Transportation-tech-innovation spotting at CES 2020

CES 2020 is over and done with and we are excited to highlight some of the most innovative transportation technology we saw at the show.

Did you catch all the excitement of CES 2020 in Las Vegas earlier this month? We had a whirlwind of a time, meeting with transportation- and mobility-focused organizations and taking in all the related mobility technology showcases. Now that we’re back in the office, we thought we’d share three of our most-anticipated, futuristic technology innovations:

  • The 180 mph flying taxi
  • The super intelligent self-driving vehicle features of Sony, Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and Bosch
  • The 5G network is coming in 2020, finally

The 180 mph flying taxi

Imagine using an app to call in a giant drone that could seat you and three friends and quickly fly you from one end of the city to the other. That’s exactly the concept that Uber and Hyundai revealed: an all-electric, eventually pilot-free flying taxi.

They say the first prototype will be ready in just three years, but other experts say this is an aggressive timeline.

Of course, they have a few obstacles to overcome before we see these taxis flying above our neighborhoods, including:

  • Battery development that has good range
  • Real-world testing
  • Autonomous software development
  • FAA regulations
  • Viable revenue model (that’s one area Arity’s mobility data and insights can help!)

Read more about Uber and Hyundai‘s lofty ambitions at CNN Business.

The super intelligent self-driving vehicle features of Sony, Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and Bosch

You’re thinking, sure, Mercedes, Audi, and BMW, but also Sony and Bosch? That piqued our interest, too!

Turns out that Sony and Bosch are both very interested in showcasing their automotive technology innovations, while the three auto manufacturers are envisioning the ideal personal transportation vehicle when the future is autonomous. Futuristic is exactly what we thought when we saw them, complete with VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and AI (artificial intelligence) features.

Let’s start with Mercedes-Benz’s concept car, called Vision AVTR because its design aesthetics were inspired by the movie Avatar. From what we can tell, the idea is that the driver becomes more closely “one” with the vehicle so that the machine can respond more intuitively.

You can read all about AVTR at Business Insider, but a few of the highlights are a steering control unit that resembles a mouse tracker more than a steering wheel, tires that can turn sideways for lateral movement, and a set of “bionic flaps,” that help with vehicle-environment-driver communication.

Audi’s concept car was all about reimagining what the interior commuting experience could be like if the car drove itself. Think of spa-like comfort where you barely have to lift a finger; eye-tracking technology senses what you’re after. What’s more, there’s no more staring out at endless traffic; you can don a pair of virtual reality goggles to see a completely different environment as if you’re driving along a sparkling ocean.

BMW’s concept car (or rather, a concept cockpit) is also intended for autonomous driving and is also focused on luxury, with reclining sofa-like seats and windows that dim for privacy. BMW is interested in entertaining (or educating) you with minimal effort; its technology can read your facial expressions and provide additional information about what you’re looking at out the window.

Sony’s auto technology, no surprise, was focused on entertainment as well as safety through sensors that can detect objects and people both inside and outside the vehicle. They call it Sony Vision-S.

In the end, Bosch won CES’s Best of Innovation award for technology that keeps the sun out of your eyes, even if you are driving right toward it. We can only imagine the number of accidents that it could help prevent, not to mention avoiding the discomfort of squinting, watery eyes.

The 5G network is coming in 2020, finally

According to Qualcomm, 5G is already here in the new smartphones we’re buying; it’s just a matter of getting the global network fully connected to support it. And they are optimistic, saying that this year the network will start to be implemented and in only three years’ time, more than 1 billion connections will exist.

What does this have to do with transportation, you might ask? Everything. With faster connections, we’ll have more opportunities for innovative apps and products that leverage those connections to provide a more robust, relevant, and timely experience for you as a commuter.

Imagine that the technology in your home can sense when you’re almost home and automatically turn on the lights, music, and temperature to your liking. Or imagine having even more current data about the transportation options (and costs) available to you, moment by moment, no matter where you are?

We expect 5G to help the world of mobility become more efficient and convenient for businesses and consumers alike.

What’s next for transportation tech?

To sum up, it appears that OEMs and the technology companies that support them are fully expecting autonomous vehicles to be a reality sooner than we might think, and are dreaming, researching, and planning accordingly. And the most critical tech components to keep an eye on? Safety features and how data is being collected and used to improve the transportation experience.

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Arity is a mobility data and analytics company. We provide data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, enabling them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical.