This year’s CES technology trade show was a little different. Pandemic worries meant most of Washington’s major tech players didn’t make the once-annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas, where the world’s largest electronics makers usually debut new wares.
That didn’t stop several Northwest firms hoping to make a splash from taking the trip. Among them was Bellevue-based truck maker PACCAR, which showed off another zero-emission vehicle offered under its Kenworth brand.
The truck, the Kenworth T680E, has an estimated operating range of 150 miles and is designed for regional work. It will be available as a tractor or box truck. According to PACCAR, it can be fully charged in about three hours.
“Kenworth is leading the way in zero emissions solutions,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. The truck, he continued, “provides our customers with a true, zero emissions solution that will help to achieve their own green program objectives.”
The T680E is the third and largest electric vehicle offered by Kenworth. The company began taking orders on all three last year, and has booked more than 50 orders thus far. PACCAR also produces electric vehicle charging stations.
Also at CES, Parrots, a Spokane-based medical-device startup, showcased “Polly,” an AI parrot that helps people with disabilities communicate and live independently, The Spokesman-Review reported.
The device can be perched on a wheelchair or bedside and, when paired with a laptop or tablet, provide a 360-degree view to users. The device tracks eye movements to predict users’ needs — it can see orange juice on a table during breakfast and predict when a user would like a drink.
Parrots, which was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Association of Washington Business in 2021, shared space with six other Washington-based companies at CES in a booth hosted by the state Department of Commerce. The startups from Seattle included: iUNU, a maker of environmental sensors; Kirio, a home-control software maker; food-delivery tech developer Minnow Technologies; and Picnic, a food automation firm. Bothell-based video technology maker Pictory.ai, which on Tuesday secured $2.1 million in backing from FUSE, Voyager Capital and several angel investors, also set up shop in the Commerce Department booth.
“Short form video is becoming an industry norm for many business use-cases, particularly in marketing and social media,” said Kellan Carter, general partner at FUSE, a venture capital firm with a partner list that includes Seattle Seahawks star linebacker Bobby Wagner. “Pictory is led by a world-class team who have successfully built and scaled software companies before. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of the Pictory journey.”
Washington’s major tech players also participated in CES, albeit virtually. Microsoft showed off a new computer chip set designed for augmented-reality eyewear, while Chinese electronics maker TCL Technology announced that Bellevue-based T-Mobile will be among the first U.S. companies to carry its low-priced phones later this year.
Amazon touted changes to Amazon Web Services’ cloud computing offerings and its consumer products lineup — Fire TV is coming to cars, Ring systems will soon detect break-ins and fires. Alexa will orbit the moon aboard NASA’s first Artemis mission, an uncrewed flight expected later this year.
Also announced was a broad partnership between Amazon and Stellantis, the multinational automaker formed in 2021 by a merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA group. Stellantis brands include Dodge, Jeep and Peugeot, as well as Fiat and Chrysler.
Amazon and Stellantis inked a series of multiyear agreements that are expected to see Amazon engineer a substantial amount of the software used in Stellantis vehicles.
“We are inventing solutions that will help enable Stellantis to accelerate connected and personalized in-vehicle experiences, so that every moment in motion can be smart, safe, and tailored to each occupant,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement. “Together, we will create the foundation for Stellantis to transform from a traditional automaker into a global leader in software-driven development and engineering.”