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The Software-Defined Vehicle on Display: CES 2023 Highlights

January 31, 2023

There is nothing quite as exhilarating as finally returning to “business as usual” and sharing with the world all of the exciting things we have all been working on over the past few years! The Consumer Electronic Show is no longer limited to just end consumers and has become one of the largest automotive shows globally. It is the platform to showcase automotive innovations and opportunities, and 2023 surely did not disappoint. Most partnerships and collaborations centered around the development of software-defined vehicles (SDVs) galloping down the path to vehicle ‘smartphonization’.

The importance of OEMs and tech companies working together continues to grow as more technologically advanced cars hit the road. Mercedes has gained approval for Level 3 autonomy in the state of Nevada, and other OEMs are not far behind, working with tech companies to bring these autonomous driving systems to life.

The following is a brief review of the most exciting new partnerships and vehicle innovations presented at CES 2023. 


Long-standing legacy automaker companies are partnering with innovative, agile tech companies to produce astounding results. Some of the key collaborations unveiled at CES include:
  • Honda and Sony - this partnership focuses on producing EVs with top-of-the-line entertainment features. Their first joint car has already been named “Afeela” in a nod to the car’s ability to “feel” the drivers’ moods and interact accordingly.
  • Magna and LG - Magna teamed up with the electronics giant, LG, to create a new fully-automated infotainment system. Their goal is to integrate LG’s software expertise with Magna’s ADAS and create a new level of infotainment systems that other OEMs will use in their vehicles.
  • Hyundai and Nvidia - long car rides are about to get a lot more interactive as Hyundai will be using Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service to give drivers and passengers access to thousands of paid and free video games that can be played while on the road.
  • Foxconn and Nvidia - Taiwanese giant Foxconn is a big Tier 1 EV producer (amongst many, many other technologies) and announced it will be using Nvidia’s supercomputing AI-based platform for all of its autonomous driving functionalities. 

Cars Are Getting a New Look

OEMs were out in full-force at CES to showcase new changes to the design and functionality inside new vehicles:

  • Infotainment & augmented reality - Volkswagen has listened to consumer complaints about the ergonomics in their ID.7 EV and change is afoot. The new version includes a large 15-inch infotainment screen complete with an augmented reality head-up display. The climate control system will start to work automatically as soon as it senses the driver’s presence, ensuring that the car will always be at the ideal temperature.
  • A totally new approach to steering - Peugeot is changing the look of the traditional round steering wheel to a “Hypersquare.” This rectangular steering device includes touch-controls that sit conveniently just under the driver’s thumbs for easy access.
  • Not seat belt, heat belt! - ZF is changing the game for drivers in cold climates who will soon be able to buckle up with a “Heat Belt” that will keep them warm while saving energy that EVs can then use to extend their range by up to 15%.
  • What, no steering wheel? - Chrysler showed off their vision for the interior of a driverless vehicle, complete with an array of dashboard displays and a glaring lack of steering wheel or pedals. The seats, flooring and instrument panels in this revolutionary vehicle will all be made of sustainable materials.

CES 2023 showed the great strides taken in transforming the driving experience through a “digital cockpit” where the driver has access to a whole array of information and entertainment at their fingertips alongside new ways to control the car. These high-tech features will all be powered by software, making them easily scalable and upgradeable.

A Modern, Customizable Exterior 

Vehicle exteriors will be getting a facelift as well, with some highly-creative changes:

  • ‘Chameleon’ cars  - BMW shared their newest concept for a car that changes colors. Drivers will be able to fully customize the colors of all different parts of their car depending on their mood on any given day. While BMW didn’t specifically say that a goal of the color-changing panels is the ability to camouflage the vehicle, that is a feature we would like to see.
  • Interact as you drive - Honda and Sony’s Afeela will allow drivers to express themselves and interact with others on the road via external screens located along the front of the car.
  • Color-changing paint - Volkswagen’s ID.7’s exterior will be just as exciting as its interior with color-changing paint. 

It is the shift from hardware-based vehicles to software-defined vehicles that is powering the ability for cars to become fully customizable, inside and out.

GuardKnox at CES

Our suite at CES was packed, where we showcased our E/E products through interactive demos and met with industry leaders. We continued to hear excited feedback about the possibilities the Secure SOA Framework & Developer Tool Suite and CommEngine™ will create to address the key challenges in the next-generation E/E architecture and enable the software-defined vehicle. 

We were proud to announce new partnerships where:

  • Lattice Semiconductor will be using our CommEngine™ to provide high-speed and advanced connectivity solutions for the automotive industry.
  • Software company Wind River will combine the power of our SOA framework and developer tools with their real-time operating system to provide OEMs with more flexibility and a faster time to market for new applications.
  • Our SOA Framework will be used in RTI’s Connext Drive connectivity framework for software-defined vehicles.

It was an outstanding week and we look forward to exploring new opportunities following such an awesome show!

A Win-Win Situation

The burgeoning partnerships between OEMs and technology companies that were so prevalent at CES are the result of industry demands for highly-connected, smart vehicles. 

Whether it is gaming, streaming, or more integral functionalities, drivers will continue to want the newest and most advanced even if that means paying for upgraded features as they become available. As Dirk Hilgenberg, head of Volkswagen AG’s CARIAD software unit put it: “You could just host the third-party app for a streaming service, or generate joint platforms. You guarantee certain volumes, you guarantee certain revenue.” The newfound synergy between OEMs and tech companies will propel the development of SDVs - we can’t wait to see what new innovations next year’s CES will bring!

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