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

MAN Truck & Bus invests $8.5M in logistics startup FR8 Revolution

May 31, 2016

MAN Truck & Bus AG, part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, is investing up to $8.5 million in the US start-up FR8 Revolution Inc. (“Fr-eight”). Silicon-Valley-based FR8 has developed a comprehensive “operating system” for a connected transportation industry that will be launched in the second quarter of 2016. The IT platform will provide shippers, carriers, and truck drivers with a uniform and transparent platform for planning cargoes based on real-time data.

Currently, around 12,000 freight brokers in the US act as intermediaries for free-loading capacities between shippers and carriers via telephone, e-mail, and fax. The system is highly fragmented and thus often very inefficient; it is difficult to compare prices and costs for mediation are high. The FR8 system aims to support all parties involved in the process of this ecosystem, to leverage the existing potential, and to make it significantly more efficient.

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Volkswagen Group makes $300M strategic investment in on-demand mobility provider Gett

May 25, 2016

Volkswagen has made a US$300-million strategic investment in Gett (formerly GetTaxi), a global provider of ride-hailing services. Present in more than 60 cities worldwide, Gett is one of the faster-growing ride-hailing providers sprouting up in the mobility-on-demand area. The partnership between Volkswagen Group and Gett is based on a joint growth strategy to expand on-demand mobility services in Europe.

Innovative, digitally integrated services covering all aspects of mobility promise very strong growth momentum and earnings opportunities in the coming years. Other OEMs, such as GM with its $500M investment in Lyft, Ford with its $182-million stake in Pivotal, or Toyota with its new investment in Uber (earlier post), have begun expanding their presence in the mobility services sector sector. The Volkswagen Group says that the ride-hailing market represents the greatest market potential in on-demand mobility, while creating the technological platform for developing tomorrow‘s mobility business models.

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U. Minnesota team develops Lagrangian technique to identify NOx hotspots; opportunity for connected vehicles and big data

May 15, 2016

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have introduced a new method for identifying NOx emissions hotspots using high-fidelity Lagrangian vehicle data to explore spatial interactions that may influence emissions production.

Their study, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, finds that the two transit buses under study—a conventional powertrain transit bus and a series electric hybrid bus—emit higher than regulated emissions because on-route operation does not accurately represent the range of engine operation tested according to regulatory standards. Using Lagrangian hotspot detection, they demonstrated that NOx hotspots occurred at bus stops, during cold starts, on inclines, and for accelerations.

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Audi A7 piloted driving concept “Jack” now driving more naturally

May 13, 2016

Audi’s latest version of its piloted driving research car, the Audi A7 concept “Jack,” has not only learned how to autonomously perform all of its driving maneuvers on the expressway, it has also learned how to show consideration for other road users. Jack exhibits a driving style that is adaptive to the given situation, safe and especially interactive, Audi says.

“Jack”—the internal nickname for the Audi A7 piloted driving concept technology platform now passes trucks with a slightly wider lateral gap. It also signals upcoming lane changes by activating the turn signal and moving closer to the lane marking first—just as human drivers would do to indicate their intentions.

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Ford expands Smart Mobility pilot program to deliver improved access to healthcare in The Gambia; motorcycles with sensors

Pregnant women, children and those with medical conditions in The Gambia—one of Africa’s smallest, poorest countries—may have better access to healthcare through an expansion of a Ford Smart Mobility pilot program. Ford has equipped 50 motorcycles serving Riders for Health with sensor technology so the medical services group can collect a variety of data, including mapping coordinates, to improve the delivery of medical services and supplies—particularly in remote areas of the West African country.

The project uses Ford’s OpenXC (earlier post) sensor kits fitted to the motorcycles to gather information. OpenXC technology records every trip, and is accessed via an application on a mobile phone provided by Ford.

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Ford invests $182.2 million in cloud-based software development company Pivotal

May 05, 2016

Ford is investing $182.2 million in Pivotal, a cloud-based software platform company with which it already has partnered (earlier post) on FordPass (earlier post), to further enhance its software development capabilities. The investment was part of Pivotal’s $253-million Series C financing round; the round was led by new investor Ford, in conjunction with Microsoft and all previous investors GE, EMC and VMware. The deal is expected to close in May 2016, subject to customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approval.

Ford intends for the $182.2-million investment in Pivotal to help drive Ford’s transition to both an auto and a mobility company.

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DOE and DOT collaborate to support smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies

April 30, 2016

The US Departments of Energy (DOE) and Transportation (DOT) announced a collaboration to accelerate research, development, demonstration, and deployment of innovative smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies.

The agencies formalized this collaborative relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was unveiled at a symposium this week called Achieving Zero-Emission Mobility: The Role of Innovative Electric Vehicle Companies, hosted by the University of California Center on Economic Competitiveness in Transportation in Berkeley, California.

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Audi introduces connected mobility concept in Beijing; electric longboard integrated with intelligent nav system

April 25, 2016

At Auto China 2016 in Beijing, Audi is presenting the Audi connected mobility concept, a concept car based on the Audi Q3, the brand’s urban compact SUV. The concept offers sporty and multi-functional mobility for megacities with dense traffic and road restrictions.

Tailored to markets with growing urbanization such as China, this lifestyle concept was developed at Audi Research& Development in Beijing and focuses on young, progressive drivers.

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Coodriver GmbH and Volkswagen sign strategic partnership; using smartphone or GPS transmitters to alert drivers about children

April 22, 2016

Volkswagen has signed a strategic partnership with Coodriver GmbH, a cloud-based application service provider for traffic safety, on the integration of a connected vehicle application into new Volkswagen models that will help motorists to see children on the road in time to avoid dangerous situations.

Coodriver developed the “Schutzranzen” (protection satchel) app that uses smartphone or GPS transmitters to alert drivers in time about hazardous situations visually and/or audibly.

