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Automotive Electronics Take Center Stage at CES 2024

Visitors attending CES in Las Vegas will find that in terms of technology, the event attracts more stars than an Oscar party in Hollywood. The downside perhaps is that the halls are very big and very crowded: Getting from one end to the other and from one venue to another can take quite a long time.

Consider that the show is being held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the convention center’s South Hall, The Venetian Expo, and the ARIA Resort & Casino. If that isn’t enough add in the fact that pre-show events are taking place at the Mandalay Bay convention center.

Regarding automotive-related exhibits, there will be more than 250 exhibitors from the world of automotive tech, including self-driving, electric vehicles, and personal mobility.

And while some companies seem to have meetings and press conferences just to boast about themselves, others will have good, solid, and interesting engineering stories to tell. Below, presented in alphabetical order, is some of what’s new and notable in auto electronics emanating from CES.

AMD Versal AI Edge XA SoCs

AMD revealed its newest chips for the automotive market: a processor and an FPGA with Arm cores and AI accelerators. The Versal AI Edge XA adaptive SoCs pack a complement of AI engines alongside the FPGA, specifically four Arm processor cores: two Cortex-A72s and two Cortex-R5s.

The Versal AI Edge series is said to deliver high-performance, low-latency AI inference for intelligence in automated driving. More than just AI, the Versal AI Edge series accelerates the whole application from sensor to AI to real-time control, all with high levels of safety and security standards to meet critical safety requirements such as ISO 26262 and IEC 61508.

As an adaptive compute acceleration platform, the Versal AI Edge series enables developers to rapidly evolve their sensor-fusion and AI algorithms while leveraging this scalable device portfolio for diverse performance and power profiles from edge to endpoint.

Though AMD also targets infotainment with its Ryzen processor family, it hopes to sell automakers the Versal FPGAs’ ability to power systems. Potential applications include forward-looking cameras, in-cabin monitoring, LiDAR, 4D radar, surround-view, parking, and autonomous-driving functionality.

The new chips are slated to start rolling out early this year, with Tesla—a long-time AMD partner—among the first to adopt the technology.

Ansys AVxcelerate Sensors for NVIDIA DRIVE Sim

In Q1 2024, Ansys’s AVxcelerate Sensors will be accessible within NVIDIA DRIVE Sim. DRIVE Sim is a scenario-based autonomous-vehicle (AV) simulator powered by NVIDIA Omniverse, a platform for developing Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD) applications.

Ansys will augment NVIDIA DRIVE Sim’s scenario generation capabilities to enhance advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and AV perception development with predictively accurate physics solvers for camera, LiDAR, radar, and thermal camera sensors.

The integration will give users access to high-fidelity sensor simulation outputs generated with Ansys AVxcelerate Sensors for the training and validation of perception ADAS/AV systems.

By harnessing the power of this integrated solution, NVIDIA DRIVE Sim users with an AVxcelerate Sensors license will be able to develop, train, test, and validate the performance of AV perception systems while saving time and cost. The platform harnesses NVIDIA’s high-performance GPU capabilities and AI, powering rapid prototyping and efficient algorithm refinement of AVs.

BMW Next-Gen Intelligent Personal Assistant

Since the introduction of the first BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant in 2018, language interaction has been an essential part of BMW iDrive. Today, the voice assistant gives customers control over many vehicle functions so that they can keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Leveraging Amazon’s Alexa Custom Assistant—a solution that’s based on Alexa technology and enables companies to create their own customized voice assistant—the next generation of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will soon be in more vehicles over the course of the year via BMW Operating System 9. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant uses generative AI that’s powered by the Alexa LLM (large language model).

At CES, visitors can experience how the voice assistant provides quick instructions and answers about vehicle functions in a much more human, conversation-like manner.

CarUX Privacy Tech and InvisiView Displays

CarUX, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Innolux, aims to establish a new benchmark for automotive interior products to embrace the trends and developments of security, practicality, and recreation of smart cockpits. Emphasizing the core concept of “More than Display, and Far Beyond,” CarUX will showcase a new privacy technology and InvisiView hidden displays. 

