CES 2022 showed a clear commitment to electrification, and the launch of several new mid-level and mass-market EV models indicate that EVs are finally entering the automotive mainstream.
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Vehicle Tech at CES 2022
Instead of disruptive technology announcements, the focus of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 was the consolidation and realization of the industry's key trends: electrification, connectivity, and automation. Carmakers presented the evolution on their path to electrification and autonomous driving along with a strong belief that personalization and continuous update and delivery of services and functionalities Over-the-Air (OTA) via software-defined platforms is the best strategy to monetize connected vehicles. In order to achieve the latter, they are investing in in-house software development and launching open end-to-end platforms. Meanwhile, semiconductor and Tier One suppliers presented the evolution of their solutions into powerful and consolidated software-defined electrical/electronic architectures capable of accommodating next-generation vehicle tech and ongoing updates. The underlying message of CES this year is a common understanding that semiconductors and software are the central elements of the undergoing transformation of the automotive industry.
- GM remains committed to its plan to achieve leadership in Electric Vehicle (EV) market share in the US. The company launched several EV models at competitive prices, such as the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV starting at US$39,900, the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV SUV starting at US$30,000, and the 2013 Chevrolet Blazer EV SUV, and plan to offer thirty new EVs globally by 2025.
- Stellantis, a laggard in the electrification race, announced plans to launch close to fifty low emission models across its fourteen brands in Europe and North America by 2025. The company expects that by 2030, low emission vehicles will constitute 70% of its European sales and 40% of its US sales. The use of 'low emission' instead of electric vehicles is probably a result of Stellantis' CEO’s skepticism about EV technology due to EV's battery manufacturing carbon footprint.
- BMW unveiled iX Flow with E Ink technology, capable of changing the vehicle's external color from black to white at the touch of a button. Apart from personalization, it contributes to EV battery efficiency by using darker tones to absorb more warmth on cooler days and lighter tones on sunny days to reflect light preventing overheating.
- Sony revealed Sony Mobility, a new mobility division that will bring the prototype Vision-S models to market, illustrating the lower barriers to entry into the EV market.
- Connected Vehicles:
- Stellantis announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver its new software-defined cabin platform, STLA SmartCockpit, launching globally in 2024. With the premise that most of its vehicles will be fully OTA updatable by 2024 and an installed base of 34 million connected vehicles by 2030, Stellantis is targeting a 4 billion euros annual revenue by 2026 and 20 billion by 2030 generated by software-enabled product offerings and subscriptions. Lastly, Stallentis will co-launch the Agile-auto Software and Data Academy with AWS to grow its software capabilities and speed up development.
- GM's Silverado EV will debut the company's end-to-end vehicle software platform Ultifi, which enables the delivery of updates, features, apps, performance enhancement, and services OTA.
- Cinemo unveiled Infotainment to Go, a full cloud-based In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI)-as-a-Service that decouples infotainment from the vehicle, reducing hardware costs and shortening development time. Because the system is hosted in the cloud, it can be updated without requiring hardware upgrades, and carmakers can provide users with the same personalized experience in different vehicles.
- BMW unveiled the Theatre Screen, a 31.3-inch rear-seat display featuring Amazon Fire TV with a resolution of up to 8k.
- Android Automotive OS (AAOS) announced deeper integration with vehicle settings, such as activating Advanced Driver Assistant System (ADAS) features through Google Assistant. YouTube will be added to the AAOS ecosystem, and third-party navigation and charging apps will be available at the Google Store.
- Qualcomm announced new deals for its Snapdragon Cockpit platform, including Volvo, Honda, and Renault EVs. Renault plans a more comprehensive adoption of Qualcomm's Digital Chassis, including vehicle connectivity, car-to-cloud, and the Ride platform.
- GM confirmed that Ultra Cruise will go on production in 2023 and will be the first deployment of Qualcomm's Snapdragon Ride platform in a production vehicle, another win for Qualcomm in the ADAS/Autonomous Vehicle (AV) space after the announced a partnership with BMW in November 2021.
- Qualcomm announced a competing solution to Mobileye's SuperVision, the Snapdragon Ride Vision System. It consists of an open and modular vision platform that combines the company's Ride System on a Chip (SoC) with the vision perception software stack from Arriver. It scales from entry-level New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) front-camera to advanced surround-view camera applications. It is OTA upgradeable and capable of object detection, surround view, parking, driving monitoring, and localization via map crowdsourcing.
- Mobileye introduced EyeQ Ultra, a single package purpose-built for end-to-end AV-on-chip super-computer costing below US$1,000. Together with the company's software-defined imaging radar and forward-facing LiDAR, Mobileye now offers a game-changing L4 compute and sensors system that costs below US$5,000, making L4 automation possible in the consumer market earlier than expected. The company also announced EyeQ 6 High and Light for next-gen ADAS applications and how VW and Ford use Road Experience Management (REM) to enhance ADAS and autonomous vehicle capabilities.
CES 2022 showed a clear commitment to electrification, and the launch of several new mid-level and mass-market EV models indicate that EVs are finally entering the automotive mainstream. There were also significant advancements in vehicle automation. Announcements of robust yet cost-efficient ADAS and Autonomous Driving chipset and sensor solutions from Mobileye, Qualcomm, NXP, and TI illustrate that next-generation ADAS, L2, and L2+ automation will gain higher traction in the coming years. Moreover, with the addition of the Snapdragon Ride Vision System to its ADAS/AV portfolio, Qualcomm is becoming a solid competitor to established players such as Mobileye and NVIDIA.
To better accommodate electrification and automation's computing power, data processing, and power distribution requirements, the traditional vehicle architecture is being replaced with consolidated and powerful electrical/electronic architectures. Because of a more established business case, carmakers are starting this architecture transformation in the cockpit/infotainment domain. Following the steps initiated by Tesla, traditional Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are shifting their connected vehicle monetization strategy from connectivity subscriptions with little value-added to the delivery of updates, upgrades, apps, new services, and functionalities OTA.
Ownership of the vehicle experience is paramount to achieving that, which is why even volume carmakers are developing their own end-to-end software-defined platforms (e.g., Ultifi and STLA SmartCockpit). With the adoption of software-defined domains or zonal architectures in the future, these platforms can be further extended to allow the purchase of AV functionalities or EV performance enhancement OTA. Stellantis's ambitious forecast confirms OEMs' belief that OTA revenues will become a significant revenue stream until the end of this decade.