a keynote by Hisense, an intelligent television set was demonstrated for the first time.

Featuring a proprietary algorithm co-developed by Yi+, it was able to recognise vocal commands and queries and process them almost instantaneously within about 0.03s. Apart from voice-controlled functions that provided most features also seen on smart speakers, the Hisense smart TV was also able to process information displayed on the screen to provide prompts and assistance.

Hisense CEO Zhou Houjian delineates the strategy of Hisense in a world of AI. Image: Ian Ling

Hisense CEO Zhou Houjian demonstrated the capabilities of the AI on board, capable of recognising faces and objects displayed on the screen. The television set was able to identify individual soccer players and pull up their bio in an on-screen sidebar.

3. Robotics

Underwater drones took centre stage at this year’s CES Asia. RoboShark is a remotely controlled underwater drone by RoboSea: it captivated a large crowd with a demonstration in a humongous tank.

4. Energy

Perhaps one of the most interesting releases on the trade show floor was that by Hanergy, a Chinese energy and battery company. There, they premiered a line of thin-film solar charging products. The film can be deployed on its own, as a foldable panel to be deployed when outdoors, and has also been implemented on a line of backpacks and even on a car.

Carry your energy with you: Hanergy’s line of solar-powered backpacks are rather fashionable and might catch on in no time. Image: Ian Ling

“5G and AI are igniting growth across the entire tech ecosystem changing the way we interact with technology and the world around us,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA). “It’s incredible to see technology refining and reinventing itself at such a fast pace. Just six months ago we were at CES with life-altering tech all around us. This week, I saw that technology refined, enhanced and built upon in many ways, especially with AI and 5G integration and the creative ways those technologies are being imagined and implemented.”

CES Asia 2019 will return on June 11-13 next year.


Ian Ling
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

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