On CES Media Day, tech companies announced their latest technology, discussed partnerships and gave glimpses into the future of automotive technology. Details were revealed, via the CES digital platform, from innovators at Panasonic, Magna, LG, Mercedes-Benz, Mobileye and the Indy Autonomous Challenge.
Panasonic Panorama of Batteries to In-vehicle and Drive-Through Experiences
Panasonic North America’s CEO Michael Moskowitz described some of the innovations in battery technology from Panasonic. Panasonic is one of the largest makers of automotive batteries with over three billion cells manufactured.
“We have added a fourteenth cell assembly line at the Tesla Gigafactory, increasing capacity by ten per cent,” says Moskowitz.
Panasonic is developing new battery technology such as the 4680 Battery for Tesla and a new battery cell with the highest energy density. The company is working on recycling and sustainability with Redwood Materials as well as reducing the amount of cobalt and eventually down to no cobalt at all.
Panasonic, through Hussman, is supplying technology for convenience stores, food service, college campuses and grocery market industries offering smart lockers with different temperatures to keep food at the correct temperature for contactless pickups.
“Drive-through increases sales up to 70%,” says Moskowitz. Panasonic offers the Clear Connect platform for fast restaurant service.
An innovative drive-through immersive entertainment example is iGogh by Car where viewers drive through projected artwork. It allows visitors to see the artwork like never before, safely from their cars—an industrial space that is transformed to magical says Moskowitz.
“Our passion to innovate has remained solid. We create value for our automakers and make cars better and safer,” says Panasonic Automotive President & Smart Mobility Executive Director, Scott Kirchner.
Due to the pandemic, Kirchner says there was a big change this year when the car cabin became a second home, a second domain for entertainment.
Panasonic integrates Android Automotive 11 operating system which can handle multiple displays and provide audio seat-by-seat. Panasonic has also partnered with ELS Studio 3D, Fender, Klipsch audio for immersive and recently Dolby Atmos for multidimensional sound..
Panasonic announced a new HUD system. The SPYDR cockpit domain controller shows vehicle information (like speed), detected pedestrian or objects and navigation on the HUD the images are project Envisics with spatial-AI by Phiar. Eyes are tracked for the correct location to display.
Panasonic’s Wi-Fi camera can see what is behind trailers and other rear-view blockers.
Panasonic is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to have response time reduced from 10 to 15 minutes to seconds.
Mercedes-Benz Details Tech Behind the EQS Hyperscreen
“You don’t have to see the function – it will find you. It combines three simple screens to be clear minimalist . It knows what you need when you need it,” says Sajjad Khan, CTO, of the new MBUX.
The front seat passenger i can see a co-driver mode but there are also cameras and safety in place so that the driver will not be distracted by the passenger watching video. In some markets the passenger can share screens with other passengers
The hyperscreen will be the best when it comes out and also energy efficient. Artificial intelligence (AI) uses electricity efficiently not draining the batteries and enabling the longest range.
Khan highlighted what he called a cool new feature which is Mercedes Travel Knowledge, which he says will have a better name when launched.
Khan asks “Hey Mercedes what is that building? Tell me about it?”. The travel system shows the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and gives details with photos. The travel feature will be available in many major cities.
“To eliminate distractions 99% features can be done by voice,” says Khan who notes that screen images will be more important in Level 2 autonomy.
The hyperscreen is designed to not be distracting. “The biggest distraction is the scrolling through layers. That’s why we made it zero layer,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer, Daimler Group.
So far the hyperscreen will only be for electric vehicles.
“The hyperscreen was designed for the Mercedes EQS. It is designed for a tech-savvy clientele with a different competition–I promise you’ll love it,” mused Wagener.
Power to Electric Powertrain with LG and Magna
The powertrain market is expected to grow exponentially through 2030, says Magna CEO, Swamy Kotagiri.
A media presentation titled ‘Magna Powering Sustainable Mobility’ – highlighted the Magna LG partnership for sustainability. The new company is tentatively called LG Magna e-Powertrain.
Kotagiri says the goal is to provide automotive technology in a more sustainable way for start-ups such as Fisker up to large automakers. The partnership will combine the strengths of the two companies and create synergy providing components up to the integration of an entire electrified powertrain.
The company will also offer lighter products to offset the weight of the batteries.
Mobileye Eyes Robotaxis Intel Intros LiDAR & Radars
Mobileye’s Prof. Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and chief executive officer of Mobileye, explained all the latest autonomous technology coming from Intel and Mobileye.
“It’s more than just the maps, Road Experience Management(REM) mapping technology uses Mobileye’s ADAS cameras for information. It collects data form the different parts of the road. It’s not just a map, it’s the lane, signs and more,” says Shashua
The data is transmitted with a kernel of only 10 KGB per kilometre. Mobileye started in collecting the mapping data in 2015. Six automakers are participating. 1 billion kilometres are mapped globally, with more than 8 million kilometres mapped per day.
“It’s not city-by-city. It’s the entire planet,” says Shashua.
Intel recently launched autonomous testing in Munich in 2020 in only two weeks with two people who are not engineers. Intel is planning to launch autonomous testing soon in Detroit, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris and (pending regulation) New York City.
The company plans first to deploy robotaxis.
“It’s easier to start with robotaxis for legislative guidelines,” says Shashua who also notes there is a stronger business case for robotaxis. “We have the legacy of two decades, that is what matters.”
Mobileye developed Rules-based Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) driving policy that mathematically determines what is to be careful, how humans make assumptions on semantic driving decisions such as giving the right away to be nice. It could be the template for legislation.
“RSS is our crown achievement,” adds Shashua.
Currently, Mobileye is working with Luminar LiDAR and will eventually work with Intel LiDAR. He explained that the good thing about Intel is they have silicon photonics and the ability to do laser on the chip. Intel will deliver a silicon photonics lidar SoC with frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) lidar on a chip in 2025. The company will also offer software-defined imaging radar with 2304 channels
Two separate, redundant sensing systems, one based on camera and other radar and lidar technology are being deployed independently. Then they will be fused later for safe redundancy.
“Society will not accept lack of judgement from a computer.”
He says Intel will bring down the price of the redundant technology needed for level 4 autonomy with a cost-effective price for consumer vehicles by 2025.
The Race to the Autonomous Indy Challenge
Students from 30 universities will be competing in the Autonomous Indy Challenges. The students will program software to run specially designed Dallara racing cars with motors propelled by internal-combustion 350 horsepower with the ability race at 180 mph (290 kph).
The computer includes an INTEL XENON processor and NIVIDA GPU. The race will take place on October 23, 2021.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) was created by Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
”We want to be the successor to the DARPA challenge.” says Matt Peak, Managing Director, Energy Systems Network.
“I’ve been amazed by the students’ commitment. They can longer use facilities on campus,” says Peak, The first year of programming the students use a simulator with cloud computing supplied by Microsoft.
We can all agree that we miss the face-to-face connections.
The race is designed with twenty laps for fifty miles far enough real competition–not exceeding fuel capacities for pit stops says Peak.
There are no plans yet for spectators for the race. Safety is the number one priority. Closer to October, gates will be open Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the students to validate that the algorithms will work.
“We’re excited about the announcement and the Delara car. I hope you are excited as universities’ brightest minds in the world compete,” says Doug Bolles, president Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The digital presentations were accented with peppy music, swirling graphics and slides. There are close over 65,000 attendees listed who can message each other. However, previous CES shows were easier to report due to the most natural form of human communication – meeting in person.
Panasonic’s Moskowitz voiced many people’s sediments – “While technology can help bring us closer together this year. We can all agree that we miss the face-to-face connections.”