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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.]

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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Navigant forecasts global smart urban mobility market to hit $25.1 billion in 2024

The global smart urban mobility infrastructure and services market is expected to grow from $5.1 billion in 2015 to $25.1 billion in 2024, according to a new report from Navigant Research—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4%.

Navigant expects growth through 2018 to be rapid, at a rate of more than 20% annually. From 2019 onward, Naigant projects a slower pace—from around 20% from 2018 to 2019 to a 12% growth rate at the end of the forecast period. Navigant expects growth to slow in some of the developed country markets, which are early adopters of mobility solutions. This effect will be balanced by the introduction of advanced urban mobility systems in developing markets, especially China, according to the report.

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

June 16, 2015

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

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

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US DOT releases summary of vehicle-to-pedestrian technologies; 86 V2P technologies ID’d so far

June 05, 2015

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released a summary of available vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technologies. The objective of the technical scan was to review available literature and to scan existing technology to identify pedestrian collision warning applications and assess their suitability to be adopted under the Intelligent Transportation System Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) Connected Vehicle Program.

The scan and subsequent database outlines the current V2P technological landscape. In total, 86 V2P technologies have been identified. While a number of the technologies are camera-based (17), others are likely to gain traction as the broader technological landscape evolves-making more advanced devices more easily accessible and less expensive. The data base also include crowd-sourced technologies such as WAZE.

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BMW, INRIX developing on-street parking prediction system

June 03, 2015

The BMW Group is working on a parking prediction system designed to shorten the search for vacant on-street parking, particularly in cities. Together with its partner INRIX, a leading provider of transportation intelligence and connected car services, BMW is presenting a research prototype of the Dynamic Parking Prediction application at TU-Automotive Detroit. The system is being displayed in a BMW i3.

Dynamic Parking Prediction is able to predict parking availability using on-road vehicle movement data. In this way the application is able to shorten the search for vacant on-street parking, particularly in cities, and provides an effective way of reducing parking-related traffic. Initial tests with this prototype on an i3 have already been successfully completed in Munich. The system is self-teaching and can therefore easily be rolled out to other cities too.

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Toyota to explore integration of SmartDeviceLink Technology with Ford subsidiary; open source version of Ford AppLink

Toyota Motor Corporation has reached an agreement with Ford Motor Company to explore collaboration with Livio, a Ford subsidiary acquired in 2013 (earlier post), for the implementation of SmartDeviceLink (SDL) technology in future Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

SDL is an open source version of Ford AppLink, created to facilitate smartphone applications including entertainment, traffic, parking and other data from the internet for use in in-car infotainment systems. Those apps can be easily accessed using voice recognition, display screens, and dashboard controls. Besides its seamless ease of operation, the benefits of SDL technology include the ability for developers to design an app only one time, yet have it work across multiple infotainment systems. This saves development time and allows apps to be introduced more quickly to a wider audience.

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

May 24, 2015

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

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

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Mitsubishi Electric introduces new in-vehicle noise reduction system, next-generation infotainment system

May 19, 2015

Mitsubishi Electric, long active in reducing automotive in-cabin noise attributable to engines, is introducing an advanced Active Noise Control (ANC) system that cancels less predictable and harmonically unrelated road sounds. Named FLEXConnect.ANC, the system uses advanced XSe ANC technology developed by Mentor Graphics, minimizing engine and road noise to provide a quiet, comfortable environment in the cabin of the vehicle.

FLEXConnect.ANC joins Mitsubishi Electric’s existing Ethernet-enabled architectures: FLEXConnect.RSE (Rear Seat Entertainment) and IFLEXConnect.IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment). The company also announced its new generation of FLEXConnect.IVI systems. FLEXConnect.IVI provides a cost effective, yet intuitive, three-screen user interface. By combining swipe and touchscreen technology, the user can easily and safely interact with the heads-up display and instrument cluster on the center panel.

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PSA Peugeot Citroën and IBM partner to accelerate time to market of new services based on connected cars

April 22, 2015

PSA Peugeot Citroën and IBM announced a partnership to help various industries within the Internet of Things economy to analyze data to deliver new services from connected vehicles.

The companies are expanding their partnership announced last year to develop connected services for PSA vehicles by now enabling other industries and companies to propose new added values services in their vehicles. The seven-year agreement will focus on commercializing services and building next-generation technical solutions necessary to deliver connected services.

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

April 16, 2015

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

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

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Delphi Automotive launching coast-to-coast automated drive

March 15, 2015

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

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

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UPS accelerates use of ORION routing optimization software; reducing 100M miles driven annually at full deployment

March 03, 2015

UPS expects its ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) routing system (earlier post) to reduce the distance driven by its drivers by 100 million miles annually when fully implemented in 2016. The company is accelerating its implementation to complete all planned US routes by then. The deployment will result in a 100,000-metric-ton reduction in CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 21,000 passenger cars off the road for a year, according to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

The company expects additional benefits including annual savings of 10 million gallons of fuel and more than $300 million when ORION completes US implementation. Additional environmental benefits and cost reduction savings will be realized when vehicles outside the US are equipped with the technology in future years, the company said. During 2015, UPS plans to complete installation of ORION routing on about 70% of the planned routes.

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Volkswagen Group invested €11.5B (US$12.9B) in R&D in 2014; ongoing focus on electromobility and digitalization of vehicles

March 02, 2015

The Volkswagen Group invested €11.5 billion in research and development last year, more than ever before and more than any other company worldwide. Speaking on the eve of the Geneva International Motor Show, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, underscored the Group’s increasingly aggressive R&D stance: “Volkswagen is an innovation think tank. We develop technologies that point the way well into the future.

According to Winterkorn, the company now employs 46,000 researchers and developers as well as more than 10,000 IT experts, all of whom are working on the mobility of the future such as alternative drive concepts or the digitalization of vehicles and factories. He went on to say that the car manufacturer is positioning itself at the forefront of automotive change with its forward-looking “Future Tracks” program. (Earlier post.)

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Ford expands Smart Mobility projects with connected e-bike study

Ford Motor Company is expanding its global Ford Smart Mobility plan (earlier post) with a new experiment to study how connected electric bicycles can work seamlessly with cars and public transport to deliver faster and easier daily commutes and help businesses operating in urban centers.

Ford detailed the new experiment called Handle on Mobility at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to help change the way the world moves through innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data. These experiments will help test transportation ideas for better customer experiences, more flexible user-ship models and social collaboration that can reward customers.

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BMW presents “Vehicular Small Cell” at Mobile World Congress; first mobile femtocell for optimized in-car connectivity

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the BMW Group, peiker acustic GmbH & Co. KG and Nash Technologies GmbH are presenting the “Vehicular Small Cell” research project, which aims to improve mobile reception in vehicles. The Vehicular Small Cell is a mobile femtocell with wireless backhaul for mobile in-car applications.

Although there is a rapid increase in in-car use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, wireless-enabled wearable technology such smartwatches and many other devices that will in future form part of the “Internet of Things”, the strong signal-shielding effect of the vehicle body can often cause reception problems, particularly when driving in areas with poor cellular coverage.

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Ford targeting smart parking as element of Smart Mobility; vehicle sensors, connectivity and big data

February 18, 2015

At CES 2015 in January, Ford CEO Mark Fields announced “Ford Smart Mobility”—a plan to use innovation to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. (Earlier post.) Three of the initial projects announced as part of the plan address the ongoing problem of urban parking.

Although there are “dozens” of apps available that can help a driver find a parking space, said Dave McCreadie, Ford’s manager of electric vehicle infrastructure and smart grid technology and part of the cross-functional group working on the mobility projects, “the data behind the apps seems a bit thin.” Ford’s idea is to leverage the cloud, in-vehicle sensors, connectivity and advanced data analysis including probability algorithms to provide a much more comprehensive picture of available parking without incurring a cost in infrastructure build-out.

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Volvo Cars providing 1,000 test vehicles for Scandinavian cloud-based project for sharing road surface information

February 13, 2015

Volvo Cars, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are collaborating on a development and demonstration project to enable cars to share information through a cloud-based network about conditions that relate to road friction (such as icy patches). (Earlier post.) The Road Surface Information (RSI) system combines the latest generation of climate models, advanced analysis of vehicle data and a detailed statistical analysis of road sections.

With the technology development in place, the testing and validation phase is now about to begin. In this phase, Volvo Cars will both expand the test fleet 20-fold (from about 50 cars to 1,000) and broaden the test area to include two big Scandinavian cities: Gothenburg and Oslo. Together, these measures will provide a more complete picture of how the system will work in real winter traffic conditions.

