The traditional glitz, glamour and mind-boggling tech launches could be missing from next week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week, with bautomaker after automaker cancelling over Covid-19 Omicron fears.
The showcase, used by automakers as a back-to-school event to kick off the new year, is under pressure, with more automakers and key automotive suppliers cancelling almost every day.
While CES has lost more than 50 exhibitors so far, the show’s organisers insist they still have another 2100 confirmed.
BMW had planned on a full launch, with groups of traveling executives and media, for at least four different technology launches at CES, but it has dialed its presence back to a digital livestream into Las Vegas from its Munich headquarters.
Its arch-rival Mercedes-Benz has straight-up canceled its plans, though its internal conversations were said to be heated, and will also revert to an online attendance.
Waymo and Geely’s Zeekr brand were due to launch their joint level 4 and level 5 self-driving, ride-hailing program at CES 2022, but they short-circuited that by revealing their plans, and an EV autonomous Zeekr minivan, this week.
It wasn’t the only Geely brand to cancel from the show, with its Swedish Volvo operation also staying at home.
Waymo independently confirmed it won’t be headed to Las Vegas, as did General Motors. The two companies are linked, with GM CEO Mary Barra and Waymo Co-CEO Tekedra Mawakanawas both due to give keynote speeches on January 5.
GM was also due to debut its all-electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at the show, but now both the presentation and the keynote will be streamed from Detroit.
“CES is an important technology platform, and we are continuing with our plans on January 5 to share our significant company news including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV,” a GM statement read.
Heavy hitting automotive suppliers to cancel include the biggest of them all, Robert Bosch, along with ZF, Magna International and Panasonic, while assisted- and autonomous-driving suppliers Mobileye, Velodyne Lidar and Veoneer will also be no-shows.
It’s not just automotive, either, because Twitter, Intel, Amazon, Meta and T-Mobile has also pulled out due to Covid-19 concerns.
The show will continue, though, with compulsory proof of vaccination, mask wearing and negative Covid-19 tests.