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Autonomous driving

[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.]

New algorithm improves speed and accuracy of pedestrian detection; cascade detection + deep learning

February 08, 2016

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a pedestrian detection system that performs in near real-time (2-4 frames per second) and with higher accuracy (close to half the error) compared to existing systems. The technology, which incorporates deep learning models, could be used in “smart” vehicles, robotics and image and video search systems.

The new pedestrian detection algorithm developed by Nuno Vasconcelos, electrical engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and his team combines a traditional computer vision classification architecture—cascade detection—with deep learning models.

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Renesas Electronics and TTTech collaborate on new ADAS-ECU development platform with high computing performance and advanced functional safety

Renesas Electronics Corporation and TTTech Computertechnik AG, a global leader in robust networking and safety controls, have agreed to collaborate on the development of a new automotive platform solution aimed at providing a future-proof, high-performance advanced electronic control unit (ECU) development platform for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving functionality.

The automotive platform solution will integrate Renesas’ automotive control microcontroller (MCU), the RH850/P1x, and high-performance R-Car system-on-chips (SoCs) with TTTech’s TTIntegration, a software platform, to enable highly complex automotive solutions including highly automated driving. Additionally to the physical integration, the development platform achieves parallel, multi-vendor development and integration of individual software components.

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Renesas camera video processing circuit block with low latency, high performance, and low power consumption for SOC for autonomous driving

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) held in San Francisco earlier this month, Renesas Electronics announced the development of a new video processing circuit block for use in automotive computing system-on-chips (SoCs) that will support autonomous vehicles.

The newly developed video processing circuit block will realize automotive computing systems integrating vehicle information systems and driving safety support systems by enabling massive video processing without imposing any additional load on the CPU and GPU, with real-time performance, low power consumption, and low delay. Renesas intends to incorporate the new video processing circuit block into its future automotive computing SoCs to contribute to a safer and more convenient driving experience.

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Jaguar Land Rover in two UK projects worth ~$16M to advance connected and autonomous vehicle technology

February 01, 2016

Jaguar Land Rover is participating in two new projects in the UK worth a combined £11 million (US$15.7 million) to advance connected and autonomous vehicle technology. The £5.5-million (US$7.9-million) UK-CITE (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) project will create the first test route capable of testing both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on public roads in the UK.

The three year £5.5-million MOVE-UK project, which is led by Bosch, is intended to help future autonomous vehicles drive naturally—more like human drivers rather than like robots. The project will also help develop future insurance policies for automated vehicles

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GM creates dedicated team to drive autonomous and advanced technology vehicle development

January 29, 2016

Effective 1 February, GM is creating a combined, dedicated Autonomous and Technology Vehicle Development Team. This team is tasked with accelerating the company’s technical capabilities and create the future direction of GM vehicle programs in the autonomous and “technologically advanced” vehicle space.

Doug Parks, currently vice president, Global Product Programs, is now Vice President, Autonomous Technology and Vehicle Execution. He will lead the team responsible for creating and executing autonomously driven vehicles in addition to advanced technology vehicle programs.

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New QNX software platform enables ADAS and automated driving

January 23, 2016

QNX Software Systems Limited, a subsidiary of BlackBerry Limited, earlier this month introduced the QNX Platform for ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), expanding its portfolio of automotive software products. The QNX Platform for ADAS is scheduled for general release in Q2 2016.

Designed for scalability, the platform will enable automotive companies to build a full range of automated driving systems, from informational ADAS modules that provide a 360° surround view of the vehicle, to sensor fusion systems that combine data from multiple sources such as cameras and radar, to high-performance processors that make control decisions in fully autonomous vehicles.

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Bosch beginning autonomous driving testing in Japan; 3rd engineering location after Germany and the US

January 22, 2016

Bosch has begun on-road testing of autonomous driving in Japan, its third location for the development work after Germany and the US. Bosch’s initial goal is the development of the highway pilot, which will allow cars to drive autonomously on freeways and freeway-like roads starting in 2020.

Worldwide, nearly 2,500 Bosch engineers are working to develop driver assistance systems and automated driving further. Like their colleagues in Germany and the US, the team in Japan is already conducting tests with automated test vehicles on public roads. The test drives are being conducted on expressways around the cities of Tohoku and Tomei in the Tochigi and Kanagawa prefectures, as well as on the two Bosch proving grounds in Shiobara and Memanbetsu.

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Obama Administration proposes $4B to accelerate development and adoption of autonomous vehicles; policy update

January 15, 2016

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a proposed 10-year, nearly $4-billion investment to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects. Secretary Foxx made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The pilot programs, funded via the President’s FY17 budget proposal, would test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.

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Ricardo white paper outlines needed developments to realize autonomous driving

January 14, 2016

Engineering firm Ricardo has published a white paper—Key Enablers for the Fully Autonomous Vehicle—highlighting the technologies and development processes that are needed to develop commercially feasible self-driving cars that meet consumer expectations while also achieving compliance with likely future transport regulations.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, the projected size of the global autonomous vehicle market in 2025 will be $36 billion for partially autonomous vehicles (levels 1–3) and $6 billion for fully autonomous vehicles (level 4). This includes both passenger and commercial vehicle uses. The realization of fully autonomous vehicles will require further evolution in software, sensors, integration and efficient system testing beyond what is in place for current advanced driver assistance systems.

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IBM study finds consumers very interested in alternative ownership models for cars, self-enabling vehicles

January 12, 2016

Consumers expect to use cars differently—showing particular interest in self-enabling vehicles—though they don’t necessarily want to own one in the traditional sense, according to the results of IBM’s automotive consumer study, presented at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This presents opportunities for automakers to apply analytics and cognitive capabilities to develop new vehicle options.

A New Relationship – People and Cars,” developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), reports that consumers also show a high level of interest in self-enabling vehicles, or cars that can learn, heal, drive and socialize. These capabilities include autonomous, self-driving cars, vehicles that can be fixed without human intervention and the implementation of cognitive computing to learn and assimilate to the driver’s behaviors, the vehicle itself and the surrounding environment.

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Ford, U Michigan collaborating on enablers for autonomous driving in the snow; high-resolution 3D mapping

Typical autonomous vehicle sensors are useless on snow-covered roads, but researchers at the University of Michigan and Ford are collaborating on a solution. In Michigan and on U-M’s 32-acre Mcity simulated urban environment, they have conducted what they believe are the industry’s first tests of autonomous vehicles in wintry conditions.

Fully autonomous driving can’t rely on GPS, which is accurate only to several yards—not enough to localize or identify the position of the vehicle. It is essential for an autonomous vehicle to know its precise location, not just within a city or on a road, but in its actual driving lane—a variation of a few inches makes a big difference.

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HARMAN introduces range of connected vehicle technologies and Microsoft partnership at CES

January 11, 2016

HARMAN International Industries made a number of connected vehicle technology announcements during CES 2016 last week, including a connected car computing platform, demonstrated in the Rinspeed Σtos concept car; an advanced navigation system with live data fusion; an open cloud-based software delivery system; and a new partnership with Microsoft. The company also introduced the first pupil-based driver monitoring system.

Connected car computing platform. HARMAN’s Life-Enhancing Intelligent Vehicle Solution (LIVS) integrates previously discreet or separate connectivity and operational domains under a new, holistic automotive computing platform. HARMAN says that LIVS is the industry’s most complete end-to-end system to provide drivers intelligent, adaptable and personal solutions in the car. HARMAN demonstrated LIVS applied in the latest Rinspeed concept car—Σtos—at CES 2016.

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Virginia Tech report finds national crash rate for conventional vehicles higher than crash rate of self-driving cars

January 09, 2016

A new report, “Automated Vehicle Crash Rate Comparison Using Naturalistic Data,” performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and commissioned by Google, shows that the crash rates for self-driving cars are lower than the national crash rate of conventional cars.

Results show that when data is adjusted for unreported crashes and take into account accident severity, the national crash rate for conventional vehicles is higher than the crash rate of self-driving cars.

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Toshiba introduces new automotive Ethernet-AVB bridge; working with Qualcomm on advanced connected car systems

January 08, 2016

AT CES 2016, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) introduced an automotive-grade Ethernet bridge solution for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and other automotive applications. The TC9560XBG supports standards such as IEEE 802.1AS and IEEE 802.1Qav, generally referred to as Ethernet-AVB (Audio Video Bridging). The Ethernet-AVB standard enables stable, reliable multimedia transmissions, making it suitable for IVI and telematics. (Earlier post.)

TAEC also announced it is working with Qualcomm Technologies to bring to the automotive market advanced connected car platforms powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A and Snapdragon 602A processors, and telematics solutions powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem. (Earlier post.)

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Renault-Nissan to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology over the next four years

January 07, 2016

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology in the next four years in the United States, Europe, Japan and China. The technology will be installed on mainstream, mass-market cars at affordable prices.

The year 2016 will mark the debut of vehicles with “single-lane control,” a feature that allows cars to drive autonomously on highways, including in heavy, stop-and-go traffic. In 2018, Renault-Nissan will launch vehicles with “multiple-lane control,” which can autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes during highway driving. And 2020 will see the launch of “intersection autonomy,” which can navigate city intersections and heavy urban traffic without driver intervention.

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Audi to use Gen 2 zFAS controller in production e-tron quattro; piloted driving; moving to domain-controlled architecture

The production version of Audi’s e-tron quattro battery-electric SUV (earlier post) will be equipped with the second-generation of Audi’s central driver assistance controller the zFAS (earlier post), according to Ricky Hudi, Executive Vice President Electronic Development, Audi AG. The vehicle will be capable of driving fully autonomously, he said at CES 2016.

zFAS is the domain controller for Audi piloted driving systems. The information supplied by all sensors—including the signals from the 3D cameras, the laser scanner and the radar and ultrasonic sensors—is permanently fed into and processed by this module. With its tremendous computing power, the zFAS will be capable of continuously comparing the data from the vehicle sensor systems with the model of the road space and its surroundings.

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Qualcomm introduces Snapdragon 820A SoC infotainment and connectivity processors for automotive; expanding automotive investment

Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., introduced its latest Qualcomm Snapdragon automotive processors, the Snapdragon 820 Automotive family, offering a scalable next-generation infotainment, graphics and multimedia platform with machine intelligence and a version with integrated LTE-Advanced connectivity.

The new processors expand Qualcomm’s automotive technology portfolio, adding to a collection of integrated solutions in the areas of telematics and connectivity, as well as high definition graphics and multimedia for rich infotainment systems, machine intelligence and sensor fusion for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), GNSS location technologies, V2X (Vehicle to Vehicle/Infrastructure/Pedestrian) communications for improved safety and driver convenience, and wireless charging for electric vehicles.

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Thomson Reuters report finds established auto industry companies, not Silicon Valley, leading development of autonomous driving tech

Established automotive industry companies—not Silicon Valley—are leading the development of autonomous driving technology, according to a new report from the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters. The report, which analyzes global patent activity in the field of self-driving automobiles over the last five years, identifies the global leaders in the development of the technologies and also makes predictions about the future of driverless cars.

According to the report—2016 State of Self-Driving Automotive Innovation—there were more than 22,000 new inventions related to self-driving automobiles between January 2010 and October 2015, with some clear leaders already emerging in the space.

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Kia Motors introduces new DRIVE WISE sub-brand for advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving technologies

January 06, 2016

At CES 2016, Kia Motors launched a new sub-brand—DRIVE WISE—to encompass its future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Kia recently announced plans to manufacture partially-autonomous cars by 2020, and aims to bring its first fully-autonomous vehicle to market by 2030. (Earlier post.)

A preliminary $2-billion investment by Kia by 2018 is intended to fast-track development of the new DRIVE WISE technologies. The state of Nevada recently granted Kia a special licence to test the new technologies on public roads. Kia’s battery-electric Soul EV is acting as the brand’s testbed for the development of next-generation DRIVE WISE technologies.

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Toyota Research Institute CEO Pratt outlines initial AI/robotics mandates; trillion-mile reliability

Last November, Toyota Motor established a new company—Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI), an R&D enterprise with a focus on artificial intelligence and robotics—with an announced initial investment of $1 billion over the next five years. (Earlier post.) (The investment is in addition to the $50 million investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford, each close by TRI’s new offices, to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centers at each university.) At a press conference at CES 2016, TRI CEO and Toyota Executive Technical Advisor Dr. Gill Pratt laid out his new company’s near-term approach and challenges it seeks to address, as well as its much larger ambitions.

For the longer term, Toyota believes artificial intelligence and robotics offers the significant potential not only to support future industrial technologies but to create an entirely new mobility industry. Drawing an analogy to Toyota’s own history, Dr. Pratt noted that:

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NVIDIA introduces DRIVE PX 2 platform for autonomous driving

At CES 2016, NVIDIA introduced NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2—a high-performance computing platform for in-vehicle artificial intelligence applied to the complexities inherent in autonomous driving. DRIVE PX 2 utilizes deep learning on NVIDIA’s most advanced GPUs for 360-degree situational awareness around the car, to determine precisely where the car is and to compute a safe, comfortable trajectory.

DRIVE PX 2—which delivers processing power equivalent to 150 MacBook Pros—uses two next-generation Tegra processors plus two next-generation discrete GPUs, based on the Pascal architecture, to deliver up to 24 trillion deep learning operations per second, which are specialized instructions that accelerate the math used in deep learning network inference. That’s more than 10 times the computational horsepower than the previous-generation DRIVE PX.

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ARPA-E issues RFI on energy efficiency optimization for connected and automated vehicles; vehicle dynamic and powertrain control

January 05, 2016

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a request for information (DE-FOA-0001473) seeking input from researchers and developers in a broad range of disciplines including automotive vehicle control, powertrain control and transportation analytics regarding the development of advanced energy efficiency optimization technologies for future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).

ARPA-E is interested in new and emerging full vehicle and powertrain control technologies that can reduce the energy use associated with automotive transportation, beyond those technologies currently expected to be deployed in future vehicles. The focus of the RFI is on the potential improvement in the energy efficiency of each individual vehicle in the automotive fleet through the improvement of powertrain control and vehicle dynamic control, by utilizing emerging technologies and strategies in sensing, communications, information, control and automation.

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Ford tripling autonomous vehicle development fleet; Gen 3 autonomous dev platform; new Velodyne LiDAR

Ford is tripling its fleet of fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid test vehicles—making it the largest in the automotive industry, according to the company—and will use a new-generation sensor technology as the company further accelerates its autonomous vehicle development plans.

This year, Ford will add 20 Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles, bringing the company’s autonomous fleet to about 30 vehicles being tested on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan. The newest vehicles are on Ford’s third-generation autonomous vehicle development platform, built using Fusion Hybrid sedans, similar to the second-generation platform.

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GM to invest $500M in Lyft; creating integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles

January 04, 2016

General Motors and rideshare company Lyft are entering a long-term strategic alliance to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the US. GM will invest $500 million in Lyft to help the company continue the rapid growth of its successful ridesharing service. In addition, GM will hold a seat on the company’s board of directors.

The GM investment is part of a $1-billion funding round Lyft is closing. In addition to the GM money, Kingdom Holding Company invested $100 million making the total investment of Kingdom Holding and its affiliates approximately $250 million. Several new and existing Lyft investors were also in the round including Janus Capital Management, Rakuten, Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba. Following this latest round, Lyft is valued at $5.5 billion, post-money. Key elements of the GM and Lyft alliance include:

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Toyota developing new cloud-based high-precision map generation system using data from production vehicles

December 22, 2015

To aid the safe implementation of automated driving, Toyota is developing a high-precision map generation system that will use data from on-board cameras and GPS devices installed in production vehicles. The new system will go on display at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 in Las Vegas next month.

Toyota’s new system uses camera-equipped production vehicles to gather road images and vehicle positional information. This information is sent to data centers, where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area.

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2nd annual Bosch analysis of ADAS finds emergency braking and lane assist systems on the rise

December 21, 2015

An analysis of new car registration in Germany for 2014 reveals that driver assistance systems are playing an increasingly greater role when it comes to purchasing a car. The importance of lane assist and automatic emergency braking systems in particular has grown significantly, according to the analysis by Bosch—the company’s second annual assessment of adoption of the technology.

According to the evaluation, based on the 2014 registration statistics, one in five of the nearly three million newly registered passenger cars in Germany last year were equipped with such systems. By way of comparison, the evaluation for 2013 revealed that the two assistance systems featured in only one in ten new cars.

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Ford to begin autonomous vehicle testing on California roads; Silicon Valley Lab accelerates Smart Mobility Plan

December 16, 2015

Fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans will begin testing on California streets next year, as Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto continues growing.

Ford is officially enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. The testing is further advancement of Ford’s 10-year autonomous vehicle development program and a key element of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

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Mercedes adding semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist to new E-Class in spring

December 09, 2015

Mercedes-Benz will expand the new Driving Assistance package of the future E-Class for the market launch in spring with the semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist function. The radar- and camera-based assistance system supports the driver in changing lanes—for example, when passing on multi-lane roads. The system offers a significant further increase in comfort and can help to prevent collisions.

Active Lane Change Assist is a sub-function of DRIVE PILOT and thus a component of the Driving Assistance package from Mercedes-Benz, which will have its world premiere in the new E-Class next year. The new E-Class will be launched in Germany in spring 2016.

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Swift Navigation raises $11M Series-A round for high-accuracy RTK GPS for autonomous vehicles

Swift Navigation, a startup building centimeter-accurate GPS technology for autonomous vehicles, raised an $11-million series-A round led by Lior Susan and Pierre Lamond of Eclipse, with participation from New Enterprise Associates and Promus Ventures.

By moving GPS positioning from custom hardware to a flexible software-based receiver, Swift Navigation delivers Real Time Kinematics (RTK) GPS that is 100 times more accurate than the GPS in a cell phone at a fraction of the price of the competition. With more than 1,200 customers for its first product, Piksi, the company has already experienced high demand for its low-cost, high-performance GPS receiver.

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KPMG study finds autonomous vehicles & mobility services could add one trillion more vehicle miles traveled annually by 2050

November 26, 2015

Innovations in autonomous vehicles, connectivity, and mobility-on-demand will have a profound impact on consumers, particularly among younger and older people, according to a new study by KPMG. With these age groups set to embrace these technological and transformational changes, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the US will soar by approximately one trillion additional miles per year by 2050.

According to KPMG’s research, which consisted of consumer focus groups in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver, two generations will largely drive consumer demand in the future, the millennials and the “baby boomers plus”—ranging from 45 to 75 years. However, in every age group, participants showed significant attraction to mobility on demand for specific conditions or circumstances, including safety, weather, premium experience, and leisure time.

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IHS Automotive sees Google leading technology, testing, software development for autonomous driving

November 13, 2015

The key to self-driving cars is software that can interpret all of a vehicles’ sensors and learn to mimic the driving skills and experiences of the very best drivers. Google is the current technology leader in this arena, according to a report from industry analysts IHS Automotive: “Google Self-Driving Car Strategy and Implications”. IHS estimates suggest Google has invested nearly $60 million so far in autonomous vehicle research and development, at a run rate of nearly $30 million per year.

Unlike traditional vehicle manufacturers, Google also has the ability to leverage adjacent technologies and learnings from its other projects and investments—including robotics, drones and related technologies that help automotive operations, such as neural networks, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and machine vision. This provides Google researchers additional expertise not available directly to traditional OEMs.

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Ford first to test autonomous vehicle at U Michigan Mcity

Ford is the first automaker to test autonomous vehicles at Mcity—the full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan. (Earlier post.) The 32-acre facility is part of the university’s Mobility Transformation Center.

Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years and is now expanding testing on the diversity of roads and realistic neighborhoods of Mcity near the North Campus Research Complex to accelerate research of advanced sensing technologies.

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Kespry and NVIDIA demonstrate deep learning for commercial autonomous drones; NVIDIA Jetson TX1

November 11, 2015

Kespry, a commercial drone system company, demonstrated a prototype drone that uses NVIDIA artificial intelligence technology to recognize objects. The Kespry prototype uses the newly introduced NVIDIA Jetson TX1 module for deep learning, which offers complex algorithms to make autonomous devices more intelligent. The prototype is based on the Kespry Drone System that is in use by customers in the materials, mining and construction industries.

The demo was conducted using the NVIDIA Jetson TX1 embedded module—unveiled yesterday at an NVIDIA event in San Francisco. Jetson TX1 is a credit-card sized module that will enable a new generation of smart, learning autonomous devices. With its 1 teraflops of performance, Jetson delivers exceptional performance for machine learning, computer vision, GPU computing, and graphics, while drawing very little power.

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HARMAN contributes open source software to Open AVB Project for low-latency, real-time automotive Ethernet

November 03, 2015

HARMAN has made an open source software contribution to the Open AVB project to help drive the adoption of Ethernet AVB/TSN (Audio Video Bridging/Time Sensitive Networking) in automotive, consumer, pro audio/video and industrial markets. In AVB/TSN, the maximum latency is deterministic and thus supports low-latency applications from live A/V to machine control.

Legacy Ethernet uses “best effort delivery”—i.e., data traffic flow is indeterminate, and intervening traffic can delay a data stream. Because of this uncertainty on receiving a stream packet, the receivers in legacy systems typically employ large buffers so as not to underflow, which would result in an audible click on an audio stream or loss of critical control information in a control stream.

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Nissan begins testing piloted driving on both city roads and highway

October 31, 2015

Nissan has begun testing its first prototype vehicle that demonstrates piloted drive on both highway and city/urban roads. Nissan’s “Intelligent Driving” comprises features that will be introduced in stages, all toward achieving Nissan’s “Zero Fatality” goal of eliminating virtually all fatalities stemming from traffic accidents.

For Stage One, Nissan will offer “Piloted Drive 1.0” by the end of 2016 in Japan. Piloted Drive 1.0 allows for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions. By 2018, the company hopes to implement a multiple lane piloted drive that can conduct lane changes on highways. By 2020, Nissan will introduce a new technology that allows vehicles to successfully manage city/urban roads—including intersections—autonomously. Autonomous driving under congested city conditions, with all the variables, is a much more difficult problem than on the highway.

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UMTRI preliminary analysis of autonomous vehicle safety

October 30, 2015

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have performed a preliminary analysis of the cumulative on-road safety record of self-driving vehicles for three of the ten companies that are currently approved for such vehicle testing in California (Google, Delphi, and Audi).

The analysis compared the safety record of these vehicles with the safety record of all conventional vehicles in the US for 2013 (adjusted for underreporting of crashes that do not involve a fatality). The study, by Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, made four main findings:

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Mitsubishi eX concept crossover highlights design and electric vehicle technology directions

October 29, 2015

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) unveiled the Mitsubishi eX electric crossover concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. MMC intends the eX to showcase next-generation electric vehicle technologies, as well as a new take on the Dynamic Shield front design concept.

The next-generation EV system employs a 45 kWh battery pack together with compact 70 kW electric motors, one on each axle, for a combined output of 140 kW. With further weight reductions in the vehicle itself, the eX can deliver a cruising range of 400 km (249 miles).

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Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo concept fuel cell hybrid leverages F 015 Luxury in Motion concept

October 28, 2015

Mercedes-Benz introduced a new advanced design concept at the Tokyo Motor Show: the Vision Tokyo. The concept is powered by a fuel cell electric drive system based on the F-CELL PLUG-IN HYBRID of the self-driving F 015 Luxury in Motion concept introduced at CES in January. (Earlier post.) The next combines the on-board generation of electricity with a particularly powerful and compact high-voltage battery that can be charged wirelessly via induction.

Pressure tanks made from CFRP store the hydrogen in the concept car. The electric hybrid system has a total range of 980 kilometers (609 miles), of which some 190 kilometers (118 miles) are courtesy of battery-powered driving and around 790 kilometers (491 miles) from the electricity produced in the fuel cell.

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Nissan IDS Concept previews future of autonomous driving and EVs

At the Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan Motor unveiled a concept vehicle that embodies Nissan’s vision of the future of autonomous driving and EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept.

