The recently-held Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas, US, focussed on new-age technologies that are poised for mainstream adoption
Like the preceding editions of CES, this year’s event also witnessed a whole range of technologies revolving around future mobility solutions. At the CES 2020, traditional automotive OEMs and suppliers continued to showcase futuristic innovations, even as companies not generally affiliated with the automotive sector also demonstrating solutions for the mobility sector. In all, this edition of CES witnessed product exhibits from over 4,400 companies, including 1,200 start-ups, featuring the latest transformative technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), vehicle technology and digital health. Innovations showcased at CES 2020 displayed the drive and passion fuelling the industry, which is enhancing economic growth on a global scale. Here are the key highlights of products and innovations unveiled by companies at CES 2020.
One of the most radical concept vehicles being showcased at CES 2020 is the Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR, which provides a holistic vision of the company’s designers, engineers and trend researchers for mobility in the distant future. The concept vehicle has been developed in collaboration with the team that designed the AVATAR movie franchise and stands for ADVANCED VEHICLE TRANSFORMATION. The VISION AVTR prototype has been developed to show a completely new interaction between human, machine and nature.
The Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR features a design language that fuses the disciplines of interior, exterior and user experience (UX). The vehicle features a biometric connection between the vehicle and driver, with the use of a multifunctional control element in the centre console instead of a conventional steering wheel, enabling human and machine to merge. The interiors also offer an immersive experience, where occupants can choose between different vehicle functionalities using gestures.
The prototype comes across as a living creature, featuring 33 “bionic flaps” on the back, which mimic the scales of reptiles. They are said to be capable of communicating with the driver and through the driver with their outside world by means of naturally flowing movements in subtle gestures. Further, the front and rear axles have the capability of being driven in the same or opposite direction, enabling the VISION AVTR to move sideways by about 30° like a ‘crab movement,’ thereby giving it an animal-like appearance also for its motions.
Another notable highlight at CES 2020 was the Sony VISION-S, which provided a glimpse of the company’s efforts in the area of mobility in pursuing safety, reliability, comfort and entertainment. The first prototype vehicle to result from Sony’s VISION-S initiative is the electric vehicle concept. The EV concept VISION-S features a total of 33 sensors from Sony, including complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors and time-of-flight (ToF) sensors that are embedded within the vehicle. These sensors detect and recognise people and objects, inside and outside the car, providing highly-advanced driving support.
Audi demonstrated futuristic vision vehicles with technologies ready for series production at CES 2020. The main solutions presented by Audi included the AI:ME as a personal mobility partner, Audi Intelligence Experience technology, and innovative 3D mixed reality head-up display. Audi AI:ME is a fully-automated personal ‘third living space,’ alongside homes and workplaces. It combines technologies like eye tracking, virtual reality (VR) and virtual content display to offer users a relaxed mobility experience. The Audi Intelligence Experience included an empathetic car that learns about its users and their habits, and subsequently leverages intelligent functions combined with AI to increase passengers’ safety, well-being, and comfort.
The company also showcased its 3D mixed reality head-up display, where a feature includes a navigation arrow pointing exactly into the side road, where the destination is located. This feature will become a reality in an exhibit in 2020. Audi also showcased the latest innovations in the area of lighting technology under the ‘Human-Centric Lighting’ project that illustrates the way feelings can be influenced by targeted light colours.
Hyundai Motor showcased a model of the S-A1, which is an electrically-powered personal air vehicle (PAV) capable of carrying up to four passengers, in addition to its purpose-built vehicle (PBV). It also demonstrated the Hub, which is the take-off/landing point for PAVs and arrival/departure point for PBVs, and a place for community activities. The PAV is part of the urban air mobility landscape, with the use of airspace expected to mitigate road congestion and giving back quality time to city commuters. Meanwhile, the PBV is a highly-customisable concept with autonomous driving feature that allows for varied possibilities of turning the vehicle into more than just a means of transportation.
Land Rover showcased its new Defender SUV, which is the first-ever vehicle to feature dual eSIM connectivity. The new Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 feature world-first twin embedded LTE modem connectivity, dual eSIM design for enhanced connectivity and functionality. The modem is powered by two Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Am automotive platforms, each with an integrated Snapdragon X12 modem. The two LTE modems enable the new Defender to download software-over-the-air (SOTA) updates on the move without interruption, and while streaming music and apps through its Pivi Pro infotainment system.
Nissan presented the Ariya Concept EV crossover, in addition to a zero-emission ice cream van, the Formula E race car and LEAF e+ EV. The Nissan Ariya Concept brings together advanced technologies such as ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, twin-motor all-wheel-control system, acoustic meta-material and smart route planner on an all-new EV platform. Meanwhile, the zero-emission ice cream van combines an all-electric drivetrain, second-life battery storage and renewable solar energy generation. The electric van’s motor is driven by a 40 kWh battery, and features a portable power pack, which uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles to power on-board equipment.
Automotive components supplier Bosch presented intelligent technologies and connected products for mobility and homes at CES 2020. Highlights of Bosch solutions presented at the trade fair include solutions that either make use of AI, or have been developed with the help of AI. Bosch showcased its award-winning solutions for its virtual visor and cockpit 3D display. The world-first virtual visor is a transparent digital sun visor, which features a transparent LCD display that replaces opaque visors. The virtual visor is connected to the interior monitoring camera, which detects the position of the driver’s eyes and uses algorithms to darken only the portion of the windshield through which the sun or other light sources dazzle the driver. The rest remains transparent, leaving the driver’s view of the road unobstructed.
Mobility is the heartbeat of life, said Continental as it showcased various solutions at CES 2020 in terms of safety, convenience and entertainment. The ‘transparent hood’ technology showcased is the first to be released in the market worldwide, and is based on Continental’s surround view system, which consists of four satellite cameras and an electronic control unit. An intelligent image processing algorithm reconstructs the image below the vehicle and inserts this image exactly into the surround view displayed to the driver. Other solutions displayed by the German company at CES 2020 included an ultra-wideband technology for keyless vehicle access, natural 3D centre stack display for 3D experience without special glasses, loudspeaker-free Ac2ated sound system, automotive cybersecurity and modular, scalable contact sensor to detect scratches and damages.
At the show, product engineering and lifecycle services partner QuEST Global launched a solution accelerator for development of AI applications, using deep learning. The company aims to automate the development process of computer vision applications as well as improve productivity and efficiencies of data engineers, data scientists and data analysts. The solution developed has been designed to automate key operations of model development workflow like data labelling, data augmentation and cross-validation.
ZF, on the other hand, provided insights into automated and autonomous driving technologies for a wide range of applications at CES 2020, showcasing Level 2+ and Level 4 innovations progressing towards full automation. The company is also moving towards comprehensive software development along with Microsoft, where it plans to adapt the speed and quality of its processes, methods, and solutions in software engineering to the level of major IT companies.
The advanced solutions and technologies showcased at CES 2020 display the advancements taking place around mobility by traditional players as well as newcomers into the industry. CES 2020 also witnessed technologies between mobility and other areas blurring to form connected applications between infrastructure, transportation and personal devices.
TEXT: Naveen Arul