When is a car not a car? When it’s at the Consumer Electronics Show

by | Dec 15, 2021 | 0 comments

It’s been going on for some time now, but what was once characterized as a way for the “old-economy” automakers to position themselves as “new-economy” technology firms is now well and truly integral to the mobility model.

While annual car shows are once again on the horizon, you may actually find the latest in rolling technology alongside the latest in gaming technology: the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show set for Las Vegas in January, where no fewer than five automakers and a whole host of automotive industry companies are taking to the show floor.

Companies like General Motors, Hyundai, and BMW will line up alongside Microsoft, and Intel’s Mobileye.

In total, more than 70 exhibitors are in the mobility space. Some, predictably, have at least one foot in the consumer electronics space (navigation system and information provider TomTom is one), with others firmly in the discrete systems space. Companies like Cipia, a provider of intelligent in-cabin sensing solutions using computer vision and AI, anticipate the possibility of regulatory frameworks that would require automakers to detect things like drowsiness, smoking, or child seat use – or even to identify a car’s driver.

There are also some names familiar to those of us in the aftermarket in the mix:

Denso says it’s looking to meet with startups at CES 2022 to explore investment and collaboration opportunities in the fields of mobility, autonomous driving, connectivity and electrification.

Bosch is touting its connectivity solutions with a show car on hand highlighting the company’s systems offerings: “The future of mobility is automated, connected, electrified, and personalized. In the future, more and more vehicles will be electrically powered. They will increasingly be connected with other road users and their surroundings, and provide personalized, cloud-based services for their occupants such as wrong-way driver alerts or road condition updates. “

ZF Group is presenting on “Next Generation of Mobility through a software-defined revolution with our ecosystem partners that is delivering new innovations and technology for cleaner and safer mobility.”

Hunter Engineering, yes that Hunter Engineering, will be at CES 2022 with the latest ADAS calibration solutions and automated product innovations.

Even John Deere is talking about “how farmers will leverage full autonomy and automation to produce enough food to feed a growing world population.”

Canada’s own Magna, which it has been said could make its own car if it chose to put its own badge on one, will be using the event to talk about its new EtelligentReach all-electric connected powertrain that is set to debut on a new-entrant vehicle in 2022. The complete system comprises two electric motors, inverters and gearboxes, and leverages advanced software to maximize vehicle range and driving dynamics.

According to Magna, eDrive technology advancements and the holistic vehicle development approach of the EtelligentReach achieve a range increase of up to 145 km/90 miles or 30%, compared to certain production BEV vehicles in this segment – a key differentiator in the growing electrification space.

Whether the vehicles and systems themselves will be a draw or if visitors (in-person and virtual) will be just looking where to plug in their VR headset, is perhaps irrelevant. Cars are more than cars, and have been for a long time; the most complex consumer product has become perhaps the most connected as well. And a lot of the companies in the technology and mobility space recognize that the old rules about whose turf is whose simply no longer apply.

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