Top 10 Automotive Announcements in CES 2020

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the largest global platforms to showcase consumer electronics technologies and innovation, was held in Las Vegas, USA, this year from 6th to 10th January.

Over the past few years, CES has been incorporating more and more automotive players and technologies. With the growing emergence of connected vehicles with cellular communication and the emergence of 5G playing an increasing role for vehicles to share information to support and safeguard automotive applications, the overlap of consumer electronics and automotive industries is inevitable.

Counterpoint analysts’ top 10 automotive-related announcements from this year’s CES:

1. Sony unveiled its concept Vision-S electric car

In association with NVIDIA, HERE, Continental, BlackBerry, Gentex, Magna, Electrobit, ZF and Benteler, Sony showcased its first-ever concept car, the Vision-S. The 268 bhp car has 33 embedded safety sensors. BlackBerry QNX is providing dashboard software for this concept electric car. While there were no immediate plans to mass-produce the Vision-S, it was used to demonstrate Sony’s capabilities and vision in sensors, AI, infotainment and user interfaces for automotive applications. With the increased digitalization of the automotive industry, electronics players like Sony are going beyond infotainment to focus on growth opportunities in multiple lucrative sectors, such as ADAS components.

2. Uber and Hyundai team up to offer flying car services from 2023

Uber and Hyundai have partnered to provide electric flying car services, from 2023. The flying car will be able to travel at 180 mph with a range of up to 60 miles. Counterpoint believes that commercial flying car services are at least a decade away from reality. While exciting considerable interest, any prospect of commercial reality will be hampered by massive regulatory hurdles.

3. LG in partnership with Microsoft to develop autonomous driving and infotainment systems

LG has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to combine its in-vehicle infotainment platform – webOS Auto, with the cloud-based Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) to offer improved connected services, including audio and streaming. Both companies have also partnered in developing autonomous driving software. LG is looking to leverage the AI expertise of Microsoft to improve its ADAS, Driver-Status Monitoring Camera (DSM) and Multi-Purpose Front Camera products.

4. Verizon collaborating with HERE to provide better-connected vehicle services

Verizon and HERE have signed a multi-year partnership to develop new connected services. Verizon will provide its 5G Ultra Wideband network and multi-access edge compute (MEC) platform and HERE will allow Verizon access to its location data, Software Development Kits (SDKs), and Application Programming Interface. This collaboration of Verizon and HERE will help Verizon improve its 3D positioning algorithms with 5G Ultra-Wideband and 5G Edge. HERE will also be able to upgrade its location ecosystem in real-time wherever the higher bandwidth from Verizon is available. This partnership is an attempt to establish enhanced integrated connected vehicle platforms, offering lower latency and more precise location systems.

5. Qualcomm launches a new autonomous driving platform

Qualcomm has announced it’s entering the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) arena with the unveiling of its AV platform, Snapdragon Ride, focused on advance Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication. Though a late entrant in the AV space, Qualcomm with its vast experience in smartphone technology, will prove to be a significant partner to automakers. General Motor (GM) has already announced installing Snapdragon Ride in its cars. Production versions of Snapdragon Ride fitted cars will start from 2023. This platform from Qualcomm is expected to give strong competition to current autonomous driving players NVIDIA, Intel, and Microsoft.

6. Toyota plans to build a smart city from 2021

Toyota has announced plans to build ‘Woven City’, a 71 hectares smart city at Mount Fuji, 60 miles from Tokyo, by 2021. Toyota is among the first large global automakers to enter into the smart city business race. Toyota will use this city to test emerging automotive technologies such as fuel cells and autonomous driving. Toyota will, possibly, also explore its proposed electric flying car service, fulfilling its aspiration to be the pioneer in the category.

7. Intel demonstrates autonomous vehicles equipped only with cameras, no other sensors

Intel’s subsidiary, Mobileye, showed an AV equipped with 12 cameras but no other sensors. The EyeQ5 chip creates a 3D model, by processing 2D images, to sense the environment.  Using full-stack camera systems to improve computer vision, Intel is aiming to reduce the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) of its sensing system leading to violation of its safety standards to 10-4 and ultimately to 10-7 – equivalent to driving for 10 million hours without a safety-critical error. By using camera-based sensors, while foregoing LiDAR and radar, Mobileye believes it can reduce the cost of autonomous vehicle development as well as potentially speed up development. However, it will take considerable testing to prove such alternate surround vision systems can comply with regulatory and public safety authorities/standards – this, therefore, is another focus area.

8. Quectel announced 5G automotive module

Quectel announced developing 5G automotive modules AG550Q – a 5G, Sub-6GHz module, AG215S – an automotive Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) module dedicated to C-V2X, and AF50T- a Wi-Fi module. An early entry in 5G module production can give Quectel an advantage over other module players. Quectel’s partnership with Qualcomm will also help it offer advanced connectivity modules to OEMs and tier 1 suppliers.

9. Amazon integrating new services in Alexa Auto

Looking to further its partnership with automakers, Amazon announced adding new features like Amazon Pay, and Fire TV in Alexa Auto. BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will be among the first automakers to offer Fire TV integrated with Alexa Auto in their vehicles. The automotive voice assistant feature is currently dominated by embedded iOS CarPlay and Android Auto platforms. Amazon is working with system integrators and software providers like Bosch, HERE, MELCO, Telenav and TomTom for a seamless embedded voice-assistant based in-vehicle navigation experience. Lamborghini and Rivian have also announced integrating Alexa Auto in their forthcoming vehicles.

10. Google showcased improved Android Auto with integrated Google Assistant

Google announced the integration of Google Assistant to its existing Android Auto product portfolio. Google is partnering with Volvo and BMW to market these new features. Information from Android Auto can be projected to a head-up display (HUD) with this new version of Android Auto. Google’s Android Auto will face strong competition from Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa as each looks to exert influence on the automotive cockpit.

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