Nissan Intelligent Driving, Nissan’s concept of autonomous drive technology, integrates advanced vehicle control and safety technologies with artificial intelligence (AI) and represents what Nissan believes next-generation vehicles should be. “Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun,” said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

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UMTRI researchers suggest autonomous vehicles should pass a licensing test

October 23, 2015

Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) are suggesting that self-driving vehicles should be required to pass a licensing test.

Most driver-licensing tests evaluate three aspects of driving readiness, they observed: visual performance; knowledge of rules and regulations related to driving and traffic in general; and driving-related psychomotor skills. The reasons for the need to test prospective drivers are that:

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Marvell introduces 1st 1000BASE-T1 automotive Ethernet PHY transceiver; Gigabit Ethernet for connected cars

October 20, 2015

Marvell, a leading fabless semiconductor company, introduced the Marvell 88Q2112, the industry’s first 1000BASE-T1 automotive Ethernet physical layer (PHY) transceiver compliant with the draft IEEE 802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 standard—i.e., Gigabit Ethernet for cars. The 88Q2112 supports the industry’s highest in-vehicle connectivity bandwidth and is designed to meet the rigorous EMI requirements of an automotive system.

The 1000BASE-T1 standard allows high speed and bi-directional data traffic over light weight, low-cost, single pair cable harnesses. The Marvell 88Q2112 will sample to Marvell’s global customers starting in November 2015.

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Navigant: Daimler, Audi, BMW, and General Motors currently leading development of autonomous vehicle market

October 15, 2015

In a new Leaderboard Report, Navigant Research ranks Daimler, Audi, BMW, and General Motors (GM) as leading the autonomous vehicle OEM market in terms of strategy and execution. The report examines the strategy and execution of 18 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including company profiles and rankings, to provide an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the developing autonomous vehicle market.

Although fully automated vehicles are expected to be about a decade away from production—depending upon the enactment of the enabling legislation—the incremental systems necessary as foundations for the technology are emerging today. Systems that can drive autonomously in simple situations such as on freeways and in traffic jams are now being offered in some 2016 model year vehicles. These vehicles have the capability to follow the vehicle in front and maintain a safe gap while staying in lane.

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Tesla v7.0 software update boosts self-driving capabilities; Autopilot arrives

Beginning in October 2014, Tesla began equipping Model S vehicles with hardware to support the incremental introduction of self-driving technology: a forward radar; a forward-looking camera; 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds; and a high-precision digitally-controlled electric assist braking system. (Earlier post.)

The company’s latest software release—Tesla Version 7.0—enables a range of new active safety and convenience features based on that hardware, designed to work in conjunction with the automated driving capabilities already offered in Model S: Lane Departure Warning; Blind Spot Warning; Intelligent Speed Assist; Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC); Forward Collision Warning; and Automatic Emergency Braking.

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Renesas Electronics America introduces new vehicle-level platform for development of autonomous and V2X driving

October 13, 2015

Renesas Electronics America has introduced a new, comprehensive, vehicle-level driving platform to accelerate the development of autonomous and connected driving systems.

Working in close collaboration with Harbrick, NewFoundry, Arada Systems, eTrans, and Cogent Embedded, Renesas developed a fleet of cars to operate as a modular and open laboratory for automotive customers. This strategy enables safe integrated solutions beyond silicon, while reducing design risk and accelerating time to market through pre-testing and integration.

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Panasonic highlighted automated and connected vehicle technologies at ITS World Congress; anti-hacker security

October 11, 2015

Panasonic exhibited its portfolio of automated and connected vehicle technologies and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) big data solutions at ITS World Congress 2015, Bordeaux. Panasonic offers automotive and device solutions for pedestrians and cars, infrastructure solutions for homes, roads and more.

In the report “Analysis of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Market in Europe”, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Cathy Brown points out that “Driven by legislation and cost effective vehicles, the ADAS market in Europe is entering a new phase of applications integrating both safety and comfort.” According to Masahisa Shibata, President of Panasonic Automotive and Industrial Systems Europe, Panasonic’s global strategy focuses on three key business areas:

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Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC announce $17M autonomous vehicle research program; 5 projects selected

October 09, 2015

Jaguar Land Rover and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are jointly funding an £11-million (US$17-million) research program to develop fully autonomous cars. The research will take place at ten UK universities and the Transport Research Laboratory.

As part of its strategic partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, EPSRC issued a joint call for research proposals that focussed on developing fully autonomous cars: “Towards Autonomy - Smart and Connected Control”. Five projects were selected and Jaguar Land Rover will be leading the collaboration with these successful research groups.

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$90M UR:BAN research initiative presenting results on ADAS and traffic management for cities; intelligent vehicles

October 07, 2015

In Düsseldorf, the 31 partners—automobile and electronics manufacturers, suppliers, communication technology and software companies, research institutes and cities—involved in the UR:BAN research initiative (Urban Space: user-friendly assistance systems and network management) presented the results of four years of work in a two-day event.

UR:BAN’s goal is to develop advanced driver assistance and traffic management systems for cities, with a focus on the human element in all aspects of mobility and traffic. The project pursued its objectives in three main thematic target areas: Cognitive Assistance; Networked Traffic System; and Human Factors in Traffic.

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Toyota testing new Highway Teammate automated driving vehicle; aiming for commercialization around 2020

October 06, 2015

Toyota has been testing a new automated driving platform, a modified Lexus GS called Highway Teammate, with the aim of launching related products by around 2020. In addition to demonstrating the capabilities of next-generation safety technologies, the vehicle represents Toyota’s view of the evolving driver-car relationship in the age of artificial intelligence.

Toyota believes that interactions between drivers and cars should mirror those between close friends who share a common purpose, sometimes watching over each other and sometimes helping each other out. Toyota refers to this approach as the Mobility Teammate Concept. Highway Teammate represents an important first effort to give form to this concept.

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PSA prototype travels 580km from Paris to Bordeaux in autonomous mode

October 05, 2015

On 2 October, one of PSA Peugeot Citroën’s four autonomous vehicles drove itself 580 km (360 miles) on the highway from Paris to Bordeaux entirely in autonomous mode to take part in the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress, which runs until 9 October. The car autonomously adjusted its speed and changed lanes to overtake, taking into account other vehicles, speed limits and infrastructure.

In July 2015, the Group became the first carmaker to obtain the relevant authorizations to carry out open road tests in France using 4 autonomous prototypes, with 15 such models in 2016.

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Cohda introduces new 360˚ radar for V2X connected vehicles

October 04, 2015

Cohda Wireless is introducing a low-cost, 360-degree radar for vehicles fitted with V2X connected car systems. The new V2X-Radar delivers a 360-degree sensor that can detect buildings, road signs and also older vehicles that are not equipped with V2X technology. Unlike current technologies, it is unaffected by rain, snow or fog, and can “see” around corners.

V2X-Radar takes advantage of current V2X systems that use IEEE 802.11-compliant wireless signals to share sensor information between vehicles and infrastructure. These radio signals bounce off many objects—walls, road signs and other vehicles—as they travel from transmitter to receiver. V2X-Radar can use these radio waves

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Daimler Trucks testing the first series-production semi-autonomous truck on public roads

October 02, 2015

Daimler Trucks today demonstrated the first series-production truck to operate on an automated basis—automation level 2 (partially automated driving)—on the A8 public highway between Denkendorf and Stuttgart. The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros equipped with the Highway Pilot system is approved as a test vehicle in accordance with §19/6 StVZO (German road traffic type approval law).

The version of the Highway Pilot installed in the Actros allows semi-autonomous driving. Although the Highway Pilot is able to steer the truck by itself on motorways, the driver retains full responsibility; needs to monitor the traffic at all times; and must be able to intervene at any time. Daimler compares the Highway Pilot to the autopilot commonly used in aviation.

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GM planning to “own” the customer relationship beyond the vehicle; autonomous Volts, car sharing and fuel cells

October 01, 2015

General Motors CEO Mary Barra and her leadership team outlined the company’s plans to capitalize on the future of personal mobility by owning the customer relationship beyond the vehicle, building upon nearly two decades of connectivity leadership.

GM also said it plans to strengthen its core business through global growth initiatives and an aggressive product launch cadence, while continuing to focus on driving cost efficiencies. As a result, the company expects to increase its earnings per share and generate significant shareholder value. The company shared its plans with investors during a conference at its Milford Proving Ground.

