First, Happy New Decade everyone!!! This upcoming decade will decide how mobility will be perceived and how it will play an important role in lives of people without being a scene from a science fiction movie. This next decade will be an answer to all the investments that have gone into making mobility a seamless option involving key elements from the Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified domains. As we step into January, the first thing that happens to wane off this holiday season is getting into this mad rush of a week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020. What was once a CE event has become automotive technology galore, and a big thank you to everyone who decided to push the Detroit Auto Show to June.
One interesting point that might continue from CES 2019 is the practicality of technology showcases, i.e., a more measured approach and how everything will be centered on user experience. As we head toward an insane walkathon week at Vegas to witness how the CASE/ACES world is evolving, below are some preliminary trends to watch this year at the show based on some initial observations and reading.
1. 5G, V2X and Practical Autonomy(L2/L2+ and L3) – While the MWC is set to take place in February, you can still expect 5G use cases to be showcased for automotive at CES. When you talk AV and 5G connectivity, the speeds and data processing capabilities needed to mimic human reflexes, meaning split-second decision-taking abilities. High-bandwidth connection, quicker processing and minimal latency are the key factors that will open up opportunities for 5G technology. We can expect to see how Intel and Qualcomm can turn autonomous vehicles into data centers to deploy edge use case and other vehicle-related services. Some practical applications for AV deployment and vehicle-related services such as OTA-based features on-demand can be witnessed. Veoneer will showcase hands-off scenarios that run on Zenuity, the AV software stack co-owned by Veoneer and Volvo cars, while Nissan is expected to show advancements to the Pro Pilot 2 system. Even though the DSRC versus C-V2X camps continue to exist, Honda will showcase Safe Swarm and smart intersection, its version of the V2X connected safety system that is currently undergoing tests in Ohio.
2. Don’t Forget the Buzz around Next-generation In-vehicle Infotainment and Connected Services– From suppliers to OEMs, we can expect to see a big splash on how the interior design principles will make driving and passenger experiences unique. Chrysler, which has been quiet thus far, will showcase its Airflow Vision concept, where the focus will be more toward the quad screen IVI. My guess is it is for its EV lineup. Continuing on those lines will be Byton and Karma Automotive, where the EV player’s key differentiation comes out in the form of immersive experience. It will be interesting to witness the connected services on the Harley-Davidson from Panasonic Automotive, giving rise to a newer business stream in the world of connected services, i.e., “connected bikes.” Also expected is the expansion of in-car commerce from players like Xevo, now part of Lear Corporation, Sirius XM, Connected Travel and others. Expect to witness Cerence’s voice-cloning technology and its new Car Life SaaS model, which integrates the user experience throughout a customer’s and their vehicle’s lifecycle journey. You can also expect the likes of Harman, Mitsubishi Electric, Visteon, Denso, Bosch, Continental, Luxoft and several suppliers to drive home HMI innovations for the shared mobility world along with the idea of scalability of the integrated cockpit solutions that will be beneficial for the volume makers.
3. Battle of the Three CEs to Level Up– Amazon, Google and Microsoft will continue their emphasis on the automotive side of their businesses. While Google has made its intentions a bit clear with Google Automotive Services (GAS) with OEM partnerships in 2019, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft will play the OS game or use its MVCP platform to continue supporting key scenarios such as predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, and advanced navigation with VPA while leveraging Azure. We can also expect to see the demo of Microsoft’s partnership with LG and a host of others to launch WebOS as competition to CarPlay and Android Auto. On the other hand, Alexa continues to explode across several devices and OEM partnerships are integrating deeper skillsets post their SDK launch last year. Also expect to see how Alexa auto, AWS, Fire TV, Amazon Pay and Home services come together to create the seamless car to “X” experiential user services.
