CES Roundup 2024: Maps, Fleets, Auto, Location Devices…

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LAS VEGAS—Overture Maps Foundation Executive Director Marc Prioleau said at CES that the organization’s main assumption is that the base layers of a map should be open and shared.  “There still is going to be a ton of growth in map data, but all that growth right now is at the top end—let’s share it,” he said.  “As map base layers open up, so do market opportunities.”

Prioleau said that even Overture’s naysayers never say it’s a bad idea.  “They say it’s a great idea and realize it is super hard to do,” he said.  “But our reasoning is if you have a great team, why should you do the easy stuff?  We understand that some people say that they do map data and that’s their secret sauce and it is proprietary.”

Such larger foundation members as TomTom [TOM2] AWS AMZN -0.28%↓Microsoft MSFT -0.02%↓ and Meta META 1.23%↑ usually set the direction for the organization, with smaller companies on topic task forces, Prioleau said.  This week, Overture released its Overture 2024-01-17-alpha.0, which adds geopolitical boundary information and expansion of GERS IDs across several themes.

Prioleau said that in the old days of mapping, companies drove around in vehicles to detail and survey different areas.  “They believed that the best maps were the ones that had the most people surveying.  Now, it is the map that gets used the most,” he said.

In other CES map news, what3words added several new auto OEMs in the past year—and had their location features added to existing partners, said Giles Rhys Jones, company chief marketing officer.

“Our partnership with Subaru features great offline capability and voice instructions that do not require data connection.  You just say, ‘what3words,’ and off you go,” he said.

what3words integrated into Subaru cockpit (Photo: Kevin Dennehy).

One of the growing areas for the company is the technology’s use for emergency services, Rhys Jones said.  “Nearly every single state uses what3words for emergency services.  Recently, a person in Illinois got lost and couldn’t describe the area he was in to 911 operators.  He just said the three words he was located and emergency services found him.”

Rhys Jones said that state parks are using what3words on their park signage.  In addition, the large delivery companies are using the map service.

“If you want your package delivered to a certain area such as a front door step or back door, it can be printed on the delivery label to be placed where you want it,” he said.

What3words also is expanding their relationship with HERE Technologies for car navigation and for “broader use,” Rhys Jones said. 

For individual and asset tracking, Singapore-based Tack rolled out its Tack GPS Plus, which features indoor and outdoor tracking services.  Some applications include tracking people, goods and assets, including vulnerable patients and family members, said Justin Zhang, Tack co-founder and CEO.

Tack CEO Justin Zhang with Tack GPS Plus (Photo: Kevin Dennehy).

“This independent tracker doesn’t rely on a cell phone to work.  It also has a 30-day battery life, he said.  “We are the first to introduce indoor elevation tracking.”

In other CES news:

  • Ridecell, which displayed its Fleet Transportation Cloud technology, is transforming from a mobility company to a fleet company, said Jason Walton, Ridecell director of product marketing.  “We were in mobility, but our focus now is on these big fleets with so much data and systems—they need to bring it together,” he said.  “An example is when a vehicle needs to be picked up and delivered [to a rental car agency], we know it hits the lot via GPS, but then we send an automated message to the pickup company.  Before, it was a hit-or-miss phone call or email, now the message is an automated task.  Companies also will know if the vehicle was not picked up in a timely manner.”
  • Sheeva.AI has announced the launch of a global API to make it easier for automakers and Tier 1 suppliers to integrate the firm’s SheevaConnect in-vehicle services and payments product suite. The company said having a global API gateway means that automakers, with multi-brand footprint in different regions, can go from a pilot project with one brand to an accelerated rollout of Sheeva.AI-enabled connected services and payments.
  • Quectel Wireless Solutions and Morse Micro announced that the Quectel FGH100M Wi-Fi HaLow module has received CE certification for Europe and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification for the US. The company also said it achieved certification of CC660D-LS—for use by Skylo on its network.
  • Bridgestone highlighted products for fleets.  The company displayed its Fleet Care product suite, which includes GPS tracking, video telematics, driver behavior management, accident reduction solutions, route optimization and asset utilization tools. The company also launched EV Services Platform for fleets.
  • MyRadar launched “Powered by MyRadar” to enable developers to integrate weather and environmental data into organizations’ apps and software solutions.
  • LG Electronics held a private demonstration for automakers at CES to introduce a cross-domain platform integrating Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), Automated Driving (AD) and In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) technologies.

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