CES, held annually in Las Vegas, is one of the best global tradeshows to get to know the latest technologies and trends across dozens of consumers and businesses. This year was no exception—the 2019 edition being yet another event that met the expectations of the approximately 200,000 visitors looking to learn about the latest tech.
Figure 1: CES updated their brand positioning for the conference
I was very excited to attend this event for the second time, and paid special attention to the latest trends in the mobility sector and what these trends mean for both consumers and businesses. To get started, I believe that one of the back walls promoting the future of mobility provided a good summary of what CES 2019 was about:
Figure 2: Mobility trends showcased at CES 2019
In a nutshell, a lot of the technologies showcased at the tradeshow were around the future experience of a user (or passenger) inside a vehicle, autonomous driving, safety, and new means of transport and electric mobility.
From this foundation, I jotted down my take on the upcoming (disruptive) trends in mobility that will potentially impact the lives of consumers and businesses around the world.
Autonomous driving is now a matter of time, not choice
Figure 3: Waymo’s self-driving technology, in cooperation with FCA group
Last year, CES showcased plenty of autonomous driving vehicles. However, all of these vehicles were “Level Two” autonomous, therefore not as impressive as they could be. At CES 2019, “Level Three” was the common denominator, which means that vehicles are in complete control for at least part of the time.
Companies like GM, Ford, and Daimler showcased their strong views on self-driving technologies. Software companies like Nvidia showcased their new chip, Xavier, which many automakers will implement in their cars, allowing them to reach Level Three autonomy.
Another highlight was the stronger presence of Waymo, Google's former self-driving project. Now independent, CES 2019 put Waymo on the map as a strong contender to be one of the first global brands widely known as the champion of self-driving. The cooperation with FCA will accelerate their rollout and testing across United States and beyond.
Last, but not least, companies such as TomTom and HERE are developing highly detailed HD maps—a key component for safe autonomous vehicles.
Although it remains to be seen whether established automakers or startups of the autonomous driving world will lead this new era of mobility, it's certain there will be a lot of buzz in the upcoming years about the way driving will evolve in the future.
Traffic congestion might be solved by air traffic & ride-sharing
Figure 4: Bell's impressive flying car
Bell showed off a second-stage concept of its flying car—which they will be testing in 2020. A full-scale model was on display at CES (pictured above) and promises to fly up to five people at speeds reaching 240 km/h (150 mph). One of the biggest challenges big cities are facing nowadays is traffic congestion, and while the transition to electric mobility and autonomous driving will make sitting in traffic more interesting, it doesn’t solve the problem of congestion—flying might be one of the best options to solve this issue, despite having to pass many potential bureaucratic regulations to allow a smooth ride experience.
Figure 5: Denso's solution to urban mobility
Denso, one of the largest global mobility suppliers, also showcased their vision on urban mobility, with an in-vehicle edge computer that connects the host vehicle to cloud-based services and shares vehicle information. Denso also demonstrated how urban mobility can evolve with the vision that more people will use ride-sharing services—reducing the amount of vehicles on the road—while still enjoying comfort and private space during their daily commutes.
The passenger experience will be redefined
Figure 6: In-vehicle passenger experience—showcasing the different possibilities, from shopping to workout
Many startups and well-known companies showcased the future of vehicles through the introduction of self-driving cars and other new technologies. In this future of mobility, the wheel is no longer present, and the in-vehicle experience is shaped by technology.
The above example shows a new in-vehicle experience for front seat passengers, with a mix of games, shopping, travel applications, and control of radio and cabin features—all from the passenger's mobile device. This will completely disrupt what our driving experience will be in the future.
On a less disruptive note, other companies demonstrated different ways the in-vehicle experience will evolve:
Figure 7: Byton's super-sized display
For example, Byton showcased the 48-inch (1.22 meter) screen inside their new M-Byte electric car. According to the company and hosts at CES, this display will become an integral part of the car, providing more control to passengers in the front seats.
Figure 8: Google's Assistant & the car industry
Voice will also reshape the way we interact with our cars. Google featured their voice technology—and how it will be used inside the car to play music, shop, add to-do lists, and ensure that mobile experiences are brought into the vehicle.
CES 2019 provided a glimpse into the future of mobility…
… and it’s electric. Last year, CES exhibited plenty of conceptual electric vehicles along with ICE vehicles—but it took only one year for most (if not all) automakers to start primarily displaying their electric vehicles, with special attention to the Mercedes EQC, Audi Q7 E-tron, and Byton’s M-Byte and K-Byte.
Figure 9: EVBox demonstrates award-winning Level 2 commercial charging station
The world is moving at a fast pace and many industries will be disrupted. Looking back at CES 2019, it's clear that the world of mobility will be transformed within the next few years. Many new startups will potentially become the new giants of the industry, and current mobility leaders will need to evolve the way they innovative to keep up with the pace of technological growth.
This way my take on CES 2019—looking forward for CES 2020.
Mainstream electric mobility is still less than a decade old. In many ways, best practices for electric vehicles are still being defined and honed. But, in order to create a better EV driving experience, we first need to get some input from those driving EVs today .