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Connected vehicles

[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.]

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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OpEneR: improving EV range by optimizing energy management

July 17, 2014

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OpEneR partners have developed driving strategies and driver assistance systems to improve the efficiency and safety of electric vehicles. Click to enlarge.

At its final review, the European research project OpEneR (“optimal energy consumption and recovery based on a system network”) presented collaboratively developed driving strategies and driver assistance systems to improve significantly the efficiency (and hence range) and safety of electric vehicles by optimizing energy management. (Earlier post.)

In comparison to a typical sporty driver, the OpEneR operation strategies resulted in a reduced energy consumption of 27 to 36%, with the trade-off of an increase in travel time of between 8 to 21%—depending on the driver’s willingness to follow the recommendations. Approximately 5 percentage points of the energy consumption reduction were due to intelligent torque distribution between front and rear electric motors in the demonstrators, which had no influence on travel time at all.

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DRIVE C2X presents results of large-scale connected vehicle field testing in Europe

July 16, 2014

In Berlin, the DRIVE C2X consortium is presenting the results of the field operational tests (FOTs) on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2X or C2X) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I or C2I) technologies (collectively V2X or C2X) in Europe. (Earlier post.) With 34 partners, 13 support partners and a €18.5-million (US$25 million) budget, the three and one-half year DRIVE 2CX project, coordinated by Daimler, was intended to lay the foundation for the roll-out of vehicle-to-X cooperative systems in Europe.

Previous projects such as PReVENT, CVIS, SAFESPOT, COOPERS, and PRE-DRIVE C2X showed the feasibility of safety and traffic efficiency applications based on C2X communication. DRIVE C2X went beyond the proof-of-concept and addressed large-scale field trials under real-world conditions at multiple national test sites across Europe. During the project, more than 750 drivers tested eight safety-related functions of cooperative functions.

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Ford launches innovate mobility challenge series

Ford launched its Innovate Mobility Challenge Series, inviting the developer and maker communities to come together to find innovative mobility solutions in eight different locations around the world. The worldwide challenges kicked off in Lisbon, Portugal; Los Angeles, United States; and Mumbai, India; before moving on to Delhi and the Chennai region in India; Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; and a countrywide challenge in Argentina.

For each competition, Ford will partner with local authorities and experts to address different issues in each location. The competitions will be judged by a panel of Ford executives involved in researching mobility solutions, as well as by local experts selected for each competition.

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IBM launches $3B, 5y research initiative on chip grand challenges; 7nm and beyond and post-silicon

July 11, 2014

IBM is investing $3 billion over the next 5 years in two broad research and early stage development programs to push the limits of chip technology needed to meet the emerging demands of cloud computing and “Big Data” systems. Bandwidth to memory, high speed communication and device power consumption are becoming increasingly challenging and critical in these areas, just as the underlying chip technology is facing numerous significant physical scaling limits.

The first research program is aimed at so-called “7 nanometer and beyond” silicon technology that will address serious physical challenges that are threatening current semiconductor scaling techniques and will impede the ability to manufacture such chips. The second is focused on developing alternative technologies for post-silicon era chips using entirely different approaches, which IBM scientists and other experts say are required because of the physical limitations of silicon based semiconductors.

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DOT to award almost $9M to keep Ann Arbor connected vehicle R&D environment going for another 3 years

July 09, 2014

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a grants notice (DTFH6114RA00002) for the award of $8,991,669 (as a 50% cost-share) to maintain for an additional three years the unique connected vehicle research and testing environment the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) developed in Ann Arbor under the Safety Pilot. (Earlier post.) The grant notice has a “sole source requirement,” with application eligibility limited to UMTRI.

The Connected Vehicle Test Environment (CVTE) was developed as a real-world model deployment test site for enabling wireless communications among vehicles and with roadside equipment for use in generating data to enable driver safety warning systems. The CVTE encompasses vehicles of various types that include a mix of integrated, retrofit, and aftermarket safety devices.

