What comes after the hype? Real solutions are needed
While established trade shows are increasingly struggling for exhibitors and are forced to rethink their concepts, for many companies worldwide the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas has become the trade show not to be missed. Even the players of the automotive industry can now be found at CES rather than in Detroit or at the IAA. Why? Because the car is becoming more and more smartphone- and gadget-like. Autonomous applications have dominated the booths of mobility providers and car manufacturers in recent years, which is why Blickfeld has also been present at CES in the last couple of years – for the first time this year with its own booth in the Smart City area.
The presentations of dazzling visions of the future could hardly be missed this year. Especially Daimler with its “AVTR” concept car, Hyundai in cooperation with Uber with an electric air taxi or Sony with a specially developed electric car equipped with all kinds of entertainment possibilities will be remembered for a long time. In addition to these visions, some of which sound like rather distant dreams of the future, the attentive observer could not help but notice: the industry has a much clearer view on autonomous driving than it did a few years ago. The big hype about fully autonomous driving according to Level 4 has evaporated, many providers are now talking about the step towards more assistance systems, i.e. Level 2+, or partially automated driving, for example on the motorway (Level 3). And that’s all right: hype is all well and good, but over time we have to see whether or not it has foundation. Autonomous driving is so complex that manufacturers must focus on specific solutions for which the dimensions and business cases are clearly defined. The industry has now reached this point: The roadmap to real solutions for (partially) automated applications is clear, the prerequisites have been defined.
Not surprisingly, numerous LiDAR companies were represented at CES in 2020. The demand for sensor technology is high and the range of products is just about as diverse as ever. However, it is also clear that a focus will be necessary: Demand is clearly concentrated on specialized sensors with a clear competitive advantage – specific requirements are being placed on LiDAR sensors to map specific scenarios.
We clearly felt this trend at the Blickfeld booth and in our demo car. A wide variety of companies with diverse requirements have sought to talk to us and expressed interest in our two LiDAR models. Many knew the strengths of our technology and already had a very clear idea of how to use the devices in their applications, which confirmed that we are on the right track with our approach of building high-performance, small and robust sensors at an affordable price.
Last but not least, in this short CES review, we would like to talk about the eye-catcher on the Blickfeld booth. While the heart of our CES appearance were of course the sensors with the corresponding live demos, the Blickfeld Cubes are simply too small to fill a booth. (What sounds like a disadvantage here is of course actually a huge advantage when it comes to vehicle design, for example – here the Blickfeld Cube can be integrated into headlights or the car roof). So we took the design of our MEMS mirror based devices and built a sophisticated mirror wall on our booth that picked up on both our corporate design and our scan pattern. It was a real showstopper that was clearly visible from all corners of the hall. The conclusion: Not only the big manufacturers can build dazzling booths!
Enjoy a few impressions from CES 2020: