Startup Launchpad April 2017 Tradeshow & Conference: Day 1

It’s been an incredible first day at Startup Launchpad’s April 2017 Tradeshow and conference. Visitors and buyers filled the aisles of Startup Launchpad, eager to see what its more than 200 exhibitors had to offer in newest hardware. There was a buzzing hum of excitement filling the air as visitors talked about the product they’d seen and startups showed off the innovative features of their hard-developed hardware.

There were 3D printers methodically issuing out full-sized replica eagles, a dental detector scanning over visitors’ teeth for tell-tale signs of cavities, smart wearable metronomes pulsing and shining to the beat and that’s just scratching the surface. Buyers from major companies including The Source sat in Startup Launchpad’s Buyer Corner to hammer out deals and potential product customization with startups.

In the morning, things got started with a bang with the product unveiling of Besiter’s new King Power 5000 mAh Graphene Power Bank that can charge devices in 15 minutes.

Startup Launchpad followed that up by selecting exhibitors for its Best Exhibitor Awards. Stop by their booths tomorrow and see what makes them excellent.

Best Design
ACE Communications Limited (Booth 11S23)
défiderm (Booth 11R08)
Glance Tech (Booth 11R24)

Best Technology
UFACTORY (Booth 11R28)
Beijing Tiertime Technology Co. (Booth 11R20)
Atomo (Booth 11Q24)

Best Problem Solver
Temari Inc. (Booth 11T29)
Xiamen Roopto Technology Co. (Booth 11T43)
VAGO (Booth 11S19)

Startup Launchpad then kicked off its conference, offering a powerhouse group from the autonomous vehicle sector, with the Hong Kong Consumer Electronics Alliance Founding President Francis Fong, Audi Managing Director Rene Koneberg, Uber Hong Kong General Manager Kenneth She, Shenzhen Valley Ventures CEO Chad Xu and Senior Manager of Communications Technologies for Hong Kong ASTRI Billy Chan.

Koneberg talked about the current development of autonomous vehicles and Audi’s current work on creating fully autonomous cars.

Automated technology, he said, is already present and active through mining, platooning and public transportation so autonomous cars are a natural progression.

He discussed how America with its wide roads, moderate speeds and highly regulated traffic made it ideal for autonomous vehicle testing. Europe, he said, had good traffic regulation, higher speeds and slightly more navigationally-complex infrastructure. China has poorer infrastructure, highly variable traffic and lower average speed, posing the greatest challenge to test and adapt autonomous vehicle systems to. China is also waiting on what happens with autonomous vehicles in the United States and Europe, he said.

Though China’s environment presents the biggest challenge for autonomous vehicles, Koneberg said Audi’s data showed China buyers were the most enthusiastic about autonomous vehicles. Consumers there said they would purchase an autonomous car at a significantly higher rate than buyers in America or Europe. Chinese consumers also said they preferred robot taxis compared to buying an autonomous vehicle, while there was little difference for American and European consumers between buying an autonomous car or riding in an autonomous taxi.

Audi has reached level 1 and level 2 vehicle autonomy and has implemented level 3. He said through partnerships with six groups including internet companies (Google, Apple, Uber, Baidu and LeEcho), OEMs (Voltswagen and in-house development), tech players (Safran, IBM, Thales and Zoox), map companies (TomTom and here), suppliers (Continental, Valeo, Delphi, Magna, ibeo, Bosch, TRW and Mobileve) and semiconductor companies (Intel, Qualcomm and Osram) Audi will be able to create an ecosystem for development and achieve level five autonomy.

Two areas Audi is working with governments on for its driverless cars is regulation and liability, Koneberg said. Somewhere between 2017 and 2020, Audi would have to implement a black box in autonomous vehicles similar to flight black boxes where all the data would be stored in case of an accident, he said.

Koneberg said Audi will release level 3 technology into its production cloud this year. His presentation also showed a timeline that differed from previous public Audi projections that the company would offer an autonomous vehicle to the public in 2020. His presentation timeline stated Audi would aim for Exit2Exit in approximately 2020, City pilot in approximately 2025 and develop fully automated driving by 2025 or later.

Uber Hong Kong General Manager Kenneth She said his organization is focusing on helping fix transportation issues, emphasizing that Uber is not a car manufacturer but a transportation solution. She said Uber would provide that solution by prioritizing big data.

Uber wants to complement and improve public transportation through its Uber Movement initiative, providing local governments anonymous Uber trip data, She said. Uber plans to work with local governments to improve transportation policy planning and better preserve infrastructure through traffic management, ride pooling and other means.

“We’re saving the roads to ensure longer road use,” She said. “We help cities reduce pollution and congestion.”

Autonomous vehicles would play a large part in the transportation improvement effort, he said. He provided estimates that shared self-driving cars would reduce the number of vehicles on the road by 90 percent. He depicted how Uber envisions the future autonomous vehicles in its fleet will operate, with back seat control screens that document and show passengers the entire journey, allowing them to take control if necessary.

Decreasing millennial car ownership will only continue to spur the growth of ride-sharing services, She said. He cited statistics saying that while today ride hailing accounts for 4 percent of all miles drive globally, by 2030 it will represent 25 percent.

The main topic of the conference’s panel revolved around autonomous vehicle safety, ethics and liability, with many of the panelists saying that ambiguity still looms around these issues and that many companies are still trying to come up with definitive methods for dealing with these complex legal and ethical issues. She reflected on the idea of creating a scale of liability that clearly defines liability based on autonomy levels and features enabled in the vehicle so consumers understand that capabilities and limitations of the technology and act accordingly.

It was an event-filled and thought-provoking start to a fantastic trade show. Tomorrow we’ll be having product unveilings, buyer corners and be discussing medical technology with experts during our conference. Of course, our more than 200 exhibitors will also be showing off their hardware as well.

If you don’t have a ticket yet, there’s still time to get in on the action of the Startup Launchpad Tradeshow. Get one now.

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