Companies attending the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas say new cars on show will reduce congestion by making transportation smarter with autonomy and machine learning.

Attendees look at the Toyota e-Pallet concept at CES International, Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Attendees look at the Toyota e-Pallet concept at CES International, Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP)

Smartphones and other small machines that used to dominate the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) have been overshadowed in recent years by bigger mobile devices: namely, automobiles.

Auto companies typically save more practical announcements about new cars, trucks and SUVs for the upcoming Detroit auto show.

But major carmakers like Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Ford have a noticeable presence at this week's tech showcase in Las Vegas.

CES is a chance for carmakers and suppliers of automotive parts and software to display their wilder and far-out ideas.

Toyota says it's developing self-driving mini-buses that can serve as bite-sized stores. 

These vehicles will drive themselves to places where potential buyers can try on clothes or shoes or pick through flea market items.

The project is still in the conceptual stage, with testing expected in the 2020s.

Toyota Motor Corporation, displays the
Toyota Motor Corporation, displays the "e-Palette", a new fully self-driving electric concept vehicle designed to be used for ride hailing, parcel-delivery services and other uses at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 8, 2018. (Reuters)

Automotive supplier Bosch wants to help guide drivers to vacant parking spots in as many as 20 US cities, including Los Angeles, Miami and Boston.

The company says it will be working with automakers on the initiative but didn't say which ones. 

As cars drive by, they will automatically recognise and measure gaps between parked cars and transmit that data to a digital map.

Toyota Concept-i Series vehicles appear on display at CES International, Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Toyota Concept-i Series vehicles appear on display at CES International, Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP)

The annual CES gadget show is also a showcase of the latest innovations from big corporations and tiny startups. 

As LG unveiled its lineup of smart appliances, executive David VanderWaal quickly lost rapport with his on-stage partner, the cute voice-activated assistant CLOi.

After a greeting, CLOi stopped responding while continuing to blink its digital eyes. VanderWaal shrugged it off, saying, "even robots have bad days."

LG's Cloi home robot is displayed during an LG news conference at the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. January 8, 2018.
LG's Cloi home robot is displayed during an LG news conference at the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. January 8, 2018. (Reuters)

Many of the robots coming onto the consumer market are either toys or designed to be a more personality-driven version of a talking speaker like "book reading robots" called Luka.

An attendee looks at book-reading robots called Luka at CES International Tuesday, January  9, 2018, in Las Vegas.
An attendee looks at book-reading robots called Luka at CES International Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP)

CES is one of the world's largest trade shows, which will draw an expected 170,000 people and 40,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries showing wares in robotics, digital health, artificial intelligence, sports and more.

The show will be run from January 9-12 in Las Vegas and this year's theme is integrated technology and artificial intelligence.

TRT World's Kim Vinnell has more on the story.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies