Technology in the car and electric cars dominated CES 2023 • TechCrunch
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Happy New Year (a few days late) and welcome back to The Station! your central hub for all past, present and future ways to move people and packages from point A to point B.
I started 2023 the same way I have for the better part of a decade: I went to Las Vegas for CES.
Every year I get the same questions: what really excited you this year? what stood out? And what does that mean for the future?
A few CES 2023 takeaways.
• Lidar companies dominated the show floor in the West Hall (where most of the automotive technology was located). Everywhere I turned there was another lidar company, included Hey, Innovation, Luminaire and Out (to mention a few). My lingering warm attitude: all these companies cannot survive.
• For all the talk of advanced driver assistance systems, there was a lot of autonomous vehicle technology on display. However, the mood was different. I didn’t get the same hype-y ROBOTAXIS WILL BE EVERYWHERE messages. Instead, autonomous vehicle technology emerged in many commercial and industrial applications.
• Autonomous public vans and delivery trucks shaped like giant toasters are still a thing. Holon, Hyundai Mobis and Zoox are just some of the companies that showcased this type of vehicle.
• EV charging and energy storage were sprinkled throughout the show from the packed Eureka Park to the North and West Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Not to mention a few EV charging news announcements too Mercedes’ plans to launch a global charging network.
• The car cabin continues to evolve into a digital, connected experience that includes augmented reality and even virtual reality from companies such as Holoride. BMW reimagined the head-up display, Chrysler gave their vision for your future car cabin, suppliers such as Bosch, Via and Harman showed off its car technology, and GM and Microsoft demonstrated a new video game called Dash Runner to showcase the kind of entertainment consumers might want to interact with while waiting for their new electric car to charge.
• Electric cars in all forms. Stellantis had perhaps one of the most exuberant press conferences with its unveiling of the Peugeot concept and the Ram 1500 Revolution concept truck. But I found electric cars in all forms, especially bicycles, motorcycles and tricycles, as well as obscure little off-roaders.
• Somewhat unrelated to transportation, but I was surprised by how much robotics I encountered at Eureka Park, the exhibition space for thousands of startups.
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The micro mob at CES
Doing CES theme in this week’s newsletter, here’s a summary of all the micromobility news and vehicles unveiled at the show this year:
It won’t technically take you from point A to B, though Acer debuted a new table bike that powers your devices while you pedal.
AtmosGear came to play with some electric roller skates and they are only $500.
Italian bicycle manufacturer Bianchi used Ansys simulation software to create more efficient e-bike designs. A 70% reduction in frame prototyping accelerated time to market and reduced development costs for Bianchi’s E-Omnia e-bike.
Brightwaya micro-mobility technology company, launched its Navee V series of electric scooters, Navee e-bike and Navee sharing scooter.
Cake launched the Åik utility bike, which starts at $6,470 and is expected to ship in May.
Davinci engine showed off its futuristic DC100 electric motorcycle (and had a display where you could sit on them). It’s a chunky thing, but the company says it can rival the performance of 1,000cc combustion-powered motorcycles, making it 0-60 in three seconds and a top speed of 124 miles per hour.
GreenStreet EV debuted at CES with the first prototype of its 3-wheel electric Autocycle. The company plans to bring the small vehicle to market in 2024.
Hey bike unveiled its folding e-bike made from a single piece of magnesium alloy.
Icoma unveiled the Tatamel Bike, a prototype for a folding bike that, in classic Japanese style, actually folds into a box that can be placed under the desk at work. The exterior of the folded moped can be customized in wood, fake grass or leather. It’s a cool concept, but will likely remain a concept.
MoonBikes showed off an electric snow bike. Even though this wasn’t a debut, it’s still cool. Prices start at $8,900 for the snow bike – removable batteries included. MoonBikes also launched its app at CES so riders can get real-time data on their performance.
RCAa consumer electronics brand best known for inventing the video player ventured into the micromobility space at CES with new e-bikes and e-scooters designed to handle everything from commuting to off-roading.
Guardian launched a new electric superbike, the Verge TS, which has an electric motor integrated into the rear wheel, which the company says transfers power straight to the road. It also creates more space in the middle for the battery pack. It’s available for pre-order now at $26,900 with US deliveries scheduled for late 2023.