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

February 04, 2015

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

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

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USDOT releases broad agency announcement for the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program

January 31, 2015

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for funding projects for Phase 1: Concept Development of the Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Deployment Program. (DTFH6115R00003)

DOT is sponsoring connected vehicle research to leverage the potentially transformative capabilities of wireless technology to make surface transportation safer, smarter, and greener. These efforts have resulted in a considerable body of research that is now in hand to support pilot deployments. The Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is now seeking operational deployments of connected vehicle applications that synergistically capture and utilize new forms of connected vehicle and mobile device data to improve multimodal surface transportation system performance and enable enhanced performance-based systems management.

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IHS: automotive semiconductor market up 10% in 2014 to $29B; hybrids, connectivity and ADAS major drivers

January 26, 2015

The automotive semiconductor market did exceptionally well in 2014, according to new analysis from IHS. Strong growth in vehicle production together with increased semiconductor content in cars resulted in 10% growth year over year to reach $29B. IHS reported that the fastest growing segments for automotive semiconductors are hybrid-electric vehicles, telematics and connectivity and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The semiconductor revenue in these applications is forecast to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2013–2018) of 20%, 19% and 18%t respectively. The outlook for 2015 is also promising and the automotive semiconductor market is forecast to reach $31B, a strong 7.5% improvement over 2014.

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HARMAN acquiring Red Bend Software and Symphony Teleca for growth in connected vehicle space

January 23, 2015

HARMAN International announced the acquisition of Israel-based Red Bend Software, a leading provider of software management technology for connected devices, and over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware upgrading services. Building upon Red Bend’s strength in the mobile and carrier markets, HARMAN will accelerate Red Bend’s growth in the automotive space and will position Red Bend software as the de facto standard for OTA software services for mobile devices and automotive applications.

HARMAN also has signed an agreement with Symphony Technology Group to acquire Symphony Teleca, a privately-held global software services company. Symphony Teleca provides software engineering and integration services that help businesses rapidly design and develop products and technologies at the convergence of device, sensors, cloud and data. With the acquisition of Symphony Teleca, HARMAN will add a fourth division to its current three primary businesses: Infotainment, Lifestyle and Professional.

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

January 22, 2015

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

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

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

January 15, 2015

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

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

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Audi showcases piloted driving version of prologue concept hybrid

January 08, 2015

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Prologue piloted driving. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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NXP, Cohda Wireless RoadLINK achieves top performance in Audi field trial for intelligent, securely connected vehicles

January 07, 2015

At the conclusion of a field test in Ingolstadt, Germany, Audi said that the RoadLINK V2V communications technology from NXP Semiconductors and Cohda Wireless (earlier post) delivered excellent results in the reliability of wireless exchange of warnings, reception performance, and communication range in real traffic conditions and at high speeds. The RoadLINK chipset cut reaction time and communicated potential hazards and safety-critical scenarios significantly faster than conventional wireless technology.

In high-speed challenges, V2V-enabled Audi vehicles equipped with the NXP RoadLINK chipset drove towards one another at relative speeds of up to 500 km/h (311 mph), communicating across distances of more than two kilometers (1.24 miles).

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Ford announces Smart Mobility plan; 25 initial projects

January 06, 2015

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

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

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Hyundai Blue Link to debut smartwatch app with voice recognition at 2015 CES

January 03, 2015

Hyundai will debut and demonstrate a Blue Link smartwatch app at Pepcom’s Digital Experience and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next week in Las Vegas. Hyundai’s cloud-based Blue Link platform allows features such as remote start and service information to be quickly accessed through devices such as smartwatches and smartphones. Hyundai partnered with Station Digital Media to develop the Blue Link smartwatch app.

The smartwatch wearer simply taps an icon or uses voice commands to execute remote functions. The Blue Link smartwatch app allows Hyundai owners to remote start, lock and unlock doors as well as find their car in a crowded parking lot. Pushing the microphone icon on the watch activates the voice function, where the driver can execute commands such as “Start my car,” “Lock my car” or “Find my car.”

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Audi boosting investment over next 5 years by 9% to €24B; 70% to new models and technology

December 27, 2014

From 2015 through 2019, Audi plans to invest €24 billion (US$29 billion)—€2 billion (US$2.4 billion), or 9% more, more than in the previous planning period. 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Audi aims to meet stringent CO2 limits worldwide with a new generation of extremely economical combustion engines and alternative efficiency technologies as well as new features in the areas of connectivity and driver assistance.

Audi also plans to create additional production capacities worldwide in the next five years through large-scale investment. More than half of the planned investment will take place at the German sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.

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USDOT preparing to issue solicitation for Phase 1 of Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment program

December 23, 2014

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is preparing to issue (on or before 15 January 2015) a solicitation for a full and open competition to procure services for the Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Deployment program, Phase 1: Concept Development. Accordingly, USDOT has issued the synopsis notice (DTFH6115R00003) for Phase 1.

USDOT will conduct the CV Pilot Deployment program will be conducted under three phases: Phase 1: Concept Development Phase; Phase 2: Design/Build/Test; and Phase 3: Maintain and Operate. USDOT intends to enter into contracts for performance of Phase 1 only. Only awardees of Phase 1 Contracts will be eligible for Phase 2 and 3 Cooperative Agreements. The anticipated period of performance for the Phase 1 contracts is no more than 12 months.

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

December 19, 2014

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

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

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Fujitsu launches hydrogen station data management service to support spread of fuel-cell vehicles

December 16, 2014

In conjunction with the start of sales of Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell vehicle in Japan (earlier post), Fujitsu launched a hydrogen station data management service, the first in Japan, enabling people to access real-time information on the location and hours of operation of hydrogen stations, both stationary and mobile.

The service uses the Fujitsu Intelligent Society Solution SPATIOWL cloud service to integrate information on the location of hydrogen stations and operating hours input by registered hydrogen suppliers. Information on the hydrogen stations is then transmitted in real time by car companies, through their data centers, to the car navigation systems and smartphones of fuel-cell vehicle users.

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

December 15, 2014

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

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

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

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Jaguar Land Rover developing transparent pillar and ‘follow-me’ ghost car navigation

Jaguar Land Rover has launched a research project to develop technologies that will offer drivers a 360˚ view out of their vehicle (“360 Virtual Urban Windscreen”), uninterrupted by the pillars that support the roof. The company is also exploring “Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation”, which uses a “ghost car” projected in front of the car for a driver to follow, aiding navigation on busy urban roads.

With “360 Virtual Urban Windscreen”, a screen would be embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car and would take a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car usually obscured in the blind spots created by the A, B and C-pillars. Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles would be visible all around the car—and by combining the transparent pillars with an advanced high quality Heads-Up display, the movement of other road users could be highlighted to the driver with an on-screen halo moving across the car’s virtual windshield.

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DOT and Battelle release findings and lessons learned from V2X Transit Safety Retrofit Package project

December 13, 2014

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Battelle have released the latest findings and lessons learned from the Transit Safety Retrofit Package (TRP). The TRP project aimed to design and develop safety applications for transit buses that can communicate using vehicle-to-vehicle as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure connected vehicle technologies for enhanced transit bus and pedestrian safety.

The project was part of the USDOT’s Safety Pilot Model Deployment, a large-scale field demonstration of the potential benefits of 5.9 GHz dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) wireless technology that is supporting related decisions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Continental, IBM and HERE to demo cloud-based eHorizon at CES; the cloud as a vehicle sensor

December 12, 2014

At the international CES in Las Vegas in January, Continental, together with its collaboration partner IBM and location cloud company HERE, will demonstrate a new stage in the evolution of eHorizon, which currently provides drivers with information about hills, curves and junctions on the route ahead. (Earlier post.)

Known as “dynamic eHorizon,” the new service is connected to the HERE location cloud with real time digital maps and the IBM connected car cloud. Using IBM Big Data and Analytics, it takes into account dynamic events such as weather, accidents, or traffic jams. At the 2015 CES, Continental will present the dynamic eHorizon as the focal point of its innovations for displays, access technologies, connectivity, infotainment, driver assistance, and engine management and will show how these components and systems benefit from connecting the vehicle to the Cloud.

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

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

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

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Ford supports launch of mobility-focused startup business accelerator program in Detroit: Techstars Mobility

December 11, 2014

Ford, Magna International Inc. and Verizon Telematics, are supporting the launch of “Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit”—a startup business accelerator program sited in downtown Detroit. Together, the companies are committing $2 million in funding plus mentors and other resources to support participating startups. Several Michigan-based venture capital firms will provide guidance to participants.

