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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.]

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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UK Government awards more than US$141M to 38 driverless and low carbon vehicle projects

The UK Government recently awarded £109.7 million (US$141 million) of government funding, alongside significant funding from industry, to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles, as part of the Industrial Strategy and the government’s Plan for Britain.

The awards are divided between funding from the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC) – 7 projects with support up to £62 million (US$80 million); the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) – 7 projects with support up to £16.7 million (US$21.5 million); and the second round of the connected autonomous vehicles competition (CAV2) – 24 projects with support up to £31 million (US$40 million).

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Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center launches 5-year, $35M program on autonomous and connected vehicle technologies

May 31, 2017

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) formally launched the next phase of its research mission, following on the successful conclusion of its first five years of auto safety research. The new research effort, named CSRC Next, will focus on the challenges and opportunities of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies over the next decade.

First announced in 2014, CSRC Next (earlier post) will direct $35 million through 2021 towards research designed to support a safe transition to the future of mobility. Projects will follow four research tracks:

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Ford continues executive shuffling in wake of replacement of CEO; Marakby back from Uber to lead electrification

May 25, 2017

On Monday, Ford Motor Company announced the immediate replacement of Mark Fields as CEO by Jim Hackett, who had led Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. Ford also announced changes in roles for three top executives: Jim Farley (Global Markets), Joe Hinrichs (Global Operations) and Marcy Klevorn (Mobility). (Earlier post.)

Today, Ford announced another set of senior leadership changes around the world, completing the newly reorganized team led by President and CEO Hackett. Among those changes is the return of Sherif Marakby from Uber to become Ford vice president, autonomous vehicles and electrification.

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Toyota Research Institute exploring blockchain technology for development of new mobility ecosystem

May 22, 2017

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology (BC/DL) (earlier post) for use in the development of a new mobility ecosystem that could accelerate development of autonomous driving technology. TRI is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab (MIT ML) and other industry partners to foster a digital environment in which users—both businesses and consumers—may securely share driving and autonomous vehicle testing data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions and store vehicle usage information that could be used in the setting of insurance rates.

Blockchain technology sends information over a network of independent computers (distributed ledger), intended to ensure that the transaction is secure and ownership rights over the data/property are protected. Blockchain originally underpinned Bitcoin, but has gained traction as a means to record and track the movement of assets. TRI believes blockchain may create transparency and trust among users, reduce risk of fraud and reduction or elimination of transaction costs, such as fees or surcharges applied by third party institutions.

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Volvo Trucks and Renova testing autonomous refuse trucks; driving in reverse

May 17, 2017

Swedish waste management company Renova and Volvo Trucks are currently testing and researching how automated vehicles can contribute to safer, more efficient refuse handling and create a better working environment for drivers. The automated systems being tested are in principle the same as those fitted to the autonomous Volvo truck operating in the Kristineberg Mine in northern Sweden since autumn 2016.

The refuse truck relies on a GPS and LiDAR-based system for mapping, positioning and scanning of the area around the vehicle. The autonomous system controls steering, gear changing and speed. The vehicle stops automatically if an obstacle on the road suddenly appears.

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Juniper: V2V to feature in >50% of cars sold by 2022

A new report from Juniper Research projects that by 2022, 50% of new vehicles will be shipped with V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) hardware, a technology that enables real-time short-range communication between vehicles.

The new research, Consumer Connected Cars: Applications, Telematics & V2V 2017-2022, found that the total number of V2V-enabled consumer vehicles on the road will reach 35 million by 2022, up from less than 150,000 vehicles in 2017. This strong growth rate (376% CAGR) reflects the early stages of roll-out for V2V, but will still only represent 2.7% off all vehicles.

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BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye bringing Delphi in as partner in autonomous driving platform work

May 16, 2017

The BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye will bring Delphi onboard as a development partner and system integrator for the autonomous driving platform currently under development. The common platform is intended to address level 3 to level 5 automated driving and will be made available to multiple car vendors and other industries who could benefit from autonomous machines and deep machine learning. (Earlier post.)

The four partners intend to jointly deploy a cooperation model to deliver and scale the developed solutions to the broader OEM automotive industry and potentially other industries.

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NVIDIA and Toyota collaborate to accelerate market introduction of autonomous cars; new Volta GPU architecture

May 10, 2017

NVIDIA is collaborating with Toyota to deliver artificial intelligence hardware and software technologies that will enhance the capabilities of autonomous driving systems planned for market introduction within the next few years.

Toyota will use the NVIDIA DRIVE PX AI car computer platform (earlier post) to power advanced autonomous driving systems planned for market introduction. Engineering teams from the two companies are already developing software on NVIDIA’s platform that will enhance the capabilities of Toyota vehicles, enabling them to better understand the massive volume of data generated by sensors on the car, and to handle the broad spectrum of autonomous driving situations.

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Yara and Kongsberg partner to build world’s first autonomous electric container feeder ship; moving goods from roads to ships

Global fertilizer company Yara and technology group Kongsberg are parterning to build the first autonomous, electric container feeder ship. Container feeder ships collect shipping containers from different ports and transport them to central container terminals, at which they are loaded onto larger container ships or onto rail.

