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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 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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GM and SAE International select 8 NA universities for new autonomous vehicle competition; Bolt EV the platform

April 06, 2017

At WCX 17: SAE World Congress Experience, SAE International and General Motors announced the eight North American universities which will compete in the upcoming AutoDrive Challenge. This new autonomous vehicle design competition is a three-year challenge to develop and demonstrate a fully autonomous passenger vehicle. The competition’s technical goal is navigating an urban driving course in an automated driving mode as described by SAE Standard (J3016) level 4 definition by Year 3.

GM will provide each team with a Chevrolet Bolt EV as the vehicle platform. Strategic partners and suppliers will aid the students in their technology development by providing vehicle parts and software. Throughout the AutoDrive Challenge competition cycle, students and faculty will be invited to attend technology-specific workshops to help them in their concept refinement and overall autonomous technical understanding.

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Porsche and Audi to work on shared vehicle architecture; electrification, autonomy, digitization

April 05, 2017

Within the Volkswagen Group, Porsche AG and AUDI AG now plan to cooperate more closely on future vehicle architectures, with a particular focus on electrification, digitization and autonomous driving.

Brands within the Volkswagen Group have been rolling out modular component matrices, or assembly toolkits, for their light-duty vehicles over the past few years. Until recently, the four main modular toolkits (modularen Baukästen) of the Group were: the MQB (transverse, driven by the Volkswagen brand); the MLB (longitudinal, driven by the Audi brand); the MSB (standard drive, driven by Porsche); and the NSF (New Small Family). (Earlier post.)

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Bosch and Daimler partner to develop Level 4, 5 autonomous driving systems

April 04, 2017

Bosch and Daimler are collaborating to advance the development of fully automated and driverless driving. The two companies have entered into a development agreement to bring fully automated (SAE Level 4) and driverless (SAE Level 5) driving to urban roads by the beginning of the next decade. The objective is to develop software and algorithms for an autonomous driving system.

The prime objective of the project is to achieve the production-ready development of a driving system which will allow cars to drive fully autonomously in the city. The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the driver rather than the other way round. Within a specified area of town, customers will be able to order an automated shared car via their smartphone. The vehicle will then make its way autonomously to the user and the onward journey can commence.

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Navigant report puts Ford at the fore of autonomous driving development

A new Leaderboard report from Navigant Research finds Ford is the leading company developing automated driving systems, followed by General Motors, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Daimler. The report examines the strategy and execution of 18 leading companies, including Tesla, developing automated driving systems.

Advances in computational architectures and sensing technology are driving the development of autonomous driving, the report notes. Coupled with cost reductions, vehicle electrification, and ubiquitous connectivity, highly automated vehicles are nearing a level of maturity that will enable initial deployments for consumers, the market analyst firm said.

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Volvo Cars CEO urges government & industry to share safety-related traffic data; will skip Level 3 autonomy

April 03, 2017

Volvo Cars is urging governments and car makers to share traffic data in order to improve global traffic safety, Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, told a conference at the European Commission in Brussels on Monday. Sharing anonymized data related to traffic safety in real-time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety while safeguarding the privacy of individual road users, Samuelsson said.

Volvo started doing exactly this in Sweden and Norway two years ago, in collaboration with local authorities.

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IBM patents cognitive system to manage self-driving vehicles

March 31, 2017

IBM scientists have been granted a patent around a machine learning system that can dynamically shift control of an autonomous vehicle between a human driver and a vehicle control processor in the event of a potential emergency, providing a safety measure that can contribute to accident prevention.

IBM researchers developed the patented system using their understanding of biological cognition and behavior generation in the brain. Their background as computational neuroscientists led the inventors to devise a cognitive model and technique that employs sensors and artificial intelligence to dynamically determine potential safety concerns and control whether self-driving vehicles are operated autonomously or by relinquishing control to a human driver.

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Volkswagen Group’s Škoda to unveil 500 km Vision E electric concept at Shanghai show; leveraging MEB for electromobility

March 30, 2017

ŠKODA will stage the world premiere of the VISION E electric concept vehicle at the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show 2017 (19 – 28 April). The five-door SUV coupé can travel up to 500 km (311 miles) on purely electric power and meets the level 3 requirements for autonomous driving. ŠKODA, a member of the Volkswagen Group, is intensively pursuing the electrification of its model range, and will be offering five purely electric models in various segments by 2025.

With system output of 225 kW, the ŠKODA VISION E accelerates instantaneously and dynamically. The top speed of the two-motor, all-wheel drive concept is 180 km/h (112 mph). The front- and rear-wheel drive is suitably adjusted to ensure the highest degree of stability, dynamism and safety at all times.

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AM General and TARDEC partnering on autonomous driving vehicle; testing at West Point

AM General and the US Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) are partnering to develop and to demonstrate an autonomous driving vehicle that may revolutionize how soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, along with equipment and supplies, are transported inside US military facilities.

Under the Applied Robotics for Installations and Base Operations initiative (ARIBO), AM General and TARDEC are currently developing an autonomous vehicle, with demonstrations expected to begin this Spring at the US Military Academy, West Point.

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Tencent buys 5% stake in Tesla for $1.8 billion

March 28, 2017

China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. has acquired a 5% stake (8,167,544 shares) in Tesla for an aggregate price of $1,777,842,836 (including commission), according to a Schedule 13G form filed by Tesla with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Tencent acquired the shares through Tesla’s latest registered offering of common stock (17 March 2017, earlier post) and through open market purchases.

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SAIC-GM Connectivity Strategy 2025 lays out roadmap to cloud-based connectivity, autonomy

SAIC-GM, GM’s Chinese joint venture with SAIC, announced its Connectivity Strategy 2025, which lays out a roadmap for its connectivity development from 2017 through 2025. The strategy will take advantage of its extensive customer base and global resources with a focus on vehicle information, infotainment and intelligent driving.

SAIC-GM will speed up the creation of a cloud-based platform and services, improve its vehicles’ connectivity to build a “people-vehicle-life” ecosystem, and aim to lead the development of a future intelligent vehicle society and lifestyle. In this effort, SAIC-GM is leveraging OnStar’s more than 20 years of experience. The high-level timeline is:

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The interdependency of autonomous electric vehicles and wireless charging

March 22, 2017

Conference presentations at the 4th International Electric Vehicle Expo this week in Jeju, South Korea, explored issues related to automated driving systems, electric vehicles and infrastructure. Specifically, two presentations from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and SAE International addressed the interdependence of standardization, autonomous electric vehicles and wireless charging.

The issue with conductive charging is though there are plenty of standards, unfortunately many of these standards are simply not compatible. This incompatibility hurts not only the infrastructure, but also the commercialization of the electric vehicle as the customer does not accept not being able to go to a specific charging [spot],” said Dr. Uooyeol Yoon of KAIST.

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Volvo CE unveils the next generation of its autonomous electric load carrier concept

Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) presented the HX2 autonomous, battery-electric, load carrier at CONEXPO/CON-AGG 2017. The second-generation concept machine is part of an electric site research project that aims to transform the quarry and aggregates industry, reducing carbon emissions by up to 95% and total cost of ownership by up to 25%.

Volvo CE showcased the first-generation of the prototype HX machine—HX1—at the company’s Xploration Forum in September last year. Since then, Volvo CE’s engineers have been further developing the machine.

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NASA’s hybrid computer enables Raven’s autonomous docking capability

A hybrid computing system developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the enabling technology behind an ambitious experiment testing a relative navigation and autonomous docking capability known as Raven.

Developed by the Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) the carry-on luggage-sized module was launched 19 February aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, along with other experiments deployed outside the International Space Station on an experiment pallet. Raven is testing and maturing visible, infrared and LiDAR sensors and machine-vision algorithms; the module will bring NASA one step closer to realizing a groundbreaking autopilot capability that can be applied to many NASA missions for decades to come.

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Elektrobit adds four new software modules to EB robinos framework for developing automated driving systems

March 21, 2017

Elektrobit (EB), a leading developer of embedded and connected technology solutions for the automotive industry, introduced four new modules for its EB robinos product line: EB robinos Grid Fusion, EB robinos Path Planning, EB robinos Positioning and EB robinos Safety Management. These modules enable automakers and automotive suppliers to add functionalities for Highly Automated Driving (HAD) applications including automated parking, highway driving and lane keeping.

Announced in 2016, EB robinos is a hardware-agnostic framework that enables carmakers and automotive suppliers to develop and bring to market increasingly automated driving features and manage the complexity of advanced in-car systems. It defines an application-layer architecture for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) up to SAE level 5 automated driving.

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Mitsubishi Electric develops technologies for automated mapping and extraction of transitions in mapping landscape for high-precision 3D maps

March 16, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has developed two new technologies to support the creation and maintenance of high-precision 3D maps required for autonomous driving (earlier post): AI-based automated mapping; and the extraction of transitions in mapping landscapes.

The technologies are based on the company’s own Mobile Mapping System (MMS) (earlier post) for the creation of highly precise three-dimensional maps that provide static information of roads and surrounding objects. Both technologies will be exhibited for the first time at CeBIT 2017 in Hannover, Germany from 20-24 March 2017.

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Volvo Trucks and PATH successfully demo partially automated on-highway truck platooning in California; CACC

March 14, 2017

Volvo Trucks and Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) at the University of California, Berkeley recently completed a successful demonstration of partially automated truck platooning, made possible by Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control technology (CACC).

Three Volvo VNL 670 model tractors hauled cargo containers at the Los Angeles Port complex and along Interstate 110, highlighting for public officials and other stakeholders the technology’s potential for improving highway safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the capacity of transportation systems.

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Intel to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion; targeting autonomous driving

March 13, 2017

Intel Corporation announced a definitive agreement under which Intel would acquire Mobileye, a global leader in the development of computer vision and machine learning, data analysis, localization and mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. A subsidiary of Intel will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Mobileye for $63.54 per share in cash, representing an equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion.

The combination is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles.

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California DMV releases proposed rules for driverless autonomous vehicles; hearing on 25 April

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released proposed regulations to establish a path for testing and future deployment of fully autonomous vehicles without drivers.

The proposed regulations address public safety concerns while recognizing the potential of autonomous technology to improve safety, enhance mobility and encourage innovation. The proposed regulations:

  • Recognize that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is vested with the authority to develop Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and enforce compliance with safety and performance standards for motor vehicles. DMV is requiring certification to meeting these federal safety standards.

  • Establish a framework for testing without a driver.

  • Identify requirements that a manufacturer must meet in order to sell, lease, or otherwise make their vehicle available outside of a testing program.

  • Address other key topics related to autonomous vehicle deployment, including driver licensing and responsibility, vehicle registration, and advertising of autonomous vehicles.

To gather public input on the regulations, the department will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, 25 April 2017, in Sacramento.

These rules expand our existing autonomous vehicle testing program to include testing vehicles where no driver is present. This is the next step in eventually allowing driverless autonomous vehicles on California roadways.

—DMV Director Jean Shiomoto

The DMV received substantial feedback from manufacturers, consumer advocates, local government, insurance companies, and other stakeholders after it released revised draft regulations for testing without a driver and the deployment of autonomous vehicles in September 2016.

California has more manufacturers testing autonomous vehicles than any other state and today’s rules continue our leadership with this emerging technology. These rules protect public safety, promote innovation and lay out the path for future testing and deployment of driverless technology. This rulemaking is the next step in working with stakeholders to get this right.

—California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly

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Goodyear shows two concept tires targeting autonomous and shared vehicles; smart tires

March 12, 2017

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company showcased several new and emerging technologies in its latest concept tires at the Geneva International Motor Show. In the evolving mobility ecosystem, defined by the transition to driverless vehicles and shared mobility in urban centers, Goodyear aims to revolutionize the interaction between tires, vehicles and their surroundings.

The new concepts—an evolution of the the spherical-shaped Eagle 360 Urban (earlier post) and the IntelliGrip Urban smart tire—apply emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity.

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NIO to have autonomous vehicles in US market in 2020; partnering with Mobileye, NVIDIA and NXP

March 11, 2017

NIO, a next-generation car company, announced that will have autonomous electric vehicles in the US market in 2020. The company also unveiled “NIO EVE”—the embodiment of its vision for the future of autonomous cars.

NIO EVE constantly learns about its occupants and their preferences. At EVE’s heart lies NOMI, an artificial intelligence engine with an intuitive human interface, providing verbal and visual connections both within the vehicle and with the outside world. Nomi uses the vehicle’s active glass to provide an augmented vision for occupants and for new kinds of entertainment.

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INRIX analysis identifies top 10 US cities for highly autonomous vehicles; prioritizing corridors for deployment

March 10, 2017

INRIX, a leading global connected car services and transportation analytics company, has created a scalable and customizable scoring system to prioritize corridors for the deployment of highly autonomous vehicles (HAVs). Leveraging aggregated INRIX trip data from millions of connected cars, parking availability and restrictions, and US Census demographic data, INRIX created a scalable and customizable scoring system to analyze and visualize priority corridors for HAV deployment.

INRIX looked at one year’s worth of travel—nearly 1.3 billion trips—in and around the top 50 US cities by population and reported the findings is a new study: INRIX Autonomous Vehicles City Study 2017.

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Toyota i-TRIL Concept Car; targeting SMESTOs

March 09, 2017

Toyota unveiled its i-TRIL concept car—a vision of mobility in 2030—at the Geneva Motor Show. Developed by Toyota Motors Europe (TME) in collaboration with the company’s ED² design studio in Nice, the new i-TRIL Concept showcases numerous innovative aspects of Toyota’s research into ever better and more engaging environmentally-friendly mobility solutions.

Making its world debut at the 2017 Geneva motor show, and featuring Active Lean technology, the new i-TRIL concept represents a proposed viable alternative to A and B segment cars, other EV products, public transport and motorcycles.

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Honda Motor Europe: 2/3 of European sales to feature electrified powertrains by 2025; “Electric Vision”

March 07, 2017

Speaking at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Honda Motor Europe’s President and COO, Katsushi Inoue outlined Honda’s commitment to an electric future in Europe, with a specific aim to have electrified powertrains in two-thirds of Honda cars sold in Europe by 2025.

Honda’s focus on electrification in Europe will initially be driven by a roll-out of hybrid technology across its automobile range. The first new hybrid model, which will feature Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, will go on sale in 2018.

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Volkswagen Group introduces first Group autonomous driving concept: Sedric

At the Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen Group is introducing Sedric (self-driving car)—an SAE Level 5 autonomous battery-electric vehicle concept. Sedric is the first concept car from the Volkswagen Group (as opposed to being a concept car developed by one of the Group brands). It was conceived, developed and built at the Volkswagen Group Future Center in Potsdam in collaboration with Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg. Sedric demonstrates how a new integrated mobility system could function in future.

The Volkswagen Group is using Sedric to highlight the major importance of fully automated driving in the future strategy of the company.

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Volkswagen Group launches Future Center Europe: focus on future mobility concepts

March 04, 2017

The Volkswagen Group has taken an additional important step to implementing its digitalization strategy with the launch of the Future Center Europe, located in Potsdam, Germany.

Volkswagen says that it intends to link the automotive and digital worlds in a way that benefits customers, society and the economy—and to promote the Volkswagen Group to become the leading mobility provider by 2025. The Future Center’s functions therefore go beyond standard product development.

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Renault and Heudiasyc create shared research facility for perception and localization systems for autonomous vehicles

March 03, 2017

Renault and Heudiasyc (Heuristics and Diagnostics for Complex Systems), a joint research unit formed by UTC (Université de Technologie de Campiègne) and the CNRS, have created SIVALab, a laboratory specializing in localization and perception systems for autonomous vehicles. SIVALab (a French acronym for Integrated Systems for Autonomous Vehicles Lab) is based in Compiègne, north of Paris, France.

This scientific and technological partnership has been set up for an initial, extendable period of four years. It is founded on an existing association that began more than 10 years ago and will use the Renault ZOE-based autonomous vehicle platforms developed by Heudiasyc. SIVALab is being created to provide a structure geared to long-term scientific developments and major programs.

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Toyota Research Institute displays Gen 2 autonomous test vehicle; machine vision and machine learning

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) displayed its 2.0 generation advanced safety research vehicle at the company’s Prius Challenge event in Sonoma California. (Earlier post.)The all-new test vehicle will be used to explore a full range of autonomous driving capabilities.

The new advanced safety research vehicle is the first autonomous testing platform developed entirely by TRI, and reflects the rapid progress of its autonomous driving program, said TRI CEO Gill Pratt. The system is computationally rich and perception-rich, focusing heavily on machine vision and machine learning. The layered and overlapping LiDAR, radar and camera sensor array reduce the need to depend too heavily on high-definition maps—especially for near-term systems which will be designed for use in areas where such maps don’t yet exist.

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Volkswagen names Infineon first partner under TRANSFORM 2025+ strategy

March 01, 2017

Germany-based semiconductor supplier Infineon is Volkswagen’s first partner under its TRANSFORM 2025+ strategy (earlier post). Under the new partnership, Volkswagen will further intensify its direct dialogue with Infineon in order to define the requirements for future semiconductor solutions and thus pursue new joint development approaches.

A modern automobile is equipped with as many as 100 networked electronic control units (ECUs) and thousands of electronic components. Powerful ECUs ensure outstanding driving comfort and safety. They operate and regulate everything from the air conditioning system to the interior and exterior lighting systems, the adaptive cruise control radar and a whole range of driver assistance systems. Thus, a significant part of all vehicle innovations is based on electronic systems.

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DS introducing DS 7 CROSSBACK at Geneva show; PHEV model, autonomous driving features

February 28, 2017

DS Automobiles, the recent brand addition to the PSA Group, will introduce the DS 7 CROSSBACK SUV at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Powered by a 300 hp,four-wheel drive E-TENSE system, a plug-in hybrid version will be available from spring 2019.

Alongside the E-TENSE plug-in hybrid, DS 7 CROSSBACK will ultimately be available with a choice of five internal combustion engines compliant with the Euro 6.2 standard: three gasoline power units (THP 225 S&S EAT8, THP 180 S&S EAT8, PureTech (twice voted engine of the year in 2015 and 2016) 130 S&S 6-speed manual) and two diesel units (BlueHDi 130 S&S—with a choice of 6-speed manual or EAT8—and the BlueHDi 180 EAT8).

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Honda forming new R&D operation for “new value” areas: robotics, mobility systems and energy management

Honda R&D Co., Ltd., the R&D subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., plans to create “R&D Center X,” a new research and development operation within the company, which will assume responsibility for “new value” areas that include robotics technology, mobility system and energy management, etc. The official establishment of R&D Center X will take place in April.

Honda has decided that evolving digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and “big data” offer potential for value creation in a wider range of fields beyond its current field of businesses. To address this opportunity, Honda R&D Center X will take a “non-traditional” approach to assume responsibility for the research and development in “new value” areas.

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Volvo Cars’ new XC60 SUV to feature automatic steering assistance for collision avoidance

Volvo Cars announced that the new XC60 SUV—to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next week—will feature new advanced driver assistance features that will provide the driver with automatic steering assistance or support—when required—to help avoid potential collisions.

Volvo Cars updated City Safety has been updated in the XC60 to include steering support, which engages when automatic braking alone would not help avoid a potential collision. In such circumstances, the car will provide steering assistance to avoid the obstacle ahead. City Safety helps to avoid collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and large animals. Steering support is active between 50-100 km/h (31-62 mph).

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Renault-Nissan Alliance and Transdev to develop driverless vehicle fleet system for future public and on-demand transportation

February 27, 2017

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Transdev have agreed to explore the joint development of mobility services with fleets of electric driverless vehicles for public and on-demand transportation. The companies will collaborate to develop a comprehensive, modular transportation system to enable clients to book rides, and mobility operators to monitor and operate self-driving car fleets.

The research will initially include field tests in Paris-Saclay with Renault ZOEs, the leading electric vehicle in Europe, and Transdev’s on-demand dispatch, supervision and routing platform.

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Qualcomm and TomTom partner on crowdsourcing high-definition mapping data for autonomous driving

Qualcomm Technologies is working with TomTom on using the Qualcomm Drive Data Platform for high-definition (HD) map crowdsourcing, to accelerate the future of autonomous driving. Qualcomm Drive Data Platform intelligently collects and analyzes data from different vehicle sensors, supporting smarter vehicles to determine their location, monitor and learn driving patterns, perceive their surroundings and share this perception with the rest of the world reliably and accurately.

TomTom’s HD Map, including RoadDNA, is a highly accurate, digital map-based product, which assists automated vehicles to precisely locate themselves on the road and help determine which way to maneuver, even when traveling at high speeds.

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Peugeot unveils autonomous plug-in hybrid INSTINCT Concept; Samsung ARTIK Cloud for IoT; Sentiance for data analysis

In Spain, in conjunction with the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Peugeot unveiled its INSTINCT plug-in hybrid concept, a Shooting Brake which offers the option of fully autonomous driving. However, the driver remains fully in control at all times and is able to determine whether he or she has a hands-on or autonomous drive.

The PHEV powertrain offers 300 PS, and the car features both ‘Drive’ and ‘Autonomous’ modes, affording the driver the choice between an engaging drive and the convenience of a fully autonomous vehicle. Peugeot INSTINCT is programmed with four distinct driving settings. In ‘Drive’ mode, drivers can opt for ‘Drive Boost’ or ‘Drive Relax’, and in ‘Autonomous’ mode they have the option of ‘Autonomous Soft’ or ‘Autonomous Sharp’.

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Qualcomm and LG bringing 5G and Cellular-V2X communications into vehicles

February 23, 2017

Qualcomm Incorporated, through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and LG Electronics (LG) announced coordinated efforts to facilitate testing and adoption of 5G and Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) communications into vehicles. Qualcomm Technologies and LG expect to showcase these next-generation wireless technologies through trials during the first half of 2018. This work builds on the long-established relationship between Qualcomm Technologies and LG since the two delivered their first telematics system in 2004.

On the path to 5G, LG is developing advanced automotive connectivity solutions based on Qualcomm Technologies’ connected car platform, which features support for Gigabit LTE speeds using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem (earlier post), and is complemented by the QCA65x4 Wi-Fi 802.11ac solution. The connected car platform also supports 802.11p/DSRC and C-V2X, based upon 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 14 specifications. (Earlier post.)

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New ultrafast camera for self-driving vehicles and drones

February 17, 2017

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed an ultrafast high-contrast camera that could help self-driving cars and drones see better in extreme road conditions and in bad weather.

Unlike typical optical cameras, which can be blinded by bright light and unable to make out details in the dark, NTU’s new smart camera can record the slightest movements and objects in real time. The new camera records the changes in light intensity between scenes at nanosecond intervals, much faster than conventional video, and it stores the images in a data format that is many times smaller as well.

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ARPA-E awards SwRI-led team up to $2.9M for connected and automated vehicle technology; NEXTCAR program

February 14, 2017

A team led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been awarded up to $2.9 million in funding to develop connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies aimed at improving fuel economy by more than 20%. The project is part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)s

The three-year project, “Model Predictive Control for Energy-Efficient Maneuvering of Connected and Automated Vehicles,” calls for the team to develop optimal control algorithms that leverage vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and other vehicle-to- everything (V2X) technologies to simultaneously optimize the vehicle’s route, speed profile, and power flows from the hybrid system.

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Volkswagen and Mobileye partner on autonomous driving; REM in VWs in 2018

Volkswagen and Mobileye will implement a new navigation standard for autonomous driving starting in 2018. Future Volkswagen models will use the camera-based map and localization technology Road Experience Management (REM) from Mobileye. (Earlier post.)

REM uses crowd-sourcing (data from many cars – the swarm) to generate real-time data for precise localization and acquisition of high-definition track data. Volkswagen cars, which are equipped with front cameras, will acquire lane markings and road information via optical sensor systems from Mobileye; this information flows in compressed format into a cloud. This fleet data is used for continuous improvement of high-definition navigation maps with highly precise localization capability.

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Ford investing $1B in startup Argo AI to advance autonomous driving to SAE Level 4; potential for licensing

February 10, 2017

Ford is investing $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI—an artificial intelligence software startup founded by former Google and Uber leaders—to to develop an SAE Level 4 virtual driver system for the automaker’s autonomous vehicle coming in 2021 (earlier post), and for potential license to other companies.

Argo AI is bringing together some of the most experienced roboticists and engineers working in autonomy from inside and outside of Ford. The team of experts in robotics and artificial intelligence is led by Argo AI founders Bryan Salesky, Argo AI CEO, and Peter Rander, Argo AI COO. Both are alumni of Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center and former leaders on the self-driving car teams of Google and Uber, respectively.

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LeddarTech selects IDT to develop new LeddarCore IC for mass-market solid-state LiDARs; ADAS and autonomous driving

LeddarTech Inc. and Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) have entered into a partnership agreement jointly to develop and supply the LeddarCore LCA2 integrated circuits. (Earlier post.) The LeddarCore is a receiver IC which is a key element within an automotive LiDAR system. This newest generation of LeddarCore IC enables solid-state implementations of high-performance, low-cost automotive LiDARs, which are required for the mass-market deployment of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

As part of the agreement, IDT, a developer of complete mixed-signal solutions for automotive, communications, computing, consumer, and industrial markets, will leverage its advanced expertise for component requirements analysis, architecture, design, development, characterization, qualification and transfer to manufacturing of the LCA2.

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EPFL cooperative maneuvering control algorithm for integrating automated vehicles with legacy traffic; dynamic platooning

January 31, 2017

Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), as part of the AutoNet2030 project, have developed a cooperative maneuvering control algorithm allowing automated vehicles to operate in traffic alongside manually-driven vehicles. This is a key step in the shift towards autonomous driving expected to be achieved by 2030.

AutoNet2030, co-funded by the EU under the FP7 framework, sought to develop and test a co-operative automated driving technology based on a decentralized decision-making strategy which is enabled by mutual information sharing among nearby vehicles. The project, which wrapped up at the end of last year, aimed for a 2020-2030 deployment time horizon, taking into account the expected preceding introduction of co-operative communication systems and sensor-based lane-keeping/cruise-control technologies.

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OpenSynergy developing automotive safety hypervisor for ARM Cortex-R52

January 28, 2017

OpenSynergy, a developer of embedded automotive software for in-car cockpit solutions, is developing the industry’s first software hypervisor for the ARM Cortex-R52 processor, ARM’s most advanced real-time safety processor. The hypervisor turns any chip based on the Cortex-R52 into several virtual machines capable of simultaneously executing separate software tasks.

