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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Nissan to launch car-sharing service in Japan with new LEAF, Note e-POWER

December 09, 2017

As part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan will introduce a car-sharing service in Japan enabling users to experience the company’s advanced technologies in vehicle electrification and intelligence. The service, named e-share mobi, will begin 15 Jan 2018, and will initially feature the new, all-electric Nissan LEAF and the Nissan Note e-POWER.

The service will initially be offered at about 30 stations in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga, Nara, Wakayama and other prefectures in Japan. It will also be expanded to other regions throughout the nation.

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Renault takes Level 4 EV SYMBIOZ demo car on the road

December 08, 2017

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Renault unveiled the SYMBIOZ autonomous, electric and connected concept. (Earlier post.) The automaker has now embodied many of the elements of the show car in a demo vehicle that is currently performing road tests to demonstrate under real-life conditions the benefits of such a car.

This demo vehicle embodies the brand’s mid-term vision before 2023 and previews technology Renault customers may find in its production car range in the near future. This includes an evolved version of MULTI-SENSE technology, which adapts the ambiance and driving experience to customer mood in the Mégane, Scénic, Talisman and Espace in the current range. The demo car also showcases features from the “EASY CONNECT”, new-generation mobility and connected services solutions, and previews the Renault Autonomous drive technology that will be progressively deployed in the range under the name “EASY DRIVE”.

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Honda and China-based SenseTime to jointly research and develop AI technologies for automated driving

Honda R&D Co., Ltd., the R&D subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., has signed a 5-year joint research and development contract with SenseTime Group Limited, a China-based IT company with expertise in image recognition technologies, especially recognition of moving objects, powered by deep learning technology.

Under the joint research and development agreement, the two companies will combine SenseTime’s moving object recognition technologies with Honda’s AI algorithms for scene understanding, risk prediction and action planning. The two intend to develop sophisticated automated driving technologies which will enable complex automated driving in urban areas.

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BYTON opens North American HQ; next-gen smart EVs for shared mobility and autonomous driving; iPhone on wheels

December 06, 2017

BYTON, a China-headquartered automotive brand owned by Future Mobility Corporation, inaugurated its North American headquarters in Santa Clara, California last week, marking further progress in the company’s strategic effort to establish a global presence. BYTON aspires to build “affordable” premium intelligent EVs—smart devices on wheels—for the future. The company is focused more on the user experience of the connected environment in the car, rather than on eye-watering acceleration and road speeds of 250 km/h.

Key human-vehicle interface features include a 49-inch by 10-inch “coast-to-coast” screen, voice and gesture recognition and hand tracking, and a touch-screen steering wheel. The car also uses facial recognition to identify its drivers and passengers. BYTON also announced technology partnerships with Bosch and Faurecia toward realizing its vision.

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Continental will introduce fifth-generation automotive radar in 2019

Continental is now developing its fifth generation of automotive short- and long-range radar sensors, which will enter series production in 2019. Not only does the new generation have greater capacity, it is also based on a scalable modular principle, which, with its graduated function scopes, flexibly supports vehicle manufacturers’ different requirements and electrical-electronic (E/E) architectures.

Due to the worldwide trend of using 77 GHz technology, the resolution of the sensors is becoming higher and facilitating, for example, more accurate detection of smaller objects such as a lost spare wheel or an exhaust that has fallen off. With long-range radar, a range of up to 300 m and an opening angle of ±60° are possible in the highest expansion stage depending on the required performance.

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LeddarTech to showcase first 3D solid-state LiDAR IC for autonomous driving at CES 2018

LeddarTech will present the LeddarCore LCA2, the industry’s first 3D solid-state LiDAR (SSL) integrated circuit (IC) enabling mass production of automotive LiDARs, in the Leddar Ecosystem pavilion at CES 2018 in Las Vegas next month.

LCA2 IC engineering samples and LCA2-based 3D Flash LiDAR modules (A-samples) will be on display in the pavilion. Also on display will be discrete implementations of LiDAR systems showcasing the LeddarCore LCA3, which is currently under development with the first samples to be made available in 2018.

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Audi displays new AI project at NIPS: mono camera with semantic segmenting and depth estimates creates precise 3D model of environment

December 04, 2017

Audi is exhibiting an innovative pre-development project to support autonomous driving at the NIPS 2017 conference in Long Beach, California, this week. A project team from the Audi subsidiary Audi Electronics Venture (AEV) developed a mono camera that uses artificial intelligence to generate an extremely precise 3D model of the environment. This technology makes it possible to capture the exact surroundings of the car.

A conventional front camera acts as the sensor. It captures the area in front of the car within an angle of about 120 degrees and delivers 15 images per second at a resolution of 1.3 megapixels. These images are then processed in a neural network. This is where semantic segmenting occurs, in which each pixel is classified into one of 13 object classes. This enables the system to identify and differentiate other cars, trucks, houses, road markings, people and traffic signs.

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UK launching £400M vehicle charging infrastructure fund; putting extra £100M to support for buying EVs

November 22, 2017

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, presented his Autumn Budget to Parliament. Among the elements in the budget are the launch of a new £400-million (US$530-million) Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund and the provision of an extra £100 million (US$133 million) towards helping people buy battery-electric cars. The government is also committing to electrify 25% of cars in central government department fleets by 2022.

The UK government is investing £200 million in the charging infrastructure fund; the remaining £200 million is to be provided by matching private investment. The government will also make sure all new homes are built with the right cables for electric car charge points.

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Volkswagen Group to spend >$40B over next 5 years to develop electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization

November 17, 2017

The Volkswagen Group will spend more than €34 billion (US$40 billion) by the end of 2022 on the development of electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization.

Most of this investment will go into the electrification and hybridization of all Group models. This marks another move to advance the Roadmap E electrification offensive which was announced in September; the goal is to electrify the entire model portfolio by 2030. (Earlier post.)

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Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center to study societal acceptance of connected and automated vehicle technologies

November 16, 2017

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced five new research projects focused on better understanding how drivers use and respond to advanced vehicle technologies, including automated driver assistance systems. The new projects, undertaken in partnership with five US research institutions, will launch as part of CSRC Next, the Center’s new five-year program designed to support and inform a safe transition to future mobility.

Emerging vehicle technologies, including automated driver assistance systems, offer tremendous promise to help improve road safety, but important questions remain about the most beneficial interaction with drivers, and how drivers can be educated about their safe operation. Four of the five research projects will focus on societal acceptance and generate data-driven insights into the use of these technologies. This data can help support their effective integration, foster safer driving behaviors, and offer potential countermeasures to risky driving behavior.

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Newsight Imaging and LeiShen Intelligent partner on new solid-state V-LiDAR for automotive

November 15, 2017

Israel-based Newsight Imaging, a developer of advanced CMOS image sensors for laser LiDAR and spectral analysis, is partnering with China-based LeiShen Intelligent, a global provider of high-performance laser LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) systems to deliver V-LiDAR—a solid-state 3D pulsed-based LiDAR for automotive applications used in ADAS systems and in autonomous vehicles.

The V-LiDAR (Vehicle-LiDAR)—to be based on LeiShen’s advanced 3D LiDAR and on Newsight’s NSI5000 CMOS image sensor using Newsight’s eTOF (Enhanced Time-of-Flight) technology—will become available in the first half of 2018.

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Embark, Frigidaire, and Ryder partner to pilot Level 2 automated driving technology for Class 8 trucks

November 13, 2017

Embark, a startup developing self-driving truck technology (earlier post), is partnering with Frigidaire and Ryder System to pilot a series of automated driving technology tests. During the pilot, Frigidaire refrigerators were successfully transported 650 miles at a time, in semi-trucks using automated driving technology.

Begun in October, the pilot has involved several hauls of appliances through four states using Embark automated tractors on the highway segments and Ryder tractors and drivers on surface streets. The pilot focused on highway driving, which is more structured, allows for faster commercialization, and also solves a critical challenge for the freight industry.

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RAND study finds introducing autonomous vehicles sooner could save hundreds of thousands of lives

November 08, 2017

Autonomous vehicles should only have to be moderately better than human drivers before being widely used in the United States, an approach that could save thousands of lives annually even before the technology is perfected, according to a new RAND Corporation report.

Allowing wide use of autonomous vehicles when they are just 10% better than current American drivers could prevent thousands of road fatalities over the next 15 years and possibly hundreds of thousands of fatalities over 30 years, researchers found, compared to waiting until they are 75% or 90% better.