Named YARA Birkeland after Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland, the vesselwill will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by some 40,000 journeys a year, the partners estimate. Operation is planned to start in the latter half of 2018, shipping products from YARA’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway. YARA Birkeland will initially operate as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 and expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020.

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UC Davis, ITDP report finds shared mobility essential for realizing full benefits of electrification and automation

May 05, 2017

A new report from a team at the University of California, Davis, and the New York-based nonprofit Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) has concluded that shared mobility is a critical enabler for realizing the benefits of electrification and autonomous driving.

The report examines three urban travel scenarios surrounding three transportation “revolutions:” vehicle electrification, automation, and widespread shared mobility. The scenarios include: (a) Business as usual (BAU): a future without widespread electrification or automation; (b) “2 Revolutions (2R):” electrification and automation are embraced but shared mobility is not; and (c) “3 Revolutions (3R):” electrification, automation and shared mobility are all widespread.

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Groupe PSA and nuTonomy form strategic partnership to test fully autonomous vehicles in Singapore

May 03, 2017

Autonomous vehicle (AV) software developer nuTonomy (earlier post) and Groupe PSA have entered a strategic partnership through which nuTonomy will seamlessly integrate its software system into customized PEUGEOT 3008s for on-road testing of fully autonomous cars in Singapore. The PEUGEOT 3008 was recently named 2017 European Car of the Year.

Under the initial phase of the partnership, nuTonomy will install its software, along with specialized sensors and computing platforms, into PEUGEOT 3008 vehicles that have been customized by PSA. nuTonomy expects to complete the integration of its autonomous vehicle (AV) system this summer, with on-road testing of the self-driving 3008s beginning in Singapore in September.

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Proterra begins first autonomous bus program in the US

Electric bus manufacturer Proterra is initiating the industry’s first autonomous bus program with the University of Nevada, Reno and its Living Lab Coalition partners including the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC), the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the Nevada Governor’s Office for Economic Development, Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI, and the cities of Reno, Sparks and Carson City, Nev.

Unlike other programs to date, this autonomous vehicle pilot will deal with real road conditions from the perspective of public transit systems, and emphasize the most challenging aspects related to mass transportation, which include dense and dynamic environments, degraded conditions, and a need for swift emergency response.

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Roland Berger “Automotive Disruption Radar” focused on MADE: mobility, autonomy, digitalization, electrification

May 01, 2017

Germany-based international consultancy Rolad Berger had launched a new publication—the “Automotive Disruption Radar”—to monitor the radical transformation of the automotive industry being driven by four concurrent megatrends: mobility services, autonomous driving, digitalization and electrification (MADE).

The Radar analyzes the transformation via 25 selected indicators in five dimensions: Customer interest (e.g. via more than 10,000 end-user interviews); regulation; technology; infrastructure; and industry activity. The Roland Berger team analyzes all indicators 10 different countries and will update the Radar on a regular basis.

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Waymo adding 500 more Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivans to self-driving program; early rider program

April 25, 2017

Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project) will add an additional 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans (earlier post) to expand its self-driving program. FCA previously delivered 100 minivans, modified for self-driving, to Waymo during the second half of 2016. (Earlier post.) Production of the additional 500 minivans will ramp up beginning next month. Waymo will then outfit these vehicles with its self-driving technology.

Waymo also is inviting members of the public to use its fleet of self-driving vehicles for everyday travel. Waymo’s early rider program will give selected Phoenix residents the opportunity to experience the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for the first time at no charge.

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DRIVEN consortium to test Level 4 autonomous fleet in UK in 2019

The DRIVEN consortium—led by artificial intelligence company Oxbotica, which is developing next-gen autonomous vehicles—will test a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in an end-to-end journey from London to Oxford. These vehicles will operate at Level 4 autonomy—with capability of performing all safety-critical driving functions and monitoring roadway conditions for an entire trip, with zero-passenger occupancy.

No connected and autonomous vehicle trial at this level of complexity and integration has yet been attempted. DRIVEN is supported by a £8.6-million (US$11-million) grant awarded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and delivered through Innovate UK.

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Dongfeng Motor to use Visteon SmartCore cockpit domain controller; third SmartCore win

April 21, 2017

China’s second largest vehicle manufacturer, Dongfeng Motor, has selected Visteon’s SmartCore cockpit domain controller technology (earlier post) for a future domestic Chinese light vehicle program. This will be Visteon’s first SmartCore application in China, the company’s largest market and the world’s biggest automotive market.

With the average number of ECUs in high-end vehicles more than doubling over the past decade, it is essential to more efficiently manage the increasing cost and complexity of in-vehicle electronics. (Earlier post.) SmartCore combines previously separate instrument clusters, head-up displays (HUD) and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) domains on a one-chip, multi-domain controller featuring a single integrated human-machine interface (HMI)..

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Velodyne introduces new low-cost fixed-laser solid-state LiDAR for autonomous driving and ADAS applications

April 20, 2017

Velodyne LiDAR announced its new fixed-laser, solid-state Velarray LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor, a cost-effective yet high-performance and rugged automotive product in a small form factor. (Earlier post.) The Velarray sensor can be seamlessly embedded in both autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) systems.

