In its first-ever digital edition, CES 2021 was testimony to all things resilience from the global automotive components and tech industry. Ashish Bhatia picks out select showcases worthy of catching your attention.

CES returned in 2021, in the first-ever digital edition. A whopping 2000 companies including 700 startups from across 37 countries unveiled next-gen innovation aimed at bettering the future. Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the owner and producer of the technology event attracted participation from startups to tech giants. Averred Gary Shapiro, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), CTA, “The all-digital CES 2021 engaged the global tech community to experience innovation, make connections and conduct business”. In a testimony to the global automotive components resilience and strength of innovation despite it being testing times, the 2021 edition highlighted advances made in 5G, vehicle technology and AI. Bosch, Caterpillar, Intel, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Panasonic, Sony, Bridgestone, Indy Autonomous Challenge, John Deere, Sono Motors and Volvo Penta among other automotive and tech companies to use the forum for announcements, product launches and in general to connect with customers.
General Motors, for instance, launched new product lines which included the Cadillac eVTOL, a concept air taxi besides announcing a new business unit devoted to electrifying the goods delivery market. Microsoft stressed the need to ensure cybersecurity and customer privacy protection emphasising on the tech industry’s responsibility to exercise conscience. With ‘Tech Innovation Accelerated by Covid-19’, ‘Consumer Privacy and Trust’, and ‘Global Tech Challenge’ as the underlying themes, attention was drawn to innovations like smart air filtration systems. The forum also called for the need to increase customer trust and handing over the consumer, greater control over their data. Through the ‘Global Tech Challenge’, launched last year in partnership with the World Bank and CTA, tech solutions were rewarded in the areas including resilience in India.
CTA also used the forum to commit to driving diversity in tech with a round of investment in VC fund Plum Alley, a part of the USD 10 million commitment set aside for venture firms and funds that invest in stakeholders like underrepresented entrepreneurs. Country Group Organisers were credited with bringing large delegations of exhibitors including from Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Japan and South Korea. Nigerian and Russian startups were featured for the first time. The hybrid CES 2022 will take place in person in Las Vegas, and digitally between January 05-08, 2022.

Raythink

The overall solution provider for monitoring and display of vehicle-assisted driving, Raythink made its debut. It showcased the wide-angle spatial imaging AR HUD system positioning it as the core application aimed at intelligent vehicle cockpits. Using patented technology – OpticalCore® to a wide-angle Field Of Vision (FOV) of 23 degrees * 5 degrees at 900mm eye relief, and VID 15m ~ infinity is claimed to aid in attaining independence from HUD displays. The AR visual effect, for instance, claims to eliminate ghosting on any windshield. The AR Generator® SDK, AR recognition algorithm and platform software system architecture are claimed to offer a safe and comfortable AR driving experience on any HUD as it integrates environmental recognition with multiple data sources and the independent AR rendering engine, in combination with AI-enabled visual-spatial coordinate correction. The AR HUD display product combines ADAS multi-sensor environment perception, map and navigation, and visual-assisted technology to offer a precise lane positioning coupled with intelligent driving functions display. It includes lane-level navigation, Front Collision Warning (FCW), Pedestrian Collision Warning (PCW), and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

StradVision


StradVision announced a collaboration with D3 Engineering. The automotive front camera solution born out of this collaboration is known to integrate a D3 DesignCore® platform for product development with StradVision’s deep learning-based front camera software ‘SVNet’. StradVision provides six key perception features of SVNet including lane detection, traffic sign detection, traffic light detection, vehicle detection, pedestrian detection, and free space detection to the virtual demo platform. The platform is claimed to reduce consumption of computing power according to Junhwan Kim, Chief Executive Officer, StradVision. He claimed it achieves higher efficiency in memory usage and energy consumption with the freedom to customise and optimise to any System on Chip (SoC) courtesy a patented and cutting-edge Deep Neural Network. D3 DesignCore®, according to Jerome Barczykowski, Business Development Operations Manager at the company, when combined with StradVision algorithms can accelerate time-to-market while reducing the cost and risk of production and product development. SVNet, an AI-based object recognition software is claimed to seamlessly work with other sensors such as LiDAR and RADAR to achieve a surround vision. It is known to be in use for mass production models of ADAS and autonomous driving vehicles, supporting safety function L2-4, and is expected to be deployed in over 8.8 million vehicles.