Yadea, one of China’s largest manufacturers of electric two-wheelers, is making a push into the US market. The manufacturer said it will begin launching a series of marketing campaigns and events aimed at kick-starting the brand’s growth in the US, and will open stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles, partnering with 100 other brand retailers, in the first half of 2023.
Other notable CES moments
Here’s a handy rundown of some of the announcements we covered and things we saw at CES 2023.
Autonomous vehicle technology
Good year and Gatik say that tire technology will unlock autonomous driving in winter conditions.
Indy Autonomous Challenge returned to CES 2023 and the Las Vegas Speedway. I had the chance to check out some of the competing cars and watch one make its way around the track at night (and with the lights off). It was a nice demonstration to show what sensors, computing and software can accomplish. The autonomous racing team from the mOve research groupo of Politecnico di Milano were the winners of this year’s competition.
Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua gave a lecture on the company’s near and long-term vision. Advanced driver assistance systems were a focus, but Shashua spent a lot of time talking about the road to automated driving, including how future consumer AVs will come to market at scale using his driver assistance system, Mobileye SuperVision.
Advanced driver assistance systems
I took a short trip along Comma.ai founder George Hotz (who recently fired himself again as CEO and claims he’s now a marketing intern) for a ride in a Kia EV6 equipped with the Comma 3 dev kit, running openpilot, an open source advanced driver assistance system. The Comma 3 device, now priced at $1,499, works on more than 200 models. The hardware, which is mounted by the rearview mirror, has three HDR cameras, two that look at the road and one night vision camera to see inside the car. It is also equipped with cellular LTE, Wi-Fi, an IMU, high-precision GPS and microphones.
Openpilot has continued to evolve and improve based on my personal experience. On this last drive at an off-strip location, the vehicle was able to recognize (and stop) for red lights, stay centered in the lane, make assisted lane changes, and maintain a safe distance behind other cars and trucks. It was the smoothest ride I’ve had yet.
Electric vehicles, including eVTOL
BMW revealed the Vision Dee concept car, a four-door sedan hit the scene in stark white, but later transformed into a variety of colors and patterns to showcase Dee’s E Ink technology.
Honda and Sony launch their new EV brand Afeela.
Stellantis debuted a futuristic (with a nod to the past) Peugeot Inception concept as well as the Ram 1500 Revolution EV truck concept. A production version of the truck is expected to be revealed later this year and hit the market in 2024.
Stellantis also made a big eVTOL announcement. The automaker said it will mass-produce electric planes for Archer in a $150 million deal.
Volkswagen unveiled ID 7 equipped with electroluminescent paint that lights up on command. But that wasn’t the most interesting part of this upcoming vehicle (magic paint not included).
Technology in the car
Amazon Alexa-enabled cars are now able to ask Alexa to find the nearest public EV charging station.
Chrysler shares what the car cabins of the future may look like.
Google announced an HD version of its vehicle mapping solution that is an additional layer of data delivered to a vehicle’s L2+ or L3 assisted driving systems through Google Automotive Services. Volvo and Polestar will be among the first car manufacturers to have Google HD mapping.
Google also launched new Android Auto features that make it easier for drivers to navigate, play podcasts and music, and communicate while on the move. The new user experience design update features a split screen layout that displays directions, music and lyrics at the same time.
Hey scored another design win with SAIC’s electric vehicle brand, Rising Auto (also known as “Feifan” in China). The new model of Rising Auto will carry Hesai’s long-range car radar.
Holoride is launching a new product to bring VR into every car. And we tested it.
Luminaire founder and CEO Austin Russell gave an update on the company and how the acquisition of Civil Maps fits into its long-term vision.
Nvidia’s on-demand cloud gaming service known as GeForce Now is coming to select electric vehicles from Hyundai, BYD and Polestar. Nvidia made a number of other announcements ahead of CES, including that a collaboration with Foxconn and that Mercedes will use its Omniverse Enterprise software platform to design, plan and optimize its factories in the metaverse.
Stellantis launched a new business unit called Mobilisghts dedicated to turning all the vehicle data into marketable products – and revenue.
Bosch rolled out a safety dash cam and related support service designed for ride-sharing drivers.
Free2movethe mobility service brand under automaker Stellantis, plans to expand its car sharing, rental and subscription services in the US