The new Velarray LiDAR sensor uses Velodyne’s proprietary ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) to achieve superior performance metrics in a small package size of 125mm x 50mm x 55mm that can be embedded into the front, sides, and corners of vehicles. It provides up to a 120-degree horizontal and 35-degree vertical field-of-view, with a 200-meter range even for low-reflectivity objects.

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Baidu opening up its autonomous driving platform; leveraging AI capabilities

April 19, 2017

Baidu, the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, announced a new project—named “Apollo”—intended 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.

By opening up its autonomous driving technology to the industry, Baidu aims to build a collaborative ecosystem, utilizing its strengths in artificial intelligence (AI) technology to work together with other companies to promote the development and popularization of autonomous driving technology.

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DLR team devises concept for next-gen rail cargo transport; automated, intelligent freight wagons

April 17, 2017

Transport researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an innovative, holistic concept for the next-generation transport of cargo by rail—NGT CARGO. The concept aims to make European rail freight more appealing and hence increase its market share. It is distinguished by a high level of automation, intelligent handling and high speeds. In this way, rail freight transportation can be made more flexible and the capacity of the system can be increased.

The automatically driven NGT CARGO trains will be made up of single wagons and powerful end cars, automatically coupled together as required. This will enable the transport of a range of goods flexibly, with low use of resources, minimal deployment of personnel and short transport times, said DLR researcher Joachim Winter, who is leading the Next Generation Train (NGT) project.

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ST Engineering launches several initiatives on autonomous vehicles in Singapore

April 12, 2017

ST Engineering announced several initiatives to advance Singapore’s Smart Mobility 2030 vision of a smart transportation network and to strengthen its leadership in the development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies.

First, ST Engineering has launched the Singapore Autonomous Vehicles Consortium to facilitate and to strengthen collaboration between industry partners and institutes of higher learning (IHL) to develop AV standards as well as accelerate the application and adoption of AV technologies in Singapore.

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Cadillac Super Cruise hands-free system uses driver attention system and LiDAR map database

April 11, 2017

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 will feature Super Cruise (earlier post) autonomous driving technology for the highway. Unlike other driver assistance systems, Super Cruise utilizes two advanced technology systems—a driver attention system and precision LiDAR map data—to ensure safe and confident vehicle operation. These systems are added to the network of cameras and radar sensors in the CT6, providing a more data-rich approach to driver assistance.

Super Cruise will be offered as an option on the 2018 Cadillac CT6 prestige sedan, starting this fall in the US and Canadian markets.

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MIT Energy Initiative launches 3-year study on future of transportation; technology, fuel, infrastructure, policy, and consumer preference

As part of MIT’s five-year Plan for Action on Climate Change, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has launched a major study—“Mobility of the Future”—to explore how consumers and markets will respond to potentially disruptive technologies, business models, and government policies. The scope of this study is ground transportation with an emphasis on the movement of people.

There are many potentially disruptive forces at work in the mobility space, all of which could shape the landscape. MITEI has organized a multidisciplinary team from across MIT to examine the complex interactions among these elements and their implications for the future.

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Renesas introduces “autonomy” open platform for ADAS and automated driving

Renesas Electronics Corporation launched Renesas “autonomy”, a new advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving platform. As the first product under the new autonomy platform, Renesas released the R-Car V3M high-performance image recognition system-on-chip (SoC) optimized primarily for use in smart camera applications, as well as surround view systems or even LiDARs.

The new R-Car V3M SoC complies with the ISO 26262 functional safety standard, delivers low-power hardware acceleration for vision processing, and is equipped with a built-in image signal processor (ISP), freeing up board space and reducing system manufacturers’ system costs. Renesas is exhibiting its first Renesas autonomy demonstrator, developed based on the new R-Car V3M SoC, at DevCon Japan in Tokyo.

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AT&T to acquire Straight Path in $1.6B deal to support development of 5G technologies

AT&T plans to acquire Straight Path Communications in an all-stock merger intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization. The transaction has a total value of $1.6 billion which includes liabilities and amounts to be remitted to the FCC per the terms of Straight Path’s January 2017 consent decree. Straight Path shareholders will receive $1.25 billion ($95.63 per share), which will be paid using AT&T stock.

Straight Path is one of the largest holders of 28 GHz and 39 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. The transaction, which was approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, complements AT&T’s January acquisition of FiberTower and augments the company’s holdings of mmWave spectrum. The acquisition will support AT&T’s development of 5G, which will accelerate the delivery of new experiences for consumers and businesses such as virtual and augmented reality, telemedicine, autonomous cars, smart cities and more.

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Mercedes-Benz adds extended ADAS functions to coming S-Class; step toward autonomy

April 07, 2017

Mercedes-Benz will offer extended driving assistance functions in the new S‑Class this autumn, taking a further, major step towards autonomous driving.

Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now support the driver even more conveniently in keeping a safe distance and steering, and the vehicle speed is now also automatically adjusted in bends and at road junctions. Also on board are Active Emergency Stop Assist and a considerably improved Active Lane Change Assist.

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