The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held this year from January 5 to 7 saw attendance from tech companies from various domains such as 5G, IoT, blockchain, automotive, wellness, sports, entertainment, healthcare, smart home, robotics, augmented reality (AR), gaming, devices and manufacturing. The resurgence in COVID-19 cases forced the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to cut short the event by one day. Moreover, several large companies, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, AMD, Panasonic, Intel, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, General Motors and OnePlus, skipped this in-person event citing rising COVID-19 cases.
At this year’s CES, players in the automotive ecosystem mostly focused on electric vehicles (EVs), connected cars, autonomous mobility, digital cockpit, infotainment, robotics and shared mobility. This trend is in line with the industry shift towards CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared/Services and Electrification).
Here are Counterpoint analysts’ top 10 automotive announcements from this year’s CES:
1. Samsung showcases future of in-vehicle experience
Samsung used CES to showcase its vision for in-vehicle experience. Interestingly, it uses cameras with sensors to analyze the vehicle’s surroundings. Tesla was among the first to use a camera-based autonomous driving system instead of LiDAR. With the expertise and capabilities it acquired with its HARMAN acquisition a few years ago, Samsung is betting big on the automotive sector.
Moreover, AR will help passengers connect with a range of services while driving. For example, managing meetings through virtual calls, finding nearby places and navigating using map information. The focus on in-vehicle experience also helps Samsung leverage its existing relationships with automotive value chain players and capabilities.
2. Google exploring new capabilities with Android Auto
Google-powered Android Auto users will be able to access third-party integrated apps like Lyft and Kakao Mobility for micro-mobility; access to points apps like MochiMochi, Fuelio and Prezzi Benzina; navigation apps like Sygic and Flitsmeister; charging apps like ChargePoint and PlugShare; and parking apps like SpotHero and ParkWhiz. In addition, Volvo car owners will have access to content platforms like YouTube. The third-party integration will open new business opportunities for Google in the automotive industry.
Google is also bringing Android phone as a car service with BMW. Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology will be supported through Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones. More Android phones will be able to use this technology later.
Google is powering OEMs to integrate the Google Home ecosystem through voice-enabled Google Assistant. Volvo will be the first to bring this feature for supporting remote actions.
3. Hyundai brings ‘Metamobility’
Hyundai is making a paradigm shift towards the future of mobility through concepts of “Metamobility” and “Mobility of Things”. It has joined hands with Boston Dynamics to build a robotic society where we will be able to freely move between real and virtual worlds. Hyundai envisions robots bridging the gap between real and virtual scenarios such as Metaverse.
4. Volvo to enter self-driving car race
Volvo is rolling out a self-driving system called Ride Pilot for California-based customers. The company is already testing autonomous driving (AD) in Sweden, so we can expect Volvo to launch this system for the European market soon. This product is equipped with Luminar’s Iris LiDAR and AD software from Zenseact. Ride Pilot will be available as an add-on subscription. However, Volvo is yet to decide the cost for this solution. We can expect strong competition between the use of camera and LiDAR in autonomous vehicle (AV) applications.
5. Stellantis teams up with Amazon for next-generation smart cockpit
Stellantis announced an extensive partnership with Amazon to develop a next-generation STLA Smart Cockpit. Amazon will help Stellantis build cloud solutions and provide training to Stellantis engineers and developers. Like Google, Amazon will also integrate smart home ecosystems with vehicles through an Alexa-enabled voice assistance system. Stellantis has also collaborated with Amazon in the past to provide Amazon Fire TV services to the Jeep Wagoneer 2022 version. Stellantis is trying to increase revenue from software services and Amazon will help Stellantis focus on the infotainment market. The rivalry between Google and Amazon will expand from the smart speaker market to the automotive infotainment market in the future.
6. Sony to form a new entity to focus on EV business
Sony’s business diversification plan has pushed it to explore the EV domain. At CES 2022, it made several announcements and also showcased an SUV-type EV prototype (VISION-S 02). Sony will use its expertise in entertainment systems to provide a better experience in the mobility entertainment space. Sony had previously shown a VISION-S prototype at CES 2020, but this time it is strengthening its efforts toward e-mobility by forming a new entity named Sony Mobility Inc. Prior to Sony, other big smartphone ecosystem players such as Vingroup, Foxconn and Xiaomi had also announced their entry into the EV space.
7. Mobileye cracks new deals with Volkswagen, Ford, Geely
Intel’s autonomous driving unit Mobileye has entered a partnership with Volkswagen to use its mapping data in upcoming models. Mobileye will also help Ford enhance future variations in its BlueCruise driver assistance system. Geely-owned EV brand Zeekr also plans to use Mobileye’s expertise in mapping and sensing solutions in a level-4 AV, which is expected to debut in China by 2024.
By the end of 2021, cumulative EyeQ chip shipments had crossed the 100-million mark. Mobileye is different from others as it provides both hardware and software products in the AD space.
8. Qualcomm partners with Renault, Volvo, Honda for digital transformation
Renault has tied up with Qualcomm to bring digital transformation through Snapdragon Digital Chassis. Volvo will also take help from Qualcomm under the digital chassis program to enhance its infotainment systems for cars under the Volvo and Polestar brands. Honda too will use a similar type of solution that may become available in the US during the second half of 2022. Qualcomm is slowly transitioning itself from “mobile” to “mobility” player.
For a detailed analysis of Qualcomm’s automotive announcements, visit the following blog:
9. VinFast to launch level 2+ cars with ZF’s help
VinFast, an automotive start-up from Vingroup, is planning to launch autonomous driving and level 2+ functions from the middle of 2022. ZF will supply radars, cameras, LiDAR sensors and central control units for this project. Initially, VinFast is targeting North America, China and Europe for its all-electric premium VFe35 and VFe36 models. VinFast aims to bring luxury features at affordable prices, which may redefine the automotive industry going forward.
10. GM makes series of announcements from EVs to AVs
General Motors made headlines with the announcement of the Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup truck, which is expected to take on Tesla’s Cybertruck, Ford Motor’s F-150 and Rivian’s R1T.
GM subsidiary BrightDrop, which debuted a year ago, has established clients including Walmart and FedEx.
GM CEO Mary Bara also announced to launch the Equinox EV for around $30,000 by 2023. If Tesla fails to launch a $25,000 vehicle by 2023, it will see strong competition from GM, especially in North America.
GM is also planning to take on Tesla’s FSD with its Ultra Cruise, which is currently under development. GM is working with Qualcomm to help develop its AV business.
These announcements indicate that GM is now serious about the EV and AV segment. Moreover, it wants to regain its No. 1 position in the US passenger and light commercial vehicle market.