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CES 2022: GM Aims for First Delivery of Personal Autonomous Vehicle by Mid-Decade

American automobile manufacturer gunning to be first to market with personal autonomous vehicle.

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GM CEO Mary Barra

LAS VEGAS, January 5, 2022 – Historic vehicle manufacturer General Motors is gunning to be the first company to market for personal autonomous vehicles, with a goal of delivering the first one of its kind by the middle of this decade, its CEO said Wednesday.

“We are working to be the fastest to market with a retail personal autonomous vehicle,” Mary Barra said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “In fact, we aim to deliver our first personal autonomous vehicle as soon as the middle of this decade.”

GM touted its Cruise subsidiary, a self-driving company based in San Francisco, as the mechanism that will drive its vision. The company introduced a range of vehicles Wednesday that utilizes both driver-assist technology – where the car can drive itself but requires the driver behind the wheel – and driverless technology. It noted its commercial relationships with a flex of its partnerships with Walmart and FedEx on vehicles with advanced technologies and teased luxury prototypes of vehicles with fully autonomous features and a focus on comfort.

Barra said the company hopes to not only corner the commercial and individual market, but the rideshare and delivery spaces as well – which could disrupt an industry (Uber and Lyft) that itself disrupted another (taxis).

“We expect that Cruise will be the first to enable large-scale commercial autonomous experience for both ride-share and delivery, and we are looking further down the road at opportunities to extend fully autonomous vehicle technology to personal transportation,” Barra said.

“We believe GM and Cruise have the technology, expertise and scale to capture both the advanced driver-assist and driverless AV market opportunities before anyone else.”

The automobile industry is quickly moving toward electric vehicles and adapting to a new environment where Teslas, which already can do many driving functions by itself, are the norm.

What’s left to ponder is the external circumstances surrounding acceptance of fully autonomous cars, once thought to be many more years away from conception. Those circumstances include public trust in the vehicles and, more critically, regulatory hurdles that such a market faces to convince lawmakers of its acceptability.

Assistant Editor Ahmad Hathout has spent the last half-decade reporting on the Canadian telecommunications and media industries for leading publications. He started the scoop-driven news site downup.io to make Canadian telecom news more accessible and digestible. Follow him on Twitter @ackmet

Innovation

CES 2022: Next Generation of TVs Have Application for Remote Learning, Promoters Say

The new television broadcasting standard brings faster speeds and more opportunities for connecting tele-services.

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ATSC president Madeleine Noland

LAS VEGAS, January 20, 2022 – The next generation of television uses a combination of over-the-air broadcasting and internet broadcasting, which could serve as an opportunity for remote learning, the Consumer Electronics Show heard earlier this month.

ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGen TV, is said to offer 4K high-definition video quality, better sound, more personalized broadcasts, advertisements, and interactive capabilities by combining over-the-air broadcasting with a home internet connection, according to its promoters.

But it also could be used as a vehicle to deliver learning materials.

Madeleine Noland, president of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, from which the technology gets its name, said NextGen TVs will enable greater distance learning during school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve learned that broadcast is the most efficient way to get a lot of information to a lot of people. It’s highly scalable,” she said. “Folks solving distance learning problems learned that all information, classes, lectures, and videos could be broadcast. After its broadcast, we can use mom’s cellphone to send the data back.”

Noland said families can take advantage of the opportunity to use the technology in the wake of the pandemic

The discussion about NextGen TV’s features were part of a larger conversation about the future of television and its role in our society during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The television [can be] a portal to social engagement,” said Noland. “In the future we’ll see televisions helping to improve the quality of life,” especially in areas of health and wellness, she added.

Latest technology will need demand for broadcaster adoption

Currently, the only way to get 4K HDR content is through streaming services such as Disney+ and Netflix. The new ATSC standard establishes a new technical framework for how TV signals are created, broadcast, and received.

To deploy the new standard, TV manufacturers work with broadcasters to ensure that the technology can be deployed widely to audiences across the U.S. Although manufacturers have increased their adoption of ATSC 3.0, manufacturers must be able to create demand from consumers for broadcasters to begin using the technology, the conference heard. Consumer technology companies Sony, Samsung, LG, and Hisense announced the implementation of the new TV standard across their TV product lines at CES.

Right now, ATSC 3.0 reaches nearly half of all American viewers, with stations in 46 U.S. markets are offering next generation TV service using ATSC 3.0.