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AVnu Alliance members showcase the first multivendor interoperability demonstration of the AVnu AVB Automotive Profile

April 20, 2016

Members of AVnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking (earlier post), publicly demonstrated interoperability of systems designed to meet the AVnu Automotive Profile at the Automotive Ethernet Congress held in Munich, Germany earlier this year.

The demo featured products and solutions from several AVnu Alliance members: Ixia, a provider of network testing, visibility, and security solutions; Marvell Technology Group, a provider of complete silicon solutions; and NXP Semiconductors, a provider of secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications.

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European Transport Ministers sign Amsterdam Declaration on steps for development and harmonization of connected, autonomous driving in Europe

April 15, 2016

On 14 April, the transport ministers of all 28 EU member states signed the Amsterdam Declaration, laying down agreements on the steps necessary for the development of connected, autonomous driving technology in the EU. The signatories pledge to draw up rules and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to be used on the roads.

A lack of good cooperation between EU member states could give rise to a jumble of different rules, thereby preventing the large-scale availability of this new technology. Agreements also need to be made on issues such as liability, privacy, data security and the effects of self-driving vehicles on traffic and the road network.

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GM sees connectivity, autonomy and transport-as-service fundamentally changing automotive industry

April 14, 2016

Three emerging and converging factors—connectivity, autonomy and transport-as-a-service—will fundamentally change the automotive industry over the next few decades, according to Mike Abelson, GM’s VP of Strategy and Global Portfolio Planning.

These three factors, said Abelson in a panel talk at the 2016 SAE World Congress in Detroit, are changing how the vehicle interacts with the environment; how the user interacts with the vehicle; and the entire business structure around it.

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Toyota to deploy 5,000 vehicles with vehicle awareness devices in Ann Arbor; expanding AACVTE

April 13, 2016

Toyota, in partnership with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), is working to transform the streets of Ann Arbor, Mich. into the world’s largest operational, real-world deployment of connected vehicles and infrastructure.

The Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment (AACVTE) is a real-world implementation of connected vehicle safety technologies being used by everyday drivers in Ann Arbor and around Southeast Michigan. Begun in 2014, it expands the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment to include 9,000 equipped vehicles—including private automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians—over 27 square miles of equipped infrastructure covering the greater Ann Arbor area.

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ARPA-E issues $30M NEXTCAR program funding opportunity; 20% reduction in energy consumption beyond current regulatory requirements

April 12, 2016

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $30-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001564) for the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)

NEXTCAR seeks to fund the development of new and emerging vehicle dynamic and powertrain (VD&PT) control technologies that can reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles—light-, medium- and heavy-duty—through the use of connectivity and vehicle automation. The new program is seeking transformative technological solutions that will enable at least an additional 20% reduction in the energy consumption of future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these VD&PT control technologies. I.e., the NEXTCAR improvements are in addition to and beyond any currently expected future vehicle fleet fuel efficiency improvements that will be required or driven by Federal or State regulations.

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EB software and Mapscape digital maps support WEpods autonomous electric shuttles

April 06, 2016

Elektrobit (EB), a leading developer of embedded technology solutions for the automotive industry, and Netherlands-based digital map provider Mapscape, are contributing to WEpods—completely autonomous electric shuttle buses that will use public roads.

EB and Mapscape together provide an enhanced electronic horizon solution for assisting in motion prediction and path planning of the autonomous shuttle bus. Mapscape provides an NDS (Navigation Data Standard) map database with comprehensive road geometry data that provides more detailed information for objects and pinpoint locations than standard map information.

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Hyundai Motor Group outlines roadmap for connected car development

April 05, 2016

Hyundai Motor Group has outlined its roadmap for connected car development. The Group will collaborate with leading global IT and networking companies to develop its “Hyper-connected and Intelligent Car” concept.

The roadmap outlines four main service fields that will help develop smarter, more intelligent cars that can receive and utilize data faster than before. The mid- to long- term development focus includes a range of key features, including: smart remote maintenance services; autonomous driving; Smart Traffic; and a connected Mobility Hub that provides security and data management for all elements of the connected car.

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Toyota launches new company to focus on software- and data-driven mobility

April 04, 2016

Toyota is launching a new company—Toyota Connected, Inc.—to significantly expand the company’s capabilities in the fields of data management and data services development. The new company will serve as a data science hub for Toyota’s global operations and will support a broad range of consumer-, business- and government- facing initiatives.

The company intends to leverage the power of data science through Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to develop predictive, contextual, and intuitive services that help to humanize the driving experience while pushing the technology into the background.

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BMW Connected North America makes its world debut at Microsoft Build 2016; powered by Azure

April 03, 2016

BMW Connected, a new personal mobility companion, made its world debut at Microsoft Build 2016, Microsoft’s developer conference, last week. The first version—called BMW Connected North America—is now available at the Apple App Store to BMW ConnectedDrive customers in the US for iOS devices.

Powered by the Open Mobility Cloud, which is based on Microsoft Azure, and available for iOS, BMW Connected is part of the automaker’s vision for the “future of mobility,” which includes digital services, automated driving and assistance, and interiors designed for digital seamlessness. BMW built the Open Mobility Cloud, a new flexible, scalable platform, using Microsoft Azure technologies and tools.

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Nissan, Savari, UC Berkeley and City of Sunnyvale collaborate on real-world V2X testbed with DSRC

March 29, 2016

Nissan Motor Company, Savari, UC Berkeley Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH), and the City of Sunnyvale have collaborated on a real-world V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) testbed spanning 4.63 square miles with three public intersections in Sunnyvale, California. The City of Sunnyvale pilot is examining the role of V2X communications and its potential benefits on easing traffic congestion, and enhancing fuel economy and public safety.