The company released the “55-inch Local Dimming Automotive Display,” claimed to be the world’s first display equipped with Active Privacy View technology. It prevents hazards caused by distracted drivers while providing audiovisual entertainment to front seat passengers. The display features an 8K high-resolution screen with an active screen cooling system, improving the audiovisual entertainment quality for long-distance driving.

The company’s “InvisiView” product concept showcases the integration of a display and automotive interior decor since it only presents images and information when interacting with users. It aims to achieve a hidden display effect and eliminate the coldness of a pure black screen, thereby enhancing in-car aesthetic design and user experience quality.

CarUX’s 12.3-inch Woodoo Hidden Display incorporates real veneers integrated into automotive interiors, enabling the display to be concealed behind the veneers. In addition, people can enjoy the wood grain decoration when the screen isn’t in use, thus elevating the diversity, visual comfort, aesthetics, and expressiveness of cockpit interior designs.

The company will debut its Moveable Display with a screen that can be rotated 90 degrees and adjusted either horizontally or vertically within three seconds. It aims to fulfill in-car users’ needs to adjust the screen to different angles, elevating the dynamic customization of in-car spaces.

Embracing the development trends of smart cockpits and vehicle-to-everything (V2X), CarUX will show its 12.3-inch Reflective PHUD with smart cockpit concepts. The main vehicle information, including speed, time, entertainment, and navigation, as well as images, are projected on the dashboard or front windshield. Thus, drivers don’t have to look down, they can just look straight as usual when driving.

By utilizing Innolux’s microLED COB (chip on board), CarUX developed the “Pixiu 3 premium.” This display is said to feature advantages such as high brightness, high contrast ratio, rapid response, and high color saturation, which increase automotive display visibility under sunlight. It also offers reduced power consumption.

Hyundai Mobis: Mobility and Display Technologies En Masse

Hyundai Mobis will present 20 new mobility technologies that are ready for immediate mass production. The Innovative Display series will be the focus of the Mobis exhibition. The company will present its display technologies for automobiles, such as the world’s first in-vehicle rollable display and swivel display, as well as its Quantum Dot and Local Dimming Display (QL) and a 3D display that features OLED-level performance in an LCD format.

A transparent display for automobiles will debut during the exhibition. This product employs holographic optical element technology. The display can realize the projection of clear images on a transparent panel while providing drivers with a wider sense of space and openness than that of general displays.

Transparent displays enable images to be magnified on the front windshield. Thus, drivers can check various display information without shifting their gaze too much, increasing the level of safety. Company estimates indicate significant demand from global car manufacturers, creating high expectations for the display’s future technological development and mass production.

At the center of electric driving is the Mobis 22-kW-class ICCU, which Mobis will present along with its battery system (BSA). ICCU, a key element for electric-vehicle charging and driving, is a power-conversion system integrating elements such as DC/AC charging devices and communication equipment. The higher the output, the better the charging speed and efficiency.

If the 22 kW-class ICCU is installed in an EV with the same specifications, the vehicle’s charging time is said to be reduced by half when compared to that of an 11 kW-class ICCU. Moreover, the 22-kW-class ICCU is closely related to vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

Intrepid Control Systems neoVI CONNECT Edge-Connect Platform

To help vehicle OEMs affordably and quickly connect their vehicles to the cloud and capture real-world data in software-defined vehicles and ADAS/autonomous systems, Intrepid Control Systems will introduce its new neoVI CONNECT edge connect platform.

Enabling data capture for fleet management, testing, and validation with edge computation, remote diagnostics, and over-the-air (OTA) software updates, this technology provides a solution for low-volume series production, saving future production costs.

