GM, Waymo pull out of CES 2022 over omicron variant issues

General Motors and Waymo are the last companies to cancel CES schemes on COVID-19 concerns.

GM CEO Mary Barra was scheduled to speak at the Jan. 5 annual conference, where the company reportedly showed his Silverado electric pickup for the first time. Barra will still be doing the speech and the internet presentation, a spokesperson said.

“CES is an important technology platform, and we are continuing our plans on Jan. 5 to share important company news, including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV,” GM said in a statement Thursday evening.

Waymo, the autonomous driving company affiliated with Google, said earlier Thursday that it would no longer participate in next month’s annual tech showcase, citing growing concerns about the omicron variant of the virus. Co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana was scheduled to deliver a keynote address on January 5 and attend other activities in Las Vegas.

In addition, Waymo had planned to exhibit its new Class 8 Freightliner Cascadia truck for the first time. Built with redundant autonomous systems in collaboration with Daimler Trucks, the platform is a mainstay of Waymo’s focus on autonomous trucking.

“Based on the rapidly increasing rates of COVID infection, we have made the difficult decision to remove our physical presence at CES 2022a spokesperson for Waymo said Thursday.

Waymo said in a blog post that he hopes to participate virtually if possible.

GM and Waymo are the latest companies to abandon their CES plans amid rising COVID-19 infections. This week, Twitter, T-Mobile, Amazon and Meta (Facebook) said they would not participate due to health concerns. Tech-focused media such as TechCrunch and The Verge have also pulled out.

CES organizers have hosted a fully virtual conference in 2021, but have so far held firm in the face of cancellations to planning an in-person event in Las Vegas. They have planned to require vaccinations for all participants and masks in the convention hall.

Ahead of Waymo’s announcement on Wednesday, officials from the Consumer Technology Association, which owns and operates CES, said they had received 42 exhibitor cancellations since last Friday, while adding 62 new exhibitors slated for the same amount of time. .

In a written statement, the organization said the event continued to “show strong momentum” and that “CES 2022 will move forward as an important innovation for global health and safety, mobility and resolution. problems will be presented “.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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