More than 180,000 attendees and 7,500 journalists will attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas. To say that CES is the premier event for the consumer electronics segment is a bit like saying that LeBron James is one of the premier players in the NBA. The statement while true, is also a massive understatement.

Amazon’s presence at CES 2019 showcases a variety of innovative connected products that use Alexa as the voice-enabled front end and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the cloud computing backend. The team also has a dedicated Alexa Auto booth alongside exhibits from automakers and others in the auto industry in the North Hall of the LVCC.

The booth is designed to showcase how voice can shape the future of mobility, featuring Alexa-enabled vehicles from BMW and Byton and auto-specific products with Alexa built-in, including the all-new Echo Auto. However, the centerpiece of the exhibit is the all-new, all-electric Audi eTron featuring Alexa Auto integration as well as AWS services used by Audi. This is just the first of many collaborative exhibits to come, as Alexa and AWS work to tell a much larger cross Amazon automotive story.

“From playing music and turning on the lights to helping with step-by-step cooking instructions, Alexa has made life simpler and more entertaining for customers in the home,” said Kerry Lebel, principal, head of marketing for Alexa Auto. “With Alexa Auto, we're able to extend that experience to the car and add in additional mobility features to make Alexa to extend her usefulness even further, whether at home or on the go.”

“The ultimate goal is to help customers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road while still being entertained and productive while on the go.”
Kerry Lebel - Principal, Head of Marketing for Alexa Auto

With Alexa integrated into more vehicles and in-car products, customers can enjoy many of the things they love about Alexa, plus some new auto-specific features. For example, the Alexa Auto integrations (such as the one with Audi) allow customers to be able to ask Alexa to play the perfect Amazon Music playlist or continue reading their favorite book – right from where they’ve left off. They can lock their front door and open their garage door right from the cozy confines of their automobile.

Customers can navigate to places they know (such as their home) or places that are new (such as a charging station in a new city). On cold winter mornings, they can defrost their car windows from their home, and have Alexa order extra hot lattes even as they pull into their neighborhood Starbucks. What’s more, through calendar syncing, they’ll be able to determine the best route to get to a meeting and be able to dial into meetings hands free.

“The ultimate goal is to help customers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road while still being entertained and productive while on the go,” said Lebel.

In addition to the innovations enabled by Alexa, attendees at CES will be able to see how the automotive industry can build on AWS’ cloud computing solutions to provide their customers with rich experiences at every stage in the purchase lifecycle.

For example, visitors to CES will be able to use Audi's innovative 3D cloud configurator to build and customize their own eTron. This immersive photo-realistic shopping experience, is powered by Zerolight's visualization technology and rendered in real-time in the AWS cloud.

Also on display is an exhibit on how automotive companies are using AWS to create personalized driving experiences. A particularly interesting example is how companies like KIA are utilizing Amazon Rekognition to provide personalized advanced driver assistance. Through AWS’s artificial intelligence services that are embedded directly into the vehicle’s car system, image and video data about the driver is utilized to create a personalized driving experience in real-time.

All you would have to do is upload your photo to the car. The system would then recognize you the next time you got in, and automatically set your driving preferences from playing the music you want to setting the mirror and seat in just the right position. The use of AWS’s artificial intelligence technologies have benefits beyond mere convenience, and extend to reducing accident related fatalities. To give just one example, the system would automatically switch to autonomous driving mode if it detects driver fatigue.

Needless to say, autonomous driving will be one of the most hotly watched categories at CES. Autonomous vehicles have already captured our collective imagination. With Market Research Future projecting a 26.2% CAGR for the global market for Autonomous Vehicles Market from 2016 to 2027, autonomous vehicles will also capture significant market share.

Amazon at CES 2019
One of many points of engagement at Amazon's CES 2019 booth.

AWS also provides a full set of solutions for Autonomous Vehicle Development, helping accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles with powerful cloud computing capabilities. For example, companies like TuSimple are relying on AWS's machine learning expertise and its nearly limitless computing and storage capabilities to enable Level 4 autonomous trucking -- Level 4 vehicles are designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip.

“AWS provides automotive companies with a comprehensive set of cloud technologies to transform the way we buy, drive and service our cars, paving the path for the future of mobility” said Mark Dipko, Automotive Industry Marketing Leader at AWS. “We’re excited to showcase our innovations to CES attendees.”

In his epic travelogue "On the Road," Jack Kerouac wrote, “What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

At CES 2019, it does appear that for consumers and manufactures alike, the Amazon team has made the journey of finding “the next crazy venture beneath the skies” a whole lot easier.