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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.]

$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

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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Ford enters 2 new European research collaborations for innovation in mobility and autonomous vehicles

February 04, 2015

Ford Motor Company has entered into two new research collaborations driving innovation in mobility and autonomous vehicles.

This month, the Ford European Research & Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany, and the Technology and Innovation Management Institute of RWTH Aachen University will launch the Personal Mobility Experience Innovation project. Ford also this year is contributing to the UK Autodrive initiative that is researching how driverless and connected cars can be integrated into everyday life.

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Bosch completes acquisition of ZF’s share of ZF Lenksysteme JV; electric steering systems for fuel efficiency, ADAS and automated driving

January 30, 2015

The Bosch Group has completed its acquisition of ZF Friedrichshafen AG’s 50-percent share in the joint venture ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (ZFLS). Bosch now owns all shares in the formerly 50:50 joint venture, formed in 1999. It will be incorporated into the Bosch Group as a new division with the name Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH.

ZFLS is a leading manufacturer of electric steering systems, with which it currently generates around 60% of its sales, which were around €4.1 billion (US$4.6 billion) in 2013. Alongside its potential to save up to 0.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, electric steering is the basic technology required to realize a number of assistance systems in cars as well as automated driving.

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NHTSA to include 2 automatic emergency braking systems in NCAP recommendations

January 25, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to add two advanced automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems—crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS)—to the recommended advanced safety features included under its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

The addition is the latest in a long history of safety innovations covered in a new NHTSA's new report, which uses data from the agency’s Fatal Accident Reporting System to create a statistical model that estimated safety technologies have saved 613,501 lives since 1960.

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Ford opens new Silicon Valley research center; focus on connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, big data

January 22, 2015

Ford has opened its new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, growing its global research team and accelerating the company’s work in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

The new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto joins Ford’s global network of research and innovation centers, including its location in Dearborn, Michigan, which focuses on advanced electronics, human-machine interface, materials science, big data and analytics; and Aachen, Germany, which focuses on next-generation powertrain research, driver-assist technologies and active safety systems.

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New system uses monocular camera instead of expensive laser scanners for automated vehicle navigation with comparable performance

January 20, 2015

A doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan has developed a new software system that could reduce the high cost of laser scanners used in self-driving and automated cars by enabling the vehicles to navigate using a single monocular camera with the same level of accuracy as the laser scanners at a fraction of the cost. His paper detailing the system recently was named best student paper at the Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Chicago.

Ryan Wolcott’s system builds on the navigation systems used in other self-driving cars that are currently in development, including Google’s vehicle. These use three-dimensional laser scanning technology to create a real-time map of their environment, then compare that real-time map to a pre-drawn map stored in the system. By making thousands of comparisons per second, they’re able to determine the vehicle's location within a few centimeters.

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UMTRI researchers suggests safety expectations for self-driving vehicles may be overblown

January 16, 2015

In a new white paper, a team from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) discussed issues related to road safety with self-driving vehicles and concludes that expectations for improved road safety may be, in some cases, overblown.

In their paper, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle assessed safety from four perspectives: 1) Can self-driving vehicles compensate for contributions to crash causation by other traffic participants, as well as vehicular, roadway, and environmental factors? (2) Can all relevant inputs for computational decisions be supplied to a self-driving vehicle? (3) Can computational speed, constant vigilance, and lack of distractibility of self-driving vehicles make predictive knowledge of an experienced driver irrelevant? (4) How would road safety be influenced during the expected long transition period during which conventional and self-driving vehicles would need to interact on the road?

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IBM automotive study sees consumer co-creation, greater personalized driving, but not widespread fully autonomous driving by 2025

January 15, 2015

During the Automotive News World Congress this week, IBM released results of its new Automotive 2025 Global Study, outlining an industry ripe for disruptive changes that are breaking down borders of the automotive ecosystem. The study forecasts that while the automotive industry will offer a greater personalized driving experience by 2025, fully autonomous vehicles or fully automated driving will not be as commonplace as some think.

The IBM Automotive 2025 Global Study is based on interviews with 175 executives from automotive OEMs, suppliers, and other thought leaders in 21 countries, detailing customer expectations, growth strategies, mobility requirements, ecosystem disruption and other topics shaping the direction of the industry. Entitled “Automotive 2025: Industry without borders,” the study was developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) as a follow up to “Automotive 2020: Clarity beyond the chaos.”

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Honda introducing first predictive cruise control system in CR-V in Europe

January 09, 2015

Honda will introduce in Europe the first predictive cruise control system, which Honda calls Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC), capable of foreseeing and automatically reacting to other vehicles cutting-in to the equipped vehicle’s lane. 

