Senior leaders at Rogers Corp. regularly blog for employees on topics like technology trends, safety, and leadership. This month we’d like to share our CTO’s trip to CES, the interesting technologies and trends that caught his eye, and how they relate to the value we deliver to our customers.
By Bob Daigle, Sr. VP and Chief Technology Officer, Rogers Corp.
I just attended the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). A record number of people (160,000) were in attendance. As you might imagine, it was very crowded! What I saw there makes me even more enthusiastic about Rogers’ future. The latest technologies that we enable are emerging at a faster pace than expected and we are well-positioned to capitalize on this growth.
It was apparent that the e-Mobility revolution is gaining momentum. Most major automotive producers had a significant presence at the show and were proudly displaying electric vehicles and self-driving car technology.
Several of the major automakers are now committing to introduce self-driving cars within 3-4 years. Audi announced plans to introduce their first self-driving vehicle in 2020. Ford is targeting 2021. Faraday Futures, an electric vehicle start-up, introduced their first production vehicle at the CES show and stated that it will have self-driving capabilities. Cars have become a high end “Consumer Electronic Device.”
Think about what self-driving cars could mean over the next 10 years. Will your car be able to drop the kids off at school and pick them up from soccer practice? Will you fly less because you can sleep in the car while it takes you to a distant city overnight? Will your young kids or grandchildren bother to learn to drive?
The potential benefits of self-driving cars go well beyond convenience. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has stated that over 200 million miles have been driven in self-driving mode (as shown in this Tesla self-driving car video). The safety data suggests that self-driving cars are already twice as safe as human-driven cars. And, you’d expect the technology will get even better as factors causing the collisions that do occur are analyzed and addressed with engineering improvements.
I believe the day will come when the risk of collisions is low enough to allow safety systems like airbags and heavy structural supports designed to protect passengers in collisions to be eliminated. This means cars will be much lighter so electric vehicles will have much longer range and be even more environmentally friendly. It will also mean that the appearance of cars can be highly customized because there won’t be a need to do crash testing for every new design.
One company at CES had full-sized car bodies on display that were 3D printed. Someday, you’ll be able to change the look and feel of the car you’re ordering at a kiosk.
5G and IoT
Another theme from CES was that 5G and other technologies that will support the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming a reality faster than people might have thought a few years back. Ericsson had a great 5G demonstration streaming live high definition video at the show. Integrated circuit makers like Qualcomm have already developed 5G chipsets, years sooner than expected.
It was also apparent that the industry is gearing up rapidly to provide higher speed solutions like WiGig for the home that will allow seamless streaming of ultrahigh definition video wirelessly between devices like your DVD player and your television.
Powering, Protecting, Connecting
What does this all mean for Rogers? Our focus on providing enabling Connectivity and eMobility solutions positions us very well to capitalize on these rapidly emerging opportunities. For eMobility applications like self-driving cars, our circuit materials are used in the vast majority of radar sensors. For eMobility applications like electric vehicles, our curamik® substrates are used in power modules, our ROLINX® busbars are used for battery and power invertor interconnects, and our PORON® urethanes and BISCO® silicone foams are used to seal and protect battery packs, and reduce noise and vibration. For 5G and WiGig systems critical to the Internet of Things (IoT), Rogers provides market leading circuit material solutions.
Technologies showcased at CES this year will revolutionize how we travel and communicate in ways we can only begin to imagine!