Autonomous Vehicles, New Mobility & the Built Environment Electric Vehicles Smart Cities Technology Wireless

Through the Air or On the Ground, CES2019 had Mobility Covered

ViodiTV's summary video on some of the mobility activities at CES2019.
CES 2019 Mobility

Whether by air, road, bike lane, hallway or virtually, via wireless, CES2019 had all aspects of mobility covered. Starting with wireless, announcements of so-called “5G” were everywhere. Wireless carriers are racing ahead of standards and chipset compatibility to establish beachheads in markets served by traditional wireline networks, such as cable and fiber providers.

Of course, connecting IoT devices to artificial intelligence to create so-called smart cities is another opportunity for all communications’ networks. Although probably not a must-have, the promise of higher bandwidth and the low-latency of 5G will be a boon those with remote tele-operations for autonomous vehicles.

And, although some recent developments and public attitude suggest we are in a period of deflated expectations for autonomous vehicles, start-ups and established companies continue to work on the building blocks that are critical to technological and operational success.

Automated sensor washing.
Demonstration of automated sensor washing.

Demonstrations from established companies, often in partnership with start-ups, are addressing the mundane, but important issues like automatic cleaning of cameras and other sensors so that ice and dirt do not obstruct their electronic vision. AdaSky’s demonstration of its thermal imaging sensor system was particularly impressive.¹

Communications between autonomous vehicles and people; whether they are pedestrians, other drivers, or bicyclists is critical and many entities are addressing the challenge as seen in multiple demonstrations. The most critical communications for autonomous vehicles to understand might be the subtle audio and visual cues humans expect.

These cues go beyond actual driving and include the passenger experience, as demonstrated by Kia’s Real-Time Emotion Adaptive Driving System (READ). Similarly, Ford discussed the testing they have done in Miami to help them understand how people want to interact with the driverless delivery vehicles they are planning on rolling out by 2021. Multiple companies showed screens, which could provide destination information, as well as personalized advertisements.

Mobile meeting rooms one minute - passenger car the next.
Mobile meeting rooms one minute – passenger car the next.

Although regulations may not be ready for different seat configurations, such as face-to-face with a card table or meeting room configuration, designers are exploring what might be and how vehicles might be dynamically configured for multiple purposes.

There are companies focusing on cybersecurity and protecting a vehicle’s communications and computing system, while others, such as Regulus, focus on the physical aspects of sensor spoofing through the detection of anomalies. Thanks to Cognata, the AV industry can test their vehicles in the cloud, before ever having to hit the real road.

There were a number of players with end-to-end systems demonstrating shared mobility services that tie to existing transit systems, with the aim of improving the efficiency of existing roadways. Some of these systems are looking holistically at how they combine other forms of last-mile transit, such as scooters, to improve mobility.

Scooters and other personal electric vehicles were everywhere, and it is clear from the various form factors, that both the sharing services and traditional manufacturers are making refinements based on the rapid uptake from 2018. The amazing thing is that scooter share wasn’t even on the roadmap a year ago.

The third-dimension, air taxi vision that Bell presented at CES2019.
The third-dimension, air taxi vision that Bell presented at CES2019.

And finally, by the mid-20s we may start to see the third dimension unlocked as an affordable means of intra-city and regional transportation. Known for its military and other helicopters, Bell showed a full-scale, 150-mile range, Air Taxi that aims to provide an affordable transportation alternative to the clogged roadways that are the bane of the modern metropolis.

Targeted for volume production to reduce its purchase price and centered around an electric drivetrain to provide competitive operating costs and featuring motor redundancy for safety, what Bell demonstrated at CES is reflective of the many changes in mobility that will have an even bigger impact on the way we live in 2030 and beyond. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series.

¹This sentence was modifed for purposes of clarity.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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