4. The Big OEM Announcements – BMW will showcase its mobility concepts, as it has done in the past several years. The i3 Urban suite will be one of the many concepts that will be demoed, highlighting the importance of interiors and user experience. Expect this to be a sneak peek into BMW’s shared EV experience and subscription services. While Daimler’s Chairman Ola Källenius is the keynote speaker at CES, Mercedes-Benz’sgoal is to showcase its branding around sustainable mobility, which is its EQ brand, the EQC, EQS and a new concept vehicle that will be on display. We can expect Volkswagen to continue to exhibit its ID, SPACE VIZZION, which is based on the MEB platform, along with the production-ready ID Buzz and ID CROZZ. What we can expect from Toyota is probably a mobility theme park where the 2020 Olympics version of the e-Palette and other products such as the micro-Palette, LQ and Walking Area BEVs will be showcased. Nissan is expected to showcase its vision for the future of mobility with the Ariya, an EV crossover, while Hyundai has taken the radical route to make a statement that it’s no longer only a car manufacturer but a transportation company. Hyundai will present the Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) concept and Purpose-Built Vehicle (PBV) concept to showcase what will be a futuristic community. We can expect Honda to showcase several current and near-term use cases, making it more relatable. These exhibits will be centered on AR, VR experiences, personal assistants and other concepts related to workspace and manufacturing that stems from their Innovation and Xcelerator programs. Apart from the Airflow Vision, a futuristic UX design, FCA will showcase the plug-in hybrid version of the Compass, Cherokee and Wrangler.
5. AI and Sensorization– What we might also witness in the near future is that a lot of these sensor and camera players might start diminishing and leave it to only a few to create the complete automotive-grade package from the likes of Foresight Automotive, Cepton, LeddarTech, and Innoviz to start-ups like RoboSense, Blickfeld and TriEye. It will also be interesting to see why Bosch has gone the in-house route to develop a LiDAR product compared to its Tier 1 competitors that have taken the acquisition route. From an AI POV, many would say that AI (supervised to unsupervised) is the only missing link to complete L5 deployment. What we can expect to see are use cases such AV robotaxis (Tata Elxsi’s robotaxi fitted with AEye’s iDAR) that encounter various scenarios that are higher degrees of sensor fusion. More AI silicon vendors are expected to showcase further improvements in their solutions as well. 2020 is expected to be the year where the automotive industry might agree that unsupervised AI is a little farfetched and what they can achieve now are higher levels of supervised ML or Pocket AIs, i.e., use case-specific AIs. This space is expected to pro startups while the second half of the decade is expected to witness the coming together of unsupervised AI. Another crucial area of showcase will be around compute with NVIDIA making an announcement at GTC China about its self-driving SOC upgrade to XAVIER, which is the Drive AGX Orin. HD maps will continue to draw attention with startups like Deep Map, Civil Maps, and CARMERA accompanying mapping giants like TomTom and HERE.
Some of the other interesting showcases we can look forward to are the AISIN AV concept, showcasing how the vehicle, riders and cloud-based data interact. With Aptiv’s Smart Vehicle Architecture, though the concept was born a couple of years ago, the coming together of a unified backbone for sharing data and boosting computational efficiency will be interesting. On the other hand, Bertrandt debuts at CES with its HARRI platform, showcasing how data processing and intuitive software are key building blocks for digitization. While the event will witness the cool futuristic designs, AV shuttles and flying taxis, important announcements about the data economy based on vehicle data and cybersecurity will be eagerly anticipated as OEMs amp up their smart city initiatives. Along those lines we can expect to see FleetCarma, a division of Geotab, offering data to utilities to understand how EVs charge and help them integrate into the grid. In addition, Frost & Sullivan is looking forward to meeting some representatives with whom we have worked closely from among the 60-plus Israeli startups.
My team from Frost & Sullivan is very much looking forward to meeting all of our key clients, really exciting showcases and the new trends that are going to support the evolution of mobility.
Frost & Sullivan’s mobility team has been a regular at the event, and we will be posting video interviews on product demonstrations and, most importantly, a very detailed report following the event about the key technology trends, themes and so-what analysis for the market. We will be at the show from January 6 to 10, and please do message me if you want to meet us at the event at email@example.com.