CES 2020 did not disappoint if you were looking for IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), and almost any connected technologies you could only dream about and perhaps a few you might have never imagined. Toyota announced Woven City, a sort of “living laboratory” at the foot of Japan’s Mt. Fuji that will focus on developing and testing technologies in the realms of robotics, autonomous vehicles, smart construction and manufacturing, and smart homes. There were folding computers, like Intel’s Horseshoe Bend device, a new EV (electric vehicle) in the form of Fisker’s Ocean, and there was even the announcement that plant-based food company Impossible Foods would start making plant-based pork. If you missed the event, here is a more in-depth look at some overall trends and a few more of the highlights.
Overall trends included smart transportation, encompassing autonomous vehicle technologies and EVs, as well as intelligent transportation and V2X (vehicle-to-everything) connectivity platforms. One thought-provoking unveiling in this arena was actually from Sony. Sony shocked many by showing off its Vision-S, an all-electric prototype car that’s meant to prove that many of Sony’s technologies, including sensors and, of course, touchscreen displays could contribute to and enhance the next generation of connected vehicles.
Panasonic demonstrated its CIRRUS intelligent transportation system again. It also showed off electric compact utility vehicles and other smart mobility solutions that also showcase how mobility and transportation contribute to smart cities. Panasonic contributed to another overarching CES trend, smart living spaces, by exhibiting HomeX and its advanced analytics and learning algorithms, as well as a unique security system called HomeHawk FLOOR.
5G was prevalent this year at the show, but it was refreshing to see some companies talking about 5G in the context of anything other than smartphones. For instance, Samsung had part of its 5G booth dedicated to phones and the other part showcasing V2X technologies. Qualcomm announced a 5G PC. Unlike the unbridled enthusiasm companies have shown about 5G during past technology shows, though, there seemed to be a little bit of hype fatigue on the subject. That said, many companies still did come on strong with 5G messaging.
Smart factories, robots, and cobots were also prevalent at CES this year. Smart Robots, a CES 2020 Innovation Award Honoree, was there, demonstrating a “robotic colleague” that could be used to support operators in a smart factory. The cobot’s goals include performing quality control functions and achieving intelligent collaboration between humans and machines.
In fact, many interesting robots stole the show, so to speak. Tombot is an electronic puppy that serves as an emotional support device. The robotic animal features interactive sensors, the ability to respond to voice commands, and over-the-air software updates, as well as a companion app. A “cat waiter” robot called BellaBot was one of three intelligent delivery robots debuted at CES from Chinese tech company PuduTech. Charmin made people laugh and scratch their heads, while also getting them to think about the possibilities of robots and their place in future society with its RollBot, a robot that can bring you toilet paper when you’re stuck on the john.
Perhaps most intriguing in the realm of AI was the unveiling of Samsung’s Neon, an AI technology with use cases ranging from customer service to providing simple companionship. These “artificial beings” look and act like real humans, and the demonstration was both captivating and a little bewildering. Samsung says its next step is adding intelligence and learning to its unique tech.
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