Omicron looms large on CES 2022, auto companies reconsider participation

The new year will start off with CES 2022 being held in the first week of January itself and like in previous editions, the ‘most influential’ tech event in the world has been creating a massive buzz. But with the buzz comes cautionary voices of concern because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in many parts of the world including the United States. As such, while some car brands have opted to give CES 2022 a skip, many others are reportedly monitoring the situation before confirming their respective participation.

File photo: The CES logo is displayed in the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. (REUTERS)
File photo: The CES logo is displayed in the lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas.

CES 2022 brings tech and automotive giants from across the world on a common platform on which the advancements in technologies are showcased to the world. Next month, CES is being held between January 5 and January 8 in Las Vegas. But the Omnicron threat looms large.

One of the biggest automotive brands to have confirmed a pullout is GM. The debut of the much-awaited Silverado EV will take place online. Waymo, an autonomous driving technology development company, too has announced it won't physically participate at the event. Both GM and Waymo join the likes of Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook (Meta) and others in giving an in-person participation a miss. (Read more here)

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US media reports have stated that CES organizers have confirmed as many as 42 cancellations till last week. And although strict Covid protocols like entry for only mask-wearing, fully vaccinated people is permitted, the Omnicron scare is very real.

Another possible reason for companies pulling out of CES could also be the large number of flight cancellations in the US and across the world. Recent days have seen several airline companies cancelling thousands of flights. New York Times reported as many as 1,300 flights with at least one stop in the US had been cancelled on Sunday alone. Airline companies cite staffing shortage with many employees calling in sick.

As such, and with Omnicrom driving Covid-19 cases in the US past Delta variant's peak, CES 2022 has a big question mark hanging over it.

First Published Date: 27 Dec 2021, 10:41 AM IST
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