A brief recap: L-band Corrections and Self-Racing Cars
We embarked on CES with a full docket of activities, events, and meetings. If you weren’t at the conference – or even if you were – here’s a brief recap of our experience:
- Point One was invited to preview (Sign up for Early Access!) delivery of corrections over satellite at the STMicroelectronics demo area. We snapped a pic of our team mates at the ST Booth:
- The Indy Autonomous Challenge selected us to provide corrections for the Autonomous Indy Car race on Thursday night of CES week. Twelve international teams of students, racing autonomously at 180+ MPH, used Point One RTK to navigate the track. If you’d like to see footage of the race, catch the full video on IAC’s website. Here’s a photo of the cars all lined up ready for the race:
- Our team showed up in force! We conducted countless client meetings and engaged in meaningful conversations and interactions. We’re beyond excited for a large array of consumer apps to grow, equipped with our technology.
Having attended the CES conference before COVID-19 impacted global events, I thought I knew exactly what to expect. The crowds, the innovative tech, and absurdly large TVs were all a given. But there were a few surprises. Some things had changed. Here are my six big surprises from CES 2024.
Innovation starts at the bottom, with engineers (and student engineers)
Many of us are used to CES being the place where companies like LG, Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung showcase new TVs, video games, and consumer electronics.
After spending a week with students hacking self-driving cars and walking an exhibition floor full of robotics companies and engineers trying to solve incredibly hard, complex problems, it became clear that big leaps in innovation are continuing to happen at the grassroots level. Being able to support the next generation of engineers in building autonomy is perfectly in line with Point One’s mission.
The robotics exhibition floor was full of automated lawnmowers (Mammotion), home devices, and even strollers (Gluxkind) from mid-sized and small companies. Even though we all want the new Apple goggles, there are a host of companies making solutions to real-world, everyday problems. Garage innovation is live and well!
A new era of platforms is making innovation possible
One of the stats I heard was that building an eCommerce website in the early 90s would cost $1M+. Now you can do the same with off-the-shelf platforms for a few hundred dollars.
Yes, the old adage “hardware is hard” is still true. There are still integration challenges, development lifecycles, and the unpredictability of “real-world” conditions, but we are starting to see the importance of platforms that support real-world (non-virtual) impact. And these platforms are relatively affordable compared to their predecessors.
Whether they are reaching for the Polaris RTK Network, mass market GNSS chipsets, or generative AI, the product-creator for hardware and electronics products has more tools in their toolbox than ever before. Often at a cost that is vastly reduced from even 5 years ago.
Precision location is at the center of many future applications/markets
Walking the show floor and talking with product creators, it was clear that future applications are thinking critically about how to provide precision location and navigation. Some examples we heard:
- Last-mile delivery services that could save millions of dollars by getting their trucks 3 steps closer to each door.
- Autonomous delivery robots that more accurately solve how to navigate city streets and residential neighborhoods
- Grass-mowing robots who need to know exactly where they can and can’t cut blades of grass
- Bicycle tracking companies that provide coaching services based on the rider’s location, pose, and attitude…
- Tractors that can intelligently spray fertilizer and obliterate weeds by knowing where the seeds are planted.
…And countless others. It’s clear that precision location is providing critical innovations today that will continue to tomorrow.
We seriously need to figure out this indoor location thing…
Within 3 cm, Point One excels at telling you where you are outdoors. The number of times at CES that I got lost on a confusing casino floor or in a massive exhibition area was in the 100s. It was incredibly easy to get turned around in such a massive demo space.
I would have gladly paid to just have my phone tell me exactly where to go indoors.
CES isn’t just about Consumer Tech
Caterpillar, John Deere, and Hyundai Construction all had booths on the show floor with demos of autonomous earth movers and tractors.
It became clear when walking this part of the floor that CES was less about the “next” thing in consumer tech and more a conference focused on painting a vision for the future. The vision looks to be more automated, intelligent, and location-aware than ever before.
A sea of humanity, with a few robots
Crowds have definitely returned to CES! I’d be very surprised if 2024 didn’t set record attendance for the conference. Every show floor, booth, party, and demo was packed with people. Business travel and events are on a clear upswing from the previous few years.
Speaking of the business side – it was refreshing to see so many humans excited about their technology. Business is still being done through compelling conversations, relationships, and handshakes. While the robots might be walking/driving amongst us, that human element is still the driving force.