Five Main Automotive Trends @ CES2021

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This year has seen a different CES, not only because of its remote format. Big automotive 'world firsts' were scarce after excluding announcements done prior to the show. However, CES remains a good place to feel the pulse of automotive technology.   Onboard experience is being redefined Several players have announced innovations in this area. Going from Daimler's Hyperscreen or the Cadillac Lyriq's orchestrated user experience to several other announcements, the sector is bound to redefine onboard experience in a more holistic way. This will happen not only through bigger screens, but also through a multi-sensory approach supported by AI. Gartner's research on the subject tells more about it: AI Multisensory Tech in Automotive HMIs. This trend also anticipates autonomous drive, where drivers will be free to perform other tasks while en route. For instance, Harman's Gaming Intense Max or Creator Studio widen the range of possibilities on how occupants spend time in their cars.   Tier1s leveraging the 'software-defined car' In a moment when main OEMs are actively developing their own software-defined vehicle architecture, several Tier1 suppliers - like Bosch, Continental or Elektrobit - start offering solutions for a server-driven vehicle architecture. The question is, however, on whether this new area will be mainly owned by main tech suppliers/vendors or by OEMs, eager to bring more software/hardware development in house. Nevertheless, the redefinition of the vehicle architecture will work as a powerful enabler not only for onboard experience but also in terms of autonomous drive and connected car functionalities.   EVs were the talk of town, but not much novelty This was definitely one of the main automotive topics around CES. However, due to the tremendous frenzy around the theme, many companies made their reveals ahead of CES. However, GM's announcement of BrightDrop proved to be interesting, as this is one of the first takes from an OEM in offering a comprehensive platform of logistics services, driven by full electrification.   Autonomous vehicles: less depth, more breadth AVs were still one of the main topics of the show, although less driven by major statements on time to market, as opposed to previous years. Despite that, Intel/Mobileye believes a consumer level 4 application will be launched by 2025. Companies like Caterpillar, John Deere and IBM have shown autonomous drive is already delivering strong profitability and safety in several off-road applications and even at sea. Several companies have also once again re-imagined the AV occupant space, along with particular use cases. For instance, AISIN's PARS and Rhythm systems intend to improve ride experience in areas like motion sickness mitigation.   Connected cars: known trends are coming to fruition The connected car is currently one of the main growth areas in the industry, which means several of the previously identified trends in this space are now materializing in terms of OEM and vendor offer. On one hand, this means more solutions in the area of cybersecurity and related frameworks (like NXP's EdgeLock), as well as optimization for 5G connectivity. Digital upgrades and onboard app store also continue to cement their position in the portfolio of market-available solutions. Gartner predicts in-car payments will expand to $1 billion by 2023 and the recently announced partnership between Gentex and Simplenight certainly helps fulfilling that prediction, by leveraging the latter's broad ecosystem of vendors.  Finally, the global growth in EV sales is also capturing the attention of vendors. As HERE Technologies have shown a solution to optimize driving range, Geotab has looked upstream to help optimize load balancing for utilities.        

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