CES 2021: Emerging and Disruptive Automotive Technology Highlights

CES 2021: Emerging and Disruptive Automotive Technology Highlights

Jeff Nichols, Vice President of Ricardo Strategic Consulting, gives his highlights from this year’s CES 2021 event with a focus on disruptive technology.


One of the key themes that caught my attention at CES 2021 was “Technology Evolution.”  It was exciting to hear across numerous panel discussions how business and innovation are changing with the pace of the technology evolution that is occurring. This is evidenced in vehicle design, communications, artificial intelligence, autonomy, connectivity, contactless goods delivery, improved electrified powertrains, rapid charging and new approaches to engage dealers in proactive partnerships bringing new excitement and dealer demand. 

Artificial Intelligence to leverage real-time data

The developments in AI to leverage real-time data in vehicle performance, dynamic driving attributes and operating environments enable engineers to harvest that empirical data in a real-time state with the ability to infuse gathered data directly into the design lifecycle. This evolution is a game-changer that provides vehicle manufacturers with the ability to integrate new technologies with validated digital twin confirmation for a continuum of design iterations and performance improvements, again all at an increasingly exponential pace.

Increased power-density for electrified powertrains

For electrified powertrains, power density is king. Numerous technological advances in power density with higher torque output, higher speeds and smaller design envelopes with integrated 3 and 1 motor gearbox and power electronics are solutions that provide numerous advantages for OEM’s. The citied improvements in non-rare earth materials and thermal energy management provide cost-effective and efficient solutions that open new opportunities for vehicle integration strategies. When you consider the emerging improvements in vehicle range and improved recharge times along with battery costs nearing parity with traditional ICE technologies, it becomes clear how this new era will disrupt current business and investment portfolios.

Disruptive Technologies in M&A

Disruptive technologies in M&A are rapidly dictating future growth strategies, altering pathways and positioning disrupted companies to become the disruptors. Disruptive technologies in M&A are considered to be strategic investments with defined focus on the new emergent and dominant technologies that will disrupt current business models and valuations. When properly executed, these deals yield the opportunity to deliver transformative business opportunities to the acquirer’s core business and redefine its future state. As the rate of innovation and emerging technologies exponentially accelerates, the ability to successfully undertake disruptive technologies in M&A will become critical to strategic execution and increasingly define companies’ agility and valuation to the market.

RSC is at the forefront of disruptive technologies for our PE and M&A clients

Ricardo Strategic Consulting (RSC) looks at how companies can seize innovation-led growth by systematically mapping scenario planning, technology roadmaps and acquisition partnership screening, with a precise understanding on the impact analysis toward the future landscape of their industry. RSC delivers advanced technical reconnaissance, engineering and business acumen in the emergent and disruptive technology space to define the “who and why” which is vital to all organizations as well as the savvy investors seeking to be at the forefront of the technology play.