Savari is a provider of V2X safety communication technology; its smart city deployments now span 130 square miles of public roadways. Prompted by Nissan’s vision initiative to establish a V2X testbed, PATH deployed Savari StreetWAVE road-side-units (RSUs) and coordinated with the City of Sunnyvale and Nissan on the project, which started in August 2015 and is continuing to provide data.

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ABI Research: 6 transformative paradigms driving toward smart, sustainable automotive transportation

March 25, 2016

ABI Research has defined six transformative paradigms for the automotive industry over the next 25 years: the software-defined car; sensors and big data; the connected car; cooperative mobility and the IoT; electrification; and car sharing/driverless cars. While the first three phases are already underway, the latter three will start to drive the market forward within the next 10 years, according to the market research firm.

Car manufacturers are currently revamping vehicles’ electronics and networking architecture to ensure every sub-system is connected and software-defined. Moving toward the next decade, the automotive industry will achieve cooperative mobility. Cars will communicate with not only each other but also infrastructures and environments. Electrification will then change the way consumers power their vehicles. And, lastly, car sharing and driverless cars will likely lead to market consolidation.

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VW BUDD-e EV concept makes US auto show debut; 233-mile range based on EPA cycle; next-gen connectivity and HMI

March 23, 2016

Building on its unveiling at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (earlier post), the Volkswagen BUDD-e electric vehicle concept is making its US auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show.

The first vehicle based on the all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) designed specifically for plug-in vehicles, the BUDD-e with its 101 kWh battery pack offers a range of up to 373 miles (600 km) based on the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), or up to 233 miles (375 km) based on EPA drive cycle) miles.

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Daimler demonstrates autonomous truck platooning; Highway Pilot Connect delivers ~7% lower fuel consumption

March 22, 2016

Daimler Trucks demonstrated the new Highway Pilot Connect system for autonomous truck platooning on the A52 autobahn near Düsseldorf. Three WiFi-connected, autonomously driving trucks operated on the autobahn with authorization for public traffic in a platoon formation.

Such a combination can reduce fuel consumption by up to 7% and the road space requirement on motorways by almost half, while improving traffic safety at the same time, Daimler said. Based on the Daimler Trucks Highway Pilot system for autonomously driving heavy trucks (earlier post), the three trucks link up to form an aerodynamically optimized, fully automated platoon.

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Honda R&D using IBM Watson IoT technology for real-time monitoring and data analysis in F1 racers

March 17, 2016

Honda R&D is monitoring and analyzing data from more than 160 sensors in Formula One (F1) cars using IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Drivers and crews can apply data and analytics in real-time to help streamline performance and improve fuel efficiency, enabling drivers to make real-time racing decisions based on this data, such as speed adjustments and pit stops.

To help mark its return to Formula One racing and reach new milestones in efficiency for both race cars and future consumer models, Honda R&D developed a new system to analyze data from the hybrid power units quickly and efficiently to check residual fuel levels and estimate the possibility of mechanical problems. Honda is using the IBM IoT for Automotive solution, based on IBM Watson IoT technology, to deliver data generated from cars, including temperature, pressure and power levels, directly to the cloud for real-time analysis.

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BMW rolls out new strategy, focusing on further advances in e-mobility and automated driving; Project i 2.0

March 16, 2016

BMW has revealed initial details of its new strategy, “Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT”. The BMW Group sees digitalization as an opportunity to make mobile life simpler, safer and more convenient, thereby capturing new customer groups. In the coming years, the Group will focus on broadening its technological expertise, expanding the scope of digital connectivity between people, vehicles and services and actively strengthening sustainable mobility.

BMW’s technology focus will therefore be on consistently achieving further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving. Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the BMW Group will bring new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and interior design. BMW said that it would usher in the next decade with a new BMW i model.

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New Buick LaCrosse upgrades computing power from 17 to 31 ECUs; new electronic control system

The all-new Buick LaCrosse, which launches this week in China, features significant upgrades in computing power and networking to advance connectivity and safety features.

There are 31 ECUs distributed in the all-new Buick LaCrosse—its predecessor utilized only 17. This 82% increase in the number of ECUs helps to optimize calculating efficiency. In order to facilitate the handling of large quantities of data, a specific data bus is arranged to connect ECUs, each of which can process data independently.

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IEEE approves 802.3bw Ethernet; 100 Mb/s over single twisted-pair driven by needs of automotive industry

March 15, 2016

IEEE announced the approval of IEEE 802.3bw, IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 100 Mb/s Operation over a Single Balanced Twisted Pair Cable (100BASE-T1). The standard is driven primarily by the needs of the global automotive industry and illustrates Ethernet’s expansion into new application areas.

Mainstream adoption of emerging in-car applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment has created the need for cost-effective, high-bandwidth connectivity. The first of several Ethernet standards especially tuned to the needs of the in-car automotive market, IEEE 802.3bw-2015 100BASE-T1 will provide 100 Mb/s Ethernet over a single twisted-pair. It is intended to enable the consolidation of these new, as well as legacy, in-car applications on a homogenous network architecture.

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7 finalists announced for USDOT Smart City Challenge; Amazon Web Services new partner

March 14, 2016

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and Rick Clemmer CEO of NXP Semiconductors, announced the seven finalists for the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies—self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors—into their transportation network.

The finalists are: Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA. Secretary Foxx was joined by representatives of the seven city finalists, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales for the announcement at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase being held during the South by Southwest conference (SXSW).

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ViriCiti, Simacan tool predicts energy usage and savings per route by driving electric

March 04, 2016

ViriCiti B.V., a provider of telematics systems for electric city buses and trucks, and Simacan B.V., a provider of real-time traffic information, are partnering to develop a new online tool that predicts the energy usage and savings per route by driving electric.

The EV Fleet Analyzer provides insights into when the deployment of electric distribution vehicles is profitable. With this tool, ViriCiti and Simacan aim to increase the use of electric vehicles.