The tech incubator is aiming to deliver innovative mobility and transportation solutions that help alleviate growing global challenges such as traffic congestion, parking availability and pollution. The mobility scope is “broader than automotive,” noted Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “The space really can comprise a lot of different [types] of companies.

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Toyota bringing vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems to some new models in Japan in 2015

November 26, 2014

Starting next year, some of Toyota Motor Corporation’s new models will be compatible with advanced vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems that use a wireless frequency reserved for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). This compatibility will be offered as an option for the “Toyota Safety Sense P” active safety package that will be made available in 2015 on select new models sold in Japan.

The systems will use the dedicated ITS frequency of 760 MHz for road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to gather information that cannot be obtained by onboard sensors. At intersections with poor visibility, information about oncoming vehicles and pedestrians detected by sensors above the road will be conveyed via road-to-vehicle communication, and information about approaching vehicles will be conveyed via vehicle-to-vehicle communication, with audio and visual alerts warning drivers when necessary.

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BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in smartphone driving analytics company Zendrive

November 25, 2014

The BMW Group’s venture capital company, BMW i Ventures, has made an investment in the startup Zendrive, a company that uses data and analytics gathered from smartphones rather than OBD to improve driving through driving analytics. Related BMW mobility services investments currently include JustPark, Chargepoint, Life360, Chargemaster, and MyCityWay. The Zendrive investment is the first in a series of investment announcements that will be made in the months ahead, said Ulrich Quay, Managing Director of BMW i Ventures, LLC.

Zendrive uses the sensors on a smartphone to measure a driver’s behaviors; Zendrive’s Driver-Centric Analytics process the data from the phone’s sensors into a Zendrive score that factors in cell phone use, speed, swerves, hard stops, fast accelerations, fatigue, as well as weather, trip duration, time of day, and more.

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Ford and Automatic Labs working together to support connected-car solutions

September 21, 2014

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Automatic uses vehicle data from the OBD port to report on driving performance. Click to enlarge.

Automatic Labs and Ford Motor Company announced a joint experimental collaboration to improve the driving experience for Ford & Lincoln vehicle owners. Together, the companies will test and develop new features that provide enhanced capabilities enabling drivers to opt-in to provide data from their vehicle and then use that information to be smarter, safer drivers.

Automatic provides a widget that plugs into the OBD port and uses a car’s onboard computer and the driver’s smartphone’s GPS and data plan (via Bluetooth) to upgrade the car’s capabilities. For example, Automatic learns about a driver’s driving style and provides subtle audio cues when a driver does things that waste gas, such as:

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Siemens equipping EV with new information and communications technology concept developed by RACE project

September 17, 2014

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Prof. Armin Schnettler from Siemens’ central research department and Prof. Achim Kampker, Managing Director of StreetScooter, agreed to equip a StreetScooter EV with an innovative electronic and software architecture by end of 2014. Click to enlarge.

Siemens will equipping an electric car with a completely redesigned information and communications technology (ICT). Basically, the idea is to control a variety of vehicle functions on a uniform, centralized computer platform instead of providing every system with its own hardware and software as today.

The new ICT concept was developed by Siemens’ global Corporate Technology (CT) department and its partners in the German government-funded RACE (Robust and Reliant Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars) project. (Earlier post.)

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UC Riverside team shows new eco-routing navigation tool can cut EV energy use up to 51%

September 09, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have shown that a vehicle navigation tool they created can cut electric vehicle energy use up to 51%. The researchers outlined their findings in a report to the California Energy Commission, which paid for the study with a $95,000 grant. (Earlier post.)

The researchers tested the “eco-routing” navigation system—which takes into account real-time traffic information, road type and road grade—on three routes around Riverside. Using road testing and computer simulations, they studied three types of navigation systems: shortest distance; least time; and least energy. They found energy savings between 25% and 51% when they took the route that the navigation system said would take the least amount of time. The tradeoff is that the travel distance increased between 3% and 19%.