Based on extensive real-world research of typical European driving styles, Honda’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) uses a camera and radar to sense the position of other vehicles on the road. It then applies an algorithm to predict the likelihood of vehicles in neighboring lanes cutting-in by evaluating relations between multiple vehicles, enabling the i-ACC-equipped vehicle to react quickly, safely and comfortably.

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Audi showcases piloted driving version of prologue concept hybrid

January 08, 2015

Prologue piloted driving. Click to enlarge.

Further emphasizing its push towards production-ready piloted driving, Audi is showcasing a piloted driving version of its prologue concept hybrid—unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2014—at 2015 CES. (Earlier post.) The hybrid powertrain has a muscular 4.0 TFSI V-8 working together with a powerful e-motor. System power output of 505 kW (677 hp) and a combined torque of both engines of 950 N·m (700.7 lb‑ft) enable the Audi prologue piloted driving to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.5 seconds. CO2 emissions are 185 g/km (297.7 g/mi).

The piloted driving technology applied in the prologue is the same as used in the A7 Sportback piloted driving concept car that drove from San Francisco to Las Vegas for CES, said Alejandro Vukotich, Head of Development Drive Assistance Systems for Audi AG. (Earlier post.) This includes the sensors and the zFAS centralized control unit. (Earlier post.) Audi presented a prototype of the zFAS at the 2014 CES.

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Ford announces Smart Mobility plan; 25 initial projects

January 06, 2015

At CES, Ford CEO Mark Fields announced “Ford Smart Mobility”—a plan to use innovation to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. The initial step is the creation of 25 mobility experiments across the globe designed to help change the way the world moves.

Smart Mobility builds upon Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility (earlier post). As outlined by Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford in his keynote at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Blueprint for Mobility defines the start of Ford’s thinking on what transportation will look like in 2025 and beyond, and the technologies, business models and partnerships needed to get there.

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Mercedes-Benz unveils self-driving fuel cell hybrid luxury concept at CES; novel body structures

In a world premiere, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the self-driving fuel cell hybrid electric F 015 Luxury in Motion concept at the CES. In addition to its autonomous driving capability, a key aspect of the research vehicle is the continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers, and the outside world.

The drive system is based on the pioneering F-CELL PLUG-IN HYBRID system seen in the F 125! research vehicle from 2011 (earlier post), and combines on-board generation of electricity with an exceptionally powerful and compact high-voltage battery. The pressure tank made from CFRP is designed to store the hydrogen. (The drive system in the 2011 F 125!, which generated a continuous output of 170 kW (231 hp) and a peak output of 230 kW (313 hp), featured the latest Mercedes-Benz stack, a 10 kWh Li-sulfur battery, four wheel motors and structure-integrated hydrogen storage with MOFs.)

The stack in the F 125!, which is further improved with respect to performance, consumption and practical suitability, provides the power for four electric motors installed near the wheels. The modular e4MATIC system, which also uses improved drive components from the SLS AMG E-CELL, . This accelerates the F 125! to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph).

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Volkswagen showcases inductive charging w/ “power lift”, autonomous and semi-autonomous capabilities & gesture control at CES

At the 2015 CES in Las Vegas, Volkswagen is showcasing the ongoing development of more connected, more intelligent vehicles by demonstrating four main aspects of emerging mobility technology: computer-controlled drive systems; app and smartphone integration; intuitive vehicle operation; and autonomous and semi-autonomous driving.

These technologies are realized in several different vehicles for CES: the e-Golf Intelligent Charge with inductive charging (with “power lift”); an e-Golf with Trained Parking; the Golf R Touch concept with gesture control; and the Connected Golf—an e-Golf equipped with the latest generation (MIB II) infotainment system incorporating a range of apps, smartphones and tablets via a progressive interface management system.

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Audi selects Altera SoC FPGAs for production zFAS piloted-driving systems

January 05, 2015

Altera Corporation announced that its SoC field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have been selected for use in Audi’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for piloted driving targeted for mass production.

Altera said that Audi and Austrian high-tech company TTTech, the core-development partner for Audi’s central driver assistance control unit zFAS (zentrale Fahrerassistenzsteuergerät, earlier post), chose the Altera Cyclone V SoC FPGA for its ability to increase system performance and enable the differentiated features Audi requires for piloted driving and parking not available with application-specific standard product (ASSP) solutions.