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Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision builds on electrification, autonomous drive and vehicle intelligence

March 01, 2016

Nissan outlined its Intelligent Mobility vision at the Geneva International Motor Show. Created to guide the Nissan product evolution, Intelligent Mobility will anchor company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society, all while staying focused on creating more enjoyable driving experiences.

At the core of Nissan Intelligent Mobility are three areas of innovation: Nissan Intelligent Driving, spearheaded by Nissan’s autonomous drive technology, Piloted Drive; Nissan Intelligent Power, spearheaded by electric vehicles (EV); and Nissan Intelligent Integration—new links between vehicles and society.

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Volkswagen launches new luxury flagship Phideon at Geneva; plug-in hybrid drive planned; first VW brand car based on MLB

Volkswagen unveiled the new Volkswagen Phideon luxury sedan ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show 2016. The future of Volkswagen’s premium segment will go into production in China initially for the China market in the third quarter of 2016.

The new Phideon was developed in Germany with the assistance of VW’s Chinese partner SAIC Volkswagen. The sedan will be offered with high-efficiency turbocharged gasoline TSI engines, and a plug-in hybrid drive is also planned.

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J.D. Power study finds ACEN technology woes affecting vehicle reliability for consumers

February 26, 2016

Problems with technology continue to affect vehicle reliability for consumers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 US Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). The number of problems with infotainment, navigation and in-vehicle communication systems—collectively known as audio, communication, entertainment and navigation or ACEN—has increased and now accounts for 20% of all customer-reported problems in the study.

ACEN is now the most problematic area on most vehicles and is the cause of the industry’s 3% year-over-year decline in vehicle dependability. Key findings of the study included:

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Visa extends Visa Token Service to automakers to enable car-based commerce; Honda Developer demo partner

Visa Inc. is making the Visa Token Service available to auto manufacturers, helping to pave the way for easy and secure car-based commerce. To further advance car-based commerce, Visa is also offering a range of related digital payment solutions, including new standards for Bluetooth (BLE) and QR codes that could help expand enablement of mobile payments for both merchants and consumers in any environment. Technologies built with Visa Token Service provide an ecosystem of payment partners—from auto manufacturers to point of sale (POS) providers and beyond—a streamlined way to offer commerce and payments anywhere there is an Internet connection.

In partnership with Honda and ParkWhiz, Visa demonstrated fuel and parking proof-of-concept apps at Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona. Developed by Honda Developer Studio and fully integrated into Honda’s head unit, the fuel and parking proof-of-concepts are designed to bring greater simplicity and convenience to services and tasks consumers do every day. Both apps showcase Visa Token Service and feature Visa Checkout, Visa’s online payment service offering simple, one-touch payments. Additional features include:

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BMW introduces Vehicular CrowdCell research project; mobile femtocells to optimize mobile radio networks

February 22, 2016

At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the BMW Group is unveiling the “Vehicular CrowdCell” research project. This project extends the concept of the “Vehicular Small Cell” presented last year in Barcelona. (Earlier post.)

The “Vehicular Small Cell” is a mobile femtocell that optimizes the mobile radio reception inside vehicles; the technology is now also able to enhance the capacity and coverage of mobile radio networks. The BMW Group is teaming up with peiker and Nash Technologies to present a prototype of the “Vehicular CrowdCell” integrated into a BMW research vehicle.

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Ford and Pivotal collaborate on software platform for FordPass

February 08, 2016

Ford is working with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider Pivotal to build a software platform supporting FordPass, announced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) (earlier post), that will enable the company to innovate rapidly and to iterate on new applications and mobility solutions for consumers.

FordPass, described as a free digital, physical and personal platform, is an ambitious new customer service product that incorporates software services and apps, human agents and storefronts and is intended to support the company’s strategic transformation into an auto and a mobility company. FordPass features four benefits for members: Marketplace includes mobility services such as parking and sharing; FordGuides help consumers move more efficiently; Appreciation, where members are recognized for their loyalty; and FordHubs, where consumers can experience Ford’s latest innovations.

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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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VW e-Golf to be enhanced with improved infotainment, connectivity and range

January 14, 2016

Over the next few years (exact timing is unannounced) Volkswagen’s e-Golf battery-electric vehicle will receive a boost in range due to planned and anticipated improvements to its batteries (earlier post) as well as some of the advanced HMI (human-machine interface), device and connectivity technologies showcased at CES 2016 in the e-Golf Touch concept. (The exact technology slate for the US is also unannounced.)

The e-Golf Touch introduced a more advanced generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) and for the first time, an early series-production preview of the new intuitive control technology, some of which will appear in the production e-Golf over the next few years. The e-Golf Touch features the latest version of MIB with a 9.2-inch high-resolution display (1280 x 640 pixels).

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Fraunhofer characterizes Alphabet Energy thermoelectric PowerCard; up to 5% fuel economy improvement in automotive

Alphabet Energy is commercializing low-cost, efficient thermoelectric materials for power generation leveraging technology initially developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (Earlier post.)

The company has now announced characterization from the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM of heat flow and thermal resistance (in air) of the Alphabet Energy PowerCard, the company’s core thermoelectric device for power generation. The PowerCard has shipped to customers in a variety of industries, including automotive; has been tested extensively; and is now entering high-volume production.

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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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Toyota displays Mirai-based research vehicle with satellite communications function; Kymeta flat-panel antennae

At the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Toyota is displaying a research vehicle based on the Mirai fuel cell vehicle which is equipped with satellite communications technology from Kymeta, a US-based company that is the world's leader in flat-panel antenna technology.

Toyota is working to enhance its connected technologies, including a plan to install a Data Communication Module into a broader range of its vehicles. (Earlier post.) The company is also considering using satellite communications in the future, including high capacity satellites that offer much higher data transfer rates than conventional satellite technologies.

