Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, which runs the show, said Barra is "further verifying the great synergy between cars and connectivity and confirming CES' position as the global platform for innovation."
General Motors has pushed to take the lead in that area. In the past year, it has added 4G LTE connectivity to many Chevrolet models, said it will deliver some autonomous features in its Cadillac "Super Cruise" package in 2017, and noted similar intentions with '17 Chevy Volts.
The company is trying to pivot toward that connected and autonomous future, because it says if it sticks to its current car-selling model, it will go out of business. On Thursday, GM vice president Mark Reuss told Bloomberg Business the company is interested in partnering with Google in bringing self-driving cars to the market.
"We make cars, we know how to make cars," he said. "They've got great technical capabilities. We are very interested in how those two things might work together."
So are other companies, and they're increasingly going to CES to find out. Last year, auto-related themes underscored the show, and CES officials said they expected auto-related exhibitors to increase by 25 percent. They expect 115 automotive companies to exhibit products and occupy roughly 200,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The automotive lineup includes at least nine major manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Barra is scheduled to deliver the keynote at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6.