The hypervisor technology enables several real-time operating systems and AUTOSAR systems at different ASIL levels to run in parallel on the Cortex-R52.

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Study finds wide spread of times for resuming control from highly automated vehicle in non-critical scenarios; challenges for designers

January 26, 2017

Many recent human factors studies of takeover time in automated vehicles have looked at how long it takes a driver to resume control of the vehicle in critical situations in which the driver has a relatively short time span to respond to the takeover request (TOR). However, there has been little investigation into more frequent scenarios for control transitions—such as exiting from a highway.

Now, in a new open-access study published in the journal Human Factors, University of Southampton Alexander Eriksson and Neville Stanton report that under noncritical conditions, drivers needed 1.9 to 25.7 seconds to resume control in a highly automated vehicle. The large range reflects a variety of driver behavior and environmental conditions. The challenge for designers thus becomes accommodating the full range of response times rather than limiting design parameters to mean or median transition times in the switch to and from automated and manual driving modes, the authors suggested.

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KPMG Survey: execs say connected car generates 10x revenue than a conventional vehicle; market share based on units “outdated”; BEVs #1 trend

January 24, 2017

Advancements such as connectivity, big data, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are driving new economic models for automakers, and most see tremendous revenue potential and consumer value in leveraging driver and vehicle data to offer mobility services, according to the 2017 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Study.

The KPMG research, which polled nearly 1,000 executives with the world’s leading automotive companies, found that 76% say one connected car generates more revenue streams than 10 conventional cars. In fact, expectations for data-driven revenue are so great that 71% say measuring OEM market share based on units sold is outdated.

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New high-resolution time-to-digital converter from ams offers better object detection and avoidance for LiDAR

ams AG, a leading provider of high performance sensor solutions and analog ICs, has launched a new version of its market-leading time-to-digital converter (TDC) offering improved speed and precision together with low power consumption. The new TDC-GPX2 also features standard low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) and serial peripheral (SPI) interfaces, and a new, smaller 9mm x 9mm QFN64 package.

TDCs from ams, which can measure short time intervals with great precision, are widely used in light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and laser-ranging devices, in positron emission tomography (PET) medical scanners, and in automated test equipment (ATE). The introduction of the TDC-GPX2 means that these applications can benefit from increased resolution up to 10ps and a new high sampling rate of up to 70 Msamples/s.

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Alstom invests €14M in electric autonomous shuttle company EasyMile

Rail transport giant Alstom is investing €14 million (US$15 million), and thus taking a minority stake, in EasyMile, a start-up developing the EZ10 electric driverless shuttle. The investment forms part of the start-up’s ongoing capital increase. In parallel, Alstom and EasyMile have signed a commercial partnership agreement aiming at joining their forces to provide integrated solutions for urban transportation. Alstom will be present at EasyMile’s board.

The EZ10 provides shared driverless transportation for the last mile. EasyMile electrical shuttles operate from a transport hub to a final destination within a precinct or confined area. EasyMile shuttles transport up to 12 passengers. Since April 2015, the EZ10 has been deployed in more than 50 sites in 14 countries in Asia, North-America, Middle-East and Europe. Paris is one of the latest cities to begin an EasyMile trial.

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Volkswagen Truck & Bus launches two truck platooning projects; Scania in Singapore, MAN and Schenker in Germany

January 23, 2017

Volkswagen Truck & Bus companies have launched two truck platooning pilot projects: one, with Scania in Singapore (earlier post), the other with MAN and Schenker DB in Germany. Platooning is system in which several trucks drive in a convoy with the support of advanced driver assistance and control systems. They are linked by an “electronic drawbar”. The driver of the first vehicle sets the speed and the direction. Each platoon truck has a driver on board who is able to intervene in an emergency.

In Singapore, in the world’s largest pilot project of this kind, Scania will be developing and testing a comprehensive platooning solution. Truck platoons each composed of four trucks will cover a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) on public roads to transport containers between various port terminals. The driver of the first truck will set the speed and direction, with the following three vehicles driving autonomously. This project has been commissioned by the Singapore port authority and the ministry of transport.

During the first phase of the project, Scania will be trialing the technology at its own test facility in Södertälje, Sweden, where it will be customizing it to meet local conditions. After this has been completed, the second phase will involve testing in Singapore.

MAN and logistics specialist DB Schenker are also forging a platooning partnership. This marks the first platooning alliance between an automotive manufacturer and a logistics company. Its purpose is to test platooning under realistic conditions over an extended period of time to gain meaningful data. For this purpose, a truck platoon is to travel on the A9 motorway between Munich and Nuremberg from 2018. In the ensuing step, the platoon is to be used at DB Schenker’s facility in Nuremberg.

Given the growing volume of traffic on public roads, there is a strong need for improved traffic flows. The advantages of platooning are obvious: thanks to the small distance of only 10-15 meters between the trucks, fuel savings of up 10% can be achieved. This also results in a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. A further advantage is the lower risk of accidents.

The pilot projects are key components of more efficient transportation of goods on the road. Platooning is beneficial for the environment, improves the flow of traffic and increases road safety. What we now need is the legislative framework allowing us to introduce platooning on public roads.

—Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH

The use of platooning in Europe will be technically possible from around 2020. However, implementation is contingent upon the legislative framework being duly modified in EU countries.

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Scania leading full-scale autonomous truck platoon project in Singapore; 4-truck convoys

January 11, 2017

Scania will design the world’s first full-scale autonomous truck platooning operations, based on its own advanced technology. The platoon will traffic public roads while transporting containers between port terminals in Singapore. The aim is to organize convoys of four trucks—with the following three trucks behind the lead truck autonomously driven, as well as to fully automate the processes for precise docking and undocking of cargo.