The neoVI CONNECT platform lets users manage fleets, create an electronic-control-unit (ECU) simulator, develop a gateway solution, test vehicles, and capture data with an all-in-one, production-ready device. The company said it’s engineered to meet or exceed OEM series production ECU requirements for electromagnetic capability, environmental durability, and reliability. It’s housed in an IP67 enclosure using automotive connection systems with compact packaging, allowing for permanent vehicle installation.

Designed for ease of client integration, the neoVI CONNECT platform is centered around silicon from AMD and runs Intrepid’s Wireless neoVI (WIVI) cloud client software. Targeting cloud-based vehicle testing and development, WIVI provides big data analysis and dashboards. To enable this end-to-end solution, Intrepid is a partner of both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Verizon.

Keysight Emulation Solutions

Over 200 EV models are introduced every year globally, and many EV standards exist or are in development around the world to address different needs and applications. In turn, testing all combinations is simply impractical in the real world.

Emulation in the lab is one—and some say the only—way to validate and ensure interoperability of EVs and charging stations. At CES, Keysight will demonstrate several use cases, to show how emulation solutions can enable the future of EVs.

With Keysight’s Battery Cell Test system, engineers can push the efficiency of each cell to develop higher-capacity and higher-density batteries. Keysight experts will be on hand to discuss how to analyze new cell chemistries, optimize cell designs, and adapt to evolving configurations to support the entire R&D process.

The growing demand for electric vehicles is increasing the need for more efficient EV battery development and testing. Keysight’s Battery Pack Test System is designed to address this issue and accelerate the development and validation of battery packs.

Used in combination with Keysight’s cell, module, and BMS test systems, engineers can streamline the testing process throughout the workflow. Keysight will be discussing battery cell, module, pack, and BMS test challenges, and demonstrate how its solutions provide higher efficiency with a smaller footprint to help minimize operating costs.

Keysight’s Charging Discovery System (CDS) is a complete solution for all EV and EV supply equipment (EVSE) charging interfaces. Engineers can test the full range of EV and EVSE standards with in-lab emulation, ensuring worldwide standards are met. This ensures conformance and interoperability to drive future growth and innovation. Keysight will also discuss how its solutions enable AC-DC charging at higher power and help validate V2G communications and power transfer.

Being able to streamline lab operations is essential to make electric vehicles more cost-competitive. Engineers are seeking to produce EV batteries in mass by efficiently managing workflows, while at the same time ensuring compliance. This means quicker analysis of data and statistics and the ability to automate documentation and tasks to free up critical time and improve speed.

Keysight will discuss how its PathWave Lab Operations software enables engineers to streamline workflows and improve time-to-market with efficient planning and coordination of the entire battery test laboratory.

LG Transparent Antenna and Large Displays

LG Electronics (LG) will unveil its transparent antenna for automobiles at CES 2024. LG’s transparent film-type antenna, which is applied directly to vehicle glass, was designed in collaboration with French glass manufacturer Saint-Gobain Sekurit.

Designed for compatibility with various types of glass and vehicle designs, LG’s transparent antenna will be available as an on-glass or in-glass solution. The broad surface application of the film-type antenna assures reliable telecommunications performance and provides scalability to handle increased network traffic. LG’s latest telematics innovation offers improved connectivity with support for 5G, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), and Wi-Fi.

The transparent antenna can be integrated in car windshields or glass sunroofs. This means vehicle manufacturers don’t have to make any design concessions when developing new models as it removes the need for the kind of housing typically required to accommodate conventional antennas.

The film-type antenna features more than 80 of LG’s patented innovations, including the design capability to make antenna patterns transparent as well as transparent electrode technology.

LG will also showcase various large-sized automotive display solutions that completely cover the vehicle’s dashboard. They leverage different technologies such as P-OLED, Advanced Thin OLED (ATO), and LTPS (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon) LCD.

The high-resolution P-OLED features a flexible plastic substrate for a lightweight and flexible panel. ATO, on the other hand, utilizes glass substrates to offer the core strength of automotive OLED at a more competitive price point. In addition, LTPS LCD is a high-performance panel that enables larger and higher-resolution displays compared to existing LCDs.

