CES, General Posts, Las Vegas, travel

CES 2023 : Be In It

The start of my journey at CES 2023 proved to be different from my beloved automotive world. While there are many avenues where the two intersect, it is interesting to also see another realm of interest.

The Las Vegas Strip was MUCH busier than when I was there for SEMA 2022. You could tell that something was going on the moment I landed at Harry Reid International. Representatives for CES were waiting at the arrival gates to give people directions(and snacks) on where they could pick up their badges.

My flight in from Boston was packed with attendees for this year’s show. The badge pickup process proved itself to be painless, as I was curious how having various pickup locations across the strip would work out. Once my badge waa in hand, I made my way to The Flamingo, my temporary home for the week.

I was fortunate enough to have a high floor room, the 22nd floor, facing the Bellagio, The Cosmo and Paris. The view was incredible. I rested for a bit until making my way out to find something to eat. Ramen- Ya had been on my radar since my trip in November 2022, and I was determined to try it this time. Ramen-Ya is located over near the entrance of Bally’s in the little array of shops and other food stops. I ordered a Thai Tea and their Tonkotsu Ramen with Pork Belly. It was delicious!

I made my way back to my room and watched the Bellagio show from my window. I took a short nap and then went back out onto the strip. It was towards the other end of the strip on my last adventure out there, so we didn’t make our way past The Flamingo very much. I ventured down The Linq Promenade, an ally of shops and more restaurants like In-And-Out Burger, Ramsey’s Fish and Chips and many more. Having been up for almost 24 hours I turned in for an early night, ready for the start of CES in just one day.

Thursday brought the first official day of CES 2023. I started my day with a press release with ASAKA the first helicopter/car hybrid. This is their first fully functional prototype. It is the first 4 seater hybrid that can travel by both land, and air. It is a fully electric aircraft and can travel up to 250 miles on a single charge. Flying cars were predicted long ago, but this is the first of its kind in the world, and I was able to experience it first hand.

The ASKA eVTOL has the potential to make history. Focussed on safety first, they are wanting this to be viewed as the future of a family vehicle with its four passenger capability. But beyond that, it also has tremendous potential for military use, first responders and on demand mobility services.

So how does it all work? The ASKA is powered by a proprietary power system that features lithium battery packs and also has a gasoline engine that acts as a range extender. It features all wheel drive while in driving mode. In flying mode, the wings with six rotors unfold, and allow it to take off vertically, or the conventionally on a runway. Safety was a top priority for designers. In case of an emergency, the large wings can act as gliders to guide the vehicle to safety. I am excited to see where this prototype will be in the future. Full scale testing has been scheduled to start after the end of CES 2023 a preorders are expected in 2026.

Next was the release with Vinfast of their new VF 6 and VF7 Electric Vehicles “Vinfast is one of the world’s most innovative automakers and working together to rapidly deploy Vayyar’s technology is proving to be a rewarding experience,” said Ian Podkamien, Vayyar Vice President and Head of Automotive. “We’re proud to be part of the VinFast story and anticipate great success for the OEM, underpinned by rock-solid safety.”

They unveiled the new VF 6 and VF 7. The VF 6 is small all electric SUV. It has a maximum range of 248 miles, 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The plus version has 237 mile range, 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft torque. lso mes equipped with a 12.9-inch touchscreen display to showcase all in-car entertainment.

THe VF 7 is slightly larger, and has a longer range of 280 miles on a full charge, 201 horsepower, and 228 ft torque. The Plus version has AWD, a 268 mile range, 348 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. A much peppier version of its counterpart.

Still being weary of the EV market, these two cars were elegantly designed, and not very large. Even though they are considered SUVs, they are small on the outside, and roomy on the inside. Every inch of space is well thought out and used to the best of its ability. Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup Vice Chairwoman and CEO of VinFast Holdings said: “VinFast always strives to bring diverse vehicle options to meet the demands of most customers, while pushing the transition from ICE to all-electric vehicles. VinFast’s VF 6 and VF 7 are models that combine the elements of style, modern technology and outstanding technology in an efficient and fun package. I believe that these models will resonate well with young customers who are passionate about technology and exhilarating driving experiences.”