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Velodyne launches VLS-128, the world’s highest resolution LiDAR for autonomous vehicles; successor to the HDL-64

Velodyne Labs announced that it has produced a LiDAR with the world’s best resolution, longest range, and widest field of view, the result of which will boost the autonomous vehicle and advanced safety market.

The Velodyne VLS-128, with 128 laser beams, produces the best resolution and will replace the HDL-64 LiDAR as the industry standard for high performance. High-resolution LiDAR is critical to navigate autonomous cars and provide vehicle safety. Velodyne expects the VLS-128 to become the new standard for fully autonomous cars and cars equipped with advanced safety features because of the unchallenged quantity of data it produces in real time at top speed.

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Volkswagen Group, Google partnering on quantum computing; traffic optimization, batteries, AI

November 07, 2017

The Volkswagen Group and Google will partner on research in the field of quantum computing. The two companies will explore the utilization of quantum computers together, with aims to build up specialist knowledge and to carry out practically oriented research. As part of this collaboration, a team of specialists from Volkswagen and Google will work together using a Google quantum computer.

Volkswagen Group IT wants to make progress in three development areas on the Google quantum computer. The specialists intend to continue the development of traffic optimization; to explore structures for new materials, especially high-performance batteries for electric vehicles; and to work on artificial intelligence with new machine learning processes.

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Volkswagen Group to support Hamburg, ITS Germany in hosting of 2021 World Congress for ITS; projects beginning now

November 06, 2017

The Volkswagen Group will support Hamburg and ITS Germany in 2021 for hosting the World Congress for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) as a main partner and chair of the Host Organizing Committee. ERTICO (ITS Europe), organizer of the World Congress, announced the decision to stage the event in Germany with Hamburg as the hosting city at the ITS World Congress in Montréal.

With this decision, the mobility partnership between Hamburg and Volkswagen will be strengthened. Decisions have been taken on specific projects to develop Hamburg into a model city for future urban mobility. For the implementation of these projects, the Volkswagen Group will be calling on the broad-based competence of its brands.

Germany had submitted its bid to host the ITS World Congress 2021 together with the City of Hamburg and the active support of the Volkswagen Group. The application was part of the strategic mobility partnership between the Hanseatic City and the Volkswagen Group. The objective of the mobility partnership is to shape the urban mobility of the future together and to develop and position Hamburg internationally as a model city for forward-looking, sustainable and integrated urban mobility.

With the announcement concerning the 2021 World Congress, the joint implementation of a large number of future-oriented projects will start: for example, in connection with the objective of Hamburg to become a pioneer in autonomous driving in urban areas, the Group will send autonomous test vehicles to Hamburg’s city center.

In addition, MAN intends to test the use of autonomous trucks in the port of Hamburg and on selected highway sections. This allows the driver to carry out other work on the road; from the point of arrival in the port area, the truck will be operated fully autonomously. For safety reasons, a driver will initially remain on board. This way, the Volkswagen Group will help make private and goods traffic flow more efficient, safer and more environmentally compatible.

Another project involves the intelligent use of data acquired from sensors in vehicles of the Group fleet operated by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Using smart algorithms, additional information and services will be provided for the citizens and administration of Hamburg.

In addition, MOIA, the Volkswagen Group’s company for mobility services, is working on a project to develop new environmentally compatible mobility services for Hamburg. Within the framework of the project, a shuttle-on-demand service using eco-friendly electric vehicles is to be launched in 2018. This project will supplement public transport and offer an attractive alternative to private cars. Hamburger Hochbahn AG is the partner for this project.

In addition to implementing these projects, the Group intends to play a key role in the ITS World Congress 2021. The Group is a main partner and will also assume the chair of the Host Organizing Committee (HOC) for the planning and organization of the congress.

Beyond the projects in Hamburg, the Volkswagen Group is also actively involved in the development of intelligent, sustainable transport systems within the framework of TOGETHER - Strategy 2025. A key element of this commitment is the Group’s e-mobility offensive. At the Frankfurt International Motor Show, Volkswagen announced its “Roadmap E” comprehensive electrification initiative. By 2025, Group brands will be supplying more than 80 new electrified models to customers, including 50 all-electric vehicles and 30 plug-in-hybrids. (Earlier post.)

Another key topic is autonomous driving. Audi recently established an independent company, Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH, for self-driving systems. The development of the new Mobility Solutions business area is one of the key elements of “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” on the way to becoming a mobility provider. For this purpose, the Volkswagen Group is developing intelligent future solutions – such as the pilot project “We by Volkswagen Deliver” of the Volkswagen brand in Berlin and at MOIA.

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AT&T, Ford, Nokia and Qualcomm launch Cellular-V2X tech trials in US

November 01, 2017

AT&T, Ford, Nokia, and Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated announced the first Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) trials in the US. (Earlier post.) Testing is expected to take place in the San Diego Regional Proving Ground with the support of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, the City of Chula Vista, and intelligent transportation solutions (ITS) provider McCain, Inc.

The goal of the trials is to demonstrate the potential of C-V2X technologies, including support for improved automotive safety, automated driving, and traffic efficiency. The trials will also be aimed at demonstrating to automakers and road operators the anticipated cost-efficient benefits associated with embedded cellular technology in vehicles and synergies between the deployment of cellular base stations and roadside infrastructure. Initial testing is expected to begin later this year.

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Toyota Research Institute and GoMentum Station partner on testing autonomous vehicles in hazardous driving scenarios

October 30, 2017

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has signed an agreement with GoMentum Station to test autonomous vehicle technology at the 5,000-acre autonomous vehicle proving grounds located in Concord, California. Managed by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), this partnership enables TRI to expand closed course testing of its two-prong approach to vehicle automation: Guardian and Chauffeur.

Established in 2015, TRI has made rapid advancements in its research into automated driving and recently demonstrated Platform 2.1, its new advanced safety research vehicle that allows for testing of both Guardian and Chauffeur in a single vehicle. (Earlier post, earlier post.)

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HERE and Mitsubishi Electric to partner on advanced location services for autonomous vehicles

October 27, 2017

HERE Technologies and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) intend to link their advanced location technologies for autonomous vehicles into a powerful integrated service offering for automakers.

According to their preliminary agreement, the companies aim to offer services to support cars with ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) on the road today right through to the fully autonomous vehicles of the future. The companies’ initial focus is on providing services that would, for example, support smart lane-level guidance for vehicles based on real-time information about traffic conditions and incidents.

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Mercedes-Benz running automated test drive in Shanghai; infrastructure peculiarities

Mercedes-Benz started its “Intelligent World Drive” at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September to adapt more highly automated driving functions to national user and traffic practices. After the start in Germany, the test vehicle based on the new production S‑Class is now under test in the heavy traffic and exposed to the special national features in the Chinese megalopolis of Shanghai. The focus of the test drives in Shanghai is on assessing the driving behavior in extremely heavy traffic with its different participants, as well as on infrastructure peculiarities.

The high density of cars, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and pedestrians and the associated traffic behavior in Chinese cities pose different requirements on automated driving functions than in Europe or the US. In addition, there are road signs with Chinese characters and lane markings, which in China have different or even multiple meanings. For example, short white lines, known around the world as pedestrian crossings, can also be found on motorways. However, they don’t denote a pedestrian crossing, but the minimum distance between vehicles. The sensors must be able to recognize this and interpret it correctly. The same is true for speed limits, which can differ from one lane to another. Another challenge: Parking spaces come in many different shapes and frequently are full of obstacles that are hard to detect for sensors.

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NEVS and DiDi partner up for future mobility; EV optimized for DiDi services

October 26, 2017

NEVS AB and DiDi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobile transportation platform, have formed strategic partnership and finalized a number of steps towards an extensive cooperation. One of the common goals is to develop an electric vehicle, fully optimized for the mobility services that DiDi is offering, and also initiating a path towards a self-driving and on-demand mobility future. The first vehicle used in this cooperation will be the NEVS 9-3.

DiDi recently predicted that there will be more than 1 million electrical vehicles operated in the DiDi platform in 2020.

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ON Semiconductor introduces first highly scalable family of next-generation automotive image sensors

ON Semiconductor is introducing a CMOS image sensor platform that brings new levels of performance and image quality to automotive applications such as ADAS, mirror replacement, rear and surround view systems, and autonomous driving.

The Hayabusa platform features a ground-breaking 3.0-micron backside illuminated pixel design that delivers a charge capacity of 100,000 electrons—the highest in the industry—with other key automotive features such as simultaneous on-chip high dynamic range (HDR) with LED flicker mitigation (LFM), plus real-time functional safety and automotive grade qualification.

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Nissan unveils IMx fully autonomous electric crossover concept at Tokyo show

October 25, 2017

At the Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan unveiled the Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometers (373 miles).

The IMx is propelled by a pair of high-output electric motors at the front and rear, giving it all-wheel-drive capability. They combine to produce 320 kW of power and 700 N·m of torque, sourced from a high-capacity battery which has been redesigned and re-engineered for increased energy density.

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Delphi to acquire nuTonomy in ~$450M deal

October 24, 2017

Delphi Automotive PLC signed an agreement to acquire autonomous driving (AD) software developer nuTonomy, Inc.(earlier post) for an upfront purchase price of $400 million and earn-outs totaling approximately $50 million. The transaction brings together a leading start-up and Tier 1 in autonomous driving and further accelerates Delphi’s commercialization of AD and Automated Mobility on-Demand (AMoD) solutions for automakers and new mobility customers worldwide.

Founded in 2013 by Dr. Karl Iagnemma and Dr. Emilio Frazzoli and recently named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, nuTonomy is developing a proprietary full-stack AD software solution for the global AMoD market.

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Nissan ProPILOT Assist technology makes US debut on 2018 Rogue

October 20, 2017

Nissan’s 2018 Rogue crossover, which goes on sale 24 October at Nissan dealers in the US, will be the first model in the US to offer Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist technology. ProPILOT Assist provides assisted steering, braking and accelerating during single-lane highway driving. (Earlier post.)

ProPILOT Assist is the foundation for the fully autonomous vehicles of the future, helping drivers stay centered in the lane, navigate stop-and-go traffic, maintain a set vehicle speed and maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead—all done with a simple two-button operation. ProPILOT Assist is available on the 2018 Rogue SL grade as part of the Platinum Package. Pricing starts at $24,6802 for the Rogue S front-wheel-drive model; the SL trim starts at $31,060.

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Mitsubishi Electric field testing xAUTO autonomous-driving vehicle on expressways

October 18, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has been conducting expressway-based field testing of its xAUTO vehicle and related autonomous-driving technologies for self-sensing and network-based driving since May 2016. The xAUTO will be exhibited during 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017 later this month.

Mitsubishi Electric named its autonomous driving technologies “Diamond Safety.” Mitsubishi Electric’s self-sensing driving technology combines various peripheral-sensing technologies, including a forward-monitoring millimeter-wave radar with wide viewing angle, a forward-monitoring camera and a backward side-monitoring millimeter-wave radar. Its infrastructural driving technology uses high-accuracy 3D mapping in combination with a centimeter-level augmentation service (CLAS) broadcast from the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). (earlier post)

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Daimler demos self-driving snow removal trucks; premiere of Remote Truck Interface

October 17, 2017

Following its successful demonstration of the Highway Pilot and Highway Pilot Connect systems (earlier post)—the latter making truck platooning possible—Daimler has demonstrated automated snow removal operations on the site of the former Pferdsfeld airbase. This application of autonomous commercial vehicle operation was based on a specific customer requirement.

Under the project name “Automated Airfield Ground Maintenance” (AAGM), four Mercedes-Benz Arocs tractor units demonstrated automated airfield clearing in a remote-controlled convoy. The benefits are obvious: Airfield clearances are hard to predict and thus difficult to plan, especially in winter. This makes snow removal units operated with pinpoint precision by a single vehicle operator to remove snow from runways especially crucial when extreme weather strikes without warning during the winter months, and they require no additional vehicle and staff scheduling.

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Toyota expands Concept-i series; advanced AI learns from and aims to grow with the driver

October 16, 2017

Toyota Motor Corporation is expanding its “Toyota Concept-i” electric concept car into a series that embodies the future vision of a mobility society through which artificial intelligence (AI) enables cars to understand the driver, effectively allowing people and cars to become partners.

In addition to the four-wheel model Toyota Concept-i exhibited at the 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January this year (earlier post), Toyota has added a universal small mobility electric vehicle and a walking area mobility electric vehicle. These will be shown at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

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Volkswagen Truck & Bus outlines roadmap for automated driving, connectivity, and alternative drive systems

October 12, 2017

At its Innovation Day in Hamburg, Volkswagen Truck & Bus—which includes the MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, and RIO brands—outlined its technology roadmap to transform the logistics chain in a sustainable way. Volkswagen Truck & Bus is focusing on automated driving, connectivity, and alternative drive systems.

On the development side, Volkswagen Truck & Bus is pooling its brands’ resources with the aim of leveraging synergies and incorporating the strengths of the individual brands. As one key example, Volkswagen Truck & Bus is working on electric solutions for use in both medium- and heavy-duty distribution transport and city buses. The jointly developed “e-drivetrain” will form the basis of any electric architecture in the future. This electric powertrain is designed in a way that means that it can be used to drive future distribution trucks and city buses manufactured by the Volkswagen Truck & Bus brands as a universal modular element.

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Magna joining BMW, Intel and Mobileye platform as integrator to bring autonomous driving technology to the market

In 2016, BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announced their collaboration to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021. The three are creating a standards-based open platform—from door locks to the datacenter—for the next generation of autonomous cars. (Earlier post.) Subsequently, Delphi joined the effort as a partner. (Earlier post.)

Magna is now joining the collaboration as a Tier 1 technology integrator and will help automakers industrialize and customize the domain controller designed by BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye.

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Fisker and solid-state LiDAR partner Quanergy to showcase Fisker EMotion at CES in January

October 11, 2017

Fisker Inc. will showcase the all-new EMotion luxury electric vehicle with Quanergy Systems at the upcoming 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Quanergy System will be integrating five of Quanergy’s S3 solid-state LiDAR sensors (earlier post) into the Fisker EMotion.

Fisker and Quanergy Systems, are working closely in partnership to integrate autonomous hardware—specifically LiDAR—in the Fisker EMotion body design as a seamless part of the vehicle. Quanergy’s LiDAR sensors lead in all six key commercialization areas of price, performance, reliability, size, weight, and power efficiency, while meeting the mass deployment requirements of durability and dependability.

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Deutsche Post DHL Group, ZF deploying test fleet of autonomous electric delivery trucks based on NVIDIA Drive PX

October 10, 2017

Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), the world’s largest mail and logistics company, and ZF, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, have partnered together to deploy a test fleet of autonomous delivery trucks, starting in 2018.

DPDHL will outfit electric light trucks with the ZF ProAI self-driving system, based on NVIDIA DRIVE PX technology (currently the Drive PX 2 AI platform), for automating package transportation and delivery, including the “last mile” of deliveries. Taking packages from a central point to their final destinations is considered the most complex and costliest aspect of courier and e-commerce deliveries.

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NVIDIA introduces new Drive PX AI computing platform for Level 5 autonomous vehicles: Pegasus

At the GPU Technology Conference in Munich, NVIDIA unveiled Pegasus, its new NVIDIA DRIVE PX AI computing platform designed to handle Level 5 driverless vehicles. NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus delivers more than 320 trillion operations per second—more than 10x the performance of its predecessor, NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2, which was introduced in January 2016. (Earlier post.)

NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus is powered by four high-performance AI processors. It couples two of NVIDIA’s newest Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC) processors (earlier post)—featuring an embedded GPU based on the NVIDIA Volta architecture—with two next-generation discrete GPUs with hardware created for accelerating deep learning and computer vision algorithms. The system will provide the enormous computational capability for fully autonomous vehicles in a computer the size of a license plate, drastically reducing energy consumption and cost.

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Renault’s new 2017-2022 plan: 8 EVs, 12 electrified models, 15 autonomous models

October 06, 2017

Groupe Renault announced “Drive The Future,” a new six-year plan to deliver annual revenues of more than €70 billion and achieve a group operating margin of more than 7% by the end of the plan, with a floor at 5%, and positive free cash flow every year. Drive The Future is aligned with the Groupe Renault vision: sustainable mobility for all, today and tomorrow.

Under the Drive The Future plan, Groupe Renault forecasts that unit volumes will grow more than 40% to more than 5 million units, compared with 3.47 million units2 sold in 2016, as the company expands its product range, including in LCV and new electric vehicles and builds on success of its global access range. The plan will also leverage the R&D and global economies of scale from Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s largest automotive alliance, while maintaining financial discipline and cost efficiency.

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Ford outlines strategic plan to investors; connected, smart vehicles and services, EVs and financial fitness

October 04, 2017

In New York yesterday, Ford Motor Company provided a strategic update to investors; the presentation follows a four-month deep dive into Ford’s strategy and business operations led by President and CEO Jim Hackett and Ford’s senior leadership team. Hackett said Ford will improve its operational fitness, refocus capital allocation and accelerate the introduction of smart vehicles and services. Ford reaffirmed its 2017 full-year financial guidance and said its 2018 outlook will be provided in January.

To deliver on its long-term goal of an 8% automotive operating margin (Ford delivered 6.7% in 2016), the company said it is expanding its scope to include vehicles and services—all designed around human-centered experiences. Specifically, Ford is:

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Final design of first autonomous and fully electric container vessel revealed; model testing at SINTEF Ocean

September 30, 2017

A six-meter, 2.4-ton model of the final design of the autonomous and fully electric container vessel Yara Birkeland (earlier post) was revealed as testing commenced at SINTEF Ocean’s 80-meter test tank facility in Trondheim. ENOVA, a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for promotion of environmentally friendly production and consumption of energy, will support the project with a NOK 133-million (US$16.7-million) financial contribution.

As announced in May, Yara and Kongsberg have partnered to build the world’s first autonomous and fully electric container vessel. Yara Birkeland, named after Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland, will enable a reduction of 40,000 road journey’s from Yara’s Porsgrunn fertilizer plant in southern Norway to the ports of Brevik and Larvik, significantly reducing local NOx and CO2 emissions produced by haulage trucks. The vessel will be delivered and begin first tests and operations early 2019, and conduct fully autonomous operations in 2020.

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Toyota Research Institute video shows Chauffer and Guardian autonomous modes on Platform 2.1

September 28, 2017

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has released a video showing the first demonstration of its Guardian and Chauffeur modes on the new Platform 2.1 autonomous vehicle. (Earlier post.) The video shows the advances TRI has made with Platform 2.1, the next iteration of TRI’s innovative advanced safety research vehicle for autonomous driving, conducting several test maneuvers on a closed course.

Platform 2.1 is the first research tool for testing both Guardian and Chauffeur systems on a single vehicle using the same technology stack of sensors and software. Chauffeur is Toyota’s testing version of SAE Level 4/5 autonomy where the automated system is responsible for all driving tasks, while in Guardian mode, the automated driving system acts as a safety net for the human driver to help prevent an accident.

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JingChi raises $52M in Pre-A round to fuel growth and development of autonomous fleets for US and China; Qiming Venture, NVIDIA invest

JingChi Inc. has completed a combined $52-million pre-A investment round from lead investor Qiming Venture, strategic investor NVIDIA GPU Ventures, and a consortium of other investors. The investment allows JingChi rapidly to expand its research and development teams globally, and ramp up deployment of a fully Level 4 autonomous driving test fleet in China by the end of 2017. Duane Kuang, Founding Partner at Qiming, will join JingChi’s board of directors.

JingChi was founded in early April 2017 and has already broken several records in its brief autonomous driving history. In less than five weeks, the company successfully completed autonomous driving tests in a closed venue. On 18 June, JingChi became the 34th company to obtain a license for testing autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads. On 24 June, JingChi completed its first autonomous mode testing on public roads in Sunnyvale, California—81 days after JingChi started operations.

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Toyota Research Institute outlines progress in automated driving; Platform 2.1; new Luminar LiDAR

September 27, 2017

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) outlined some of its progress in the development of automated driving technology and other project work, including the development of robots for in-home support of people.

Since unveiling its Platform 2.0 research vehicle in March 2017 (earlier post), TRI has quickly updated its automated driving technology to Platform 2.1. In parallel with the creation of this test platform, TRI said it has made strong advances in deep learning computer perception models that allow the automated vehicle system to more accurately understand the vehicle surroundings, detecting objects and roadways, and better predict a safe driving route.

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Bosch showcasing wide range of future commercial vehicle technologies at NACV; automated, connected and electric

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show (NACV) in Atlanta this week, Bosch is showcasing its portfolio of automated, connected and electrified technologies for commercial vehicles.

At NACV, Bosch will debut its 15-inch freely programmable cluster, the largest digital cluster available for the commercial vehicle industry. The optically-bonded display enables future safety and automated solutions as it is easily integrated with advanced driver assistance technologies. Bosch’s 15-inch monitor has two variants, one in landscape mode as a dashboard solution and another in portrait mode as part of a mirror camera system that can replace side mirrors and improve vehicle efficiency by reducing drag.

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Samsung introduces industry’s first universal flash storage for next-gen automotive applications such as ADAS

September 26, 2017

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is introducing the industry’s first embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) solution for use in next-generation automotive applications. Consisting of 128-gigabyte (GB) and 64GB versions, the new eUFS solution has been designed for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), next-generation dashboards and infotainment systems that provide comprehensive connected features for drivers and passengers worldwide.

Embedded UFS solutions have been used in a variety of mobile applications since early 2015, when Samsung introduced 128GB embedded memory based on the JEDEC UFS 2.0 standard, for the first time in the industry. Since then, the high performance and proven quality of UFS has led to its wide adoption in large numbers of mobile devices from flagship smartphones initially, to also now in mid-market smartphones.

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Daimler Trucks testing truck platooning on public highways in the US

September 25, 2017

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is testing connected trucks in platooning operations on public roads in the US. In truck platooning, connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, support drivers and enhance efficiency through closer distances between the connected trucks.

Having started with successful trials on Daimler Trucks North America’s proving ground in Madras, Oregon, DTNA has received the appropriate permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). In a first step called “pairing”, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is testing its platooning technology in two connected Freightliner New Cascadia truck trailer combinations.

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JRC study explores impacts of Coordinated Automated Road Transport (C-ART)

September 22, 2017

A new report by the EU’s Joint Research Center (JRC) explores how connected vehicles and intelligent systems could change transport and the (r)evolution these changes could bring to people’s lives. The report serves as a first input to anticipated policy formulation and also points to the need for further research in the field.

The JRC study “The r-evolution of driving: from Connected Vehicles to Coordinated Automated Road Transport (C-ART)”, explores Coordinated Automated Road Transport (C-ART) scenarios and determines that transport will face three major shifts in the future: from conventional vehicles to connected vehicles; from connected vehicles to connected and automated vehicles; and from connected and automated vehicles to C-ART.

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Baidu announces Apollo 1.5 and $1.5B autonomous driving fund

Baidu, Inc. announced the release of Apollo 1.5, the latest iteration of the company’s Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform that has gathered 70 strong partners so far. (Earlier post.) The company also announced a 10 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) Apollo Fund to invest in 100 autonomous driving projects in the next three years.

Building on Apollo 1.0, Apollo 1.5 opens up five additional core capabilities which include obstacle perception; planning; cloud simulation; High-Definition (HD) maps; and End-to-End deep learning, providing more comprehensive solutions to developers and ecosystem partners to accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving.

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Delphi and Blackberry partner: QNX operating system for Delphi autonomous driving system

September 21, 2017

Delphi Automotive PLC signed a commercial partnership agreement with BlackBerry Limited under which Blackberry will provide the QNX operating system for Delphi’s autonomous driving system. Delphi and BlackBerry QNX will collaborate to bolster software performance and safety in their operating system to advance autonomous driving technology.

Delphi’s fully integrated automated driving solution, Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP), to launch in 2019, provides car manufacturers and Automated Mobility on Demand (AMoD) a best in class turnkey automated driving solution. The BlackBerry QNX OS for Safety will facilitate Delphi’s proprietary Ottomatika software algorithms and middleware, to enhance performance and safety.

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Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi 6-year plan sees 12 pure EV models launched on common platforms, 40 models with autonomous drive

September 20, 2017

The Alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced their six-year plan—Alliance 2022—which sets a new target to double annual synergies to €10 billion by the end of the plan. To achieve this, said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Alliance, the three automakers will accelerate their collaboration on common platforms, powertrains and next-generation electric, autonomous and connected technologies.

The Alliance is forecasting total annual sales to exceed 14 million units with $240 billion in revenue by the end of the plan—up more than 30% on the $180 billion aggregate revenues achieved in 2016. Under Alliance 2022, the member companies will increase their use of common platforms, with nine million units based on four common platforms. The plan will also extend the use of common powertrains to 75% of total sales. Alliance 2022 plans a major expansion in shared electric vehicle technologies, alongside the development and deployment of advanced autonomous drive systems, vehicle connectivity and new mobility services.

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Born to Drive project investigating self-delivering cars

About 80 million vehicles are produced around the world every year, but the logistics for transport from the factory to the end customer are extensive, costly and completely manual. A new vehicle is moved up to 30 times manually before it reaches the end customer.

The Swedish research project Born to Drive has now developed a new software solution that lets the vehicles move themselves. The system was developed by Semcon in collaboration with seven other companies; a prototype is already up and running.

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Ushr locks in $10M Series A funding; HD mapping technology for autonomous vehicles; working with GM

September 18, 2017

Ushr Inc., a developer of high-definition (HD) mapping technology and software for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, has secured $10 million in Series A funding, commensurate with its spin-off from GeoDigital, Inc. Forté Ventures led the investment round with participation from EnerTech Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, and GM Ventures.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in mapping engineering structures, power lines, railways and roadways, the Ushr team spent the past three years developing HD map software for autonomous driving. Now having mapped the entire US and Canada controlled access highway network with less than four inches deviation, Ushr’s platform provides the most accurate long and medium-distance sensing systems to enable autonomous vehicles (AVs) to safely navigate roadways.

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GM to introduce at least 10 new New Energy Vehicles in China from 2016-2020; focus on autonomy, connectivity and sharing

September 16, 2017

At a press conference in Shanghai, General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said that the company will introduce at least 10 new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China. These include the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, the Buick Velite 5 extended-range electric vehicle and the Baojun E100 electric vehicle—all of which have been introduced in China within the past 12 months.

By 2025, nearly all models from GM’s global brands in China—Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet—will offer electrification technology. To support GM’s growing NEV fleet planned for China, its SAIC-GM joint venture is opening a new battery assembly plant in Shanghai this year.

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European consortium launches 4-year, $80M L3Pilot research project to test Level 3, 4 autonomous driving in 11 countries

September 15, 2017

A European research consortium under the management of the Volkswagen Group launched the four-year L3Pilot project to test the viability of automated driving as a safe and efficient means of transportation. The project focuses on large-scale piloting of SAE Level 3 functions, with additional assessment of some Level 4 functions.

Thirteen European automobile manufacturers, suppliers, research institutes and universities, and small and mid-sized companies will operate 100 vehicles with 1,000 drivers under real conditions and in a wide range of applications.

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Samsung Electronics expands efforts in autonomous tech: investment in TTTech, $300M fund, new business unit

September 14, 2017

Samsung Electronics announced a strategic partnership with TTTech, a global leader in the field of robust networking and safety controls. Along with this partnership, Samsung will also make a €75-million (US$89-million) strategic investment in TTTech as the first investment from its newly established $300-million Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund (SAIF). The new partnership and investment comes on the heels of Samsung’s $8-billion acquisition of HARMAN, a leader in connected car technology, and marks another significant step for the company in the automotive space.

Focused exclusively on the automotive market, the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will focus on connected car and autonomous technologies, including smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, connectivity solutions, automotive-grade safety solutions, security, and privacy. In addition to the fund, HARMAN, which was acquired by Samsung earlier this year, has established a new Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit (SBU).

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US DOT releases new automated driving systems guidance

September 13, 2017

The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new federal guidance for the implementation of autonomous driving: Automated Driving Systems (ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0. This is the latest guidance for automated driving systems to industry and States; it replaces the earlier guidance document issued by the previous administration in September 2016 and offers a more flexible approach to advancing the innovation of automated vehicle safety technologies.

A Vision for Safety: 2.0 builds on the previous policy and incorporates feedback received through public comments and Congressional hearings. The 2.0 document provides voluntary guidance that encourages best practices and prioritizes safety. The document also provides technical assistance to States and best practices for policymakers. Specifically, the new Voluntary Guidance:

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NTSB: driver errors, overreliance on automation, lack of safeguards, led to fatal Tesla crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that a truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way and a Tesla driver’s inattention due to overreliance on vehicle automation are the probable cause of the fatal 7 May 2016, crash near Williston, Florida. (Earlier post.)

The NTSB also determined the operational design of the Tesla’s vehicle automation permitted the car driver’s overreliance on the automation, noting its design allowed prolonged disengagement from the driving task and enabled the driver to use it in ways inconsistent with manufacturer guidance and warnings. As a result of its investigation the NTSB issued seven new safety recommendations and reiterated two previously issued safety recommendations.

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Audi’s Aicon autonomous concept: Level 5 with 700-800 km electric range

September 12, 2017

Audi is showcasing its autonomous driving strategy at the IAA 2017 with the production Audi A8 (conditional automated driving at level 3 as standard) and two concept cars will also be demonstrating the Audi vision for level 4 and level 5. (Earlier post.)

The four-door Level 5 design vision Audi Aicon presents an autonomous Audi of the future with no steering wheel or pedals. The Aicon is designed for purely electric operation and should be able to cover distances between 700 and 800 kilometers (435.0 - 497.1 mi) on a single charge.

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Audi to showcase Level 4, 5 autonomous concepts, production A8 with Level 3 autonomy at IAA

September 09, 2017

Audi is showcasing its autonomous driving strategy at the IAA 2017. The new Audi A8 incorporates conditional automated driving at level 3 as standard (earlier post). Two concept cars will also be demonstrating the Audi vision for level 4 and level 5. They also provide insights into the brand’s future Audi AI technologies.

The new A8 is designed for conditional automated driving at level 3 in accordance with international standards. On highways and multi-lane motorways with a physical barrier separating the two directions of traffic, the Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes over the driving task in slow-moving traffic up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph). The system handles starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane.

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Ricardo and Roke to collaborate on next-generation vehicle cybersecurity

September 08, 2017

Ricardo plc and Roke Manor Research Ltd have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop solutions that will make autonomous and connected transport robust against cyber attack.

Providing and assuring cyber security is a fundamental requirement if the benefits of future connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) are to be fully realized. Many of today’s new vehicles are already connected over the air for telematics and maintenance, for safety systems such as eCall, by consumers using insurance-based monitoring technology, and by the many smartphone apps available to vehicle owners. With the increasing CAV content being included within new vehicles—including aspects of vehicle control through driver assistance systems, and ultimately, fully autonomous vehicle technologies—he potential vulnerabilities to cyberthreats will increase significantly.

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Solid-state LiDAR company LeddarTech raises $101M in Series C

September 07, 2017

Solid-state LiDAR company LeddarTech (earlier post) completed a combined investment of US$101 million led by Osram and including Delphi, Magneti Marelli and Integrated Device Technology, Inc. as strategic investors, as well as Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

Representing the Company’s largest capital raise to date, this round of funding will allow LeddarTech to enhance its ASIC development efforts, expand its R&D team, and accelerate ongoing LiDAR development programs with select Tier-1 automotive customers for rapid market deployment.

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Solid-state LiDAR company Innoviz raises $65M; automotive-grade LiDAR for Level 3-5 autonomy available in 2019

Innoviz Technologies, a leading provider of LiDAR sensing solutions designed for the mass commercialization of autonomous vehicles, raised $65 million in Series B funding as its solid-state LiDAR solution moves into mass production. (Earlier post.)

Strategic partners Delphi Automotive and Magna International participated in the round, along with additional new investors including 360 Capital Partners, Glory Ventures, Naver and others. All Series A investors, including Zohar Zisapel, Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures and Delek Motors, participated in this round. A second closing of this round is expected to be announced soon, introducing additional strategic partners.

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Mercedes-Benz Vans sets up on-demand van-ride-sharing JV with US start-up Via; Daimler invests $50M in Via

September 05, 2017

Mercedes-Benz Vans is entering the ride-sharing sector by setting up a joint venture with the US startup company Via. Daimler Mobility Services additionally joins in as a strategic investor in Via with a $50-million stake. For Daimler Mobility Services, Volker Mornhinweg will be joining Via’s board of directors.

Unlike other ride-hailing companies, Via has focused on developing, from the ground up, a scalable and on-demand shared ride solution. The intelligent Via algorithm supports smart public transport, enabling a dynamic mass transit system that reduces traffic volume in urban areas.

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Magna unveils MAX4 autonomous driving platform

September 01, 2017

Magna unveiled MAX4, a fully integrated, customizable and scalable autonomous driving sensing and compute platform that can enable up to Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities in both urban and highway environments.

MAX4 combines cameras, RADAR, LiDAR and ultrasonic sensors with a compute platform; the systems are designed for easy integration with any automakers’ existing and future platforms. Magna’s compute platform, scalable for high-volume production, is flexible, upgradeable and fully functional with a fraction of power requirements as compared to alternative solutions, according to the company.

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smart vision EQ fortwo autonomous electric concept for ride sharing; emodying all of CASE

August 31, 2017

smart has unveiled the smart vision EQ fortwo, embodying a new vision of urban mobility and individualized highly flexible, efficient local public transport: the autonomous concept vehicle picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location.

The smart vision EQ fortwo is also a car in which all of the individual fields of expertise that make up the CASE corporate strategy are combined, allowing users in the city intuitive access to individual mobility. CASE stands for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). (Earlier post.)

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Are Autonomous Buses the Answer for Efficient Transportation and Reducing Emissions and Fuel Consumption?

August 28, 2017

by Dave Crichton

Driverless cars are poised to decongest personal car traffic, shrink our eco footprint, free up parking spaces and reduce the frequency of collisions by about 90%. This could result in a conservative estimate of $642 billion in cost savings. But as promising as autonomous private vehicles are, could self-driven buses outshine them?

Recent innovations in autonomous public transport. It’s not hard to imagine a computer program directing buses to pick up and drop off passengers, because it’s already being done. Autonomous bus prototypes have hit the streets in select areas around the world. In May 2017, Reno, Nevada, boasted that it is laying the groundwork for the industry’s first driverless bus program, launching a three-phase process to roll out a full fleet in its downtown area.

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UK launching $10.4M road trial of truck platooning

August 25, 2017

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England has commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to lead the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads. The £8.1-million (US$10.4 million) trial will see TRL lead a consortium of partners including DAF Trucks; Ricardo, which worked with TRL to deliver a HGV Platooning feasibility study for the DfT in 2014; and DHL.

The platooning trials will see up to 3 heavy goods vehicles, traveling in convoy, with acceleration and braking controlled by the lead vehicle. All trucks in the platoon will always have a driver ready to take control at any time.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles joining BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye in developing global autonomous driving platform; Level 4/5 by 2021

August 16, 2017

BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye signed a memorandum of understanding with the intention for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to be the first automaker to join them in developing a world-leading, state-of-the-art autonomous driving platform for global deployment.

In July 2016, BMW Group, Intel, and Mobileye announced that they were joining forces to make self-driving vehicles a reality by collaborating to bring solutions for highly automated driving (Level 3) and fully automated driving (Level 4/5) into production by 2021. (Earlier post.) Since then, they have been designing and developing a scalable architecture that can be used by multiple automakers around the world, while at the same time maintaining each automaker’s unique brand identities.

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Stanford, UCSD team develops “4D” camera; use in autonomous vehicles

August 07, 2017

Engineers at Stanford University and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have developed a monocentric lens with multiple sensors using microlens arrays, allowing light field (LF) capture with an unprecedented field of view (FOV)—a camera that generates four-dimensional images and can capture 138 degrees of information.

The new camera—the first single-lens, wide field of view, light field (LF) camera—could generate information-rich images and video frames that will enable robots to better navigate the world and understand certain aspects of their environment, such as object distance and surface texture. The researchers also see this technology being used in autonomous vehicles and augmented and virtual reality technologies. Researchers presented their new technology at the computer vision conference CVPR 2017 in July.

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IHS Markit Survey finds varied autonomy and safety technology preferences for new vehicles

A new IHS Markit survey of five key automotive markets—the US, Canada, China, Germany and the United Kingdom—found that full autonomy technology is not yet popular among a broad audience. On the other hand, the same audience ranked it among the very features they would be willing to pay the most for in their next new vehicle purchase.

Responses from more than 5,000 vehicle owners intending to purchase a new vehicle within the next 36 months were reviewed in the 2017 Autonomous Driving and Urban Mobility Consumer Analysis. This is the fifth annual survey of its kind from IHS Markit and identified key attributes for consumers, providing insight into preferences, desires and future interest as new vehicle intenders return to market. A number of subjects were covered.

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Toyota to invest additional $95M in Preferred Networks; joint R&D on deep learning AI tech in mobility-related fields

August 04, 2017

With the aim of accelerating joint research and development of artificial intelligence technologies in mobility-related fields, such as automated driving technology, Toyota Motor Corporation will invest an additional ¥10.5 billion (US $95 million) in Preferred Networks (PFN). (Earlier post.) Toyota will acquire stock in PFN through the allocation of new shares to a third party.

Toyota and PFN have been working on joint research and development since October 2014, and for the purpose of strengthening the relationship, Toyota invested approximately ¥1 billion (US $9.02 million) in PFN in December 2015. To date, the joint research and development has focused on object-recognition technology and analysis technology of vehicle information. This additional investment will further enhance the relationship between Toyota and PFN and spur joint research and development.

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Toyota CSRC launches new research tracks on autonomous & connected vehicle technologies; 11 projects with 8 institutions

August 02, 2017

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced a sweeping set of new research programs studying the opportunities and addressing the challenges of emerging vehicle technologies. The eleven projects—launched in partnership with eight leading research institutions in North America—mark the first projects launched under CSRC Next (earlier post), which is the Center’s new five-year program that continues to support a safer transition to the future of mobility.

The research projects will focus on the impact of advanced technology on broader road safety trends, and the interaction between humans and machines. Specific research challenges include: The integration of advanced active safety systems—such as automatic emergency braking—and passive systems; human experience design for advanced technology vehicles; driver state detection; and using analytics to help improve the study of naturalistic driving data.

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Team from autonomous EV startup NIO wins car hacking contest at DEF CON 25

August 01, 2017

The NIO US team took First Place at the DEF CON 25 2017 Car Hacking Village, beating out 10 other teams in the third annual “Capture The Flag” (CTF) security event. Based in Silicon Valley, NIO US is a start-up developing autonomous electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) DEF CON is one of the oldest continuously running hacker conventions, and also one of the largest.

At the conference held, last week in Las Vegas, researchers and hackers devised a series of challenges to understand the vulnerabilities of our connected world. The Villages at DEF CON are places where attendees can go to expand their knowledge about specific areas of interest and interact with the minds running the villages, participate in discussions, hands-on demonstrations, hacking and contests. One topic that has gained exposure over the last year has been security vulnerabilities in modern automobiles; Car Hacking Village (CHV) was one of 16 villages featured at DEF CON 25 this year.

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Toyota to collaborate with the American Center for Mobility; $5M to support connected and automated vehicle testing

July 31, 2017

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will support the American Center for Mobility (ACM) (earlier post) as a Founder-level sponsor with a $5-million contribution.

The ACM is a non-profit testing and product development facility for future mobility, designed to enable safe validation of connected and automated vehicle technology, and accelerate the development of voluntary standards. The American Center for Mobility will be a uniquely purpose-built facility at the 335-acre historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township in Southeast Michigan.

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NVIDIA & AutonomouStuff speed development of autonomous vehicles with DRIVE PX on Wheels; full kits in cars

July 29, 2017

NVIDIA has partnered with AutonomouStuff, a supplier of components used within autonomy systems, to deliver kits packaging the NVIDIA DRIVE PX in vehicles with sensors. DRIVE PX on Wheels is available in three versions: advanced, basic and custom.

Each comes with a vehicle configured by AutonomouStuff with sensors and the NVIDIA end-to-end autonomous driving platform, allowing developers to focus on creating their own self-driving solutions. The advanced kit begins with a Ford Fusion, which is loaded with a NVIDIA DRIVE PX AI car computer, as well as cameras, LIDAR, radar, navigation sensors and a drive-by-wire system, including:

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HERE launches new generation of Real-Time Traffic service with integration of live data from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles

July 27, 2017

HERE Technologies has launched the new generation of its HERE Real-Time Traffic service—the first global service on the market that integrates live vehicle sensor data from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles with traffic probe information, resulting in significantly higher accuracy and more precise information about traffic conditions.

