For the primary time in its 54-year historical past, the world’s largest tech present — the Client Electronics Present (CES) — kicked off this week as an all-virtual occasion, cramming per week of keynotes, press conferences and over 1,000 exhibitor cubicles onto the screens of our laptops and from the consolation of our houses. 

As a recovering tech reporter, who for years traversed the soccer field-sized ballrooms in Las Vegas to take a look at the most recent and weirdest devices, I, for one, am glad to not be caught within the scene of lengthy taxi traces, awkward events and rampant consumerism. 

However digital or not, CES continues to focus on what a number of the largest tech and retail firms on the earth are prioritizing and constructing. And lately it has emerged as a spot for automotive and mobility firms to make bulletins, launch merchandise and get consideration. 2021 was no completely different in that respect. 

Listed here are 5 mobility tech themes from the present to control this yr:

Electrical supply: The largest mobility newsmaker from the present was Normal Motors, whose CEO, Mary Barra, delivered an hour-long keynote (try our record of 20 C-suite sustainability champions reminiscent of Barra). GM introduced it is launching a brand new enterprise unit referred to as BrightDrop that can search to affect the products supply market.

GM confirmed off photos of an electrical supply automobile referred to as the EV600, in addition to a pallet system referred to as the EP1. FedEx Categorical introduced will probably be the primary buyer of BrightDrop. It is going to be the primary firm to obtain the EV600s, which may have a 250-mile vary, can carry 200 kilos of payload and may have 23 cubic toes of cargo house.

GM’s logistics information comes amidst a large progress in e-commerce in the course of the pandemic. A few months in the past, Ford, too, introduced it plans to launch an electrical supply automobile referred to as the e-Transit, primarily based on its standard Transit business automobile. 

GM is making an enormous $27 billion push to affect its product traces. GM additionally confirmed off a brand new electrical Cadillac luxurious automobile and extra particulars about its next-gen battery know-how. 

After all, GM wasn’t the one automotive participant that emphasised the electrical transition at CES. Panasonic touted a brand new battery containing lower than 5 % cobalt that it is engaged on, whereas LG and auto elements maker Magna supplied extra particulars of their three way partnership to promote electrical automobile energy trains. Mercedes-Benz confirmed off a smooth curved automobile display that can debut in certainly one of its luxurious electrical autos. 

The state of autonomous: As a result of ever-present hype cycle and over-ambitious guarantees, autonomous autos have under-delivered on expectations. However make no mistake, they’re simply across the nook. The CEO of Mobileye (owned by Intel), Amnon Shashua, did a long-ranging interview concerning the state of AVs, predicting robotaxis would be the first business software for true AVs, adopted by client autos in 2025. 

The business sector is already tapping into autonomous tech for enterprise. Caterpillar highlighted at CES the way it’s utilizing autonomous autos in its mining autos on a mining web site to avoid wasting prospects’ time and money. 

Decarbonizing techniques: Sustainability would not essentially go hand-in-hand with an enormous conference hawking the most recent ephemeral devices. However auto elements firm Bosch used the digital CES to tout that the corporate has gone carbon-neutral this yr, and now plans to go carbon-neutral throughout its provide chain, a very harder process. GM, likewise, emphasised the local weather side of its electrification commitments.

Knowledge-driven consumer expertise design: CES has lengthy been the place for firms to emphasise their design and data-driven work on client expertise and customized experiences, whether or not that is in-vehicle techniques, gaming headsets or cell screens. Of explicit curiosity to Transport Weekly readers shall be that a handful of firms reminiscent of Mercedes-Benz, Panasonic Automotive, mapping firm HERE and Bosch additionally highlighted how information and design can be utilized to make the electrical automobile driving and charging expertise higher.

5G for related cities: The telcos at all times use CES to attempt to create buzz round their newest community investments. And a digital 2021 CES was no completely different. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg delivered a keynote that listed a collection of latest purposes and experiences that 5G might assist ship. One of the crucial attention-grabbing was elevated connectivity in cities that might result in issues reminiscent of lowered site visitors. In the meantime, UPS and Verizon introduced that the businesses are collaborating on testing drone supply utilizing 5G to a retirement group in Florida. 

Past mobility traits, CES touted two main belongings you’d count on in a pandemic. First, applied sciences that make being caught in your house simpler, extra enjoyable and extra snug. Suppose larger screens, residence robots, quicker WiFi. Second: instruments that may shield your well being, reminiscent of over-engineered related masks and air purifiers. 

Join Katie Fehrenbacher’s publication, Transport Weekly, at this hyperlink. Comply with her on Twitter.

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