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Hyundai showcasing augmented reality, wearables and ADAS tech at 2015 CES

Hyundai is showcasing a collection of new technologies at the 2015 CES, highlighting a new augmented reality Head Up Display (HUD); new connectivity and 3D-gesture controls; and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

Augmented reality head-up display system and wearables. Basic Head-Up Displays (HUD) appeared in cars the late 1980s, when they only offered the speedometer as a virtual image projected onto the windshield. The HUD found inside the 2015 Genesis includes driving information such as Smart Cruise Control status, navigation, Blind Spot Detection, and Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warnings. At CES, Hyundai is showcasing a production-ready augmented reality HUD concept.

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NVIDIA introduces DRIVE automotive computers at CES; teraflops of processing for autonomous driving and cockpit visualization

At CES in Las Vegas, NVIDIA introduced its DRIVE line of automotive computers, equipped with powerful capabilities for computer vision, deep learning and advanced cockpit visualization. NVIDIA will offer two car computers: NVIDIA DRIVE PX, for developing auto-pilot capabilities, and NVIDIA DRIVE CX, for creating the most advanced digital cockpit systems.

The NVIDIA DRIVE PX auto-pilot development platform provides the technical foundation for cars with completely new features that draw heavily on recent developments in computer vision and deep learning. DRIVE PX leverages the new NVIDIA Tegra X1 mobile super chip, which is built on NVIDIA’s latest Maxwell GPU architecture and delivers more than one teraflops of processing power, giving it more horsepower than the world’s fastest supercomputer of 15 years ago.

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Audi staging 550-mile piloted drive from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas for CES in Audi A7 Sportback concept

January 04, 2015

Audi is staging a 550-mile (885 km) piloted drive from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas, Nevada for CES this week using the Audi A7 Sportback piloted driving concept car. (Earlier post.) The test drive in real world traffic and road conditions represents a joint effort by the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) und Volkswagen Group Research and Development.

The A7 piloted driving concept utilizes the latest advanced systems developed by Audi. The concept relieves the driver of driving duties from 0 to 70 mph (113 km/h). The car can initiate lane changes and passing maneuvers. In addition, the A7 piloted driving concept accelerates and brakes independently. Before initiating a lane change to the left or the right, the vehicle adapts its speed to surrounding vehicles. If the speed and distance calculation is deemed safe, the vehicle initiates the lane change with precision and in a timely manner.

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Ford CEO: Ford to focus on 5 key areas of innovation: mobility, autonomy, connectivity, customer experience and performance

December 19, 2014

In a pre-Christmas media event, Ford president and CEO Mark Fields said while 2014 was a good year for the company, 2015 has the potential to be a “breakthrough year”. Fields said that Ford’s investments in products, people, plants and technology, combined with industry growth, are not only delivering a year of growth in terms of revenue, pricing power, operating margins and profitability in 2014, but are setting the stage for growth in and beyond 2015.

The global automotive industry is staged to experience $1 trillion of revenue growth over the next five years, Field said: from about $2 trillion today to about $3 trillion by the end of the decade. “That’s a tremendous amount of growth. We want to get our fair share of that growth.” In moving forward on that, Fields said, Ford will focus on five key areas of innovation: mobility, autonomy, connectivity, customer experience and performance.

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BMW to show 360-degree collision avoidance and fully-automated remote parking in multi-story garages at CES

December 15, 2014

The driver has the i3 park itself in a multi-story garage using a smartwatch. Click to enlarge.

BMW will demonstrate new driver assistance and automated control functions including 360-degree collision avoidance and fully-automated parking in multi-story parking garages at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in January.

The platform for 360-degree collision avoidance is secure position and environment recognition; the research vehicle is a BMW i3. Four advanced laser scanners record the environment and reliably identify impediments such as columns, for example in a multi-story parking garage. If the vehicle approaches a wall or a column too quickly, the system brakes automatically to prevent the threat of collision. The vehicle is brought to a standstill very precisely with centimeters to spare.

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DOT releases ITS 5-year strategic plan with focus on connected vehicles and automation

December 12, 2014

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a new plan for ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) research and priorities for the second half of the decade. The new ITS Strategic Plan 2015-2019 outlines the direction and goals of the Department’s ITS Program and provides a framework around which the ITS Joint Program Office and other Department agencies will conduct research, development, and adoption activities to achieve them.

The ITS Strategic Plan’s framework is built around two key ITS Program priorities: realizing connected vehicle implementation and advancing automation. The first builds on the substantial progress made in recent years around design, testing, and planning for deployment of connected vehicles across the nation. The second Advancing Automation: Shapes the ITS Program around the research, development, and adoption of automation-related technologies as they emerge. The priorities reflect a sense of where the bulk of transportation research and innovation is heading, but are not exclusive of other technologies or research areas.

