Jan. 27, 2020

CES 2020 was full of surprises, from ‘impossible pork’ – the new techno-food craze – to a flying car from Uber and Hyundai, in addition to its usual menu of consumer gadgets, computing, entertainment and mobility innovations.

The consumer electronics event is important to cloud and electronics giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung. Google kept up with a large presence, although they ditched last year’s mini rollercoaster ride for giant slides from the second story of their massive booth.  Apple had an official presence for the first time in 28 years, but not to display or release any products, rather to deliver a standing room only keynote on privacy.  What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone, Apple reiterated.

Self driving car developer Waymo, owned by Google parent Alphabet, surprisingly didn't exhibit, but spoke at a dinner announcing that their vehicles have driven over 20 million miles on public roads.  "You need to have a lot of real world experience," Krafcik said at a dinner event hosted by Fortune Magazine. "There's no way to avoid
in automotive applications - 2x-3x below the vendor expectations. Taking new technologies to the market is often a marathon rather than a sprint. Vendor expectations for the market size in the next 3-5 years are always inflated, but the longer term (5-10 year) impact of new technologies is often underestimated. The latest report by LightCounting explains why adoption of LiDARs is likely to follow this trend.  The report is available here: http://lightcounting.com/products/market-for-lasers-used-in-3d-sensing-in-smartphones-and-automotive-lidar_50/

One of the biggest surprises at CES was Sony’s autonomous concept car, the Vision-S, which comes loaded with sensors for monitoring its passengers and surroundings, and a huge infotainment system – because if consumers are not driving, they will need to be entertained. Although Sony does not intend to start producing cars, the Japanese multinational electronics firm dominates the vision sensor market, so it could offer a complete sensor package to automakers. A total of 33 sensors are embedded in the vehicle, including in-cabin monitoring systems that detect the driver’s concentration and fatigue levels, and solid-state lidar sensors to map the environment in 3D.

Photo Credit: Sony Press


Sony is one of the latest companies to announce that it is developing lidar - a key component for autonomous driving, bouncing lasers off the surroundings to help the vehicle understand its environment. There was a large presence of lidar companies at CES 2020, displaying updated sensors, concept cars, and a variety of autonomous vehicles, from drones and food delivery carts to self-driving street sweepers and security robots. 

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