HERE Real-Time Traffic, available to all current and future customers from any industry and covering more than 60 countries, offers significant improvements in traffic flow data, especially on arterial roads. For more than 30 of those countries, the service also provides incident information with features such as Traffic Safety Warning. Aided by new hard-braking sensor data HERE is now processing, this feature now allows more relevant and timely notifications to the vehicle.

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Bosch and Daimler to pilot driverless parking in real-world conditions

July 24, 2017

Bosch and Daimler are demonstrating automated valet parking at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stuttgart. With a command from a smartphone, drivers can now automatically park cars in their assigned spots without having to monitor the vehicles’ movements.

The pilot solution at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage is the first infrastructure-based solution for a fully automated valet parking service in real conditions, with and without drivers at the wheel. From early 2018, visitors will be able to experience the convenient service for themselves in the museum’s garage, and save the time they would have spent parking.

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Autonomous vehicle company Nauto closes $159M round; Softbank, Greylock join BMW, GM, Toyota

July 20, 2017

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto (earlier post) closed a $159-million Series B financing round, led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and Greylock Partners. Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.

The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle research and development across multiple automakers.

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US House subcommittee advances autonomous driving legislation; NHTSA to drive regulations, state role diminished

July 19, 2017

The US House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a markup to advance bipartisan self-driving legislation. This draft legislation passed out of the subcommittee by voice vote.

The legislation clarifies the federal and state roles for regulating highly automated vehicles (HAVs) to encourage the testing, development, and deployment of HAVs in the United States. Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will have an expanded role covering certification, standards, and rulemakings for highly automated vehicles (HAVs). The states, on the other hand, have a diminished role.

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Microsoft joins Baidu Apollo project to advance autonomous driving; global Azure cloud support

July 18, 2017

Microsoft Corp. and Baidu Inc. plan to partner to take the technical development and adoption of autonomous driving worldwide. As a member of the Baidu-launched Apollo alliance (earlier post), Microsoft will provide global scale for Apollo outside of China with the Microsoft Azure cloud.

The Apollo project, announced earlier this year, intends to provide an open, complete and reliable software platform for its partners in the automotive and autonomous driving industry to develop their own autonomous driving systems with reference vehicles and hardware platform.

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Germany supporting truck platooning project with nearly €2M

July 13, 2017

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is awarding nearly €2 million (US$2.3 million) to support a truck platooning project by DB Schenker, MAN, and Hochschule. (Earlier post.) The project will run until January 2019.

Initially the partners will test truck convoys in everyday operation at the digital test site, the A9 freeway, for several months to analyze their suitability for practical application and system safety in real traffic scenarios as well as within the logistics processes of DB Schenker. This phase is also aimed at investigating the potential effects of the new technology on the truck driver profession.

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Groupe PSA and VINCI Autoroutes take an autonomous car through a tollgate for the first time using V2X

A Citroën C4 Picasso from Groupe PSA’s autonomous vehicles fleet has crossed through the toll station at Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines in the Paris area without a driver’s assistance using communication between the vehicle and the infrastructure. This test in real traffic conditions shows a significant step forward in the autonomous car development towards Level 4 autonomy—without drivers’ supervision.

The two organizations began their collaboration in 2016. VINCI Autoroutes is the biggest operator of motorway infrastructure in Europe. Earlier this month, Groupe Renault and Sanef also announced they are cooperating further to develop communications between autonomous vehicles and road infrastructure, with testing on toll barrier crossings and work zone approaches. (Earlier post.)

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New Audi A8 debuting Level 3 autonomous AI traffic jam pilot; parking and remote garage pilots; zFAS controller

July 12, 2017

Audi AI is the umbrella term for its new generation of high-end assistance technologies extending all the way up to highly automated driving. Three of them will be available for the first time in the new A8: the Audi AI traffic jam pilot (the first Level 3 autonomous traffic jam feature on the market); the Audi AI (remote) parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot. The core of the systems which Audi is developing for piloted driving is the central driver assistance system control unit (zFAS), which is also making its debut in the new Audi A8.

Audi AI traffic jam pilot. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot is a Level 3 system, whereby the car takes over the task of driving in certain situations. The driver no longer needs to monitor it permanently, as with a Level 2 system; the driver must merely be capable of taking back responsibility on the system’s prompting.

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Toyota Research Institute launches Toyota AI Ventures with $100M investment

July 11, 2017

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is investing an initial $100 million to launch Toyota AI Ventures, a new corporate venture capital subsidiary designed to provide early-stage financing to startup technology companies.

TRI launches the venture by contributing initial investments it has made in three technology companies: Nauto, SLAMcore and Intuition Robotics. The venture will also cultivate select start-ups by offering them mentorship and support on-site at TRI's Silicon Valley headquarters. Investment will focus in the areas of Artificial Intelligence; Robotics; Autonomous Mobility; and Data and Cloud Technology.

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New Audi A8 comes with 48V mHEV standard; plug-in e-tron model with wireless charging

In a brand event in Barcelona, Audi unveiled its fourth-generation A8 luxury sedan. The new A8 features a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The Audi A8 has also been developed for highly automated driving. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production.

All five engines options—3.0 TDI and TFSI; 4.0 TDI and TFSI; and 6.0L W12— operate in conjunction with a 48V mild hybrid (mHEV) belt alternator starter (BAS) system. (Earlier post.) This mHEV technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption by as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 gallons US) per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) in real driving conditions.

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Groupe Renault and Sanef to cooperate in connecting autonomous cars to road infrastructure (V2X)

July 10, 2017

Groupe Renault and Sanef, a world-leading motorway operator, belonging to Abertis group, will cooperate to further develop communications between autonomous vehicles and road infrastructure, and testing on toll barrier crossings and work zone approaches. The partnership contributes to the main objectives for autonomous vehicles to increase road safety and to reach zero fatality, and with the “eyes off/hands off” experience to give time back to travellers.

The companies are working together using the connectivity from car to car and to infrastructure (V2X) developed in the framework of the European SCOOP project. This experimentation, taking place in France with Renault Autonomous prototypes represents a first step, with the aim to extend cooperation to other countries.

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Volkswagen Group Research and KUKA partner to develop robot-supported services for autonomous and electric vehicles

July 07, 2017

Volkswagen Group Research and leading robotics company KUKA will intensify their strategic partnership with the joint development of area ofrobot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future.

One of the aims of the research collaboration is to develop robot-based innovations for all-electric and autonomous automobiles. The new cooperation links up with an existing joint research project looking into collaboration between human and robot. The e-smart Connect project—highlighted during a recent Media Day event—includes a practical and user-friendly solution for charging high-voltage batteries of electric vehicles produced by the Volkswagen Group.

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Groupe Renault to further autonomous vehicle development with new simulation joint venture with Oktal

July 04, 2017

Groupe Renault is taking a 35% stake in a new joint venture, Autonomous Vehicle Simulation (AVS), formed together with Oktal, a subsidiary of Sogeclair, a French aerospace and simulation company based in Toulouse, France. This step will allow Renault and the Renault-Nissan Alliance to continue delivering a menu of advanced technologies by furthering autonomous vehicle development testing in a virtual environment.

The newly formed AVS partnership will also benefit the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which has committed to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous capabilities by 2020. The Alliance has already engaged in the virtual testing of Autonomous vehicles using SCANeR,/a> simulation software, originally invented by Renault, that was co-developed with Oktal.

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Mercedes-Benz pilot test for automated driving in production

July 03, 2017

Mercedes-Benz is pilot testing the use of automated driving in production with its new S-Class. At the Mercedes-Benz plant Sindelfingen, an S 560 4MATIC drove itself independently off the final assembly line, without a driver at the wheel. The vehicle then drove automatically approximately 1.5 kilometers to the loading area within the plant.

Newly developed and patented technology supports the autonomous function. Cameras, together with radar and ultrasonic sensors work in conjunction with software to accelerate and brake the S-Class independently and ensure that it stays reliably on track.

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Autoliv to use Velodyne LiDAR technology for automotive-grade LiDAR product

Autoliv Inc., the world’s largest automotive safety company, has joined Velodyne LiDAR’s Tier-1 Program and will develop and manufacture an automotive-grade LiDAR product using Velodyne’s core 3D software technology and proprietary LiDAR ASIC engine. The first applications will be in the robotaxi segment.