The multi-year project is organized by the Ministry of Transport and the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA Corporation). Toyota is also participating in this project.

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Nissan unveils Vmotion 2.0 concept signaling future design, zero-emission and autonomous directions

January 10, 2017

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Nissan unveiled Vmotion 2.0, a new concept vehicle that signals the company’s future sedan design direction and Intelligent Mobility technology—Nissan’s roadmap to achieve zero emissions and zero fatalities. Nissan Vmotion 2.0 features Nissan Intelligent Driving, one of three core elements of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. Nissan Intelligent Driving helps provide a safe and comfortable driving experience through technology such as ProPILOT, which is envisioned to ultimately allow the vehicle to drive in autonomous mode—not just on the highway and in heavy traffic conditions – but also on urban roads with intersections.

Nissan Vmotion 2.0 is the evolution of the “V-motion” front design signature seen on many current Nissan products, such as the Murano mid-size crossover and Maxima 4-door sports car. Vmotion 2.0 takes the design a step further by forming an intelligent three-dimensional shape to create the volume and architecture of the vehicle. In this concept, the V-motion grille becomes the main fuselage, allowing for extremely sharp yet expressive surface language, accented by crisp character lines that resonate throughout the body.

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VW unveils fully autonomous, electric Microbus I.D. Buzz concept at Detroit; all-wheel drive, 270-mile range

January 09, 2017

Volkswagen is presenting a fully autonomous, electric Microbus concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Like the compact I.D. presented at the Paris Motor Show last year (earlier post), the I.D. Buzz is built off the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). With two-motor, all-wheel drive, a fully autonomous driving mode (“I.D. Pilot”) and a new generation of display elements and controls, the concept conceptually follows the new Volkswagen brand strategy.

The all-wheel drive system has a total output of 369 hp (275 kW) and an NEDC electric driving range of 600 kilometers (270 miles on a predicted US. driving cycle). One electric motor at the front axle and one at the rear each deliver a power output of 201 hp (150 kW), distributed between the two axles by an electric propshaft. The I.D. BUZZ shown in Detroit can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a governed top speed of 99 mph.

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Koito and Quanergy collaborate to design automotive headlight concept with built–in solid-state LiDAR

January 07, 2017

Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd., the largest global maker of automotive headlights, and Quanergy Systems, Inc., a leading provider of LiDAR sensors and smart sensing solutions, are collaborating to design an automotive headlight concept with built-in Quanergy S3 solid state LiDAR sensors (earlier post). The Koito headlight with built-in sensors is on display at CES 2017.

The Koito headlights, which will be located on the corners of a vehicle, each incorporates two compact Quanergy S3 solid state LiDARs that perform sensing forward and to the side, and provide real-time long-range 3D views of the environment around the vehicle and the ability to recognize and track objects.

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Nissan CEO announces LEAF with ProPilot autonomy; other autonomous and connected technologies & partnerships

January 06, 2017

In his 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote, Nissan chairman of the board and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn made five key announcements of several technologies and partnerships as part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered, and integrated into wider society.

Among these is the plan to launch a new Nissan LEAF, with ProPILOT technology (earlier post), enabling autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. Nissan introduced ProPilot on the new Serena in Japan last year. Employing advanced image-processing technology, ProPILOT understands road and traffic situations and executes precise steering enabling the vehicle to perform naturally.

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Honda introduces “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem” at CES 2017; Honda Riding Assist, NeuV concept w/ AI emotion engine

Honda unveiled its Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem concept at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, connecting artificial intelligence, robotics and big data to transform the mobility experience of the future. Featuring a number of prototype and concept technology demonstrations at CES, the Honda concept envisions a future in which vehicles will communicate with each other and infrastructure to mitigate traffic congestion and eliminate traffic fatalities, while increasing the productivity of road users and delivering new types of in-vehicle entertainment experiences. Vehicles will create new value by autonomously providing services when not in use by their owners.

Honda also announced collaborations with Visa, DreamWorks Animation and start-ups through the Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator open innovation programs based out of Honda Silicon Valley Lab. Further, as part of its effort to accelerate open innovation, Honda has established a new URL for areas including AI, Big Data and Robotics. Interested companies and individuals can access the following URL: http://www.honda.co.jp/openinnovation/.

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Next-gen Audi A8 to feature MIB2+, series debut of zFAS domain controller, Mobileye image recognition with deep learning; Traffic Jam Pilot

January 05, 2017

Audi’s next-generation A8, premiering this year, will feature the first implementation of the MIB2+ (Modular Infotainment Platform). The key element in this new implementation of the MIB is NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 processor (earlier post), which makes new functions possible and has the computing power needed to support several high-resolution displays—including the second-generation Audi virtual cockpit. Onboard and online information will merge, making the car part of the cloud to a greater degree than ever.

The A8 also marks the series debut of the the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which also features the K1; in the future, the X1 processor (earlier post) will be applied in this domain controller. The zFAS, developed in collaboration with TTTech, Mobileye, NVIDIA and Delphi, also integrates a Mobileye image processing chip. (Earlier post.)