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Federal Highway Administration to award up to $2M for assistance in setting up certification environment for connected vehicles

June 28, 2014

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a request for applications (RFA DTFH6114RA00014) for assistance in establishing a future certification environment for connected vehicle devices and applications. Estimated funding is up to $2 million.

DOT currently is assessing applications that realize the full potential of connected vehicles, travelers and infrastructure both to enhance current operational practices and to transform future surface transportation systems. To realize this potential, connected vehicle equipment and applications must meet minimum performance requirements, conform to common technical standards, and interoperate with one another. Certification testing provides a formal means of verifying that a device, application or service meets these requirements. DOT is seeking a partner to work in a cooperative agreement to:

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Ford and Intel demonstrate in-car personalization with perceptual computing; Project Mobii

June 26, 2014

Ford and Intel are researching new opportunities for the connected car, including giving drivers the ability to remotely peer into their car using a smartphone, or a vehicle that could identify its owner using facial recognition software. The joint research project, called Mobile Interior Imaging, or Project Mobii, explores how interior-facing cameras could be integrated with sensor technology and data already generated within and around the vehicle to create a more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle that transforms the driving experience.

The Mobii research, which was showcased during the Go Further with Ford 2014 Trend Conference as part of the “Big Data” track this week in Dearborn, was a collaboration between Intel ethnographers, anthropologists and engineers alongside Ford research engineers. Mobii incorporates perceptual computing technology (now named RealSense by Intel) to offer a more enjoyable and intuitive vehicle experience.

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TransWiseway and IBM partnering to build largest connected vehicles platform in China; Internet of Vehicles

May 30, 2014

IBM is collaborating with Beijing TransWiseway Information Technology Co. Ltd. to build the largest connected vehicles platform in China. The cloud-based platform will use advanced analytics for applications that offer real-time, in-vehicle services to mobile devices, such as weather advisories, traffic alerts and alternate route suggestions.

TransWiseway teamed with IBM to design an Internet of Vehicles (IoV) platform to connect millions of trucks as well as tens of millions of devices and sensors from vehicles. Using IBM Internet of Things technologies, the trucks and vehicles are connected to the Internet as well as with each other on this single IoV platform. The new IoV platform is expected to connect with 1.5 million trucks next year and ultimately with 10 million in two to three years.

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UR:BAN research project gives mid-term update on advanced driver assistance systems, connected vehicles

May 24, 2014

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Mid-term review in the UR:BAN research project. Click to enlarge.

Partners in Germany’s UR:BAN research consortium recently gave a mid-term status report on the three major component projects in an event at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in Braunschweig, Germany. UR:BAN—User oriented assistance systems and network management—is developing advanced driver assistance and traffic management systems for cities. The focus is on the human element in all aspects of mobility and traffic.

Consortium members in the four-year project include: Opel; Audi; BMW Group; BMW Forschung und Technik; Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen; Continental; Daimler; Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft u. Organisation; GEVAS Software; Heusch/Boesefeldt; ifak Magdeburg; Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes; MAN Truck & Bus; PTV Group; Robert Bosch; RWTH Aachen; Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf; Stadt Kassel; Technische Universität Braunschweig; Technische Universität Chemnitz; Technische Universität München; TomTom Development Germany; TRANSVER; Universität der Bundeswehr München; Universität Duisburg-Essen; Universität Kassel; Universität Würzburg; and Volkswagen AG. Numerous additional university and research institutes as well as small and mid-size companies are also participating in the projects as subcontractors.

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CAM/PwC name Volkswagen Group most innovative global automotive company, Mercedes-Benz most innovative brand

May 12, 2014

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Top spot went to Volkswagen Group, followed by Daimler, BMW, GM and Toyota. Source: CAM. Click to enlarge.

The Germany-based Center of Automotive Management (CAM), in cooperation with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) AG WPG, named the Volkswagen Group the world’s most innovative automotive company in its 2014 AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Awards; this marks the fourth consecutive time Volkswagen Group has picked up the top award. The Volkswagen Group also received awards in the “Conventional drives”, “Alternative drives” and “Networked vehicle” categories. Daimler followed in second place, then BMW Group, GM and Toyota.

CAM also selected Mercedes-Benz as the most innovative brand; BMW came in second, followed by Volkswagen, Audi and Ford.

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Survey of power management control technologies for HEVs and PHEVs suggests future need to consider vehicle as part of larger system

April 11, 2014

A comprehensive survey of major power management control algorithms for hybrid-electric (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) proposes that future work will need to consider the vehicle as part of a larger system which can be optimized at an even larger scale.

This type of large-scale optimization will require the acquisition and processing of additional information from the driver and conditions outside the vehicle itself, suggests Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos, Deputy Director of the Urban Dynamics Institute and an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow in the Energy and Transportation Science Division with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

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Honda to begin large-scale road testing of driving support system utilizing traffic signal information; goal of commercialization

March 28, 2014

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Image of how the driving support system utilizes traffic signal information. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. plans to begin public road demonstration testing of its driving support system utilizing traffic signal information next month. The demonstration testing will be conducted in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture in Japan in collaboration with the Tochigi Prefectural Police and UTMS Society of Japan, as part of research and development of the Universal Traffic Management Systems (UTMS) in which Honda has been participating.

UTMS is a new traffic management system promoted by the National Police Agency of Japan as a part of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). The UTMS utilizes information communication technologies to realize safer and smoother traffic as well as to promote environmental protection. Honda’s large-scale road testing will help it verify the overall functionality and effectiveness of the system as the final stage of verification toward commercialization.

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Volvo Car Group initiates Scandinavian pilot using connected car cloud-based communication for slippery road warnings

March 19, 2014

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When the test car detects an icy or slippery road patch, the information is relayed to other vehicles that are approaching the slippery area. The information is also sent to the road administrator. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen) are joining forces in a pilot project in which road friction information from individual cars is shared within a cloud-based system. The real-time data about slippery patches on the road are used to warn vehicles nearby, at the same time as it contributes to making winter road maintenance more efficient.

When the Volvo test car detects an icy or slippery road patch, the information is transmitted to Volvo Cars’ database via the mobile phone network. An instant warning is transmitted to other vehicles that are approaching the slippery area, making it possible for the drivers to take immediate action to avoid a critical situation.

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Predictive Powertrain Control cuts test consumption in Setra coach by an average of 9.2%

March 14, 2014

In a European media test event, the fuel consumption of Daimler’s new TopClass 500 with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) (earlier post) fell by an average of 9.2%. Daimler has been citing fuel consumption improvements of up to 4% for the anticipatory cruise control technology.

More than two dozen journalists from the specialist press tested PPC intensively on the topographically challenging A6 motorway between Kaiserslautern and Grünstadt. On five days of driving they covered a total of 3,120 km (1,939 miles). The fuel consumption was precisely recorded using measuring devices. Three new Setra TopClass 500 touring coaches were tested in various versions.The three-axle super-high-deck touring coaches were each realistically loaded to a gross vehicle weight of 21.5 t.

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Volvo Car Group tests road-embedded magnets for accurate positioning of self-driving cars

March 11, 2014

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Volvo Car Group has completed a research project using magnets in the roadway to help the car determine its position. A pattern of round ferrite magnets (40x15 mm) was located 200 mm below the road surface. The test car was equipped with several magnetic field sensors. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Car Group has completed a research project using magnets embedded in the roadway to help the car determine its position. The research, which has been financed in strategic co-operation with the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), is a potential means of implementing self-driving vehicles.

Reliable and highly accurate positioning is one of the crucial issues in the development of self-driving cars. While established positioning technologies such as GPS and cameras have limitations in certain conditions, road-integrated magnets remain unaffected by physical obstacles and poor weather conditions. Accordingly, the use of road magnets has attracted some academic research, as well as a number of patents filed on different approaches.

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Volkswagen Group’s new Future Tracks program targeting digitalization era in auto industry; “James 2025”

March 10, 2014

At the Geneva Motor Show and now at the IT trade fair CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, Volkswagen Group executive management has begun to outline its “Future Tracks” program which will address, among other things, what Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn calls an approaching new era of digitalization.