Pursuant to the agreement, Autoliv will develop and market a scalable automotive-grade LiDAR sensor using Velodyne’s core 3D software technology and proprietary LiDAR ASIC engine coupled with Autoliv’s component development and verification capability.

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Nissan teases new LEAF with ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous features

June 23, 2017

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Nissan chairman of the board and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn announced that the company would launch a new Nissan LEAF with ProPILOT technology (earlier post,) enabling autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. (Earlier post.) Nissan has now released a teaser image and video of the application of ProPILOT Assist in the new LEAF.

ProPILOT Assist supports drivers by helping control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane driving on the highway. In the coming years, Nissan’s ProPILOT technology will offer increasing levels of autonomy, with the system eventually able to navigate city intersections.

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French electric autonomous vehicle maker NAVYA to build 1st US assembly plant in Michigan; partnership with U Michigan

NAVYA, a pioneer in developing and manufacturing autonomous vehicles, will establish its first assembly plant outside of Europe in Southeast Michigan. Beginning last year, the French company partnered with Mcity, a public-private partnership led by the University of Michigan to accelerate advanced mobility vehicles and technologies, to bring the NAVYA ARMA, a 100% driverless, completely electric, Level 5 autonomous shuttle vehicle to Mcity.

Based on the strong partnership with the university, NAVYA has decided to manufacture its vehicles in the Ann Arbor area.

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Rolls-Royce and Svitzer demo world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel; testing autonomous operation

June 22, 2017

Rolls-Royce and global towage operator Svitzer have successfully demonstrated the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in Copenhagen harbour, Denmark.

Earlier this year, one of Svitzer’s tugs, the 28m Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled maneuvers. From the quayside in Copenhagen harbour the vessel’s captain, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ, before docking again. The companies have also signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels. The primary systems involved will be autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control centre and communication.

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Audi and Johannes Kepler University of Linz to establish center for artificial intelligence; autonomous driving

June 21, 2017

Audi and the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU) are establishing the “Audi.JKU deep learning center” in Linz to conduct joint research into the intelligent car of the future. Through cooperation with the Institute for Bioinformatics headed by Prof. Sepp Hochreiter, Audi plans to promote the use of artificial intelligence in automobiles.

Prof. Sepp Hochreiter is one of Europe’s leading experts in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). He has made major contributions with fundamental research into deep‑learning technologies – a methodology that is based on the learning processes of the human brain. The long short‑term memory (LSTM) that he developed is used for speech‑recognition software in all smartphones all over the world. (LSTM is a recurrent neural net (RNN) architecture proposed by Hochreiter and his colleague Jürgen Schmidhuber in 1996.)

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HELLA and ZF form strategic partnership on sensors for ADAS and autonomous driving; first camera system due in 2020

ZF and HELLA are entering into a strategic partnership, with the focus on camera systems, imaging and radar sensor technology for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. Both automotive suppliers said they will each benefit from this cooperation on sensor technology, particularly for front camera systems, imaging and radar systems.

ZF will further strengthen its portfolio as a systems supplier offering both modern assistance systems and autonomous driving functions, while HELLA will drive technological development and benefits with a broader market access for its technologies. The first joint development project in camera technology will start immediately, with the objective of a market launch in 2020.

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Valeo and Cisco unveil smart parking service

June 16, 2017

Valeo and Cisco have signed a cooperation agreement to develop strategic innovations in smart mobility services. Cyber Valet Services, a project resulting from their collaboration, is being unveiled at this year’s Viva Technology conference in Paris.

This solution, developed by the two major strategically aligned tech players, now enables vehicles equipped with Valeo Park4U Auto technology to park safely and autonomously in connected car parks. The driver simply gets out of his/her vehicle at the car park entrance and activates the automatic parking system using a smartphone. The vehicle then continues its journey in automatic mode until it has finished parking. In just a few clicks, it can be set in motion again to meet the driver at the designated pick-up point in the car park.

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California legislature exploring linking autonomy and electrification

June 15, 2017

California legislators are exploring linking autonomy and electrification. At the end of May, Senate Bill 802, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), received bipartisan support and passed the Senate floor with a vote of 26-11. It now goes to the Assembly for consideration.

SB 802 would direct the Office of Planning and Research to convene an Emerging Vehicle Advisory Study Group on or before 1 April 2018, to review policies regarding new types of motor vehicles, including, but not limited to, autonomous vehicles and shared-use vehicles. The bill would require the study group to provide recommendations to the Legislature on or before 1 April 2019 “regarding policies and incentives to maximize the social benefits, minimize the social costs, and encourage the electrification and hybridization of new types of motor vehicles operating in California, including, but not limited to, autonomous vehicles and shared-use vehicles.”

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Honda targeting introduction of Level 4 automated driving capability by 2025; Level 3 by 2020

June 08, 2017

Honda is targeting the year 2025 for the introduction of vehicles with highly-automated driving capability in most driving situations (SAE Level 4). This new goal builds upon earlier-announced plans for Honda and Acura vehicles to have highly-automated freeway driving capability (SAE Level 3) by 2020.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo made the announcement at a media briefing held at Honda R&D Co., Ltd. in Japan, where media were able to test-drive Honda automated vehicle technologies, including systems with advanced artificial intelligence (AI), in several complex driving scenarios.

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Transdev, Delphi partner on autonomous transportation; testing 1st open-road, driverless on-demand mobility service in EU

Transdev, a leading global provider of mobility services, and Delphi Automotive PLC have entered into a commercial partnership to develop a global, fully automated, mobility-on-demand (AMoD) transport system. The system will utilize Transdev Universal Routing Engine (URE) and Delphi’s previously announced automated driving platform—the Centralized Sensing, Localization and Planning (CSLP) platform which Delphi is developing in partnership with Mobileye. (Earlier post.)

Transdev and Delphi will start collaborating on pilot programs in Paris-Saclay and Rouen (Normandy) France, as the first EU driverless, on-demand mobility service on an open road.

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Bosch, TomTom collaborate on radar localization layer for high-resolution maps for autonomous driving

June 07, 2017

Bosch and the Dutch map and traffic information provider TomTom have developed a radar localization layer for high-resolution maps for automated driving—a first. Up to now, video data has been used for this purpose.

Bosch’s “radar road signature” is made up of billions of individual reflection points. These are formed everywhere that radar signals hit—for example, on crash barriers or road signs—and reproduce the course a road takes. Automated vehicles can use the map to determine their exact location in a lane down to a few centimeters.

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Lyft and nuTonomy form strategic R&D partnership to optimize passenger experience in self-driving cars

June 06, 2017

Autonomous vehicle software developer nuTonomy and Lyft have formed a strategic R&D partnership focused on understanding and optimizing the end-to-end experience of autonomous vehicle (AV) passengers.

Under the partnership, nuTonomy and Lyft will align their respective technology platforms to gather valuable research and insights into all aspects of ensuring a passenger’s comfort and safety during an AV ride—from routing and booking to the performance of the driving system and how it interacts and communicates with the rider.

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New low-voltage W-band millimeter-wave technology; applicable for cars, bikes, cellphones

June 05, 2017

Hiroshima University and Mie Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited (MIFS) have developed a low-power millimeter-wave amplifier that feeds on 0.5 V power supply and covers the frequency range from 80 GHz to 106 GHz. It was fabricated using MIFS’s Deeply Depleted Channel (DDC) technology.

This is the first W-band (75−110 GHz) amplifier that can operate even with such a low power-supply voltage. Details of the technology are being presented this week at the IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium (RFIC) 201 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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DOE releasing $20M in funding to ARPA-E awardees; NEXTCAR and REFUEL projects

June 01, 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is honoring additional commitments to 10 previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees for a total of $20 million. This completes the approval process for projects selected in ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) (earlier post) and Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) (earlier post)programs.

Four REFUEL projects are also part of DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs, which support groundbreaking technological innovation specifically in the small business community.

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Continental in strategic agreements with NIO on EVs, Baidu on autonomous driving

Continental has signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with NIO, a global electric vehicle startup. The two companies will collaborate closely in the field of fully electric vehicles and other relevant fields, including intelligent transportation systems and automated driving, striving to build a stable partnership on a long-term basis.

Continental also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Baidu, one of the biggest Internet companies in China, with the goal of establishing a comprehensive strategic cooperation in the areas of automated driving, connected vehicles and intelligent mobility services. Both agreements were signed on Wednesday in Berlin.

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