Panasonic is showcasing its ideas for intelligently integrating physical products with new digital platforms powered by human insight technologies at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
At the company's booth, divided into four zones – Connected Mobility, Intelligent Living Spaces, Immersive Experiences, and Human Insights Technology – the company showcases how its proprietary technologies are merging the physical and digital, the real and the virtual worlds.
Main Exhibits at the Panasonic Booth
SPACe C eMobility Concept
Panasonic has developed the next generation of a new 48V ePowertrain platform for small electric vehicles (EVs). The new platform is significantly improved from the CES 2018 model by doubling the output while reducing the size of its volume and weight. The company is exhibiting the SPACe_C, a conceptual small mobility vehicle. It is based on this platform and can be separated into upper and lower structures.
Panasonic developed a 48V ePowertrain platform for small EVs that meets the demand, and introduced it at CES 2018.The platform will help reduce costs and lead time for vehicle development by scaling up or down the combination of basic units in accordance with vehicle specifications such as size, speed and torque.
The new platform consists of basic units, including a power unit (with an on-board charger, junction box, inverter and DC-to-DC converter) and a motor unit. The output is 18 kW, which is double that of the conventional product (8 kW) for the same volume (output density: two-fold). This has been achieved by reviewing the motor design and cooling structure. The conventional product required parts that consisted of two units to attain the same output. Due to the increased output, the number of units required has been reduced to one, resulting in the reduced size of the platform. The new platform will help further reduce the weight of small EVs, increase cabin space, and extend driving range.
SPACe_C is a small mobility vehicle based on a new concept that employs the new platform. It is designed to propose new applications for small mobility vehicles in tourist and urban areas, and revitalize communities. The expected use case of SPACe_C is to deliver temperature controlled food, packages for a consumption and online world, serve to educate riders while moving to location, act as a meeting zone for busy professionals, become the next hot retail pop-up store as a food truck to feed hungry travelers or merely for people to utilize to get around town.
The vehicle can be separated into upper and lower structures so that it can meet the needs for small mobility vehicles in various regions in the world. The upper structure is a cabin for transporting people and products, and for offering services. The lower structure is e-Torta, which serves as the basis for small mobility vehicles and includes the 48V ePowertrain platform.
‘CIRRUS by Panasonic’ V2X Solution
Connected vehicle (V2X) solutions can makes roads safer, reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Panasonic is launching “CIRRUS by Panasonic,” a connected vehicle data platform that is expected to improve safety and mobility on the road by sharing data between vehicles, infrastructure, roadways and traffic operators in real time.
CIRRUS by Panasonic provides cloud analytics data processing, real-time analysis and transmission, and data storage capabilities for sharing and updating vehicles and municipalities with road conditions, operations and other safety information.
CIRRUS by Panasonic is the bridge that shares important data between Department of Transportation (DOT) network operations centers (NOC) and vehicle information systems. An Internet of Things (IoT) application program interface (API) layer serves as the platform’s foundation to enable DOTs to utilize V2X as a data source for sensing roadway conditions in real-time. CIRRUS by Panasonic has an open specification API for V2X data collection and dissemination, while managing the input and output of significant vehicle data throughput from and to connected vehicles. The platform also includes Edge Analytics capabilities in the event of a Cloud Analytics service disruption.
As a scalable open platform, CIRRUS by Panasonic enables DOTs to provide partners with access to V2X data from external sources following industry-standard interfaces.
SPYDR 2.0, Cockpit Domain Control Platform with HUD Integration
Panasonic launched its latest fully integrated technology platform for automakers. The company's latest SPYDR 2.0 is a single brain cockpit domain controller solution featuring a Driver Monitoring System (DMS) with Head-Up Display (HUD) Integration.
SPYDR 2.0 can integrate the brains of IVI, cluster, surround view, ANC, HUD and up to four entertainment displays within one platform. SPYDR 2.0 is designed to blend safety and non-safety components, including multiple displays with telltales, complex video and audio processing algorithms, tuners, and also offers automatic contextual personalization. With Panasonic Automotive’s patent-pending technology, SPYDR 2.0 integrates a camera with direct view of the driver without any visual blockage.
DMS HUD integrates the merging of technologies utilizing augmented reality foundationally serviced by Panasonic proprietary production level DMS algorithm. The packaging of the driver monitoring camera is placed inside the HUD unit. The system can track the driver’s face, adjust the HUD mirror and display vertically based on the placement of the person’s facial features, allowing the driver to see the image without manually adjusting the display. SPYDR 2.0 also offers a cost-saving through inclusion of eHorizon, surround view, amplifiers, premium audio enhancements, and no touch personalization.
Features of the SPYDR 2.0 platform include:
- Production ready hardware
- Three direct drive displays (Cluster, IVI, DMS HUD)
- 4K display resolution support
- Multiple camera inputs with Surround View Camera – Stitching with DSP enhancement
- DMS HUD integration with vertical face scanning to detect driver engagement
- OneConnect connected services platform integration including analytics and OTA
- Hypervisor and Google Android P Integration
LiveWire, Harley-Davidson's First Electric Motorcycle
Panasonic is expanding work with two-wheel mobility manufacturers by providing connectivity solutions on the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle to be released this August for $29,799.
The LiveWire electric motorcycle will use Panasonic's technology in connected vehicles and systems such as the OneConnect connected service platform, to become the first mass-market manufacturer in North America with a cellular-connected electric motorcycle.
Panasonic Automotive connects riders to their motorcycle through a cellular connection to the telematics control unit (TCU) utilizing Panasonic’s OneConnect service. The OneConnect service complements the latest version of the Harley-Davidson App and the new Harley-Davidson Connect service. Together, these systems link LiveWire riders with their motorcycle through their smartphone providing features such as:
- Motorcycle status: Information available through H-D Connect includes battery charge level and available range, and charging status including time to completion. This allows the rider to remotely check the motorcycle status from any location where sufficient cellular signal is available. A charge station location finder is integrated into the H-D App.
- Tamper alerts and vehicle location: Through the H-D App, H-D Connect indicates the location of the parked LiveWire and alerts can be sent to the rider’s smartphone if the bike is bumped, tampered with or moved. GPS-enabled stolen-vehicle tracking provides peace of mind that the motorcycle’s location can be tracked (Requires law enforcement assistance. Available in select markets).
- Service reminders and notifications: Reminders about upcoming vehicle service requirements and other vehicle care notifications will be provided to the rider through the H-D App.
New Electric Assist Bicycle Lineup
Panasonic and bicycle manufacturer Kent International Inc announced the entry of new electric-assist bicycles into the eBike segment.
Panasonic is partnering on the launch of electric bicycles under two brands with three models. Under the Kent International Inc. family of companies, the Univega USA brand and the Van Dessel brand, will both be powered by Panasonic batteries and motors. First to market is the Univega USA Touring eBike, a Van Dessel Gravel eBike and a Van Dessel Mountain eBike.
The Van Dessel Mountain eBike has been engineered and designed from the ground up around the new Panasonic GX0 motor. The new GX0 motor system has a design that makes its 2.95kg weight and 90Nm of torque an industry leading weight-to-power advantage.
Univega USA is a bicycle brand with roots in Europe but now lives under the expert stewardship of Kent International Inc. launching a new brand entry, the Univega USA touring eBike. Model name UVG-1, this Univega USA Touring eBike will feature Panasonic’s X0 motor system, weighing in at 3.7kg and offering 80Nm of torque.
All three eBike models will be available for sale late spring of 2019.
Bluetooth HF410B/NJ310B Headphones
Panasonic's new Bluetooth on-ear (HF410B) and one new in-ear (NJ310B) headphones models come in five colors: black, blue, red, green and white.
The HF410B On-Ear Headphones enable wireless Bluetooth reproduction with a simple yet fashionable design. They use thirty-millimeter driver units with neodymium magnet, and the XBS combines acoustic bass control optimizing air flow via a filter and an acoustic tuning circuit, enhancing low-range reproduction.
The the HF410B headphones are equipped with a high-capacity rechargeable battery that enables a full 24 hours of continuous play. A lightweight design brings their weight down to 130 g.
With the built-in Voice Assistant Activation function, listeners can enjoy hands-free operation right from their smartphones.
The RP-NJ310B In-Ear Headphones use 9-mm driver for acoustic insulation, feature XBS and a double-hold shape, fitting firmly into the ears to resist falling off.
The NJ310B Headphones deliver a full six hours of continuous playback on a full charge. The Quick Charge function allows the user to charge the battery in 15 minutes for 70 minutes of playback. The NJ310B also come with Voice Assistant Activation function built-in.
Panasonic announced one new Bluetooth over-ear (HTX90N) and one new in-ear (HTX20B) headphones model, featuring a “retro modern” style.
The HTX90N headphones are equipped with noise cancelling technology and 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnets. Additionally, the acoustic bass control optimizes the motion of the driver to produce a dynamic bass sound. The bass enhancer also amplifies low end to increase the level of low-frequency sound with the touch of a button.
The rechargeable battery enables a full 24 hours of continuous wireless play (when noise cancelling is on).
The HTX20B are in-ear wireless headphones redesigned from the HTX series over-ear headphones. Equipped with a 9-mm driver, the HTX20B Headphones also deliver a full 8 hours and 30 minutes of continuous playback on a full charge. Even if you need to charge in a hurry, the 15-minute Quick Charge function provides 80 minutes of playback.
Technics’ Latest Direct Drive Turntables
Panasonic's Technics today unveiled the new SL-1500C Premium Class Direct Drive Turntable System, along ith the SL-1200MK7 Direct Drive Turntable.
The SL-1500C inherits the brand's high-end sound quality concept and adds a host of original Technics technologies, such as a coreless direct drive motor and high-sensitivity tonearm. To simplify the playing of analogue records, the built-in phono EQ connects to a wide variety of devices. The SL-1500C also comes equipped with an Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge.
The SL-1500C inherits the performance found in Technics' high-end turntable models. It uses a single-rotor, coreless direct drive motor in which the stator has no core and eliminates the rotation irregularity called cogging. In this motor, the magnetic force of the rotor magnets is improved to the highest possible level, and developers optimized the gap between the coreless stator and rotor magnets. This achieved high torque performance equalling that of the SL-1200MK5.
Furthermore, the motor control was optimized in accordance with the platter weight. As a result, the SL-1500C has realized high rotation accuracy and high performance, and eliminated the need for parts replacement and maintenance.
The SL-1500C has a built-in phono equalizer amp compatible with MM cartridges so it can be connected to an audio product that does not have phono input terminals. The dedicated power supply for the phono equalizer is isolated from the power supply for the motor and control circuitry to reduce the effect of noise. Furthermore, the shield structure suppresses the effect of external noise. As a result, high-purity signal amplification is realized. Using the SL-1500C and the user’s own audio equipment, he or she can enjoy music from a vinyl record in high sound quality.
The SL-1500C sports a simple design while retaining the superb operating feel that is a Technics tradition.
The SL-1500C utilizes the latest motor control technology refined through the development of Blu-ray disc products. Furthermore, the FG coil pattern of the full-circumference detection FG system was improved in precision to achieve more detailed measurement of platter rotation speed.
The tonearm, which is responsible for accurately reading the signal by tracking the groove on the phono record, is a static-balance universal S-shape tonearm, another Technics tradition. This is achieved by the tonearm tube construction from lightweight, high-rigidity aluminium. The bearing section of the gimbal suspension construction tonearm also consists of a machined housing and high-precision bearing to provide high initial motion sensitivity.
The platter features a two-layer structure with deadening rubber on the entire back surface to eliminate unwanted resonance in the aluminium die-cast platter. The platter offers high rigidity and outstanding vibration-damping characteristics to prevent harmful vibration from being transmitted to the record.
The chassis, an essential part for reducing external vibrations, inherits the audio quality enhancement technology fostered through the development of high-end turntables. The aluminium die-cast chassis is rigidly integrated with a special material consisting of ABS mixed with glass fiber to achieve a two-layer construction.
The insulator is comprised of a spring and rubber to provide optimal frequency characteristics. This assures high sound quality and superb howling resistance but also effectively shuts out external vibrations under high sound level conditions.
The supplied universal head shell is mounted with an Ortofon 2M RED cartridge. Users can therefore play a record immediately after purchasing the SL-1500C. The tonearm height can also be adjusted within a range of 6mm to enable the use of various other phono cartridges. Using the auxiliary weight that comes with the product, a cartridge weighing 14.3 to 25.1g (including the supplied head shell) can be used.
When the tonearm reaches the end of the record, the auto-lift automatically raises the tonearm.
Legendary DJ Turntable: Technics Direct Drive SL-1200MK7
Technics unveiled the new SL-1200MK7 Direct Drive Turntable. The new model inherits the traditional design of the same series and maintains the same operating ease, reliability and unrivalled durability, while adding a coreless direct drive motor and other sound-enhancing technologies. It also features new DJ play functions, such as reverse playback. The SL-1200MK7 is launched as the first new standard DJ turntable in approximately nine years.
The new direct-drive system, which uses a slow-rotating motor to directly drive the platter, has various advantages including rotation accuracy, powerful torque, high reliability and eliminates the need for parts replacement and maintenance. Additionally with the development of the SL-1200MK7, the creation of a new coreless direct drive motor eliminates cogging, a rotation irregularity. This was achieved by removing the iron core from the stator. Furthermore, developers optimized the magnetic force of the rotor magnets and the gap between the coreless stator and rotor magnets, resulting in high torque performance on par with the SL-1200MK5.
The new SL-1200MK7 platter allows the user to rotate in reverse when the speed selector button and “Start/Stop” button are pressed simultaneously, expanding the breadth of possibility for DJ play styles.
The SL-1200MK7 also employs the newest motor control technology refined through the development of Panasonic Blu-ray disc products. Utilizing a microcomputer, this advanced motor control technology ensures high performance in normal rotation and responds accurately to a wide range of DJ play styles, such as scratching.
The starting torque and brake speed can be adjusted individually to suit the user’s preference.
The stylus illuminator features a new push-type structure and employs a long-life bright white LED. The illumination area and intensity were refined to provide improved visibility of the stylus tip compared to previous models, even in a dark environment.
The tonearm is a static-balanced universal S-shape tonearm, another signature Technics feature. The tonearm tube is made of lightweight, high-rigidity aluminium. The bearing section of the gimbal suspension construction tonearm consists of a machined housing and high-precision bearing to assure excellent tracking performance with minimum stylus jumping, even in harsh playing conditions such as scratching.
The platter on which the vinyl record is placed features a two-layer structure with deadening rubber on the entire back surface to eliminate unwanted resonance in the aluminium die-cast platter. The platter offers high rigidity and outstanding vibration-damping characteristics to prevent harmful vibration from being transmitted to the record and delivers clear sound.
The chassis inherits the audio quality enhancement technology fostered through the development of high-end turntables. The aluminium die-cast chassis is integrated with a special material consisting of ABS mixed with glass fibre to achieve a two-layer construction. The combination of this special high-rigidity material and a metal chassis enhances the rigidity and vibration-damping performance, realizing a robust cabinet for beautiful sound reproduction.
The insulator is comprised of a spring and rubber to provide optimal frequency characteristics. This not only assures high sound quality and superb howling resistance, but also effectively shuts out external vibrations under high sound level conditions.
The power and phono cable terminals allow detachment of the cables and are gold-plated to minimize sound quality degradation. Because the terminals can be disconnected, cable maintenance is easier, and the user can rely on his or her own preferred phono cable for optimal personal enjoyment.
The rotation speed can be set to 33-1/3 rpm, 45 rpm or 78 rpm. The pitch control function allows fine adjustment of the rotation speed within ±8%/±16%.
The SL-1200MK7 sports black buttons and a black tonearm while retaining the SL-1200 Series’ button layout.
Grand Class Network / Super Audio CD Player: SL-G700
Last but not least, Technics unveiled the new SL-G700 Network / Super Audio CD Player. The SL-G700 is a multi-digital player that covers most of the digital audio media available today, from traditional CD/SACD to the latest high-res and popular streaming services.
The SL-G700 is equipped with a dedicated power supply unit for analogue audio output. Its non-feedback power supply suppresses switching frequency fluctuation. Combined with the original power supply circuit, this dedicated power supply unit provides stable power with low noise. The discrete circuit structure does not use any general-purpose ICs but a discrete layout, and meticulous tuning provides power optimized for analogue circuits, thus realizing a high S/N ratio and superb reproduction, the hallmark of Technics sound.