What’s more, LG will introduce its safety enhancement solution, “Switchable Privacy Mode (SPM),” which automatically adjusts the display’s viewing angle away from the driver’s line of sight to keep their eyes focused on the road. When active, content such as movies or games being displayed on the front passenger’s side is diverted away from the driver’s side so that only the passenger can watch it.

Furthermore, the company will present solutions that offer new driving experiences while maximizing space efficiency within the limited confines of a vehicle. Thes include slidable and foldable OLEDs installed in the back of seats that can be hidden away or extended for use on demand.

Marelli Software-Defined Interior

Marelli will feature its Software-Defined Interior experience at CES 2024. The software-defined interior experience is built on the company’s zonal architecture, in which fixed analog interfaces are replaced by displays where content can evolve over time.

It comprises a central computing unit powered by the latest-generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platform and supports up to four zone control units (ZCUs). The interior incorporates digital displays in place of analog interfaces, with content that can be personalized by the vehicle owner, leveraging artificial intelligence.

Marelli’s Software-Defined Interior includes one of the first automotive applications of an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, a movable display developed by Marelli with the support of BOE and its subsidiary BOE Varitronix Limited.

A holographic displays hosts Marelli’s Virtual Assistant, a human-machine interface that acts as an in-vehicle co-pilot, creating a unique driving experience and transforming the interaction between the car and its occupants.

Marelli’s Software-Defined Interior also features the context-aware mobility experience (CAMEX) solution, powered by AI. It enables an interaction with the vehicle through the analysis of the entire environment, both within and around the car.

Leveraging Eyeris’ in-cabin monocular 3D sensing AI, including a depth-aware driver monitoring system (DMS) and occupant monitoring system (OMS), CAMEX analyzes a user’s face, body and hands in three-dimensional space to understand complex behaviors and discern subtle moods. It then adapts vehicle settings and functionalities accordingly, as well as prompts interactions with the Virtual Assistant.

The vehicle’s external environment also assumes an active role in shaping the driving experience, from adjusting the A/C to cool down the driver according to their taste on a warm summer day, to suggesting a detour for a pit stop at their favorite restaurant. 

The interior integrates Marelli’s software-defined audio platform, powered by the company’s centralized architecture. This approach decouples the audio amplifier into the that of the ZCU, enabling a more flexible and efficient audio system. With the ability to drive up to 16 speakers, the system supports a wide range of audio customization options.

Moreover, Marelli’s new sound zoning will allow the driver to transform the car into his/her own personal conference room. An optimized background noise cancellation system will effectively isolate the speaker’s voice from any background noise, including music being played, enabling clear and uninterrupted on-speaker calls even with passengers not participating in the call.

Mercedes-Benz MBUX Virtual Assistant and More

At CES 2024, Mercedes-Benz will preview the next major step toward its vision. The world’s biggest consumer electronics show provides the perfect backdrop for the MBUX Virtual Assistant. It takes the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant into a whole new visual dimension with high-resolution game-engine graphics from Unity.

This AI-powered feature combines the intelligent systems of MBUX into a single entity and presents an expressive new face to the customer with natural interaction. Running on the in-house developed Mercedes-Benz Operating System, MB.OS, the MBUX Virtual Assistant headlines several digital innovations to be presented.

For example, the Concept CLA Class celebrates its North American premiere at CES 2024. Based on the MMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture) and MB.OS, it offers close-to-production insight into the future family of four vehicles. Visitors will get a taste of the electric future with the North American premiere of the camouflaged prototype of the electric G-Class.

onsemi Power Integrated Modules

Nine new EliteSiC power integrated modules (PIMs) from onsemi enable bidirectional charging capabilities for DC fast EV chargers and energy storage systems (ESS). According to the company, the silicon-carbide-based solutions will improve system cost with higher efficiency and simpler cooling mechanisms that can reduce size by up to 40% and weight by up to 52% compared to traditional silicon-based IGBT solutions.

