DETC's trip to CES2018 in Las Vegas in early January was a great opportunity to see all the latest technology in one place. At first impressions, it's difficult to comprehend the whole scale of the event, everything is just massive! With just over 180,000 attendees, 4000 exhibitors and 1200 speakers, there was lots to see!
The show was filled with drones and robots equipped with artificial intelligence and IoT connectivity as well as smart home tech embedded with intelligent voice recognition assistants. Lots of virtual reality and augmented reality hardware was showcased with people patiently queuing up one by one to have a go. There was also a hall dedicated to fancy concept cars touting self-driving capabilities and fully “spec'd” out with electronic gadgetry. It was a techie person’s dream!
There was a clear trend this year, you got the sense that the automotive car companies were getting more confident with their autonomous driving tech with opportunities for attendees to go on demo drives with the cars on the public streets of Las Vegas. It's a chance for the industry to show off their hardware and you can tell they were working hard to reduce consumer apprehension about allowing a car's computer to drive them.
It was surprising to hear a lot of external sectors to automotive stating that their organisations roadmaps had taken a bit of a detour in the last year or two to include automotive into future products and services. Mainly due to the recent adoption of electrification, autonomous and connectivity tech. It has meant cross sector expertise is now becoming more of a necessity rather than an option.
The other half of the story was the "user experience", demo vehicles were showing examples of the future of travelling - some getting rid of the driver cockpit all together and the others installing advanced multimedia experiences with different levels of immersion.
The last major shift in the Automotive industry was when Henry Ford released the Ford Quadricycle nicked named "The Horseless Carriage" in 1886. People were used to horses providing the main form of propulsion for transportation back then and it took a while to prove this invention was the following chapter for the Automotive industry.
Could 2018 be the start of the next chapter in Automotive?
We found out that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is still more popular than ever, there were new iterations of current product lines that boasted lighter, faster and higher resolution screens. But this year, headset accessories/peripherals were the most prevalent, with the aim to boost and enhance sensory feedback such as haptic devices and motion tracking hardware.
The gaming industry has a huge presence at CES and one good example is VR/AR, they should be credited for influencing the development of the hardware and software of this technology as it sells better as an high end consumer product aimed towards video games and movies than it does for industrial and enterprise use cases. But, to our benefit this technology has been integrated into many organisations day-to-day workflows.
VR has reached the mainstream, and this shows on the software side - the main gaming engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine provide easy development for the technology and make it very easy to get started. VR content is also more readily available with plenty of e-commerce websites selling models of almost anything. AR has gained a lot more traction this year with advancements in the hardware and software tech, and especially for industrial/enterprise grade systems. Training applications were very popular this year, teaching users in first person and guiding them through choreographed scenarios, with real life and real time object interaction.
Industrial Collaborations with UK Automotive
Throughout the week we spoke to many companies about the collaborations happening in the UK and we gave them an introduction to the opportunities that we have going on over here. The consensus was that most companies were thinking about taking their industrial strategies over here to take advantage of the tech industry that is expanding rapidly into automotive. As you can see there are a lot of exciting things to watch out for over the next coming months.
Keep an eye out!
-This blog was written by James Kirby. The post is intended for internal and external use-
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