Thundercomm

Intelligent cockpits are pivotal to the human-machine interface. Thundercomm showcased the E-cockpit Solution 4.5, built on the third generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Automotive Digital Cockpit Platform. It features a software platform of QNX Hypervisor 2.1 and is known to run QNX 7.0 and Android P operating system. The fusion cockpit platform is based on SOA and enables developers to develop, change or upgrade services in an efficient manner. The intelligent engine solution and AI assistant solutions are equipped to cater to different customer needs. A highlight is the support for autonomous parking, through reuse of the computing power of the in-built cockpit chip.

DriveU.auto


DriveU.auto won the CES® 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree in the ‘Vehicle Intelligence & Transportation’ category for its autonomous vehicle teleoperation connectivity platform. As AV teleoperations are known to require uninterrupted, low-latency, high-capacity connectivity, the 4k video, sensor data and control commands are claimed to be transferred in real-time between vehicle systems and the remote driver. Given the limitations of one cellular network in offering the connectivity required and in offering stable bandwidth and coverage, the need is for multiple networks in parallel over the use of one modem. DriveU.auto claims to provide superior connectivity for AV teleoperation, using dynamic video encoding, low latency algorithms, optimised forward-error-correction and cellular bonding. It offers high-quality video, low-latency, and ultra-reliable connectivity.

Anycubic

3D printing company Anycubic, showcased the new Mega SE and Wash & Cure Plus models at CES 2021 expected to be commercialised as early as May 2021. James Ouyang, Vice President of R&D at Anycubic said, “Moving forward, Anycubic will continue to invest in R&D and diverse partnerships to launch 3D printing equipment and solutions that are reliable, easily deployed, and in line with actual production needs.” Claimed to be a beginner-friendly Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) machine, the Mega SE adopts a patented, glass lattice structure, preventing warping, ensuring stickiness when heated, and offering an easy handle on cooling. It supports smooth material insertion and offers a quiet printing environment with the use of the blue Capricorn high-temperature Teflon tube and the TMC2208 silent drive. With the help of the dual-gear extruder, it ensures a quiet printing environment. The high-performance, dual-gear extruder is said to offer excellent printing results for entry-level segment. The Wash & Cure Plus offers a size upgrade and is claimed to solve the post-processing needs faced by large-size, light-curing models.

Cenntro Automotive


Cenntro Automotive Group (Cenntro) is aiming to expand with a purpose-built, all-electric Class 4 vehicle aimed at the last-mile urban delivery market. CityPorter boasts of features like up to 220 miles on a single charge, and a payload of 2585 kg (5,700 pounds), and a top speed of 96 kmph (60 mph). Aiming to showcase it to US fleets and EU fleets in the second half of 2021, the company is engaging in demo programs. Equipped with state-of-the-art telematics it is ideal for fleet management, advanced integration with other business applications. For optimising route planning, reducing downtime, and delivering true big data management. To support the vision, Cenntro is looking to re-establish manufacturing sites in the US and Europe later this year. It will also open an Engineering and Innovation Center in New Jersey in the second quarter.

Thunderzee


Thunderzee claims its Zinc-air battery eliminates the risk of fire associated with lithium-ion batteries. It is claimed to offer more energy, weigh less, and cost less besides being environmentally friendly. Known to be designed for low-power discharge and small-scale appliances, the batteries according to Andy Lin, Founder and CEO, Thunderzee are deemed unsuitable for high power applications. Drawing attention to the next generation of the zinc-air fuel cell, a self-developed high-performance component, claimed the company, it offers higher energy and power over the previous generation. Claiming to have achieved a major breakthrough in electrochemistry of metal-air batteries, the company has to its credit high power metal-air fuel cell components: air cathode, ion membrane, and metal fuel formulation suited to military and commercial applications.

Maxim Integrated

Genuine components are a must in critical systems. Maxim Integrated claims to have built a product enabling designers to enhance safety, security and data integrity for vehicle systems. It is claimed to reduce both complexity and code development helping in authenticating genuine components. The DS28E40 DeepCover® automotive secure authenticator is the new addition in to the company’s line of AEC-Q100 Grade 1 solutions for automotive systems. The parasitically-powered authenticator utilises a 1-Wire interface for simple connectivity to ensure only genuine components are used in ADAS and EV batteries.

All Good Energy (AGE)


All Good Energy (AGE) of Taiwan showcased the All Good Battery Pack, a Li-ion battery claimed to feature edge computing BMS and IoT functionality. Its USP is the feature to monitor battery performance in a constant loop. Besides giving clarity on battery performance, it also gives out information on the remaining value indicating the repurpose suitability. With an aim to provide easy and seamless access to battery data via APIs on an open platform, the company assures, users will be able to optimise operations and trade batteries fast and easy. On Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) front, the company is collecting data and improving its algorithms thereby adding efficiency to the energy consumption ecosystem.

MORAI


Seoul, South Korea based MORAI showcased the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) simulation solution. By recreating roads, sensors, and even vehicles within a virtual 3D simulation environment, it is claimed to allow users to freely test algorithms and software to study the response to difficult or dangerous scenarios without endangering drivers or vehicles. It grants complete control of the scene to the test operator enabling the test of drastic, diverse weather conditions and unique scenarios. A USP was the data-based scenario creation, wherein pre-recorded traffic data for a specific region can be used to recreate a test scenario identical to the recorded data. This helps reduce the dependencies on the user for manually created test cases without comprising on accuracy.

Panasonic Automotive

Panasonic Automotive Systems of America (Panasonic Automotive) showcased its Augmented Reality HUD. Panasonic Automotive leveraged its advancements in optics, volume optimisation and imaging technology, combined with AI technology from its SPYDR cockpit domain controller to render near-field and far-field content for vehicle information. Metrics like speed, object and pedestrian detection, and mapping/route guidance, for a seamless, more engaged and informed driver experience are within its scope. Averred Scott Kirchner, President Panasonic Automotive and Executive Director, Panasonic Smart Mobility, “The HUD market is one of the fastest-growing categories in mobility, but traditional HUDs only cover a small section of the road.” The HUD solutions from the company, he claimed, cover more of the roadway, with traditional cluster content like speed and fuel in the near field as well as 3D overlays in the far-field, showing navigation and other critical driver data mapping spatially to the road ahead. Its key features include eye-tracking technology, advanced optics, AI navigation accuracy, vibration control, real-time situational awareness, 3D imaging radar, compact size and 4K resolution.

Bridgestone Corporation

Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) unveiled ‘Bridgestone World’, an interactive city to showcase how innovations will power a sustainable mobility future. “Active, intelligent and digitally integrated technologies are critical to our goal of creating new value for society and customers through sustainable mobility and advanced solutions,” said Paolo Ferrari, President & Chief Executive Officer, Bridgestone Americas, and Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, Bridgestone Corporation. It gave a sneak-peek into urban, suburban, industrial and transport settings in a future city. It also helped explore connected products and data-driven services expected to address pain points and improve consumers’ mobility experience.

Blickfield


LiDAR manufacturer Blickfeld showcased its automotive LiDAR suite consisting of a mid-range as well as a long-range sensor. The mid-range sensor – Blickfeld Vision Mini with its small dimensions can be customised. For instance, the dimensions of 5 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm indicate compactness, enabling it to be smartly and efficiently integrated into vehicles. It is incorporated into side mirrors, headlights, rear-view lamps, and the A, B, and C pillars to achieve a 360 degrees surround-view. It also enables a Field of View (FoV) of up to 107 degrees and a range of up to 150 metres on vehicles. It is also claimed to offer reliable data for automated and autonomous driving in urban traffic. It is also claimed to allow the use of multiple sensors per vehicle at a low price. A long-range LiDAR sensor for automotive applications, the Blickfeld Vision Plus is designed for use at the front and rear of the vehicle and covers the detection of small objects at distances of up to 200 metres. Together, (Vision Mini and Vision Plus) are said to enable automation for level 2+ and upward autonomous vehicles. It also showcased the MEMS scanning module 118, a laser scanning unit.

Mando

Mando unveiled a new vision based on safety and freedom. The “Freedom in Mobility” entails a vehicle seamlessly communicating with a driver via an integrated module of “x-by-Wire” technology including Mando’s BbW (Brake-by-Wire) and SbW (Steer-by-Wire). All are connected by the electric hyper-connectivity. While the Smart Personal Mobility Module (SPM Module) connects people with micro-mobility and is touted as the world’s first chainless pedal-assisted system, the “Space Freedom” enables freedom for in-cabin activities beyond the architectural limits of a vehicle. For instance, in the fully autonomous driving mode, a driver is expected to be free for tasks other than driving. The SbW, the winner of the CES 2021 Innovation Award Honoree, is claimed to allow the steering wheel to be stowed away when not in use. BbW applied to the brake system is composed of four units of Electro-Mechanical Brake (EMB), mounted on “4-corner module (4 wheels)”, “E-Brake-Pedal (Electronic brake pedal)”, and “DCU (Domain Control Unit)”. It eliminates Electronic Stability Control (ESC), booster (brake boost), parking cable, engine oil tube and is operated by pure electric signal. Throw the “auto stow” function, the pedal can be put away when not in use offering more legroom to drivers.

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