With more compact, lighter charging platforms, designers will have the building blocks needed to quickly deploy a reliable, efficient, and scalable network of DC fast chargers that can charge EV batteries up to 80% in as little as 15 minutes.

In the U.S., the availability of EV chargers needs to quadruple by 2025 and 8X by the end of the decade to keep up with demand and ensure drivers have equitable access to public charging stations. In turn, this rapid increase in demand for electricity will put a tremendous strain on current electrical grids, potentially overloading them.

To mitigate this problem, bidirectional charging has emerged as a key solution to implement vehicle-to-grid. It allows for both regular battery charging and the ability to use an EV as an ESS to power a home when needed.

The portfolio of PIMs from onsemi addresses the key topologies on the market. This gives designers the flexibility to pick the right PIM for power-conversion stages in their DC fast charging or ESS applications. To accelerate the design cycle, advanced piecewise linear electrical circuit simulation (PLECS) models through onsemi’s Self-Service PLECS model generator and application simulation will also be made available to designers.

In addition to its reliability, this module portfolio is said to offer the following benefits:

Uses the Gen3 M3S SiC MOSFET technology, which is claimed to offer the lowest switching losses and highest efficiency in the industry.

Supports key topologies such as multi-level T-type neutral point clamp (TNPC), half-bridge, and full-bridge topologies.

Supports scalable output power from 25 to 100 kW, enabling multiple DC fast-charging and ESS platforms including bidirectional charging.

Industry-standard F1 and F2 packages with the option of pre-applied thermal interface material (TIM) and press-fit pins.

Enables optimal thermal management, avoiding system failure due to overheating.

Full SiC modules offer energy conservation by minimizing power losses, directly translating to cost and energy savings.

SolutionAIR Emission-Free Air Combustion Engine

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is bringing 70 Dutch startups and scaleups to Las Vegas. SolutionAIR is a technology that can convert an existing engine into a high-pressure air combustion engine that uses no fossil fuels and produces zero emissions.

In the Netherlands alone, all cars, vans, and trucks may be destroyed over the next 10 years for the simple reason that they can’t be converted from liquid fuel to electric or hydrogen engines. This product is based on preserving the engine and converting it to emission-free operation.

Engines that run on LNG can be converted in the same way. The air bottles used have an air pressure of 600-800 atmospheres. By using the existing engines with retention of the gearbox behind it, the company says it can guarantee there will not be any loss of torque. A car or van can be recharged in four minutes at gas stations.

This can be achieved because SolutionAIR filling stations will have high-pressure air bottles with 1,000 atm while the tank in the vehicles for the high-pressure air motor is at 700 atm.

STRADVISION 3D Perception Network

Anchoring STRADVISION’s presentation at CES is the unveiling of its next-generation approach, the “3D Perception Network,” which is said to amplify the role of the camera in ADAS and autonomous friving (AD). It offers a comprehensive solution spanning perception to planning.

Driven by increased deep learning and reduced post-processing, STRADVISION’S 3D Perception Network approach is said to enable a 30% decrease in Arm resource usage. This innovation ensures flexibility for expansion across various SoC platforms, adapting to diverse hardware landscapes.

According to the company, implementation of the 3D Perception Network also significantly reduces post-processing code complexity by 50%, streamlining integration and maintenance processes.

Equipped solely with a camera, it’s said to rival LiDAR capabilities. What’s more, this approach is claimed to reduce detection errors by 10% and boost detection stability by 30%.

VinFast All-Electric SUV and Electric Bike

Underpinned by the message “Venture Beyond,” VinFast will introduce its new EV concept and mini eSUV VF 3 model, as well as the DrgnFly electric bike.

Its all-electric VF 9 full-size SUV, which incorporates a new streaming service into the vehicle, will provide CES 2024 attendees with a firsthand in-car experience of the new technology. VinFast’s electric bikes will also be available for test drives.

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