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IBM Research and ASELSAN to collaborate on metal-air battery technology, focusing on EVs; mm-wave ICs

November 25, 2014

IBM Research and Turkish defense industry technology company ASELSAN (Askerî Elektronik Sanayii, Military Electronic Industries) have signed collaborative development agreements concerning research and development of metal-air battery technologies and millimeter wave integrated circuits. The companies will work together on these projects, and through these efforts ASELSAN will enhance its in-house research and development activities.

In 2009, IBM and its partners launched a multi-year research initiative specifically exploring rechargeable Li-air systems (one type of metal-air battery): “The Battery 500 Project”. (Earlier post.) The “500” stands for a target range of 500 miles/800 km per charge, which translates into a battery capacity of about 125 kWh at an average use of 250 Wh/mile for a standard family car.

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Delphi and CMU spinout Ottomatika partner to accelerate automated driving; “connected automation”

November 22, 2014

Delphi Automotive PLC, which already offers a suite of advanced driver assistance systems, will partner with Ottomatika, Inc., a spinout from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) led by Dr. Raj Rajkumar which provides advanced automated driving software, jointly to develop technology that will help accelerate automated driving.

Dr. Rajkumar is a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at CMU; co-director of the CMU-Penn T-SET (Technologies for Sade and Efficient Transportation) UTC (US DOT University Transportation Center); co-director of the General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Vehicular Information Technology Collaborative Research Lab; and led the development of the CMU advanced Autonomous Cadillac SRX. (Earlier post.)

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Expanded UMTRI study finds self-driving vehicles generate enthusiasm, concerns worldwide; interest highest in China and India

November 02, 2014

Despite safety concerns about equipment failure, a majority of drivers on three continents have high expectations for autonomous vehicles. Building on an earlier study on public opinion regarding self-driving vehicles in the US, Great Britain and Australia (earlier post), Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) expanded their survey to include more than 1,700 respondents in India (527), China (610) and Japan (585). The report includes recently released findings from the same survey in the US, the UK, and Australia.

They found that about 87% of respondents in China and 84% in India have positive views regarding autonomous and self-driving vehicles, compared to 62% in Australia, 56% in the US, 52% in the UK and 43% in Japan. Half of the Japanese respondents were neutral, while the US registered the highest percentage of negative views (16%) among the six countries.

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Honda introduces new driver assistance system; SENSING first to be applied on new Legend in Japan

October 24, 2014

Honda SENSING uses two sensors: millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is introducing a new driver-assistive system, Honda SENSING, which will first be applied in the all-new Legend mid-size luxury car to go on sale in Japan before the end of this year, and then successively to more models in the future.

Honda SENSING uses two types of sensors with different characteristics. One is a millimeter-wave radar located inside the front grille, and the other is a monocular camera mounted on the upper, inside part of the windshield. With further improvement in performance, the new millimeter-wave radar expanded its scope of detection to include pedestrians—regarded as being hard to detect due to their low rate of radio wave reflection as well as the position and speed of target object.

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Ford will roll out new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection system in Ford and Lincoln vehicles globally

October 23, 2014

Ford Motor Company is introducing a new driver-assist system that can reduce the severity of or even eliminate some frontal collisions involving vehicles and pedestrians. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection will debut as available technology on the 2015 Ford Mondeo on sale in Europe this year. (Earlier post.) It will then roll out to other Ford and Lincoln products around the world.

Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection uses radar and camera technology to scan the roadway ahead and, if a collision risk with a vehicle or pedestrian is detected, provides a warning to the driver. If the driver does not respond in time, the system can automatically apply up to full braking force to help reduce the severity of or even eliminate some frontal collisions. Pre-Collision Assist may help drivers avoid rear end collisions with other vehicles at all speeds, while Pedestrian Detection can help the driver avoid pedestrians at lower speeds—both may reduce the severity of forward collisions or even prevent certain forward collisions.

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Autonomous Audi RS 7 concept completes Hockenheimring lap at racing speed

October 20, 2014

System components of the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept. Click to enlarge.

At the DTM season finale, an autonomous Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept completed a lap on the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim at racing speed—without a driver. It took the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept just slightly over two minutes to complete a lap on the track, piloted with high precision and accuracy to within centimeters. The five-door coupe is largely identical to the production model, but its electromechanical power steering, the brakes, the throttle valve and the eight-speed tiptronic are controlled automatically.

There are two primary technological considerations during piloted driving at such speeds: precise orientation of the vehicle on the road and absolute control of the vehicle at the handling limits.

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