Up next was to go see the Autonomous Vehicle that would be racing it’s way around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night and all day Saturday. This autonomous vehicles won the challenge at the last event. It is totally reliant on it’s programming and can drive 150+ mph on the track without any light.

There are a slew of other autonomous vehicles, from being able to drive passengers to and from work in major cities, to delivering groceries and packages with no need for a driver. John Deer has a line of autonomous agricultural equipment, and Hyundai has entered into the water powered realm that will fuel their electric vehicles at bays built in the ocean using the power generated by water.

The first day at CES was a success. The next day I took a deep dive into the audio and video technology that was in Central Hall. Autel created a drone that allows fire and rescue, law enforcement and other such professions to monitor dangerous situations from the air. It allows for them to get an idea of what is going on, without risking sending a person up in the air. With more than 2 hours of flight time and an 18 mile range, this drone will more than likely change the future of how we can monitor from the skys.

Afeela, the lovechild of Sony and Honda looks to be the future of integrated technology that you are not only able to interact with, but interacts with you. With AI that recognizes who is in the driver’s seat and how many people are in the car, it adjust to the presets that the driver previously set. The prototype is still in the development stages, but it is set to be up for preorder in 2024 and delivered to it’s buyers in 2025.

Friday night brought the Lights Out event with Luminar at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. One out of the 9 autonomous Indy cars would take to the track in the pitch black. A team of programmers from several schools across the country and from other parts of the world, each programmed a car to drive the track without a driver. The AI learns the track, and also learns from the other car that it may be competing against. The thing I find interesting here is that these indy cars have real engines still and are not electric, so we still get to enjoy that familiar roar as it drives down the track. Though I feel like these autonomous vehicles being tested, electric ones may not be far behind.

Saturday the 4th annual Indy Autonomous Challenge at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Nine teams from 6 countries and representing 17 Universities came to Las Vegas seeking to win the Autonomous Challenge at CES, built only 7 advanced to Saturday’s challenge. THe rules required that each team qualify in a high-speed race car time trial in a head-to-head passing competition. PoliMOVE, Politecnico di Milano and University of Alabama, won the Autonomous Challenge at CES and set a new world record for the racetrack. Their car reached a maximum speed of 180 mph. Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work!

Day two was complete, and there was still a ton left to see. WIth so many new, innovative and just all around interesting products to see, it was not possible to see them all. So here are the few that I really enjoyed.

Being an avid traveler, and looking in to energy sources for future van life traveling, Geneverse new and existing products really caught my eye. Compact and portable generators are a must if you enjoy camping and traveling in either a conversion van, or even an RV. As we all know, electric hookups are not always available, and in case of emergencies, it is always good to have a backup. Geneverse is one of the most affordable and reliable that are out there on the market. They introduced their HomePower PRO series at CES, the most efficient solar power battery in the industry to date. It can power up to 99% of home appliances in a traditional home setting, and keep it powers for 3-7 days depending on usage. The PRO series can power a refrigerator for up to 30 hours, ensuring you don’t lose your food, 12-16 full laptop. charges and 150-200 cell phone charges.