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Renesas introducing R-Car W2R 5.9 GHz automotive wireless communication SoC for V2X communication

September 30, 2015

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the R-Car W2R system-on-a-chip (SoC), the first member of the new Renesas R-Car Family of devices developed specifically for V2X applications. The new automotive wireless communication SoC is designed for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication in the 5.9-gigahertz (GHz) band.

Through the use of Renesas’ exclusive RF system design technology, the R-Car W2R is the first in the world to succeed in suppressing out-of-band transmission signal noise below the -65 dBm stipulated by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). This makes it possible for products that use the R-Car W2R to achieve the best noise characteristics in the world. This enables high-quality signals with little interference to be transmitted, making it possible to implement vehicle-to-everything (V2X) at a practical level in various kinds of ADAS systems for supporting safe driving.

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Elektrobit collaborates with Infineon and NVIDIA to deliver automated driving platform

September 17, 2015

Automotive software company Elektrobit (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Continental AG) is working with Infineon Technologies, a leading semiconductor supplier for autonomous driving, and NVIDIA, the world leader in visual computing, to make it easier for automakers and their suppliers to create advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that integrate the highest levels of safety. Together, the companies are delivering a solution that represents a powerful development platform for automated driving.

The offering integrates technologies from EB, Infineon and NVIDIA to deliver the increased computing power and intelligence required to handle the complexity of automated driving. The solution consists of the NVIDIA DRIVE PX self-driving computer integrated with EB’s AUTOSAR 4.x-compliant EB tresos software suite, which runs on the NVIDIA Tegra processor and AURIX 32-bit TriCore microcontroller from Infineon.

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10 automakers commit to making automatic emergency braking standard in US

September 11, 2015

Ten major vehicle manufacturers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles built, the US Department of Transportation, its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced today.

The announcement, made at the dedication of IIHS’s newly expanded Vehicle Research Center, represents a major step toward making crash-prevention technologies more widely available to consumers. The 10 companies—Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo—will work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on the details of implementing their historic commitment, including the timeline for making AEB a standard feature. The Department and IIHS encourage all other light-vehicle and trucking manufacturers to bring automated vehicle technology to all vehicles on US roadways as soon as possible.

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Toyota to invest ~$50M to establish joint research centers at MIT and Stanford; intelligent vehicle and mobility technologies

September 04, 2015

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will be investing approximately $50 million over the next 5 years to establish joint research centers at Stanford and MIT, focused on the research and development of intelligent vehicle and mobility technologies.

Additionally Dr. Gill Pratt, former Program Manager at DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and leader of its recent Robotics Challenge, has joined Toyota to direct and accelerate these research activities and their application to intelligent vehicles and robotics.

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Proterra extended range electric bus delivers 258 miles on one charge of 257 kWh pack

September 03, 2015

A Proterra 40-foot Catalyst XR (extended range) electric bus drove 258 miles (415 miles) on a single charge under test conditions at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds (LPG). The Catalyst XR configuration for the max mileage test used 8 NMC Li-ion battery packs, with a total energy capacity of 257 kWh. Average speed was 30 mph (48 km/h); average energy consumption was 0.8 kWh/mile.

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ZF TRW wins two major OEM contracts for Gen 2 Safety Domain ECU; building block for automated driving

August 27, 2015

ZF TRW has won two major contracts with North American and European vehicle manufacturers for its second generation Safety Domain ECU (SDE 2)—a key building block and enabler of automated driving. The central controller will launch in Europe and the US starting in 2018. TRW introduced the SDE 2 at the Frankfurt IAA in 2013.

The SDE acts as a central integration hub, processing millions of bytes of data from environmental sensors of the vehicle’s state and surroundings. By interfacing with the steering, braking and drivetrain systems, a multitude of functions can be enabled while reducing the number of control units and simplifying the vehicle’s electronic architecture.

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Ford Car Buying Trends 2015 shows increasing demand for semi-autonomous driving technologies in Europe

August 26, 2015

European drivers are showing an increasing appetite for semi-autonomous driving technologies, according to a new Ford Motor Company study on buying trends in Europe. Ford Car Buying Trends 2015, a study of new car buying habits in 22 countries across Europe, highlights regional trends and national differences.

The study shows significant increases in the number of cars with technologies that help drivers to park, avoid collisions, and maintain set speeds and distances from vehicles ahead. Among the results:

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NXP announces complete automotive Ethernet portfolio; high-bandwidth technology for autonomous driving and secure connected vehicles

August 07, 2015

NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced its new product portfolio for automotive Ethernet. The portfolio builds on BroadR-Reach—an automotive standard defined by the OPEN Alliance industry group, with the aim to make consumer-level Ethernet capable of meeting the automotive industry’s stringent requirements. NXP is a founding member of OPEN Alliance and the first to offer a truly automotive portfolio consisting of two product families: Ethernet transceivers (TJA1100) and Ethernet switches (SJA1105). Product samples are immediately available, and Ethernet transceivers will begin production in Q4.

Ethernet can provide the network backbone for autonomous driving and connected vehicles, as it is capable of the high data bandwidth, communications speed, weight reduction, and cost efficiency that future connected cars will require. NXP says that its modular approach with switch and transceiver allows for flexible and cost efficient combinations, enabling automakers to build optimal solutions for a wide range of networking architectures—from entry-level cars to high-end luxury vehicles. This will also pave the way for new, distributed networking architectures (video) in the future.

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Ko-HAF project on highly automated driving at higher speeds launched in Germany

August 06, 2015

A consortium of 16 automobile manufacturers, automotive suppliers and public partners has launched the Ko-HAF (Kooperatives hochautomatisiertes Fahren, Cooperative Highly Automated Driving) project in Germany. Ko-HAF, which is targeting highly automated driving at higher speeds, has a total budget of €36.3 million (US$40 million) and is expected to run until November 2018.

Ko-HAF is supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as the first project within the framework of its new program “New Vehicle and System Technologies”.

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Audi, BMW and Daimler agree with Nokia on joint acquisition of HERE digital mapping business; swarm intelligence for new information density

August 03, 2015

AUDI AG, the BMW Group and Daimler AG have agreed with Nokia Corporation that they will acquire its mapping and location services business HERE. The acquisition is intended to secure 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 partners will each hold an equal stake in HERE; none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest. Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

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Delphi acquires Ottomatika and invests in Quanergy to boost automated driving and ADAS capabilities

July 31, 2015

To enhance its leading active safety and automated driving capabilities, Delphi has acquired software company Ottomatika, and has made a strategic investment in 3D LiDAR sensing leader, Quanergy. These strategic moves strengthen Delphi’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) applications and could help speed the adoption of automated vehicles.

Ottomatika, Inc. is a spinout from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) led by Dr. Raj Rajkumar which provides advanced automated driving software; Delphi has been partnering with the company since November 2014. (Earlier post.) Quanergy is a privately-held, Silicon-Valley-based technology company developing 3D time-of-flight LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors for real-time 3D mapping and object detection, tracking, and classification.

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Volkswagen MY2016: high-end driver assistance moves throughout the lineup; next-gen MIB II infotainment system

July 29, 2015

For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen is offering a number of advanced driver assistance (ADAS) features that were only previously available on the premium Touareg SUV, and is also adding some new ones that democratize driver assistance for the compact sedan and compact hatchback classes. These features include: Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); the Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); and an active Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist) system.

Also, Volkswagen’s new MIB II infotainment system will be available later this year on most MY2016 Volkswagen products. MIB II not only creates the foundation for the next generation of Volkswagen’s Car-Net connected vehicle services platform, but also offers a comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features. The first 2016 models featuring the new infotainment system will start landing in dealer showrooms late July 2015.

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Roland Berger study explores need for consolidation in vehicle electronic architectures

In a new study, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants explores the strategy of module consolidation as a solution for the feature- and function-driven increasing complexity of vehicle electronic architectures.

