Autonomous driving, CES 2016 and Detroit Motor Show 2016: Watch out for these 9 big stories

2016 will be a year of great progress for autonomous driving and autonomous vehicles – as GM president Dan Ammann just said, “the car industry is going to change more in the next five years than in the past 50”.

And 2016 starts off with two bangs for autonomous driving enthusiasts: CES in Las Vegas, the year’s biggest technology conference, and the Detroit Motor Show (a.k.a., the North American International Auto Show). What can we from both shows?

Lots of interesting announcements and insights, and a competition in autonomous vehicles that is increasingly heating up, that’s for sure.

Both shows are guaranteed to produce so much coverage and news though, that it will be hard not to miss important news for everything relating to autonomous driving and autonomous vehicles.

Don’t want to miss out? Watch out for these big stories:

General Motors is allying itself to the shift away from its main business of selling cars to a more service-oriented one by investing $500 million in Lyft as part of a wider-ranging strategic partnership that will get GM a seat on the board of the car-sharing network. Will there be any news on the “autonomous on-demand network” that GM and Lyft are supposedly planning?

GM’s CEO Mary Barra will probably unveil the production version of its Chevy Bolt – likely to become the first reasonably priced electric vehicle (around $30,000 after tax credits and other incentives) with a somewhat practical amount of range (probably 200-plus miles).

Google and Ford may potentially team up to make autonomous cars in a joint-venture intended to protect both from liability issues.

Also expect further information on Ford’s Smart Mobility project and some details on its investment program in electric cars to the tune of $4.5 billion.

Volkswagen has been rumored to show a new electric car concept – which might be a revival of the legendary microbus, and might help VW in getting in some positive press coverage at long last.

BMW will unveil a Spyder version of the i8 (technically still at the concept stage), and give more details on its new gesture control system (so-called AirTouch).

Daimler will add a host of electronic driver aids to its 2016 Mercedes E-class, forming part of Daimler’s Intelligent Drive safety systems.

Delphi’s self-driving Audi SQ5 will appear for the second time, this time with some enhanced features.

Last, but not least, Faraday Future, the secretive auto-related start-up operating out of a former Nissan research and development center in southern California is expected to introduce its own electric vehicle (they may even develop a car for one of the big car companies?), or at least provide some details on its plans for the year ahead.

Tesla and Apple are not expected to make any major announcements – at least at this years’ shows…

(This post first appeared on Autonomous Driving Quarterly.)