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Renesas Electronics and TTTech deliver highly automated driving platform

Renesas Electronics and TTTech Computertechnik AG, a global leader in robust networking and safety controls, have developed a highly automated driving platform (HADP). The new HADP is a prototype electronic control unit (ECU) for mass production vehicles with integrated software and tools, which demonstrates how to use Renesas and TTTech technologies combined in a true automotive environment for autonomous driving. The HADP accelerates the path to mass production for Tier 1s and OEMs.

The newly released HADP is the first outcome of the collaboration between TTTech and Renesas announced in January 2016 (earlier post), and is an extended version of the HAD solution kit released in October 2016. It is based on dual R-Car H3 system-on-chips (SoCs) (earlier post) and the RH850/P1H-C microcontroller (MCU).

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Audi & NVIDIA partner to deliver fully automated driving with AI starting in 2020; piloted Q7 w/ neural network CES demo

Audi announced a partnership with NVIDIA to use artificial intelligence in delivering highly automated vehicles starting in 2020. Deep learning technology will enable skilled handling of real-road complexities, delivering safer automated vehicles earlier. The first phase of this expanded collaboration between the nearly decade-long partners focuses on NVIDIA DRIVE PX, which uses trained AI neural networks to understand the surrounding environment, and to determine a safe path forward. (Earlier post.)

Audi and NVIDIA have combined their engineering and visual computing technologies in the past on Audi innovations such as Audi MMI navigation and the Audi virtual cockpit. Later this year Audi will introduce the next-generation Audi A8 featuring Traffic Jam Pilot—the world’s first Level 3 automated vehicle (as defined by SAE International) equipped with a first-generation central driver assistance domain controller (zFAS) that integrates NVIDIA computing hardware and software. (Earlier post.)

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BMW, Intel, Mobileye: 40 autonomous BMWs to be on road by 2H 2017; standards-based open platform for autonomy

BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announced that a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous BMW vehicles will be on the roads by the second half of 2017, demonstrating the significant advancements made by the three companies towards fully autonomous driving. Revealing this at a podium discussion held during a joint press conference at CES, the companies further explained that the BMW 7 Series will employ advanced Intel and Mobileye technologies during global trials starting in the US and Europe.

In July 2016, BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announced a collaboration to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021. The three said they would create a standards-based open platform—from door locks to the datacenter—for the next generation of cars. (Earlier post.) The companies have since developed a scalable architecture that can be adopted by other automotive developers and carmakers to pursue state of the art designs and create differentiated brands. The offerings scale from individual key integrated modules to a complete end-to-end solution providing a wide range of differentiated consumer experiences.

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Renesas Electronics unveils RH850/V1R-M automotive radar solution for ADAS and autonomous driving vehicles

January 04, 2017

Advanced semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics Corporation introduced the RH850/V1R—its first product from the new RH850-based, 32-bit, automotive radar microcontroller (MCU) series—that will deliver the high performance and features required for enabling future advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving vehicles. The RH850/V1R-M includes a digital signal processor (DSP) and high speed serial interfaces and is specifically designed for middle- to long-range radars.

Vehicles are being equipped with a broad spectrum of sensors such as cameras, LiDAR and ultrasonic sensors to support expanded advanced driver assistance (ADAS) and emerging autonomous driving functionality. Radar sensors are needed for ADAS applications—including advanced emergency braking and adaptive cruise control—because, unlike other sensors, radar sensors are not negatively affected by external environmental limitations which includes adverse weather conditions, such as rain, fog or whether the sun is shining or not.

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Qualcomm introducing Drive Data platform for sensor fusion

Qualcomm is introducing the Qualcomm Drive Data Platform to collect and analyze intelligently information from a vehicle’s sensors. Cars will be able to determine their location up to lane-level accuracy, to monitor and to learn driving patterns, to perceive their surroundings, and to share this reliable and accurate data with the rest of the world.

These capabilities will be key for many connected car applications, from shared mobility and fleet management to 3D high-definition mapping and automated driving. Qualcomm Drive Data platform is built on three pillars: heterogeneous connectivity; precise positioning; and on-device machine learning, all integrated into the Qualcomm Snapdragon solution.

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FCA unveils Chrysler Portal concept: next-gen family transportation for Millenials; electric, semi-autonomous, connected, flexible

January 03, 2017

FCA US unveiled the Chrysler Portal concept, an all-electric, semi-autonomous (SAE Level 3) interpretation of the “fifth generation” of family transportation focused toward the millennial generation. (Earlier post.)

Millennials—the demographic cohort following Generation X, and defined as people born between 1982 – 2001—are tech-savvy, environmentally aware and cost-conscious. To balance those needs and to be an integral part of millennials’ lives, the Chrysler designed the Portal concept to maximize interior space with an impressive degree of flexibility between seating and cargo configurations; to enable users to include and expand their social media communities with seamless wireless integration between the vehicle and mobile devices; to take advantage of advances in battery-electric powertrains and the growth of a rapid recharging network; and to deliver these capabilities in a powerful, high-tech form.

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Intel to acquire 15% of HD-mapping company HERE; collaborating on technology for autonomous vehicles and IoT

Intel will purchase a 15% ownership stake in HERE, a global provider of high-definition digital maps and location-based services, from HERE’s current indirect shareholders: Audi AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG. The three automakers acquired HERE from Nokia in 2015 (earlier post) with the goal of securing the long-term availability of HERE’s products and services as an open, independent and value-creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors. The three automakers hold an equal stake in HERE.

In conjunction with Intel’s acquisition of a stake in HERE, the two companies also signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of a highly scalable proof-of-concept architecture that supports real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly and fully automated driving.

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