In an address at the opening ceremony of CeBIT 2014 in Hanover in the presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Minister-President of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil and Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of BITKOM, the IT industry Association, Winterkorn declared that the increasingly intensive networking of cars with their surroundings and automatic driving would be the key topics for the intelligent mobility of the future.

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IHS forecasts 11% rise in China automotive semiconductor market in 2014 due to safety and navigation features

February 26, 2014

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Click to enlarge.

The fast-growing semiconductor market for China’s automotive industry is set for double-digit expansion in revenue this year, propelled by an increasing desire among Chinese car buyers for added vehicle safety features and helpful infotainment applications such as car navigation, according to a new report from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS).

Chip consumption in 2014 by the country’s automotive industry will amount to $4.6 billion, up a solid 11% from $4.1 billion last year. This year’s projected revenue growth improves on the already strong 10% rise of the China automotive chip market in 2013, and three more years of similar notable increases will take place. By 2017, revenue will reach $6.2 billion.

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CEN and ETSI deliver first set of standards for Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) in Europe

February 18, 2014

Standards organizations CEN and ETSI recently confirmed, at the 6th ETSI workshop on ITS in Berlin, that the basic set of standards for Cooperative Intelligence Transport Systems (C-ITS), as requested by the European Commission in 2009, have now been adopted and issued. The Release 1 specifications developed by CEN and ETSI will enable vehicles made by different manufacturers to communicate with each other and with the road infrastructure systems.

When they have been applied by vehicle manufacturers, the new specifications should contribute to preventing road accidents by providing warning messages, for example about driving the wrong way or possible collisions at intersections, as well as advance warnings of roadworks, traffic jams and other potential risks to road safety. This vision of safe and intelligent mobility can be achieved by utilizing wireless communication technologies to link vehicles and infrastructure and identify potential risks in real time.

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NHTSA awards Virginia Tech Transportation Institute $1M for V2V framework project

February 14, 2014

Following a US Department of Transportation decision to move ahead with require vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for all cars and light trucks on the nation’s highways (earlier post), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) a $1-million follow-on to a $3 million project managed by the transportation institute.

The goal of the project is to design, to test, and to disseminate the initial recommended framework that controls how motorists receive communications—traffic warnings, the too-close approach of another vehicle, weather warnings, or text messages—while driving. Focus will be placed on the communication’s format, visual or audible, and the order and timing of such messages.

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Calif. ARB releases GHG scoping plan update; more ZEVs, “LEV IV”, MD and HD regulations; ZEV for trucks; more LCFS

February 11, 2014

The California Air Resources Board released the draft proposed first update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, which guides development and implementation of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. The Air Resources Board is required to update the Scoping Plan every five years.

Among the actions proposed or considered in the transportation sector include aggressive implementation of the light-duty Zero Emission Vehicle standard; LEV IV emissions regulations for the light-duty fleet post-2025 (GHG reductions of about 5% per year); Phase 2 GHG regulations for medium and heavy-duty (MD and HD) vehicles; a possible ZEV regulation for trucks; more stringent carbon reduction targets for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard; and others.

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Mitsubishi Electric develops ultra-simple and fast HMI for in-car device operation

February 10, 2014

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has developed an “Ultra-simple HMI” (human-machine interface) that predicts a car driver’s needs for the safe and easy operation of vehicle equipment in one or two steps and no more than 15 seconds. Mitsubishi electric has filed for 25 patents on the technology in Japan and 42 abroad; pending design patent applications number five in Japan.

Mitsubishi Electric’s highly intelligent human-machine interface (HMI) technology bases its predictions on operational history and current conditions to minimize the steps and time required to operate the vehicle’s four primary on-board devices: navigation system, phone, air conditioner and audio-visual equipment.

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Renault unveils Next Two autonomous electric vehicle prototype for 2020

February 06, 2014

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The Next Two prototype. Click to enlarge.