There are several models in Geneverse’s new PRO lineup; HomePower ONE Pro has a capacity of 1210Wh of capacity, 1200W of rated power and 2400W of surge power, all at $1,499. The HomePower ONE PRO with 2x Solar Panels is $2,599. THe HomePower TWO PRO has 2419 Wh of capacity, 2200W of rated power and 4400W of surge power for $2,499 and HomePower TWO PRO with Solar Panels is $4,799. Either of these two units can be fully charged in 1-2 hours bty wall outlet, or 3-4 hours by solar. A very quick charge time compared to some of its competitors. The units are easy to set up, and completely portable making it best for families, camping, the elderly and RV/Vans. I am looking forward to see how this unit will fare on a week long road trip I will be taking later this year.

mymanu is another company that caught my attention. They currently have their Clik S wireless earbuds that can translate in 37 language in real time. Coupled with their app, you are able to communicate with anyone in their native language seamlessly. The buds can translate in real time. The app allows you to speak into it in your native language and translate back to them in their native language. One thin I found highly beneficial about their app is that it translate back to them with the proper grammar. In a language like SPanish for example they tend to say, “seis cerdoes rosas,” which literally translates to “six pigs pink.” mynanu software allows for the correct punctuation be translated to the other party, very much unlike google translate which often butchers the translations. The Clik S buds are available now, and I will definitely picking up a pair for my future international travels. They also have the TItan, that is currently in the works and available for preorder. It is the world’s first voice-controlled eSim-power pair of earbuds, making the need to carry your phone around 24/7 a thing of the past. Such exciting pieces of tech to keep us connected on another level.

SK Group along with its global partners presented some of the world’s top eco-friendly carbon reduction technologies at CES. With more than 40 new related technologies, let’s cover a few. One, and maybe one of the most important, is the Waste to Resources segment of their display. Plastics, metals and batteries have become a huge problem with waste. SK plans to establish an advanced recycling cluster in Ulsan, Korea with full operation by the end of 2025. The cluster will be abkle to recycle 250 thousand tons of plastic waste each year. SK is aiming to be the world’s largest urban oil field company, while adopting game-changing chemical recycling technology to recycle plastics and turn them into petroleum resources. We only have one earth, and it was very exciting to see companie such as SK looking towards a better future in preserving and taking care of it.

Within SK’s booth was Cala Trio. A wearable device that can help with hand tremors. This caught my eye because my grandfather had tremors from years of working with his hands in a factory. Tremors are often caused by misfiring signals in the brain to you hand/wrist. More often than not, this can only be corrected by brain surgery. With the wearable device from Cala Trio, it send electrical impulses to the brain from your wrist to correct the issues and gives similar results without the risk of surgery. The device also stores and displays information so that you can see information in real time and share it with your doctor.

ADT Commercial, one of the leading security providers partnered with Halodi Robotics who introduced their first security robot at CES. This robot combines AI and augmented reality. This marks a significant step forward for ADT when it comes to to their commercial expansion into the guarding market. The humanoid robot would be controlled by a security guard and would be able to do things such as, conduct autonomous patrols in commercial facilities, perform two way communication, open doors and operate elevators, interact with employees, inspect and remove hazards or obstructions, self dock and self charge at designated stations. This a huge step in the right direction for security as some 80% of alarms are all false. It dismisses the need for a security guard to leave their post, allowing for better 24/7 security in any commercial facility.

Prinker, an honoree at CES for Mobile Devices and Accessories, was in attendance showing off their temporary tattoo printer. The device makes it easy to create and apply water resistant, but soap-washable tattoos to the skin, making it the perfect device for festivals, seeing what a more permanent tattoo may look like and many more fun, creative avenues.

Kohler’s booth smelled too good to pass up, so I did a brief walkthrough. One of their focuses was on shower infused aromatherapy. They have universal shower head attachments that allow you to infuse aromatherapy into your shower. I just might be investing in one of them. An aromatherapy shower sounds wonderful after being at a track or event all day.

