The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had several themes. Autonomous and electric vehicles, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, pending 5G technology, 3D television, personal mobility and every entrepreneurial gadget feasible were in the mix.

The CES gathering was held in five locations on the Las Vegas strip. Flash flooding greeted visitors on opening day; a power outage occurred on the second day. The estimated attendance for the week was 250,000, and the showroom floors were crowded.

The future of autonomous helicopters was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The future of autonomous helicopters was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with several manufacturers’ models. Image © Bruce Aldrich/2018

Nonetheless, an estimated 1,700 vendors showcased their wares with flash and fast-talking, expertise and wishful thinking.

In episode 23 of The Weekly Driver Podcast, co-host Bruce Aldrich and I discuss the concept vehicles automakers like Toyota and BMW hope will be autonomous vehicles in the not-to-distant future.

A prototype of an autonomous vehicle that may one day be commonplace on the roads.
A prototype of an autonomous vehicle that may one day may be commonplace on city streets and on the freeway, too. Image © Bruce Aldrich/2018

Bruce notes in his show recap that the autonomous vehicle industry has to overcome several hurdles, including data acquisition and the need for more capacity than current 4G systems maintain. Citywide Wifi systems are needed for urban areas, while the 5G technology will be required in rural locations.

The show was diverse. The guitar maker Gibson had a huge outdoor presence with a vast exhibit of new and vintage guitars and personal listening devices.

Several companies displayed autonomous and electric utility vehicles.
Several companies displayed autonomous and electric utility vehicles. Image © Bruce Aldrich/2018.

Several companies had autonomous helicopters that looked ready for duty. A company called AEV from Austin, Texas, had several examples of utilitarian electric vehicles on display, without doors, with half doors and full enclosed sides.

And there were dozens of trinket and gadget vendors, from personal medical devices to anti-radar and electronic red light detection systems to advancement in camera technology.

A character from Stars Wars who found the wrong trade show?
A character from Stars Wars who found the wrong trade show? Image © Bruce Aldrich/2018

And, finally, Bruce and I review our round-trip transportation from Sacramento to Las Vegas. We drove an estimated 1,300 miles in a 2018  Infiniti Q50 sedan. The vehicle had plenty to like and a few areas in which we weren’t quite so enamored.

The Weekly Driver Podcast welcomes your comments.

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