CES 2020 Self-Driving and Autonomous Vehicle Announcements

CES 2020 is turning into somewhat of an automotive show these days as the technology in cars becomes more sophisticated and advanced, particularly with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Self-Driving and autonomous technologies (see SAE Self-Driving Levels for more).

Last year, it became clear that autonomous self-driving cars are further out than most expected so in 2020 automotive technology suppliers are changing their message to focus on the “here and now” ADAS systems and safety systems with a seamless upgrade path to autonomous full self-driving in the future.

This year at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we’ve seen a slew of announcements around ADAS and self-driving technology. Here are some of the highlights:

Mobileye at CES 2020: Camera-Only Self-Driving Demo

Mobileye, an Intel company, has long been a leading supplier of ADAS and self-driving technology for automotive manufacturers. They are particularly known for their technology around vision and perception systems, most famously supplying Tesla with their first Autopilot system (called AP1) back in 2014. Since then Tesla has parted ways with Mobileye and has developed its own self-driving technology. However, Tesla and Mobileye still share one thing in common, their belief that self-driving cars can run solely on cameras versus relying also on LiDAR, as most other self-driving companies, such as Waymo do today (see Cameras vs LiDAR for Self-Driving Cars).

At CES 2020, Intel released a video showing a test drive in Jerusalem, where Mobileye is based.

CES 2020 LiDAR Announcements

While Mobileye and Tesla are demonstrating how well cameras can handle self-driving, there are still plenty of companies (and investors) betting that LiDAR will be a critical sensor input.

Innovusion Falcon LiDAR
Innovusion Falcon LiDAR

Among the LiDAR announcements at 2020 CES, Bosch said they were getting into the LiDAR game as well as drone-maker DJI via their company called Livox. Livox is making a LiDAR that scans the environment in a flower-like pattern rather than the standard horizontal scans, that they claim produces faster, more accurate results. Innovusion is releasing what claims to be its “most advanced LiDAR system,” the Falcon, which it claims will surpass the capabilities of the human eye (although that’s somewhat to be expected, frankly).

Probably the biggest (or smallest!) news was from Velodyne, the granddaddy LiDAR systems. Velodyne announced a $100 LiDAR, called the Velodyne Velabit that can be used for drone and specific automotive applications.

Velodyne Velabit $100 LiDAR
Velodyne Velabit LiDAR

That said, the specs are a bit more limited than higher-end LiDAR unit with a range of only 100 meters and are more narrow Field of View. So for automotive applications, it will primarily be used for things like Cross-Traffic Detection, Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety.

Qualcomm – Enters the Self-Driving Race with Snapdragon Ride

For years, Qualcomm has poked fun at rivals chasing the self-driving market, but now Qualcomm has introduced a ADAS and full self-driving technology stack called Snapdragon Ride to compete with the likes of NVIDIA and Intel’s Mobileye.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Ride
Qualcomm Snapdragon Ride

There are three components to Snapdragon Ride: the Snapdragon Ride Safety system-on-a-chip, the Snapdragon Ride Safety Accelerator and the Snapdragon Ride Autonomous Stack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsbnXxcRQSE

The system is meant to power both ADAS and safety system and work all the way up to Level 4 or 5 driving. It’s also meant to be relatively low power and air-cooled.

BMW – i Interaction Ease & Urban Suite

BMW showcased a self-driving concept at CES 2020, awkwardly called the i Interaction Ease in addition to their Urban Suite concept, both of which were meant to showcase BMW’s design thinking in terms of autonomous vehicle and self-driving interiors. Read more about it here.

BMW Urban Suite CES 2020 Concept
BMW Urban Suite CES 2020 Concept

2020 promises to be an interesting year, not only for autonomous self-driving vehicles but also for electric vehicles as well. While Elon Musk has said he expects Tesla to achieve and launch autonomous Full Self-Driving in 2020 (see Tesla Autonomy Day), we’re less convinced but excited to see how quickly the technology develops.

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