Now that CES 2020 is behind us it’s time to reflect on what was inevitably the January North American Automotive conference. Walking in to the North Concourse of the Las Vegas Convention Center, one could assume that we had stepped into Cobo Hall in the same week in years past. The convergence of non-automotive tech – however – broadened the footprint to include big digital displays, immersive experiences, and even Impossible Meats introduction of impossible pork(with lines of 50+ people deep to sample the newest meat substitute).
I’ll break my observations down into three areas: more CASE (Connected Autonomous Shared Electrified) applications, some subtle – and some not so subtle – messages, and new applications.
More CASE, and CASE, and CASE …
CASE is driving most of the shifts and changes around where car company technologies are heading. While some of the exhibits may have fallen short on expectations of what is to come, a number of shuttle and multi-purpose displays – some of the larger contributors like Hyundai and Toyota making their claim, as well as niche providers such as the Rinspeed consortium (which SAP is a member). Impressive also to me was the level of positioning large suppliers such as Magna who boasted the need to be mobility companies versus traditional parts makers.
One day I traveled off the beaten path to the Hard Rock Café to connect with our consortia friends at Harman Automotive, who continue to promote the Experience Per Mile (EPM) position across structure, setting and sound in many different vehicle platforms. (SAP is a member of the EPM Consortium).
Sometimes it’s what you see and often what you don’t see as a part of these events that compels further discussion. Toyota spent a great deal of energy sharing their vision of the #WovenCity with a fully immersive connected city display. Mr. Toyoda revealed the Woven City concept as a place for work, life and sustainable innovation, set to be built at the base of Japan’s Mt Fuji.
As well on a subtle note, Amazon featured it’s first public branding of Amazon Vehicles, with core investment platform Rivian on full display (in 2019 Amazon made a $700M investment into the platform maker and later announced a 100,000+ vehicle order of its electrified vans for the Amazon Prime fleet). With a further subtle announcement was GM’s presser the same week that it would reintroduce the Hummer brand as a fully electrified truck model, solidifying the presence of the BEV powered truck and last-/first-mile delivery platform for the next decades to come.
The aerial taxi was on full display including a static rendering by Uber partner Bell Nexus as well as Hyundai as part of a broader smart city, integrated transportation model. The Bell display allowed participants to enter a full-scale model on the show floor and assess comfort viability and ride worthiness of the current prototype.
Moving to the Central Concourse where most of the consumer technology was located was German industrial player Robert Bosch with a number of consumer and vehicle based applications – integrated together to show in a way a “day in the life” if you ran #LikeABosch (which I found as quite a clever ad campaign tag line). LG also had an incredible OLED display both at its booth center as well as upon entrance to the Concourse, featuring incredible sound and graphics across full rendered “Edge of the Earth” movie as well as other simulated and virtual designs.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse. For more automotive and tech news follow me on twitter and Instagram @william_newman.
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