Artificial intelligence with voice assistants, driverless vehicles for public transport, blockchain and the future 5G mobile networks are among the key technologies featured at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But whilst the event has previously focused exclusively on the consumer market, CES 2018 is a major showcase for professional solutions.

Voice assistance making itself heard in Las Vegas. 

There’s a strong focus on innovations in the field of smart assistants, particularly those using AI-powered voice-recognition and voice command technologies at CES 2018. Certain HP, Acer and Lenovo PCs running Windows 10 and video-projectors released this year will feature Amazon’s Alexa, rivalling Microsoft’s Cortana, for managing content on the computer, and, and this is where Alexa stands out, on connected systems. South-Korean car-maker Hyundai has also announced that the proactive voice-recognition assistance, which can anticipate users’ needs, will be used in the cockpits of their future cars.

Driverless minibuses and robotic taxis for smart cities

Driverless vehicles are among the major breakthroughs for the smart cities of the future. For urban transport, airport shuttles and postal services, Navya has already deployed around sixty driverless vehicles worldwide , including two trials in France (Lyon and La Défense on the outskirts of Paris), and further trials scheduled in Perth, Australia, later this year.

At CES 2018, Navya is presenting Autonom Cab, a 100% autonomous “robo-taxi”, with no driver, steering wheel or pedals (see demo below). To manage driverless car fleets and data, Nvidia and Uber also officialised their partnership for an artificial intelligence platform in Las Vegas.

Blockchain everywhere

Along with artificial intelligence and robotics, blockchain is another disruptive technology showcased at CES 2018. Aside from virtual currency, blockchain can also be used in insurance: Station F start-up Monuma is giving a world exclusive preview of its solution for creating real-time insurance certificates for valuables. There will also be a conference on the other possible uses of blockchain, such as sharing medical data, tracking medication, managing real estate documents, energy, and the legal sector.

5G mobile networks driving major innovations

5G mobile networks are set to offer consumers download speeds a thousand times faster than 4G, meaning they’ll be able to download an HD film in a matter of seconds. Beyond such major improvements, 5G is the reflection of a general acceleration of the digital revolution across all industry sectors and applications such as healthcare, smart grids, smart city with driverless cars, augmented and virtual reality, business, infotainment, etc. With the first deployments scheduled for 2019 and 2020, it’s hardly surprising it’s one of the stars of CES 2018. In order to prepare for this, legislators, telecom carriers, chip makers (Intel, Qualcomm) and manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung are already pulling out all the stops and making some major announcements in Las Vegas.