In the Broom Closets of Electronics Buffs
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been held in Las Vegas since 1967 – unobserved from the automotive industry for decades; and the trade show has also met with difficulties in its own industry time and again. However, in recent years, the Electronics Show held in the beginning of January has become an important show floor for innovations that don't just come from Silicon Valley. Daimler employees went on a scouting trip beyond the glaring headlights.
The surroundings are anything but attractive. A table, a monitor, a poster. The stand for the trade show is ready. No bright lights, no hostesses, no hype. Instead, there is the smell of well-oiled thinking caps. Within the space of a broom closet, what counts here is not the packaging. What counts is the idea. The “Eureka Park” Hall was packed with more than 500 startups hoping for their big break. The inventors and venture operators fought for the attention of the establishment. Vital question: Are the ideas also viable and suitable for mass production?
The T-shirt in fluorescent orange is not the only eye-catcher. The virtual reality eye glasses “Impression PI” are a real attraction. They visualize gesture control. The Chinese company uSens was founded in 2013 and is developing its ideas in Silicon Valley.
Although it has only been on the market since 2014, it’s already one of the hottest startups worldwide: BreezoMeter from Israel. The product: An “environmental pollution app”. Provides data on the weather and air quality in real time. And can reroute traffic in areas with particularly high pollution levels in the big cities.
Head-up display for all vehicles. Including old ones. The device of the HUDWAY startup from Latvia looks like an eye glasses case. Open, put in the smartphone and the HUD is ready. The HUDWAY Glass is to go on the market from May. For 49 dollars.
The startups at the CES clearly show the challenges vehicle manufacturers will have to deal with. And their procurement units. Digitalization and the continuous advances in connectivity require increasingly shorter-term planning. It is possible that at the next CES there will already be an innovation that nobody is envisaging today. This calls for a maximum degree of watchfulness. “Our tasks in Procurement include the active scouting for innovations worldwide. Because of its proximity to Silicon Valley, the CES is one of the most important events worldwide,” said Klaus Zehender, Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement & Supplier Quality (MP). “And we also have to be open to unusual ideas from new players. As small as they might be.”
However, the large stands of our present innovation partners must not be absent at the CES in Las Vegas. Also well-stocked with innovations and visions:
Euphony instead of noises. Harman is banking on active sound management. Noises from the engine and disturbances are eliminated through the use of counter-noise. And special sound spaces can be brought into the vehicle. For example, an atmosphere like that at Wembley Stadium can be experienced at the touch of a button.
The sound is also available “To go”. If users wish to continue listening to the music they heard in the vehicle while walking in the park, they can simply take the portable sound system along. A great solution, especially for the compact car segment.
NVIDIA, a pioneer in visual computing, is penetrating the autonomous driving market. With a super computer the size of a shoe box for the trunk and with its own algorithms.
Rollable like a yoga mat. But much thinner. LG is showing the next generation of monitors. With OLED technology. Every surface is a potential display. And the 4K resolution is still not high enough. Now the 8K is coming.
On gaming machines in the vehicle. 3D instrument panel by Delphi Automotive. The 3D effect is created by the use of two superimposed screens. Here, there is no room for boredom. Because the driver has a choice: Modern or retro look. The technology was originally developed for video games. Series maturity is planned in three years’ time.
The around 3,600 exhibitors offered much to discover. It’s easy to see that only a few selected highlights can be presented here. What other trends could be identified at the CES 2016? Smart Home, Virtual Reality, learning machines, self-driving cars and droning drones. The latter two also in combination with one another. That is to say a self-driving car with its own drone. As here in the Swiss study Rinspeed Etos. With a VIP drone parking place.