Consumers increasingly expect the latest and greatest in electronics and safety when purchasing a car, regardless of type. Whether it’s an instrument cluster with a graphics rich, fully reconfigurable display or a lane departure warning system, a tremendous amount of processing power and electronic communication is required. The current approach to adding these features to vehicle’s electric/electronic (E/E) architectures is generally “ad-hoc”—i.e., simply adding a new ECU every time a new vehicle feature requires processing power. This has resulted in vehicles with as many as 100 ECUs and more than 100 million lines of code in ultra-luxury cars.

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GM opens new $14M Active Safety Test Area at Milford; 22 different active safety technologies across GM MY2016 US lineup; V2V and autonomous driving

July 25, 2015

GM officially opened its new $14-million, 52-acre Active Safety Test Area at its Milford Proving Ground near Detroit. GM’s brands—Chevrolet, Buick GMC and Cadillac will offer 22 different active safety technologies across their 2016 model year US lineups, ranging from driver alerts to those that automatically intervene and assist the driver in critical situations.

Safety engineers will develop and test these and other safety technologies for products around the world at the new Active Safety Test Area. Cynthia Bay, director of Active Safety Electronics and Controls said the facility is also ideal for testing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies, which will be standard on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

The most recent J.D. Power APEAL study found that the increasing number of safety-related technologies equipping new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners. (Earlier post.)

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J.D. Power: growing usage of safety technologies in new vehicles contributes to increasing vehicle appeal

July 24, 2015

The safety-related technologies with which manufacturers are increasingly equipping their new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners, according to the J.D. Power 2015 US Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

The APEAL Study, now in its 20th year, examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive. Owners evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which combine into an overall APEAL Index score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale. The overall APEAL score has increased by 4 points year over year to 798 in 2015. The study finds that some safety features can contribute to a significant boost in APEAL scores. For example, the overall score among owners of vehicles with blind-spot monitoring and warning systems is 38 points higher than among those without them.

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Honda opens new Silicon Valley facility to advance connected mobility; refreshed 2016 Accord; Honda Xcelerator

Honda officially opened its new Silicon Valley R&D facility, using the occasion to unveil a refreshed 2016 Accord featuring Honda’s first application of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda also announced a new open innovation R&D initiative—Honda Xcelerator—which will provide resources to breakthrough technology innovators to help rapidly develop prototypes with the potential to transform the automotive experience.

Honda’s Silicon Valley operation, which was first established in 2000, is charged with researching and prototyping innovations and harnessing new ideas and technology. Current areas of focus include connected mobility; novel human-machine interfaces; supporting app developers through initiatives such as Honda Developer Studio; and computer science research for vehicle intelligence. Silicon Valley engineers also spearhead the company’s working relationship with Silicon Valley-based technology companies.

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Bosch and TomTom partner on high-precision maps for highly automated driving

July 21, 2015

Bosch and TomTom have agreed to collaborate on innovative mapping technology for automated driving. Under this agreement, TomTom is designing the necessary maps, while Bosch, on the basis of its systems engineering work, is defining the specifications these maps have to meet.

The maps are already being used in the automated vehicles Bosch is testing on certain public roads in Germany (A81) and in the United States (I280). High precision maps are a necessary enabler for deploying automated driving on freeways by 2020, said Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel. Jan Maarten de Vries, Vice President Automotive at TomTom, said that by the end of 2015, the company wants to have new high-precision maps for automated driving for all freeways and freeway-like roads in Germany. Road coverage will subsequently be extended to the rest of Europe and North America.

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U Michigan opens Mcity test environment for connected and automated vehicle technologies

July 20, 2015

The University of Michigan has opened Mcity, the first large controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars. Mcity was designed and developed by U-M’s interdisciplinary Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Mcity is a 32-acre simulated urban and suburban environment that includes a network of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, streetlights, building facades, sidewalks and construction obstacles. It is designed to support rigorous, repeatable testing of new technologies before they are tried out on public streets and highways.

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UMTRI survey finds drivers’ cautious attitude toward autonomous vehicles little changed over past year

July 16, 2015

Researchers at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have found little movement over the past year in motorists’ attitudes toward the prospect of autonomous vehicles. A new survey of 505 licensed drivers in the US found that the most frequent preference (43.8%) for vehicle automation was for no self-driving capability. Partially self-driving vehicles was the second more frequent preference (40.6%), with completely self-driving vehicles being the least-preferred choice (15.6%). Preference for having vehicle automation generally decreased as respondent age increased.

The findings of the 2015 survey by Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak, developed to examine motorists’s preferences among levels of vehicle automation, were similar to those of their survey fielded in June 2014, which asked the same questions.

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EU project V-Charge makes final demonstration of automated valet-parking and inductive charging system

July 15, 2015

The V-Charge (Valet Charge) research project, a four-year, €5.63-million (US$6.21-million) effort partly funded through the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research to develop systems for automated valet-parking and inductive charging for electric vehicles, has made the final presentation of its work in a demonstration at the Excellence Parking Garage at Amsterdam airport.

The fully automated parking system relieves drivers of the tiresome and time-consuming task of finding a parking spot. The vehicle not only automatically looks for an empty parking space, but finds an empty space with charging infrastructure and inductively charges its battery. Once the charging process is finished, it automatically frees up the charging bay for another electric vehicle and looks for a conventional parking space.

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Upcoming Mercedes-Benz E-Class driver assistance package to enable semi-automated driving

July 13, 2015

Mercedes-Benz will introduce a new driver assistance package for the E-Class coming next spring which will enable semi-automated driving on freeways, highways and in city traffic; allow the car to be moved into and out of tight parking spaces from outside using a smartphone app; and facilitate autonomous braking to mitigate dangerous situations.

Components of the new Driver Assistance Package for the future E-Class include: Intelligent Drive next Level; Active Brake Assist; Evasive Steering Assist; Remote Parking Pilot; Car-to-X Communication; Digital Car Key; PRE-SAFE Impulse Side; and PRE-SAFE Sound.

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Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept turns in best performance so far at Sonoma Raceway

Audi ran the latest generation of its Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept at the Sonoma Raceway in California, surpassing prior performance. The RS 7 took just 2:01.01 minutes to complete the 4,050-meter (2.5 mi) circuit. Audi will be offering piloted driving for the first time in the upcoming generation of the Audi A8; the systems can assume control of the car during parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph).

Audi has been testing piloted driving under increasingly challenging conditions. In October 2014, an RS 7 nicknamed “Bobby” completed a driverless lap on the Hockenheimring at speeds up to 240 km/h (149.1 mph). The new generation of the car is named “Robby,” has a power output of 412 kW (560 hp) and is around 400 kg (881.8 lb) lighter than its predecessor. Whether braking, steering or accelerating, the piloted car controls all driving functions fully autonomously.

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Berkeley Lab analysis finds autonomous electric taxis could greatly reduce US LDV GHG emissions

July 06, 2015

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that the per-mile greenhouse gas emissions of an electric autonomous taxi in 2030 would be 63-82% lower than a projected 2030 hybrid vehicle driven as a privately owned car and 90% lower than a 2014 gasoline-powered private vehicle. Their paper appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The autonomous vehicles (AVs) gain their through three synergistic effects, the researchers found: (1) future decreases in electricity GHG emissions intensity; (2) smaller vehicle sizes resulting from trip-specific autonomous taxi deployment (i.e., “right-sizing,” where the size of the taxi deployed is tailored to each trip’s occupancy needs); and (3) higher annual vehicle-miles travelled (VMT), increasing high-efficiency (especially battery-electric) vehicle cost-effectiveness.

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ZF TRW to supply next-gen S-Cam4 systems to European automaker in 2018; ADAS and automated driving; sensor fusion

July 02, 2015

ZF TRW announced the initial contracts for its next-generation camera system—the S-Cam4 family—with a major European manufacture, with deliveries to begin in 2018. This fully scalable family of cameras is designed to meet the increasingly stringent regulatory requirements for advanced driver assist system (DAS) technologies while supporting the evolution toward automated driving, said Peter Lake, ZF TRW executive vice president of sales and business development.

The S-Cam4 family includes a single lens, mono-camera version based on a standard housing and mechanical package designed to help meet test protocols such as EuroNCAP pedestrian triggered automatic emergency braking (AEB) and new potential requirements including a crossing bicycle AEB test. The camera family also includes a premium three-lens TriCam4 version to support advanced semi-automated driving functions.