Govee, interactive light displays, also had a very interesting setup at CES. Coupled with their app, their light fixtures can display photos, sync to music and even display you own personal designs that you either upload to the app, or draw within the app. It can also sync to your gaming and display the colors and flash to your in game experiences. I hope to get my hands on this product soon as they are launching new products in the coming months

The last of the products that I found interesting were the ones that TCL had on display. On top of TCL becoming one of the more affordable and high quality brands of TVs, they are also developing their RayNeo X2 – AR Glasses. They are the world’s first to realize binocular full-color Micro-LED optical waveguide display in AR Glasses. These AR glasses are lightweight and look like regular glasses without compromising on tech specs. It is your all in on assistant for smart navigation and auto translation to photography and music play. They are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform. THe GPS navigation system uses simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) together with gesture recognition. The bluetooth enabled on-screen message and call notifications allows you to stay up to date wherever you go. The RayNeo X2 also breaks down language barriers, translating in real time and displaying subtitles on the glasses screen, allowing avid travelers, such as myself, build those important connections. The built in hands-free camera also allows users to create content from a first person perspective, giving your viewers a more personal look into what you are experiencing. These will be available for purchase around the the end of the March 2023. Yet another product I am excited to get my hands on!

After my hands on experience at the Autonomous Challenge, I didn’t think that anything could beat that. On Sunday, the final day of CES, I made my way over to the BMW and Volkswagen booth. Two that I, unintentionally saved for the very end. BMW released its i Vision Dee. Dee or Digital Emotional Experience is a profound concept for BMW Group. This enables a completely new type of interaction and communication between yourself and your vehicle. “With the BMW i Vision Dee, we are showcasing what is possible when hardware and software merge. In this way, we are able to exploit the full potential of digitalisation to transform the car into an intelligent companion. That is the future for automotive manufacturers – and, also, for BMW: the fusion of the virtual experience with genuine driving pleasure,” said Oliver Zipse. The BMW i Vision Dee connects with us on an emotional level and is also intelligent enough to anticipate where we may want to go based on previous drives.

Dee is considered as the “Ultimate Companion.” Humans and cars already have a special kind of relationship for those of us that understand what that means. The emotional relationship that BMW Group and the BMW brand is trying to build here is going to define that bond even more. Dee will adapt to the driver’s habits, and will suggest destinations and entertainment. Dee will become a companion to its driver, a sort of “best friend” that can be relied on.

“A BMW lives by its unparalleled digital performance. BMW i Vision Dee is about perfect integration of virtual and physical experiences. Whoever excels at integrating the customer’s everyday digital worlds into the vehicle at all levels will succeed in mastering the future of car-building,” says Frank Weber, BMW AG Board Member for Development.

On top of the 9 different facial expressions that allows it to interact with its environment, it also has the ability to change its color and design inside and out. The future of BMW Group is electric, circular and digital. Further development on the Ultimate Driving Companion will be released throughout 2023.

Volkswagen had a new electric vehicle of their own, the ID. 7. It is VW first all electric sedan based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) featuring smart camouflage. This multilayered paintwork is able to create light effects on areas of the vehicle. “With the new ID.7, we are rounding off the top end of our electric model range. The sedan will offer top-class technology and quality. The ID.7 is one of ten new electric models that we are planning to launch by 2026. Our goal? To offer suitable products for our customers in every segment.” Thomas Schäfer CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.

The ID. 7 features a digital camouflage design with unique luminous paintwork, 40 layers of paint with 22 areas of the vehicle that can be activated individually, and a unique QR code that acts as an bridge between the physical world and digital one. Set to release in 2023, it is not the only product that VW is expecting to turn heads in their direction. With several other all electric vehicles on the way, it is no doubt that VW will be another leading competitor in the all electric and fully customizable future of the automotive industry.

So what was your favorite product in my personal lineup? With thousands of products available at the show, it was impossible to cover them all. I hand picked the few areas that I thought were making big differences in how we will communicate with each other, our cars, and the world around us. Technology is advancing in unimaginable directions, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for us. If you attended CES what was your favorite new product?

Until next time.

Motor on.

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Car Shows, Driving, General Posts, Interviews, Las Vegas, mcacn, Powersports, SEMA, Track Events, travel

Best of 2022

2022 has been one of the most exciting years yet. Regardless of all the struggles and hardships that this year also brought for me, I was able to capture and be part of some incredible moments. This post was inspired by a fellow blogger who suggest I do a visual publication of what I experienced this year. For this last blog post of year, here is the best of my 2022.