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Cadillac to offer advanced V2V and semi-automated driving technologies in certain 2017 MY vehicles

September 07, 2014

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Super Cruise, GM’s semi-automated driving technology, will come to market in a new 2017 Cadillac vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Cadillac will begin offering advanced “intelligent and connected” vehicle technologies on certain 2017 model year vehicles, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said Sunday during her keynote address at the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress in Detroit.

In about two years, an all-new 2017 Cadillac vehicle will offer customers an advanced driver assist technology called Super Cruise (earlier post) and in the same timeframe the 2017 Cadillac CTS will be enabled with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology.

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Delphi to supply major global OEM with V2X technology; launch in 2016

September 05, 2014

Delphi Automotive PLC announced that it is bringing to market Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication technology (collectively V2X) that significantly advances driver alerts. The company will supply a major global automaker with the connectivity technology that will allow cars to talk with one another and provide drivers critical traffic information. Global production is targeted for launch in 2016 for the North American market.

Delphi’s wireless vehicle communication technology extends the range of existing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) functionality. Radio signals transmit traffic data from car to car to alert drivers of potential road hazards; even those beyond the driver’s line of sight or out of the vehicle’s sensor range.

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Honda to showcase new connected car and automated driving technologies at 2014 ITS World Congress in Detroit; driver-to-driver “virtual tow”

Honda will showcase several of its latest developments in intelligent transportation technology at the 2014 ITS World Congress in Detroit, 7-11 September. Activities include the first US demonstration of Honda’s automated driving technology with capabilities such as automated freeway merging; exiting; and lane changing, which will be demonstrated on actual Detroit freeways, as well as a unique vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) “virtual tow” capability for assisting a driver in distress.

Honda also will highlight other latest advancements in “V2X” technologies, including vehicle-to-pedestrian/bicycle (V2P/B) and vehicle-to-motorcycle (V2M).

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Toyota expands Collaborative Safety Research Center with $35M; focus on transition to automated vehicle and connected vehicle technologies

September 04, 2014

With a new $35-million commitment that extends the center’s effort to the 2020s, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) is significantly expanding its mission to advance automotive safety research, with a new focus on the challenges and opportunities that evolving vehicle technologies will present over the next decade. CSRC will concentrate on supporting a safe transition to the future of mobility, particularly through emerging automated- and connected-vehicle technologies.

The CSRC was formed in January 2011 with three charter members; the first phase of research will conclude in 2016. Research under the new mission will focus on: developing human/machine interface (HMI) guidelines for next-generation automated and connected vehicle systems; the optimal user skills to operate these technologies safely; and the challenges posed by a US vehicle fleet that will likely feature automated and connected vehicles, as well as traditional ones, traveling the same roads.

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NHTSA releases advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on V2V, supporting research report

August 18, 2014

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) and a supporting comprehensive research report on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology. NHTSA is working to deliver a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by 2016.

The report will include analysis of the Department’s research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits, while the ANPRM seeks public input on these findings to support the Department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles.

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Volkswagen Group ERL working on more intuitive communications between driver, car and environment

August 06, 2014

As vehicle connectivity and advanced assistance systems become a ubiquitous part of driving, researchers at Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) are working to create a “perfect driving experience” by enabling more intuitive forms of communications between the driver, the car and the external environment.

In a presentation at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Chuhee Lee, ERL Deputy Director (who has said his imagination was stimulated as a child by Knight Rider’s KITT) said that the ERL researchers are leveraging three elements crucial for connected driving—the car; mobile devices (not just smartphones, but watches, Glass, etc.); and the cloud—to be able ultimately to design a vehicle that can learn, predict and adapt to drivers.

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Virginia Tech Transportation Inst. investigating adaptive stop/yield traffic signs; part of connected vehicle research

August 04, 2014

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VTTI test display for adaptive road signs. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) are in the early stages of investigating the development of adaptive stop and yield traffic signs. The concept is to replace conventional roadside stop and yield signs with an in-vehicle display that would automatically alert the driver of what actions to take, if any. If no other car is present at the intersection, the driver would be allowed to pass through and go on—i.e., without halting before proceeding.

Alexandria Noble is spearheading the proof of concept adaptive stop-yield study with funding from the US Department of Transportation and under direction of her adviser and project manager, Thomas A. Dingus, the institute’s director and an endowed professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. Noble is the first student in the newly launched Human Factors Transportation Safety Graduate Certificate Program, led by the transportation institute.

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