For analogue audio output, the D/A circuit is one of the most important circuit blocks since it recreates the original analogue waveform from a digital source, such as a CD. For the D/A converters, Asahi Kasei Microdevices' top-of-the-line DAC AK4497, with their high S/N ratio and low distortion, are isolated for the left and right channels. The power supply for the D/A converters is separated into five sections according to the application, and supplied individually. The power supply for the clock employs an original battery driven circuit system to achieve high-accuracy D/A conversion. The dual mono construction and symmetrical layout eliminate mutual interference between left and right channels.
For analogue audio output, the filter circuit located after the D/A conversion determines the quality of the sound. Instead of incorporating an operation amp IC, the SL-G700's filter circuit incorporates an amp module of original discrete construction. The use of low-noise transistors and thin-film resistors suppresses the noise generated inside the circuits. Detailed fine tuning, such as the increase of operating current, has improved the response, S/N ratio and distortion rate. As result, the SL-G700 provides highly linear and faithful sound reproduction which recognizes even the smallest recorded nuances recorded.
In the processing of digital audio signals, the quality of the clock affects the sound quality to a large extent. The best power supply for delicate circuitry such as the clock block in the DAC and the audio system clock circuit is one entirely isolated from any noise or fluctuations in the main supply. This technology creates ultra-low-noise digital audio interfaces including D/A convertors. Additionally, the audio system clock is supplied from an Ultra-Low Jitter Clock Generator. A low-noise power supply and a high-quality clock circuit realize a sound with highest transparency.
For the USB input terminals, the amplifier includes power conditioners using non-magnetic carbon film resistors with strong protection against magnetic distortion and using capacitors of high-quality ruby mica, known for low dielectric loss, high voltage resistance and temperature stability.
In addition, high sound replication is pursued by various noise countermeasures, such as the installation of a low ESR film capacitor to the LAN terminal power supply and isolation by a pulse transformer in the digital output signal.
The optimally activated circuit system allows the operation of various digital modules to be stopped – such as those used for display, analogue and digital interfaces – to minimize the noise generated when music is playing.
The SL-G700 is equipped with a dedicated D/A circuit for headphones, which is independent from that for analogue output. This circuitry incorporates Technics's original sound processing LSI, the JENO Engine (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping Optimization). This separation of the analogue output from the headphone output eliminates interference between the two circuits As a result, both outputs provide maximum performance.
Furthermore, the SL-G700 is equipped with an operation optimization system that automatically turns on the JENO Engine when a pair of headphones is connected, which eliminates potential adverse effects of the analogue output on the sound quality when headphones are not connected.
What’s more, the Class AA system headphone amp uses separate amp circuits for the audio signal voltage amplification and current amplification. The high-grade operation amp amplifies voltage, and the separate operation amp with high power supply capacity amplifies current. This enables high-precision conversion of the high-resolution PWM signal output from the JENO Engine to an analogue signal. Achieving ideal drive of headphones with a wide range of load impedance, it delivers low-distortion sound across a broad frequency range.
The SL-G700 is equipped with an MQA decoder. When the MQA decoder is turned on, MQA files and MQA-CD are fully decoded for playback.
The player is also equipped with a dedicated SACD/CD playback mode. In this mode, all power supplies except those to the circuit blocks necessary for SACD/CD playback are shut off, thus improving the quality of sound from the disc media.
The SL-G700 performs the D/A conversion process for the DSD signal in the SACD recording format without converting it to a PCM signal, thus delivering the full potential of the DSD signal.
Digital signal processing capable of expanding the bandwidth and bit depth can convert 44.1-kHz/16-bit music data recorded on CDs and lossy compression audio sources such as MP3 to high-res signals of up to 192 kHz/32 bits. When used together with the latest audio devices, music sounds richer with enhanced quality.
The SL-G700 supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay with its high wireless connectivity. It is also compatible with streaming services, such as Spotify, TIDAL, and Internet Radio, and functions such as Google Chromecast and Google Assistant.*
The SL-G700 uses a four-section construction with partitions installed between the circuit blocks according to the signal level handled and circuit type. This eliminates interference between circuit blocks.
The CD drive mechanism features a triple chassis structure to ensure accurate reading and to prevent the vibration from transmitting unwanted noise. Moreover, the SL-G700 has a stable, aluminum die-cast disc tray with a high-vibration-damping, quiet structure to ensure high-accuracy disc playback.