Here’s to the 2023 year being even more exciting, unexpected and wonderful than 2022.

Until next year!

Motor on.

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Driving, Uncategorized

Conquering Autocross and the Kanc

What’s up everyone? It’s been a while since I posted last. It’s been a hectic couple months and I have a feeling that things may finally be turning around. Anyways, this past weekend was long and busy and so much fun. Two events, two days and loads of memories to share.

Saturday May 18th, 5:30AM

There is, of course, only one reason why I would be up so early and that is for something car related. Well, this would be my very FIRST Autocross event! I went along with the BMW Car Club of America, and they put on a fantastic event! Everyone is super helpful and friendly. The days leading up consisted of me getting things together that I thought I would need. Snacks, water, chair, helmet, and a variety of other stuff. EVERYTHING, needs to be taken our of your car that is loose, that includes the floor mats (which I did forget, but was reminded thanks to my friend Kathy!). So, the best way that everyone does this is to get a bin, a tote bin. I took to Amazon and found one that I thought was going to fit in the trunk… but it did not. So in to the front seat it went. 60611949_2320341514654384_7733489762098479104_n.jpg

I was excited for the day I was about to have. I had gone to one last year to be an observer and a passenger, and that was awesome too. My friend had told me that its much more stressful to be a passenger than a driver, and she was correct!

This past sessions started with tech inspect and helmet inspection. Your car is checked to make sure that everything is up to par, and helmets are checked to make sure they are within regulations. After that there is a drivers meeting and the Novices get a special walkthrough the course. Seeing it ahead of time and keeping in mind a few tips, I felt ready. I was in Run Group 2, which meant I worked the course first and then ran second. We then broke for lunch and did it all again in the afternoon! I was out on corner 5, and I will admit, that was not my favorite thing. Nothing hard, cone falls down, go and pick it up. Now… I’m not a very active person, so if three cones fall down in a row, its not a fun time. But whatever, its all part of the day. I will focus on the fun stuff.

When I was lined up for my run, it all kind of hit me at once. I was here, I was doing this. CRAP, I WAS DOING THIS. I considered backing out, I really did. I was unsure if I could actually do it. All novices are required to go with an instructor, which is super helpful. My first run was focused on the course, getting around and making sure that I stayed on it. I lucked out, the times were messed up and I got a rerun. So that first one really was a practice run. I’ll shut up now, and show you what I was up to.

What I gathered from this day, is that I need to keep my lines tighter and find the fastest way around, and pay attention to where I’m going next as to not overshoot a turn. There were several runs I did NOT film, where I almost spun out and was slightly off course. All in all, it was a super fun day. Tell me what you think! and if you have any questions, feel free to leave comments! Even though I had such a great day, I was super happy to get back home, take a shower and go to sleep. The next day was going to be just as long!

Sunday May 19, 6:30 AM
Not early, but still early. That extra hour of sleep and copious amounts of sleep the night before definitely helped though. Today was the NEMS Biannual Kanc Cruise to benefit Make a Wish. I had gone on it in October of lat year, which was also a lot of fun. If you are from the New England area, I recommend checking it out and coming along in October. Proceeds go to Make a Wish and it a fun day of driving and friends. Shenanigans, driving, lunch, more shenanigans, more driving, snacks. We all met in the morning and cruised to NHTI in Concord together. Once parked, it’s a waiting game. It’s nice to hang out and catch up with people I don’t see too often though. After that, everyone drives the planned route, or their own, to the lunch spot. After lunch, it’s a free for all up north, where the roads are twisty, and the sky was clear. Here is a short video from the day!

The weekend was long and fun. I would do all again and not change a thing. Until the next adventure, whatever you drive and whatever you do, Motor On!

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