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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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IAV and Microsoft demonstrate connected highly automated driving vehicle for enhanced safety; cloud-based analytics and big data

January 11, 2016

At CES 2016 last week, IAV and Microsoft demonstrated a connected highly automated driving (CHAD) vehicle capable of connecting with the Microsoft Azure cloud and Windows 10 to enable communication that helps prevent vehicle and pedestrian accidents and increases driving comfort and convenience. This vehicle-2-x communication (V2X) connectivity approach uses data from the vehicle’s surroundings to improve smart service for convenience and enhance safety by anticipating and mitigating potential hazards.

The two demonstrated a use case pf the approach: a pedestrian with a wearable device is walking toward the road, concealed by a parked vehicle. The device is located by nearby intelligent roadside infrastructure that is connected to the Azure cloud. The CHAD vehicle then receives a V2X warning that permits the safe, convenient adjustment of its driving dynamics in order to detect and avoid the hazard.

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

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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Visteon to launch ECU-consolidating cockpit domain controller with European automaker in 2018

January 08, 2016

Addressing the proliferation of electronic control units (ECUs) in vehicles, Visteon Corporation is preparing to launch an industry-first, automotive-grade cockpit domain controller with a European automaker on a global vehicle program in 2018.

SmartCore combines previously separate instrument clusters, head-up displays (HUD) and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) domains on a one-chip, multi-domain controller that can be accessed through an integrated, easy-to-use human machine interaction (HMI). Visteon displayed the SmartCore connected domain controller at CES 2016.

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

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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Volkswagen unveils BUDD-e electric van concept at CES; first VW based on new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB)

January 06, 2016

At CES 2016, Volkswagen unveiled the battery-electric BUDD-e van. Equipped with a 101 kWh battery pack supporting a range of up to 373 miles (600 km) on the NEDC, the BUDD-e concept is the first vehicle based on Volkswagen’s new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) designed specifically for plug-in vehicles. BUDD-e exemplifies what Volkswagen considers as potentially representative of electric mobility offerings in the 2019 timeframe.

With the BUDD-e, Volkswagen has also developed a vehicle that is more thoroughly connected with its surroundings than any car before it. An integral automotive component in the Internet of Things (IoT), BUDD-e is capable of seamlessly communicating with the smart home or office.

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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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Toyota introduces next-gen connected vehicle framework; globally uniform DCM by 2019

Toyota unveiled its next-generation connected vehicle framework at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada, accelerating its initiatives to provide its customers with greater convenience and increased data security. The framework builds on advances in automobile, IT, and communications systems to enhance Toyota vehicles with connected technologies.

Toyota’s connected vehicle framework is anchored by the installation of a Data Communication Module (DCM) into a broader range of its vehicles starting with model changes in 2017 in the US market. Availability will expand to additional regions and countries following the US. Adding DCM will connect Toyota vehicles to cellular telecommunications networks, expanding the ability to transmit data for products and services.

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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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Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors & Subaru Join Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux; new unified code base distribution

Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a common, Linux-based software stack for the connected car, announced that Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.), Mitsubishi Motors, Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company are joining The Linux Foundation and AGL. Ford Motor Company is the first US car manufacturer to join AGL. These latest automakers join existing members Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Company Ltd. and Linux Foundation board member Jaguar Land Rover.

AGL also announced a new Unified Code Base (UCB) distribution built specifically for the automotive industry. This new Linux distribution was built from the ground-up to address automotive-specific applications and leverages the best software components from AGL and other existing open source projects such as Tizen and GENIVI Alliance.

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Visteon showcasing advanced gesture recognition and HUD technologies at CES

January 02, 2016

Visteon will display two vehicles featuring advanced concepts at CES 2016 this coming week in Las Vegas: one with 3-D gesture technology and the other with a large field-of-vision windshield head-up-display (HUD). A separate driving simulator brings together the latest Visteon human-machine interaction (HMI) input technologies for an interactive experience using real-world driving scenarios.

The proprietary 3-D gesture recognition concept is demonstrated within a compact multi-purpose vehicle. The system quickly reads defined hand movements to command certain features, using time-of-flight camera technology and high-performance, image-processing algorithms.

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IHS: connectivity, infotainment, safety to drive growth in automotive display systems to $18.6B by 2021; > 11% CAGR

December 30, 2015

Driven by continued innovation in vehicle connectivity and safety technologies, global revenue from automotive display systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 11% to $18.6 billion by the end of 2021, according to a new forecast by IHS Inc. This will add nearly $9 billion in annual revenue compared to 2015.

Data from the Automotive Display Systems Forecasts from IHS represents production of instrument cluster systems, head-up display systems and center stack display systems as full automotive modules, not just display panels. Center stack display systems are expected to account for half of the overall revenue growth, while head-up display (HUD) systems will deliver the strongest revenue CAGR at nearly 21% from 2015.

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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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Continental to demonstrate dynamic eHorizon technology during CES; Connected Energy Management and Blind Curve Warning

December 16, 2015

Continental will demonstrate its latest generation of eHorizon technology during CES next month in Las Vegas. Continental will show with two use cases based on dynamic eHorizon technology—Connected Energy Management and Blind Curve Warning—how data from the cloud can predict the road ahead, ultimately reducing fuel consumption and making vehicles safer. Both demonstrations will be conducted on public roads in Las Vegas.

Continental has already shown that the static eHorizon—introduced commercially in 2012—which uses certain data from a static map stored in the vehicle, enables a significant reduction of fuel consumption (around 3% on average). As a result of this success, Continental has taken the development of eHorizon even further by using the cloud and crowd intelligence to enhance the digital map in the dynamic eHorizon Backend with fresh and accurate information.

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Siemens chooses Ann Arbor as 1st Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology

December 15, 2015

Siemens has chosen Ann Arbor, MI as the company’s first Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology. Understanding the impact integrating intelligent software and hardware can have on significantly improving a city’s transportation system, Siemens will provide Ann Arbor with its latest hardware and software technology to help expand the city’s smart traffic system infrastructure.

