Fuel for Thought - CES 2021 Roundup
Automotive Monthly Newsletter and Podcast
This month's theme: CES 2021 Roundup
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CES 2021 was held as a virtual event from 11 to 14 January and saw participation from multiple major automotive OEMs, suppliers, and startups. Despite the lack of a physical presence in Las Vegas, key announcements grabbed headlines ranging from the automotive industry's focus on 5G, new electronic architectures, the latest display technology, next-generation electrification, and more.
Automaker announcements were a particular highlight this year. General Motors showcased its new all-electric vehicle (EV), the Cadillac CELESTIQ, which featured all-wheel drive (AWD), four-wheel steering, and a full-glass roof made of a four-quadrant, suspended-particle-device smart glass. Sono Motors announced the launch of a new prototype generation of its solar electric car, the Sion, while Groupo Antolin showcased its Virtual Ride Hailing Concept Car and the Virtual Ride Sharing Concept Car. Mercedes-Benz presented its 141 cm MBUX Hyperscreen consisting of three seamlessly merged displays, which covers almost the entire vehicle's dashboard. The MBUX Hyperscreen will be launched as an option on the EQS SUV.
On the supplier side, highlights include Sony's latest developments of the VISION-S EV and Panasonic Automotive unveiling a new augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD) that features advanced optics, 3D imaging radar, 4K resolution, AI-driven navigation, eye-tracking technology, and real-time situational control.
Panasonic also unveiled two variants of in-vehicle wireless charging technology and fully wireless Wi-Fi camera while OmniVision and Nextchip showcased a solution that provides high-quality images for rearview cameras, surround-view systems, and e-mirrors. StradVision and D3 Engineering partnered to demonstrate their automotive front camera solution. Continental, HERE, and Leia paired up to provide 3D navigation display solutions utilizing HERE's 3D depictions of buildings and topography, Continental's Natural 3D display, and Leia's lightfield technology.
Mainland China's startup Deeproute.ai presented the second-generation of its all-in-one sensing solution DeepRoute-Engine, an inference engine that accelerates the neural network computation, allowing algorithms to run on an energy-efficient computing platform. Mobileye also announced a collaboration with its parent company Intel to develop next-generation radar and lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles.
Alongside the pure technical innovations at CES, General Motors also chose the virtual venue to announce its new BrightDrop business that entails an integrated ecosystem of electric products, software and services for the first to last mile. In partnership with FedEx, GM will supply an EP1 propulsion-assisted electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances and an EV600 electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for delivery of goods and services over long ranges. Most interesting, beyond the technical abilities of these vehicles, is the new business model and revenue source that GM is launching into, fully recognizing the future of mobility and how GM fits into the new equation differently compared to traditional business models.
As we leave the disruption of 2020 behind, the future is poised to be electrically powered and software-defined. Just how fast this transformation will take place is yet to be seen, but CES 2021 was evident in itself of the rapid pace of digital change still to come.
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