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In January, Las Vegas sees warmer weather than where I live- a fact that I greatly appreciate.  But Las Vegas in January 2018 saw its first rain in 116 days. It seemed that the city was less prepared for the rain than for the near 200,000 visitors who came to Las Vegas for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, CES.

What does it mean if an event is largely distributed across multiple venues? Being stuck in traffic: be it shuttles, taxis or ride share cars. CES was not so much prepared for the crowds who tried to get into the keynote sessions, such as that of Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor Company. In his keynote, Hackett stated: “Transport systems in most major cities have reached capacity. It’s time to bring our streets into the sharing economy” - how true! Ford showed a futuristic city at CES, one that is based around the shared use of autonomous vehicles and better communication between all - an automotive/biker/pedestrian paradise. Ford’s CEO keynote got a lot of attention as it shows Ford’s departure from focusing on making vehicles to entire ‘systems’. Hackett is advocating for a complete redesign of the urban transportation system, which, in addition to cars, includes roads, stores, sidewalk plants and more.

There was a lot of talk, and show, of autonomous vehicles from GM, Ford, and others. The streets of Las Vegas saw a good number of autonomous vehicles. For example, Lyft partnered with Aptiv, a new Delphi Start-Up. To showcase its autonomous technology, Lyft customers could book 15 BMW 5 series sedans equipped with Aptive’s autonomous technology. I’ve also seen autonomous vehicles on the road from Valeo and Torc. What companies still have to figure out for many of these innovations are the tangible benefits to be reaped from them.

While many of our customers showed off their latest gadgets, SAP was at CES with the Rinspeed Snap concept vehicle. As a cooperation partner of Rinspeed we were excited to support the 2018 Snap innovation project which proved to be one of the highlights of the show.

Sharing SAP’s vision and capabilities with CES visitors, especially on how SAP can enable the connected and automated mobility ecosystem of the future, was a great experience.

And it was a proud moment when the Rinspeed Snap was chosen by Fox News as one of ‘eight amazing AI innovations’ of CES 2018.

Get more information here:

Listen to ‘Wheel Bearings’ Podcast, Episode #53 with a CES summary.

Other CES highlights included:

  • NVIDIA’s Jensen Huang presenting its latest cool tech for gaming, graphics and autonomous driving and testing.

  • Toyota’s e-Palette: an autonomous electric box on wheels and a Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), a software layer that Toyota is developing for a future in which nobody owns a car.

  • Byton, the Chinese-American Electric Vehicle Start Up got a lot of attention for its concept that should go in production by 2020. Like most traditional car companies, and more and more start-ups, Byton is running its business on SAP.

And yes; there was also a power outage, which showed how much we rely on infrastructure and also gave us some quiet time from all the CES.

CES 2018 was full of great projects, ideas and visons on how digital transformation is impacting and invigorating the automotive industry. From the mobility ecosystem to logistics optimization and from Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) to E-mobility, the opportunities abound. Innovative automotive companies that leverage the right technologies, data and connectivity will drive and dominate these new models and markets. The SAP team is looking forward to working with customers and ecosystem partners to jointly define the future of mobility and to provide first class software solutions for smart and sustainable transport.