Self-driving vehicles and emissions-free powertrains were hot topics during news conferences Monday at the start of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Major automakers and industry suppliers are touting their technology and know-how at the massive tech conference. While the announcements appeared subdued compared with moonshot predictions in past years, companies made clear that the autonomous future is now.
Here are some of the notable announcements from the first day of CES:
Toyota Motor Corp. shared its multifaceted approach to autonomous driving, detailing how Toyota Guardian and Toyota Chauffer will, in the automaker’s words, transform it from an auto company to a mobility company. Chauffer is Toyota’s fully autonomous system, while Guardian leaves much of the driving up to the driver, only making small adjustments when needed for safety. For example, if a potential collision is detected, Guardian takes over the vehicle’s steering to get the car out of harm’s way before putting control back in the driver’s hands. Its Guardian for All program wants to bring the system to every vehicle on the road, whether it’s manufactured by Toyota or not.
The automaker also shared statistics regarding its electric vehicles, saying that 60 percent of electrified vehicles – including hybrids – on the road carry either a Toyota or Lexus badge. By the year 2030, it hopes to sell 5.5 million such vehicles globally, including 1 million zero-emission vehicles.
Hyundai outlined a new concept called Style Set Free, a program that allows consumers to treat their vehicle as they would a living space. The automaker equated the process to organizing one’s smartphone to their liking or decorating their living room. For autonomous vehicles, upgrades could consist of movable seats that when not in drive mode can face in any direction within the car. Users would access the Style Set Free system via a smartphone or a brick and mortar resource center where they could see digital representations of how each upgrade would look on their vehicle. Hyundai also detailed its plans to become the global leader in connected cars. Also, the automaker plans on making all amassed vehicle data public.
Automotive supplier Bosch laid out its vision of the future of mobility, projecting that digital mobility services will become a $160 billion industry by 2022. Bosch purchased the ride-hailing startup SPLT in 2018. Together they will conduct a pilot program to transport the elderly in rural parts of Michigan. Bosch is also beginning a pilot project with Daimler in San Jose, Calif., to test a fully automated, driverless ride-hailing service later this year.
Many companies attempted to establish their roles as leaders in the movement toward self-driving technology. Auto supplier Continental AG noted that it has sold 80 million sensors required for autonomous driving since 2012 and is projecting strong growth moving forward. The company also announced that Chinese truck maker FAW will use its telematics services and outlined its 5G software program that will allow vehicle-to-everything communication, or V2X. Continental touted its agreement with commercial braking and technology supplier Bendix and said it is working on innovative last-mile delivery services that could include robots.
China is leading the demand for autonomous and electrified vehicles, said Jacques Aschenbroich, chief executive of auto supplier Valeo. The company has focused efforts to deliver to that market and it has contributed to more than $1 billion in sales of Valeo products that contain artificial intelligence, Aschenbroich said. The company will release a second-generation LiDar next year with an improved field of view and said its third-gen version will be compact solid-state. Valeo has partnerships with Mobileye for sensors and Wabco for commercial vehicles. It also introduced a 48-volt battery that can power an autonomous, emission-free vehicle at up to 62 mph or 93 miles of total range.
Editor’s note: Trucks.com staff writer Rick Stella contributed to this report.