ATSC said in a press release during CES 2022 that the consumer television industry is projected to ship 4.5 million NextGen TV products equipped with ATSC 3.0 this year. The Consumer Technology Association said that 2021 sales of NextGen TV tripled their original forecast: manufacturers shipped 3 million NextGen TV products last year.

ATSC president Madeleine Noland told CES 2022 participants how NextGen TV will upgrade the television experience. “You’re familiar with the emergency notifications that rolls across the screen?” she asked. “It’s going to go even deeper. [Next Gen TV] will show where the evacuation centers are and tell people what to do––it will be available over the air.”

The NextGen TV will also personalize ads based on viewer’s interests, where previously this was limited to internet and online video viewers. “When a consumer doesn’t want an ad, they can be shown something else instead of the one they’re shown, but it would be shown over the internet,” Noland added.

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Innovation

ITIF’s Atkinson Urges Strategic Policies for U.S. Technological Superiority

Panelists argued that the federal government needs to institute policies for growth in strategic technology industries.

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Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

WASHINGTON, January 12, 2022 — Panelists on an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation event warned Tuesday about China’s rise as a technological superpower that requires the U.S. to step up or get usurped.

Rob Atkinson, president of the ITIF said as other countries like China advance in technology, America becomes more susceptible to falling behind. What’s required, he said, are policies that make space for adequate production and innovation for key industries, like chip manufacturing, inside the country.  “Policymakers need to accept that while market forces should continue to guide non-strategic industries, for strategic industries government needs explicit sector-based strategies implemented through industry-led public-private partnerships,” according to a January 3 article by Atkinson on the ITIF website.

Past are the days that the federal government focused almost solely on defense and weapons and now is the time for it to focus on leading in sectors including drones, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, energy storage systems, lasers, optical equipment, space technology, machine tools, shipbuilding, and advanced wireless systems. The article notes the Senate did pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which provides money for technology research over five years, but it now awaits House votes.

Atkinson’s thesis became a point of discussion at an ITIF event on Tuesday.

“We need to make sure these industries are competitive,” said Mike Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit under the Department of Defense. “The US is in the position to have breakthroughs in technology that are going to allow prosperity both economically as well as national security.

“China is using all instruments of national power to allocate capital, determine what industries are strategic and replace us as the technology superpower,” said Brown.

When Erica Fuchs, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested possible collaboration between America’s technology industry and China’s, Atkinson said he was “skeptical of the fact that we ever learn much from China. I think it’s 95% the other way.”

A majority of the panelists agreed that China aims to displace America in the race to technological advancements, and that there will be consequences if they do. “If China does displace us, our standard of living is going down,” Brown said.

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Innovation

CES 2022: More Multi-Dwelling Units Adopting Smart Home Devices

The smart home industry is seeing continued growth, smart home experts said.

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Samantha Fein Osborne, vice president of businesses development for Samsung’s SmartThings

LAS VEGAS, January 11, 2022 — A smart home analyst said at the Consumer Electronics Show last week that more families living in multi-dwelling units are increasingly purchasing smart home devices, providing a boost to connectivity devices.

“Old trends are continuing,” said Parks Associates analyst Chris White. “Single family home residents own more smart home devices, but MDUs are more likely to buy.”

The top reason for this shift in consumer behavior is falling prices, White said. White presented data from his firm showing that the average price of networked cameras, smart thermostats, and smart door locks have sharply declined between 2017 and 2020.

To facilitate wider adoption of smart devices, companies employ strategies such as including “value-tier” and “premium-tier” devices across their product portfolio and, in the case of home monitoring, offering professional monitoring across all product lines.

“We need to have a bigger range of smart home devices,” added Samantha Fein Osborne, vice president of businesses development for Samsung’s SmartThings. “You can buy a smart device for $9 and $300. We need to run the gamut because the real priority is personalization and choice,” she said.

Companies should also think about ways to connect their products with critical services that customers use every day, the conference heard.

Blake Miller, founder of Homebase.ai, said that its important to connect residents with critical services in the community with technology. Homebase.ai offers a “connected building solution” for multifamily housing, enabling apartment buildings the ability to offer smart access control, community Wi-Fi, device automation, and internet-connected appliances.

“We work with Walmart to do remote grocery delivery,” Miller said. “It provides value to the resident and to the property owner,” he said.

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