In early January, Franklin Equity Group’s research analysts headed to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the biggest technology trade show in the United States. Here, they report back on some of the event’s highlights, as well as developments that may have slipped under the radar.

When we attend the US Consumer Electronics Show (CES) each year in Las Vegas, our goal is to avoid the marketing hype surrounding certain products. Instead, we look for the latest technologies we think are really going to make a difference, some of which may not generate media buzz.

In our view, it’s important to understand the difference between a commercially viable product and a design concept. At CES, we try to avoid becoming overly excited by product announcements that don’t include a firm price point or a launch date.

We also think it’s important to consider the relevant gatekeepers or supporting technologies that are required to cooperate in order for a new product to be successful. In addition, we assess the ripple effects that would be created from the adoption of the technology or product.

Will Electric Air Vehicles Take Off?

One of the most transformative announcements we saw at this year’s CES was an electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle. EVTOL enables air transportation in spaces that would otherwise be too limited in size to support a runway and other necessary infrastructure.

According to our analysis, EVTOL technology is still a few years away from commercial availability. However, in our view, it could fundamentally change transportation and logistics, primarily in urban environments.

A Peek Inside Autonomous Cars

At last year’s CES, the focus in the autonomous vehicle space was on the original equipment manufacturers revealing design concepts. This year, exhibited technology focused on the interior of the car.

In particular, we saw sensors that perform facial recognition to determine levels of fatigue and emotions of the driver. We think this technology is likely to lead to new safety and luxury services that improve the passenger experience.