When they aren’t cavorting with fossil fuels, car manufacturers are trying to woo the in-crowds of the 21st century — hipsters, nerds, vegans — with tech talk of fancy. Basically, car companies want you to think of them as really caring. And they do care, about profits. But sometimes there’s other stuff in there too, like at the annual CES show in Las Vegas…

Honda

Honda arrived in Vegas being adorably Honda, packing a bunch of distinctly Japanese concepts in the form of AI robots. The one we liked best is the Empower concept which is a quad robot that can autonomously work in off-road environments and, like, go and fetch your carrots or something. Based on Honda’s proper ATV platform the thing uses GPS sensors and all sorts of cleverness to guide itself over pretty much any terrain.

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BMW

Well, this one has very little to do with the Consumer Electronics Show, but probably because BMW didn’t have much to show for itself, the Germans decided to just burn a few sets of tyres, envelop Vegas in smoke, and then get the heck out of Dodge. By which we mean Vegas. The company actually set a new Guinness world record for the longest drift (on a damp surface — lame…) which sounds and looks extremely boring considering the driver just had to turn left for eight hours…. BMW then performed drift demonstrations at CES, which wasn’t a very vegan-friendly thing to do…

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Toyota e-Palette

Clever name, the e-Palette — see, Toyota’s big idea here is that they have themselves a flat, low, and light platform on which you can stack all sorts of different things, scaleable, and customisable in myriad ways, making the tech suitable for commercial or private use. At the 2018 CES show, Toyota’s e-Palette concept demonstrated a vision of a ride-sharing future, when all you’ll basically need is an autonomous platform and a living room on top of it…

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Hyundai Nexo

Yes, the Koreans are now doing rear-drive Kias and luxury Genesis models, but Hyundai still claims this new Nexo launched in Las Vegas is the company’s technological flagship. The reason being given is that the Nexo is a fuel-cell vehicle, with plenty of self driving tech (it parks itself for example), and a new dedicated architecture that helps lower weight and provide the hydrogen-powered Nexo with quicker acceleration than a Tucson fuel-cell EV, for example. Hyundai says they’ll start selling the car later this year, and plan to release a total of 18 eco-friendly models to global markets by the year 2025.