Road Ahead

Local companies show their high-tech hardware at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
Bosch Virtual Visor
Bosch, which has its U.S. headquarters in Farmington Hills, unveiled its Virtual Visor at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The transparent LCD visor shields the driver’s eyes from the sun. // Photo courtesy of Bosch

Ford Motor Co., FCA US, Continental, and Bosch traveled to Las Vegas for CES 2020 in early January to give the world a peek at the future.

Ford and Agility Robotics of Albany, N.Y., used the annual tech extravaganza to launch Digit, a robot with arms and legs that will assist commercial vehicle customers, including autonomous vehicle platforms, with everything from merchandise tracking to logistics.

“As online retailing continues to grow, we believe robots will help our commercial customers build stronger businesses by making deliveries more efficient and affordable,” says Ken Washington, vice president of Ford research and advanced engineering, and the automaker’s chief technology officer. “We learned a lot working with Agility; now we can accelerate our exploratory work with commercial Digit robots.”

Auburn Hills’ FCA showcased three plug-in hybrid electric Jeep vehicles at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Wrangler 4xe, Renegade 4xe, and Compass 4xe represent the first step in the brand’s plan to offer electrification options on all models by 2022.

Detroit’s General Motors Co. decided to skip CES 2020 after plans to showcase an autonomous electric vehicle were derailed by a 40-day United Auto Workers strike last fall.

Continental, a global automotive technology supplier with its North American headquarters and technical center in Auburn Hills, joined forces with German audio specialist Sennheiser to introduce an audio system for vehicle interiors, sans speakers. By merging Sennheiser’s Ambeo 3-D audio technology with Continental’s Ac2ated sound system, the offering selects certain interior elements to produce lifelike immersive sounds.

“Together, we’ve developed an audio system that creates premium sound out of nowhere,” says Helmut Matschi, a member of the executive board at Continental. “Additionally, Ac2ated Sound reduces space and weight. At Continental, we call this sustainability that’s music to your ears.”

Bosch, which has its U.S. headquarters in Farmington Hills, received a CES 2020 Innovation Award for its Virtual Visor, which replaces the traditional vehicle sun visor with a transparent LCD screen that shields a driver’s eyes from the sun. The rest of the visor remains transparent, to improve visibility. Bosch also showcased a 3-D technology that generates images and warning signals on a vehicle display without the need for an eye-tracking device or 3-D glasses.

The mobility supplier also brought its IoT Shuttle, which is the company’s vision for the future of mobility, to CES 2020. The concept vehicle incorporates a complete ecosystem of networked mobility services as well as solutions for car manufacturers and mobility service providers who wish to use autonomous shuttles to offer on-demand mobility.