Ann Arbor will be among the country’s first real-world implementations of this latest intelligent traffic technology and the partnership will allow the city to continue to modernize and enhance its transportation systems through improved intelligence. The new technologies and partnership will allow Siemens and the city to gather new real-world data and insight into the impact of intelligent traffic technologies on congestion and safety.

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

December 09, 2015

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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USDOT launches Smart City Challenge; up to $40M award from DOT, $10M from Vulcan

December 08, 2015

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched a Smart City Challenge to create a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future.

The USDOT will make an award of up to $40 million to one mid-sized city that can demonstrate how advanced data and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies and applications can be used to reduce congestion, keep travelers safe, protect the environment, respond to climate change, connect underserved communities, and support economic vitality. Additionally, Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., announced its intent to award up to $10 million to the USDOT winner of the Smart City Challenge. The winning city will need to work with Vulcan to secure this funding.

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U-M teams with Argonne, Idaho national labs to study potential energy savings of connected vehicles

November 19, 2015

The University of Michigan is working with two US Department of Energy national laboratories to study whether connected and automated vehicles could help people drive more efficiently. U-M, with Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, won a three-year, $2.7 million grant from DOE to fund the research.

Reuben Sarkar, DOE deputy assistant secretary for transportation, announced the grant Wednesday during a conference at U-M. He called it an “incubator award” to help DOE learn more about connected and automated vehicles, which are a growing focus for the agency.

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Ford first to test autonomous vehicle at U Michigan Mcity

November 13, 2015

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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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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OPEN Alliance demonstrating multi-vendor automotive Ethernet interoperability

October 26, 2015

The OPEN Alliance (One-Pair EtherNet) Special Interest Group (SIG), a non-profit industry alliance established to drive wide-scale adoption of Ethernet-based automotive connectivity (earlier post), announced the industry’s first multi-vendor interoperability demonstration of single-pair automotive Ethernet technology.

The demonstration highlights Broadcom, NXP and Realtek 100BASE-T1 physical layer transceivers (PHYs) working together in a single platform. The demonstration will take place at the 2015 OPEN all member meeting 26 October and the IEEE Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Tech Day, 27-28 October in Yokohama, Japan.

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Qualcomm & Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team partner on racecar data sharing over 5 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi; planned migration to 802.11ad (WiGig)

October 24, 2015

Qualcomm Incorporated through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, have collaborated to enable the wireless download of racecar telemetry data via Wi-Fi using 5 GHz spectrum during Formula One practice sessions. This technology implementation marks a significant improvement over previous wired data offloading processes. The telemetry includes data from thermal imaging tire cameras, which is used to improve speed, efficiency and vehicle safety.

The system deployed by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Qualcomm Technologies comprises several Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processors with Qualcomm VIVE 802.11ac Wi-Fi, along with multiple access points, one in the pit lane and one in the garage, to improve the speed of connectivity and data transfer.

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Univ of Utah studies find up to 27 seconds of mental distraction for drivers after using new hands-free technologies

October 23, 2015

Potentially unsafe mental distractions for drivers can persist for as long as 27 seconds after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands, according to a pair of new studies for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety by University of Utah researchers.

The researchers discovered the residual effects of mental distraction while comparing new hands-free technologies in ten 2015 vehicles and three types of smartphones. The analysis found that all systems studied increased mental distraction to potentially unsafe levels. The systems that performed best generally had fewer errors, required less time on task and were relatively easy to use.

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Opinion: Enablers of disruption in transportation

by Mike Millikin, editor, Green Car Congress

This post is part of the ‘Think Further’ series sponsored by Fred Alger Management. For more “Think Further” content, please visit www.thinkfurtheralger.com.”

The car has become the most computationally complex high-tech device with which the vast majority of consumers will ever come into contact—let alone own. The car has also become a focal point for the development of innovative and entrepreneurial technologies, services and business models designed to enhance and evolve not only the basic efficiency of vehicles, but also the way in which they are used alone and as a part of a larger multi-modal transportation eco-system.

There have been and continue to be a number of market drivers forcing this evolution: concerns over health effects, congestion, consumption of petroleum-based fuels, climate change, an ever more rapidly increasing population and what appears to be an inexorable movement toward large-scale urbanization. The auto industry has known for a long time that business-as-usual was literally unsustainable.

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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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Ford, St. Petersburg State project reaches final stage; advancing production connected car technology

October 14, 2015

Ford Motor Company and St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University have reached the final phase of a large-scale, three-year research project aimed at enhancing vehicle communication technology. (Earlier post.) As a result of the work that leverages university telematics expertise in space robot communications, Ford has filed several patents on technologies that can serve to advance connected cars of the future.

The primary goal of the joint project was the development of robust communication technology to connect drivers and service providers with information and services on the cloud. The key problem Ford set out to address was maintaining reliable communication between vehicles and the cloud in conditions where there was wireless network overload or poor connectivity.

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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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Ford to invest $1.8B in R&D in China

Ford Motor plans to invest RMB 11.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) in research and development in China in recognition that Chinese consumers are increasingly driving global innovation. The investment will allow Ford significantly to build up its research and development capabilities in the country—especially at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center (REC)—and will help Ford create more world-class vehicles in China, for China.

First established in 2007 as part of Ford’s global product development network, Ford’s REC includes advanced product development laboratories which help the company develop new powertrains, test electronic systems, analyze the durability and safety of interior materials and improve vehicle manufacturing quality using the latest in 3-D scanning technologies.