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The Automotive Research Center at the University of Michigan’s Annual Program Review: The Driving Force Behind Autonomous Vehicles

June 30, 2015

by James Garay, ARC

In the fall of 1994, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) awarded MEAM [Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics] a three-year, $7.5-million research grant to establish an Automotive Research Center (ARC) at the U-M.1

Twenty-one years later, the ARC, which operates as a consortium of six universities[2] collaborating with partners from both industrial and government sectors, gathered once again on the University of Michigan’s North Campus for its 21st Annual Program Review. Professionals representing each of the three aforementioned domains (academia, government, industry) comprised the event’s nearly 300 attendees.

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Jaguar Land Rover’s Sixth Sense R&D: monitoring driver heart rate, respiration and brain activity to reduce accidents

June 23, 2015

Jaguar Land Rover revealed a set of new road safety technology research projects being developed to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers who are stressed, distracted and not concentrating on the road ahead.

The Jaguar Land Rover “Sixth Sense” research projects utilizes advanced technology from sports, medicine and aerospace, to monitor the driver’s heart rate, respiration and levels of brain activity to identify driver stress, fatigue and lack of concentration. The UK-based team is also looking at innovations that would reduce the amount of time the driver’s eyes are off the road while driving, and how to communicate with the driver via pulses and vibrations through the accelerator pedal.

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Jaguar Land Rover showcases remote-control and autonomous 180˚ turn technologies

June 16, 2015

Jaguar Land Rover is showcasing two of the prototype technologies that its UK-based research team are developing to deliver autonomous driving in the future: remote control via smartphone and autonomous multi-point turning.

A Remote Control Range Rover Sport research vehicle demonstrates how a driver could drive the vehicle from outside the car via a smartphone. The smartphone app includes control of steering, accelerator and brakes as well as changing from high and low range. This would allow the driver to walk alongside the car, at a maximum speed of 4 mph (6.4 km/h), to maneuver the car out of challenging situations safely, or even to negotiate difficult off-road terrain.

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BMW introduces 6th generation 7 Series; new 740e plug-in hybrid; remote control parking

June 10, 2015

BMW has introduced the new generation (6th) of its top-end 7 Series, featuring technology innovations in the areas of lightweight design, powertrains, chassis, operating systems, and intelligent connectivity. The all-new BMW 7 Series will be offered in the US exclusively as a long wheelbase version.

Key factors in enhancing dynamics, efficiency, comfort and safety are the use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the body structure; engines from the BMW Group’s new generation of power units; the plug-in hybrid system in the new BMW 740e; the Executive Drive Pro active chassis system; the Driving Experience Control switch with ADAPTIVE mode; and BMW Laserlight.

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DARPA program integrates non-mechanical optical scanning tech on microchip; new class of low-cost, miniature LIDAR could support autonomous vehicle apps

May 30, 2015

DARPA’s Short-range Wide-field-of-view Extremely agile Electronically steered Photonic EmitteR (SWEEPER) program has successfully integrated breakthrough non-mechanical optical scanning technology onto a microchip. Freed from the traditional scanning architecture of gimbaled mounts, lenses and servos, SWEEPER technology has demonstrated that it can sweep a laser back and forth more than 100,000 times per second, 10,000 times faster than current state-of-the-art mechanical systems.

SWEEPER technology can also steer a laser precisely across a 51-degree arc, the widest field of view yet achieved by a chip-scale optical scanning system. These accomplishments could open the door to a new class of miniaturized, extremely low-cost, robust laser-scanning technologies for LIDAR and other uses. Applications can include autonomous vehicle technology.

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DENSO invests in truck platooning company Peloton; platooning as managed service

May 28, 2015

DENSO International America, Inc. has entered into an investment agreement with Peloton Technology, a developer of platooning systems for large truck transportation fleets. Peloton’s truck platooning system is an integrated safety, efficiency and analytics platform that builds on advanced safety technologies such as collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control systems.

DENSO and Intel Capital co-led the $16-million oversubscribed Series A investment round, which will help accelerate Peloton’s development and deployment of platooning technology. Volvo Group Venture Capital, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, has also invested in Peloton. (Earlier post.) The deal was finalized late last month.

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Audi showcasing R8 e-tron piloted driving EV at CES Asia; piloted driving Audi A7 Sportback

May 25, 2015

At CES Asia 2015 in Shanghai, Audi is showcasing a piloted driving technology study version of its new R8 e-tron battery-electric sports car, introduced earlier this year at the Geneva show. (Earlier post.) Audi is also featuring a piloted driving version of its A7 Sportback. (Earlier post.)

The R8 e-tron—340 kW (456 hp) of power, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds, and a driving range of 450 km (280 miles)—is based on the multi-material Space Frame of the second-generation production R8. The piloted driving technology study integrates a range of future technologies for lightweight design, high-performance drive systems and functions for piloted driving.

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Daimler and Qualcomm announce strategic collaboration on connected car technologies, wireless EV charging

May 24, 2015

Daimler AG and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced a strategic collaboration focused on connected car technologies. In the first phase of the collaboration, the companies will focus on transforming future vehicles with mobile technologies that enhance in-car experiences and vehicle performance such as 3G/4G connectivity; wireless charging technology for in-vehicle use; and implementation of the Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology.

In addition, the companies are jointly assessing the application of Qualcomm Technology’s newly developed Automotive Solutions.

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Bosch retrofits a pair of Tesla Model S EVs for automated driving testing

May 21, 2015

Bosch has retrofitted two Model S Teslas for automated driving; the vehicles join the Bosch test fleet. The two Teslas can now autonomously drive from on-ramp to off-ramp without the driver needing to monitor them constantly. Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management, said that Bosch opted for two all-electric Model S vehicles because they combine two automotive industry trends: electrification and automation.

Fifty new Bosch components were installed in each car, including a stereo video camera (SVC), which the car uses to recognize lanes, traffic signs, and clear spaces. The Bosch says that its SVC is the smallest stereo camera system for automotive applications currently available in the market; the compact design makes it easy to integrate into vehicles. In addition to the camera, 1,300 meters of cable were laid in each car and fixed in place with 400 cable ties.

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Study using real-world data finds low speed autonomous emergency braking leads to 38% reduction in rear-end crashes

May 13, 2015

A study by a team of researchers from Europe, Australia and New Zealand has found that Low Speed AEB (autonomous emergency braking) technology leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes. The study, published in the journal of Accident Analysis & Prevention, also found that there is no significant difference between urban and rural crash benefits. The study also concluded that Low Speed AEB technology needs widespread fitment for maximum benefits.

Autonomous Emergency Braking is one of the more promising safety technologies that is becoming increasingly common on modern passenger cars. The low speed option normally consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30 km/h or 50 km/h (18.6 mph and 31 mph). Previous studies have predicted significant expected benefits of AEB technology in low speed rear-end crashes but, so far, there has been little evidence that they really work.

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Freightliner Inspiration truck receives autonomous vehicle licensing from Nevada DMV

May 06, 2015

Nevada has granted the first license for an autonomous commercial truck—the Freightliner Inspiration—to operate on an open public highway in the United States to Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is equipped with the Highway Pilot sensors and computer hardware is based upon a series production Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, fully certified to meet all US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The Highway Pilot links together a set of camera technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems. This combination creates a NHTSA Level 3 autonomous vehicle operating system that can perform safely under a range of highway driving conditions. In total, two trucks with this equipment exist.

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ITF report finds self-driving shared vehicles could take up to 90% of cars off city streets; total kilometers travelled increases

April 30, 2015

A fleet of self-driving shared cars combined with high-capacity public transport could make 90% of conventional cars in mid-sized cities superfluous under certain circumstances, according to a study published by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD. Even during peak hours, only about one-third (35%) of the current number of cars would be needed to provide the same number of trips as today.

However, while the number of cars is drastically lower, total vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT) increase—more than doubling in one scenario at peak periods due to detours for pick-ups/drop-offs, repositioning and a shift from bus trips to shared cars. The additional travel could increase environmental impacts, if the fleets used conventional engines. If a fleet of electric vehicles were used instead, a fleet of shared self-driving vehicles would need only 2% more vehicles, however, to accommodate battery re-charging times and reduced travel range.

