One major highlight of CES 2018’s AI showcase was the integration of smart home applications with voice assistants. According to the U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecast released by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, revenues of voice-controlled smart speakers are expected to reach US$3.8 billion in 2018. It can be seen that every home electronics manufacturer has determined the necessity of voice assistant integration with their products in order to be successful.
IEK further commented on Google’s ubiquitous presence at this year’s CES, suggesting that the company is showing its desire to take on the battle for the lead established by Amazon’s Alexa. In fact, executives from both companies have discussed their plans about extending the applications of their voice assistants to other contexts such as workplaces and cars, until they can seamlessly be available anytime and anywhere.
Another spotlight of AI exhibits at this year’s CES shined on service robots. LG unveiled its CLOi with its various designs for different commercial purposes. For example, the Porter Robot, designed to carry luggage and provide check-in/out services for hotel guests; Serving Robot, designed to deliver meals and beverages at restaurants; Shopping Cart Robot, designed as a companion service at supermarkets for consumers to log purchases and pay through the machine directly. Savioke, a service robot company, took another approach by performing in action at the Renaissance Hotel directly adjacent from LVCC where CES was hosted. Its Relay robots named Elvis and Priscilla had already been on the job for three months, proving its competitors to be late to the game.
“Despite all the fancy shows service robots have put on at this year’s CES, the majority of them either lack arms or have no use but to wave,” IEK Project Manager Chun-Yuan Hou noted. This implies the opportunities for developing functional arms for AI robots still remain. ITRI’s Intelligent Vision System for Companion Robots , for instance, can be a promising technology in this area because of its 3D recognition, eye-hand coordination, and machine learning capabilities.
Serious competition among this year’s autonomous car exhibits.
CES 2018 also made autonomous cars seem more realistic. Multi-functionality driverless vehicles are being developed to provide services including ride sharing, meal delivery, and logistics. Lyft, for instance, offered automated rides for the CES event at Las Vegas, showcasing the positive impacts on the public. Similarly, car manufacturers such as Toyota, BMW, and Volkswagen have demonstrated their progress in self-driving technology. Most of them have taken steps toward integrating the AI voice assistant solution into the cockpits to achieve hands-free and eyes-free control, by collaborating with either Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant. Furthermore, while the public remains focused on how autonomous vehicles will safely transport people, fast food franchises such as Pizza Hut have begun integrating driverless technology with their deliveries. The franchise announced its fully autonomous delivery concept vehicle and partnership with Toyota, demonstrating alternative future applications of self-driving vehicles.