The annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas doesn’t immediately strike you as a place where truck makers would seek to show their wares but that is something that is happening to an increasing degree and we witnessed again recently for the 2020 CES.
In fact the truck industry may have found a comfortable place to sit at the CES even though it may have appeared a mismatch not that long ago.
The name of the show actually changed from the Consumer Electronics Show to just plain CES a couple of years ago, reflecting the growth of vehicle technologies that attracts around 170,000 to the Las Vegas show each year.
Many exhibitors at CES were focusing on “smart cities” — a vision where e-commerce, automation and electric technologies converge to create a connected and harmonious future.
Interestingly Sony pulled off a massive coup at CES, displaying a prototype Vision-S electric vehicle. While not developed for public sale, Sutherland shared his belief that if a company like Sony can build an entire electric vehicle without any leaks to the media, it should be a “signal this isn’t as complicated” as some may believe.
Paccar was the first truck maker to exhibit at CES showing up two years ago and this year as part of its display its Peterbilt brand showed its first electric refuse truck, while its sibling Kenworth showed a medium-duty electric model and a Level 4 autonomous T680 prime mover.
Component manufacturer, Dana, which is working with the Paccar brands to accelerate the development of electric trucks was at CES for the first time with its Dana’s director of product planning, Steve Slesinski, saying it felt like the perfect venue to showcase all that goes into a “rolling computer chassis.”
The hydrogen powered Nikola Two prime mover was a feature at the Ryder System exhibit with hundreds lining up to take a look at the revolutionary truck.
Electrification at this year’s event was clearly a major emphasis with everything from faster charging infrastructure to less expensive electric vehicle models with longer ranges.
CES is also still a show filled with the latest technology vehicle safety technologies from start-ups hoping to become the next big thing to long-established global brands.
German giant, Continental displayed its “transparent hood” technology, which uses multiple cameras to give drivers greater visibility of the ground view around them which has the potential to make a major impact on reducing vehicle damages while parking and in other vehicle operating environments.
Another company from the tyre industry, Bridgestone made its debut at CES this year showed its vision of the not too distant world, which includes air-free tyres that never go flat. Likewise and smart tyre technology that will be able to communicate with future autonomous vehicles to ensure the safety required in potential driverless situations.
Among the other automotive items at CES included three-way cameras to capture every moment in 360 degrees inside and outside of the vehicle, location technology able to pinpoint a location to emergency personnel within about a metre for faster response times, and a windscreen that can be used to stream entertainment and view trip navigation when the vehicle is shifted into autonomous mode.
Another interesting display was the use of “emotional recognition” technology that automatically changes indoor ambiance to match a driver’s mood.
Clearly with so much electronic technology in trucks these days the CES. Will be a place for makers and component suppliers to show off their tech for some time to come.