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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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BMW Motorrad, Honda and Yamaha cooperate to accelerate development of connected vehicle capabilities in motorcycles

October 08, 2015

BMW Motorrad, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. are now collaborating to enhance Cooperative-Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) applications in powered two-wheelers (PTWs) and are working together to establish a Connected Motorcycle Consortium.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by all ACEM (European association of motorcycle manufacturers) manufacturing members in 2014, C-ITS features will be introduced from 2020 onwards. To accelerate this process, the three manufacturers will begin their cooperation in the field of C-ITS now.

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Mitsubishi Electric to introduce EMIRAI 3 xDAS assisted-driving concept car at Tokyo Motor Show

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation will introduce the EMIRAI 3 xDAS concept car featuring next-generation driving-assistance technology during the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015 later this month. Building on the EMIRAI 2 xDAS, which was introduced at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the EMIRAI 3 xDAS features evolved technologies for human machine interface (HMI), driver sensing, telematics, and light control.

The HMI features a multi-bonding display—LCDs panels on the dashboard and center console are laminated with an optical bonding process for high visibility and operability, as well as aesthetic harmony with vehicle interiors. Larger images are achieved without larger LCDs by narrowing the widths between separate displays.

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Siemens and Cohda Wireless to collaborate on vehicle-to-infrastructure devices; Cohda and u-blox

Siemens AG and Cohda Wireless will collaborate in the area of Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I). V2I devices are part of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), which share information between vehicles and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights. This increases the quality and reliability of information available to drivers about their immediate environment, other vehicles and road users.

Siemens expects to deploy transport infrastructure such as overhead sign gantries and traffic lights in its V2I roadside units (RSUs) globally. RSUs are 802.11p WLAN-based radio modules that reliably and securely transmit information such as speed limits, warnings of icy roads or other dangerous situations, traffic jams and construction warnings within a fraction of a second to passing vehicles and traffic control centers.

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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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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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DOT to award $42M to New York, Wyoming and Tampa to pilot connected vehicle technologies

September 15, 2015

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) will award up to $42 million to New York City, Wyoming, and Tampa, FL will receive up to $42 million to pilot next-generation technology in infrastructure and in vehicles to share and communicate anonymous information with each other and their surroundings in real time, reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and cutting the unimpaired vehicle crash rate by 80%.

As part of the Department of Transportation (USDOT) national Connected Vehicle Pilot deployment program, the locations were selected in a competitive process to go beyond traditional vehicle technologies to help drivers better use the roadways to get to work and appointments, relieve the stress caused by bottlenecks, and communicate with pedestrians on cell phones of approaching vehicles. (Earlier post.) There will be more information about future pilot deployments in the coming months.

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Ford launches Hsuehshan Tunnel Transformer Challenge in Taiwan; Mobility Challenge Series 2.0

September 11, 2015

Building on the success of Ford’s Innovate Mobility Challenge Series (IMCS) 1.0 in 2014 (earlier post), Ford has launched the Hsuehshan Tunnel Transformer Challenge in Taiwan, which asks developers to submit traffic-busting solutions for the main highway artery between Taipei and popular tourist destination Yilan.

The Hsuehshan Tunnel Transformer Challenge will task developers with optimizing traffic between the Taipei metropolitan area—home to seven million residents—and Yilan, a popular tourist destination for weekend and holiday getaways. The most common route for cars and buses is Freeway 5, which can get highly congested during peak times. This is particularly true on the stretch between Nangang and Toucheng, where traffic can become severely backed up at Hsuehshan Tunnel.

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BMW showcasing new connected car apps; Smart Home, G2 smart watch, GoPro

September 04, 2015

BMW is showcasing new solutions for the “connected car” under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner at the IFA 2015 show in Berlin (4–9 September 2015), one of the world’s leading consumer electronics and home appliance fairs.

One of the company’s focal points at the IFA are a pair of apps designed for operating functions inside connected houses. The Smart Home app from Deutsche Telekom is an Apple iOS-based application which can be integrated into a BMW i3 or any other BMW vehicle with BMW ConnectedDrive Services—as can the Samsung SmartThings app developed for Android devices, on display at the IFA 2015 as a research application. BMW is giving both apps their in-car world premiere, underlining its flexibility in linking applications for the two leading mobile operating systems seamlessly with its cars.

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Harris AutoTECHCAST suggests deluge of infotainment features & connected services doing little to accelerate consumer adoption

Results from the recently released 2015 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST suggest that the deluge of infotainment features and connected services coming from the automotive industry may do little to accelerate consumer adoption. Survey results suggest that redefining car design success with a focus on familiarity, usage, satisfaction and loyalty between users and brands—rather than on the sheer number of features offered—may better serve the industry.

AutoTECHCAST, an annual study of consumer awareness and adoption of advanced and emerging automotive technologies, continuously monitors and tracks adoption. The latest AutoTECHCAST survey was conducted during Q2 2015 among more than 14,000 US recent new car buyers, and covers approximately 60 technologies including Entertainment; Exterior & Interior Comfort and Convenience; Intelligent Sensing; Lighting; Powertrain and Alternative Fuels; Safety; and Telematics.

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Land Rover researchers develop an innovative camera system for “Transparent Trailer”; Cargo Sense App

September 01, 2015

Land Rover is developing a “see-through” trailer concept that would completely remove the blind spot created when towing a caravan or trailer. This transparent view would allow the driver to clearly see vehicles coming up behind and help driver confidence by improving visibility while maneuvering.

The prototype Transparent Trailer system combines the video feed from the vehicle’s existing surround camera system—which includes the reversing camera and a camera on each wing mirror—with a video from a digital wireless camera that is placed on the rear of the trailer or caravan. The video feeds are then combined to create the live video images that make the trailer behind appear see-through. When the trailer is coupled to the towing car, the live video feed would automatically appear in the rear view mirror inside the vehicle.

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Lockheed Martin invests in Peloton Technology and truck platooning

August 31, 2015

Lockheed Martin has joined a $17-million investment round in Peloton Technology, a developer of truck platooning systems, co-led by DENSO International America and Intel Capital (earlier post).

The Peloton Truck Platooning System electronically couples pairs of trucks through a combination of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, radar-based active braking systems and proprietary vehicle-control algorithms. The system improves safety and allows trucks to travel at closer distances, which improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel use.

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AVnu Alliance, Cisco and TTTech to host Deterministic Ethernet Forum for in-vehicle networking

August 28, 2015

AVnu Alliance, Cisco and TTTech will host the Deterministic Ethernet Forum for automotive in-vehicle networking and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), on 23 October 2015 in Vienna, Austria. The forum will be an opportunity for leading automotive and industrial companies to discuss and influence the implementation of deterministic Ethernet solutions and related standards. Confirmed keynotes at the event include presentations by Altera, Audi, AVnu Alliance, Cisco, Delphi, GE, KUKA, NXP, Renesas and Vestas.

Deterministic Ethernet uses time scheduling to bring deterministic real-time communication to standard IEEE 802 Ethernet. Deterministic Ethernet is based on IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.1Q AVB and 802.1Qbv TSN (pre-standard) as well as SAE AS6802 standards, and guarantees message delivery across switched Ethernet networks. It offers improved safety and security with a traffic class immune to Denial of Service. It also enables the full convergence of critical, real-time and regular traffic within a single network.

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TTI/INRIX study shows US traffic congestion back at pre-recession levels; average travel delay/commuter 2x that in 1982

August 27, 2015

A new report produced by INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) shows that traffic congestion in the US has returned to pre-recession levels. Washington, D.C. tops the list of gridlock-plagued cities, with 82 hours of delay per commuter, followed by Los Angeles (80 hours), San Francisco (78 hours), New York (74 hours), and San Jose (67 hours).

According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours—42 hours per rush-hour commuter. The total nationwide price tag: $160 billion, or $960 per commuter. Other top-level findings include:

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J.D. Power: automakers spending billions on technologies many consumers don’t use; user preferences for smartphones and tablets

August 26, 2015

Automakers are investing billions of dollars to put connectivity technologies in their cars and light trucks that are not being used by many of the owners of those vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report. The 2015 DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership.

The report finds that at least 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); head-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).

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GSMA study indicates Bangkok could gain US$1B per year in benefits through ITS; reduced travel time, CO2 emissions and accidents

August 24, 2015

A new case-based research report produced by the GSMABuilding Digital Societies in Asia: Making Transportation Smarterindicates that the successful implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the capital city of Thailand could reduce travel times between two to four days per commuter per year. In addition, CO2 emissions contributed by road traffic could be reduced by 10-20%, or 3 to 5 million metric tonnes per year.

Further, ITS solutions could reduce the number of road accidents by up to 8,000 per year, possibly saving up to 100 lives or nearly a quarter of the annual road traffic deaths reported in Bangkok in 2013. GSMA estimates that reductions in travel time, CO2 emissions and road accidents through ITS could result in economic benefits worth up to $1 billion per year for Bangkok alone.

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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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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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Aclima partnering with Google to map outdoor air quality with Street View vehicles

Aclima, Inc., a San Francisco-based company that designs and deploys environmental sensor networks, is partnering with Google Earth Outreach to map and better to understand urban air quality. Google Street View cars can be equipped with Aclima’s mobile sensing platform to measure nitrogen dioxide; nitric oxide; ozone; carbon monoxide; carbon dioxide; methane; black carbon; particulate matter; and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

As a pilot, in August 2014, Aclima instrumented three Google Street View vehicles to perform a month-long system test in the Denver metro area during the DISCOVER-AQ study conducted by NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The cars clocked 750 hours of drive time and gathered 150 million data points, correlated with data from EPA stationary measurement sites. EPA provided scientific expertise in study design and instrument operations as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Aclima.

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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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BMW brings Enlighten real-time signals app into car

July 27, 2015

The BMW Group is the first manufacturer to bring the EnLighten App, by Connected Signals, into the car. Drivers of BMW Vehicles with iOS Devices will be able to see traffic signal data on the vehicle’s display in real time. The EnLighten app makes driving in cities easier by helping the driver anticipate traffic signal changes, which can increase safety and help save fuel by avoiding unnecessary acceleration.

The EnLighten app shows the current status of the traffic light in front of the car in real time as well as a countdown to when the signal will change. Based on the current vehicle position, as well as its speed, the EnLighten app offers a recommendation about whether or not to stop for the traffic light or proceed through. An audio alert notifies the driver about a pending change in the signal they are approaching.

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

July 24, 2015

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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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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Germany’s CONVERGE project presents results; architecture of cooperative systems for future mobility

June 25, 2015

Over the last three years, Germany’s €18-million (US$20-million) CONVERGE (Communication Network for Vehicles on the Road with a Global Extension) research initiative, funded by the Federal Government, has been developing the technical and operational framework of a cooperative architecture for the communication of vehicles with the transport infrastructure, service providers and other vehicles (V2X-communication). One priority has been the development of an access concept, which enables a wide variety of providers to contribute services and then make them available to road users. Now the results have been presented to the public.

The technical requirements for safe and efficient transport of individuals and road freight have long since been fulfilled. What has been lacking is a flexible and secure network of information sources and information recipients.

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Ford Smart Mobility shifts from research to implementation; company announces new programs, next areas of focus

June 24, 2015

In the opening keynote at Ford’s annual trends conference, 2015 Further With Ford, CEO Mark Fields announced the next phase of the company’s Smart Mobility plan, originally announced in January this year at CES (earlier post). Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to deliver the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data; the initial stage was the creation of 25 mobility experiments across the globe.

Fields said that Ford, which has “learned tons in the past several months” from those initial experiments, is now moving from research to the start of implementation, including new strategic areas of focus, new pilot programs and new mobility product experiments.

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