The Phantom, a wireless wearable for tactile feedback, on display
The Phantom, a wireless wearable for tactile feedback, is seen during CES Unveiled, a pre-show for this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. AFP

From self-driving baby carriages to ChatGPT in Volkswagen cars, artificial intelligence is expected to be center stage at the CES gadget extravaganza that formally opens Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show gathering boasts more than 3,500 exhibitors and is expecting some 130,000 visitors.

Companies big and small hosted previews for the press through Monday, with AI an oft repeated mantra as they pitched products promising better lives.

LG chief executive William Cho said the world is at "a historical turning point" due to AI.

His company aims to be part of that transformation, tapping into data gathered by sensors in hundreds of millions of smart devices in use around the world to detect patterns of behavior and provide insights, Cho said.

"We have a unique opportunity to leverage the real-life data gathered across devices in real-time. Of course, with your permission," Cho said.

LG, Samsung and other TV titans also showcased AI enhancements to vastly improve images, help viewers find shows they will like, and more.

"We will watch as TVs become the command center for the home beyond just streaming entertainment," said Jessica Boothe, a research director at the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES.

Televisions will advance to a "smart command hub" connecting appliances, security cameras, and even incorporating thermal scanning for health insights, she added.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, presented what it described as the first vehicles built with a chatbot powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT technology.

The "Cerence Chat Pro" digital assistant made in a partnership with Cerence Inc. will be standard in many Volkswagen vehicles starting in the second quarter of this year, according to the car maker.

"We are offering our drivers added value and direct access to the AI-based research tool," said Volkswagen management board member Kai Grunitz.

Nvidia, whose graphics chips are coveted for their ability to handle the intense computing demands of AI, took CES as an opportunity to announce new chips for gamers and creators.

Innovations being teased ahead of the CES show floor opening included tech for translating multiple languages simultaneously, and glasses for augmented reality that essentially turn the space in front of a viewer into a screen they can control with gestures.

Apple, which is not at CES, said Monday that it will release its highly anticipated Vision Pro mixed reality headset in the United States on February 2, in its first major product release since the Apple Watch in 2015.

Announced in June, the Vision Pro will cost a hefty $3,499 before tax, more than double the price of Meta's top-of-the-range Quest Pro headset.

"The era of spatial computing has arrived," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, calling the Vision Pro "the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created."

CES exhibitor and attendee numbers have jumped each year since the Covid-19 pandemic caused it to be an online-only event in 2021.

While the show is increasingly a showcase for startups, big brands such as Amazon, Google, Intel, Netflix, Samsung, Sony and TikTok will also be there.

Analysts expect it to be the year of AI when it comes to product pitches at CES.

Models on which AI is built have improved dramatically since last year's CES and the debut of OpenAI's ChatGPT, and they are being applied in meaningful ways for consumers, according to Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart.

Ending Friday, CES is expected to see strong themes of AI-infused health, cars, beauty, entertainment and sustainability.

"AI will be reshaping industries beyond technology and it has the power to make life easier, more than inclusive for all," said Jong-Hee Han, Samsung's Device solution CEO.

More than a decade of investments in AI "are coming to life," he added.