Shawn Dubravac: What’s New in Tech


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Editor’s Note: IPC Chief Economist Shawn Dubravac will deliver a keynote address titled “What's New in Tech: The Micro Trends Defining the Future of Electronics,” at noon Jan. 23. Advance/separate registration required if luncheon is not included in registration package.

Technology is playing an ever-expanding role in every industry, from agriculture and healthcare to transportation. Each year, new concepts, prototypes, and product introductions are redefining what we know and expanding our imaginations about what's possible. How we experience the next decade as well as how we live, work, and play over time will be undeniably linked to technology developments. These innovations also have important implications for the future of electronics manufacturing.

Here are a few areas to watch.

Innovation in Sustainable Materials
As the world grapples with issues like climate change, consumers and manufacturers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce environmental impact. This has led to a focus on fostering innovation in sustainable materials, renewable energy sources, and recyclable components. One example is CarbonX, a new carbon material composed of nano-sized carbon filaments that could help tire makers meet the increasing demand for sustainability.

Technology will play a pivotal role in this transformation and one sector set to see tremendous change is the auto industry. Numerous auto manufacturers are adding electric vehicles to their offerings, with some planning to shift their entire production to EVs in the years ahead. Jaguar plans to be all-electric by 2025, Alfa Romeo by 2027, and Mercedes, Lexus, Rolls-Royce, Volvo, Audi, and Cadillac have all committed to be exclusively electric by 2030.

In the coming years we will see new EV models, but this transformation extends well beyond just the vehicles being driven. The entire charging infrastructure is undergoing a massive change and that is having an impact on urban landscapes and garages everywhere. EV infrastructure companies are working to differentiate their offerings, develop new markets, and introduce new business models. We are seeing improved user interfaces, faster-charging capabilities, greater connectivity, improved ease of use and installation, and the ability to work directly with the electric grid on smart grid applications like vehicle-to-grid technology that enables EVs to charge during off-peak hours and even sell back to the grid during peak hours.

The Prevalence of Autonomous Vehicles
Automation is increasingly prevalent in every industry. Autonomous vehicles are taking on diverse forms. Last year GM introduced its InnerSpace Autonomous concept vehicle, a two-passenger luxury all-electric autonomous vehicle. Hyundai Heavy Industries demonstrated an autonomous boat, equipped with depth sensors, cameras, and AI, then announced it would be working to employ the technology in larger merchant ships. Autonomous Formula 1 race cars set new records as part of the Indy Autonomous Challenge.

Robots are showing up in a variety of places. Delivery robots like those from Ottonomy are automating last-mile delivery. Pittsburgh International Airport recently announced a pilot project with fully autonomous delivery robots, offering passengers a contactless delivery system for drinks and food orders. Autonomous vehicles from Starship Robots are ferrying items across college campuses to hungry students. Recently, Neubie partnered with Samsung to automate deliveries on golf courses. The beverage cart may never be the same again.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2022 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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