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Chevrolet unveils new Chevrolet-FNR autonomous electric concept vehicle at Shanghai

April 20, 2015

Chevrolet unveiled the Chevrolet-FNR autonomous electric concept vehicle at Shanghai GM Gala Night. The concept was joined by the all-new Malibu, Bolt EV concept and the 2015 Captiva, which made their China debut. The Chevrolet-FNR was developed in Shanghai by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture.

The FNR engineering, design and electrification teams drew on their past experience developing electric concept vehicles. Their aim was to create a unique, intelligent vehicle for tomorrow’s younger consumers by utilizing innovative car networking technology.

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ARPA-E holding Workshop on Powertrain Innovations for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

April 16, 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be holding a Workshop on Powertrain Innovations for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, taking place in Denver, CO on 14-15 May 2015.

Even beyond 2030, the majority of vehicles in the US will continue to be engine-powered, either in conventional or hybrid configurations. As a result the light- and heavy-duty vehicle fleet will continue to consume about 30EJ of primary fuel energy, including substantial volumes of imported oil. Currently, each 10% improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency corresponds to a ~3% reduction in primary energy usage in the United States, with concomitant GHG emissions reductions.

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Lux forecasts global driver assist market to grow to $102B market by 2030

April 13, 2015

In a new research report, “The $102 Billion Opportunity in Partial Automation for Cars”, Lux Research calculates that the revenue opportunity from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) features will grow from $2.4 billion today to $102 billion in 2030, corresponding to a 26% CAGR. The new estimates for the total opportunity exceed those of previous Lux Research reports due to a combination of stronger-than-expected automotive sales in 2014 and a more granular approach to the sensors and technologies that enable ADAS features.

Although “the hype around autonomous vehicles often reaches levels that defy logic,” Lux tartly notes, the foundational technologies that are being progressively deployed as part of that technology roadmap can be rationally analyzed for opportunity.

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Nissan Around View Monitor autonomous driving technology to assist deepsea ROVs

April 10, 2015

Nissan is providing its Around View Monitor (AVM) technology—a building block of its autonomous drive technology—to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Topy Industries, Ltd., through a joint development project. Nissan’s AVM technology will help remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) operators avoid obstacles and navigate the ocean seafloor more easily while they search deep underwater for resources.

AVM is one of the base technologies for Nissan’s autonomous drive vehicles, which the company aims to bring market by 2020. First commercialized in 2007, AVM provides a virtual 360-degree overview of a car from a bird’s-eye view as pictured from above. The technology helps drivers visually confirm the vehicle’s position relative to parking spaces and adjacent objects and maneuver into parking spots more easily. Nissan added Moving Object Detection (MOD) technology to AVM in 2011 and continues to develop other associated safety technologies.


AVM in autos uses four super-wide angle (180 degrees), high-resolution (1.3 megapixel) cameras on the front, rear and side mirrors of the vehicle. Footage from each camera is composited into a single sharp virtual birds-eye view image that, due to the use of super-wide angle and high-resolution cameras, allows the driver to see multiple views.

Under the Japanese government’s SIP initiative, JAMSTEC, Japan’s agency that develops next-generation technologies to explore for resources deep under the sea, and Topy Industries, one of the top manufacturers of robot crawlers in Japan, have teamed up to develop a highly-efficient operating system for undersea searches using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The ROVs being tested by JAMSTEC and Topy include a version of Nissan AVM which features three-dimensional picture processing capability.

The AVM 3D function is combined with the ROV’s camera to improve measurement of distances on the ocean floor. This provides operators, controlling the ROVs aboard mother ships at sea, an overhead real-time bird’s-eye view of the remote vehicle and its immediate surroundings. The goal is to improve the efficiency of undersea searches by avoiding obstacles on the seabed with better real-time situational awareness.

The project exemplifies how AVM know-how is being put to practical use in complex operating environments and is among the Japanese Cabinet office’s Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), which aims to realize innovation through the promotion of research & development activities across government ministries.

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New Ford S-MAX first worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter

March 24, 2015

Ford of Europe announced that the a new S-MAX will be the first Ford worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter, a new technology that scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.

Intelligent Speed Limiter for the first time combines the two current Ford technologies Adjustable Speed Limiter and Traffic Sign Recognition, which are both already available on models including Focus, all-new Mondeo, and Kuga SUV. Drivers can choose between speed limiting systems in the vehicle menu using the steering wheel controls, and activate them using the speed system controls.

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Delphi Automotive launching coast-to-coast automated drive

March 15, 2015

Delphi Automotive is launching a US coast-to-coast automated drive—the longest automated drive ever attempted in North America—to showcase its technology capabilities and to gather data and further advance the company’s active safety technology development in this rapidly growing segment of the auto industry. The coast-to-coast trip will launch near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on 22 March and will cover approximately 3,500 miles.

Recently demonstrated on the streets of Las Vegas at CES 2015, Delphi’s Audi SQ5 automated driving vehicle leverages a full suite of technologies and features to make this trip possible, including:

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Mobileye unveils Gen4 system-on-chip EyeQ4; visual processing for ADAS and automated driving; design win for 2018

March 05, 2015

Mobileye N.V., a designer and developer of camera-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for the automotive industry, introduced its 4th-generation system-on-chip, the EyeQ4. Leveraging the company’s more than 15 years of expertise in designing computer-vision specific cores, the EyeQ4 consists of 14 computing cores out of which 10 are specialized vector accelerators with extremely high utilization for visual processing and understanding.

The first design win for EyeQ4 in series production has been secured for a global premium European car manufacturer for production to start in early 2018. The EyeQ4 would be part of a scalable camera system starting from monocular processing for collision avoidance applications, in compliance with EU NCAP, US NHSTA and other regulatory requirements, up to trifocal camera configuration supporting high-end customer functions including semi-autonomous driving. The EyeQ4 would support fusion with radars and scanning-beam lasers in the high-end customer functions.

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Freescale introduces new vision microprocessor targeting autonomous driving

March 02, 2015

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced the S32V vision microprocessor—the first automotive vision system-on-chip (SoC) with the requisite reliability, safety and security measures to automate and ‘co-pilot’ a self-aware car, the company said.

Leveraging a number of automotive-grade technologies, the S32V moves beyond the current, convenience-centric “assist” paradigm and toward an era where cars can capture data, process it and share control with drivers in critical situations. This capability establishes a bridge from the current “assist” era toward the fully autonomous vehicles of tomorrow, Freescale suggested.

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Volvo Cars announces production-viable autonomous driving system; targeting limited pilot customer rollout by 2017

February 19, 2015

158389_Autonomous_drive_technology_Complete_system_solution
Volvo Cars’ holistic solution generates exact positioning and a complete 360° view of the car’s surroundings using a combination of multiple radars, cameras and laser sensors. A network of computers processes the information, generating a real-time map of moving and stationary objects in the environment. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Cars has developed what it says is a unique, complete system solution that makes it possible to integrate self-driving cars into real traffic. Based on its analysis of potential technical faults, Volvo Cars designed a complete production-viable autonomous driving system. The key is a complex network of sensors, cloud-based positioning systems and intelligent braking and steering technologies.

Volvo Cars’ Autopilot system is designed to be reliable enough to allow the car to take over every aspect of driving in autonomous mode. The technology advances a crucial step beyond the automotive systems demonstrated so far since it includes fault-tolerant systems. With the Drive Me project entering its second year (earlier post), Volvo Cars is thus moving rapidly towards its goal of placing 100 self-driving cars in the hands of customers on selected roads around Gothenburg by 2017.

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Study: fully self-driving cars could result in fewer cars, but more miles driven per car

February 13, 2015

Autonomous vehicles (completely self-driving, level 4) may reduce the number of vehicles a family needs, but may lead to an increase in total miles driven per vehicle, according to a new analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

UMTRI researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak examined the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) data set, which contains detailed information about each trip made by a person within a selected household, including the exact start and stop times of each trip. They found a general lack of “trip overlap” between drivers within a majority of households based on vehicle sharing. In other words, families rarely use more than one vehicle at a time.

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