CES’ Gary Shapiro: Tech world finding better ways to serve

And at the same time that the car is a platform we’re making these huge shifts to electric, to hybrid, to various levels of self-driving. And there’s so much going on in the automotive world. There’s no question that the automobile has a long life ahead of it in terms of being a product consumers want, need, enjoy, appreciate. Never before in my career have I seen shortages of cars across the board, not only new cars but used cars.

On automakers at CES:

Mary Barra announced [General Motors’] whole electric strategy at CES in 2021. In 2022, she’s showing a really cool new car, which is fabulous and that’s really exciting.

A number of [automakers] are having press conferences: Hyundai, Volvo and I think others as well. And we have a lot of great speakers, a whole bunch of different sessions on mobility and also mobility going beyond the automobile.

John Deere, for example, in agriculture is big and they’re coming back. They find CES a great way to talk about what they’re doing, and they’re really shifting to the autonomous area very quickly, and that’s very positive. And then of course, there is the electric scooters and the last-mile solutions.

On the Consumer Technology Association’s new research into consumer attitudes toward electric vehicles:

They’re receptive. The only downside is that knowledge is a barrier. Only 32 percent of people who don’t own an electric vehicle are aware of superchargers that can recharge cars in 20 minutes or under. And only 24 percent are aware that some EVs come equipped with self-driving mode. And only 19 percent believe there are enough charging stations for long-distance trips. And cost is a barrier, because about 6 in 10 Americans say that EVs are too expensive to buy.

So with the intense competition, with mass production, with changes in innovation, quickly all those things that people are concerned about are going to go away, and I think it’s like a lot of innovations and technology.

On the acceptance of new technology:

My career has taught me that people don’t know what they want until they personally experience it and see the value of it. And I talk about everything from the computer to the telephone, to the garage door opener, to the remote control on your television, to the microwave oven, to a smartphone, to a tablet, to videoconferencing like we’re doing now.

Everything has to come in its time in a way, and when the technology is ready. All these things, when you surveyed Americans, people would say they wouldn’t want it.

I was involved in this deeply with high-definition television. A lot of people, including consumer groups and the Europeans, said consumers don’t really care about this great thing called HDTV. We just, you know, maybe widen the screen and do a little thing, and that’s fine. And they all had to redo what they’re doing. Japan actually said analog is good enough. They had to recall their TVs. And the U.S. actually did it right, and it’s one of the great accomplishments I’m proud of.

But the point is that people love this stuff and we don’t even call it HDTV, we just call it TV and then we’ve gone to 4K, we’re going to 8K.

Same thing with automobiles. If you look at everything in an automobile, from windshield wipers to the various entertainment and connectivity devices, the thing is like, you have to ask yourself: “If it leaves the car, will I be upset?”

Living in Detroit, I got to say you take away my butt warmer, my heating on my steering wheel, I get really upset. You know, I can’t live without this stuff. And some of the other stuff, even the backup noises that your car makes or the backup camera. We just don’t know we need this stuff until we see it and use it. And then we say, “Don’t take it away from me.”

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