Renault has unveiled the Next Two concept—the company’s current vision of an autonomous drive (AD) capable electric vehicle for the year 2020.

The Next Two prototype—based on a Renault ZOE—focuses on two areas: the delegation of driving functions under certain conditions and connectivity. Using sensor technologies, Next Two enables the delegation of driving functions from the driver to the car in congested traffic up to km/h (18.6 mph) on main roads. It also offers an Automated Valet Parking function which permits the vehicle to park itself completely autonomously in car parks equipped to cater for automated vehicles. This includes both finding a parking place and the necessary maneuvering.

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Renault introduces ZE-ready concept with drone Flying Companion; targeting new markets

February 05, 2014

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The KWID CONCEPT comes with a Flying Companion drone stored on the roof. Click to enlarge.

Renault unveiled the KWID CONCEPT at the Delhi Auto Show—the first Renault concept car unveiled outside Europe. The KWID CONCEPT features a “Flying Companion”—a small drone that can be operated in one of two modes. Automatic mode uses a pre-programmed flying sequence and GPS location; manual mode enables the companion to be controlled using a dashboard-integrated tablet.

The Flying Companion is the first of its kind in the automotive world. It takes off from the rotating rear portion of the KWID CONCEPT’s roof. Renault suggests that the Flying Companion could be used for a variety of purposes, including scouting traffic, taking landscape pictures and detecting obstacles on the road ahead.

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NHTSA to move ahead with regulations for vehicle-to-vehicle communications for light vehicles

February 03, 2014

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles as the next generation of auto safety. This technology would improve safety by allowing vehicles to communicate and ultimately avoid many crashes altogether by exchanging basic safety data, such as speed and position, ten times per second.

DOT research indicates that safety applications using V2V technology can address a large majority of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. With safety data such as speed and location flowing from nearby vehicles, vehicles can identify risks and provide drivers with warnings to avoid other vehicles in common crash types such as rear-end, lane change, and intersection crashes. These safety applications have been demonstrated with everyday drivers under both real-world and controlled test conditions.

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Ford kicks off new automated driving research projects with MIT and Stanford University

January 22, 2014

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Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle with four LiDAR sensors. Click to enlarge.

Building on the capabilities of the automated Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle unveiled last month (earlier post), Ford is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University to research and to develop solutions to some of the technical challenges surrounding automated driving.

The MIT research focuses on scenario planning to predict actions of other vehicles and pedestrians, while Stanford is exploring how a vehicle might maneuver to allow its sensors to peek around obstructions. Put another way, the purpose of the MIT project is enhance the utilization of the line-of-sight data already acquired by the Fusion’s sensors to provide augmented predictive capability, especially for pedestrians. The purpose of the Stanford work is to enhance the acquisition of non-line-of-sight data.

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TU München team develops new technique for accurate distance measurement by advanced driver assistance systems using cooperative transponders

January 21, 2014

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Basic concept for range detection using cooperative transponders. Click to enlarge.

As part of the “cooperative transponder” research project Ko-TAG (earlier post), researchers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) developed a new approach to distance measurement to enable advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in cars to pinpoint the location of pedestrians and cyclists even in non-line-of-sight situations—i.e., when they are hidden from the driver’s view.

In this scheme, pedestrian’s and cyclist’s cell phones serve as transponders. On-board positioning systems compute the projected trajectory of the transponders and initiate an emergency braking sequence in case a pedestrian or cyclist moves into the path of a car.

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Audi wraps up Audi Urban Intelligent Assist (AUIA) project

January 10, 2014

Audi has wrapped up a three-year partnership launched in 2011 involving the Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Silicon Valley and four leading US research universities to develop innovations in predictive driving technology that would allow a car to anticipate future traffic trends and to “learn” a person’s driving habits for a customized driving experience on each commute. (Earlier post.)

Audi this week demonstrated some of the early concept results of the Audi Urban Intelligent Assist (AUIA) project to media in San Francisco. The demonstration focused on two primary applications: Driver Centric Urban Navigation and Urban Assistance.

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CAR report quantifies automotive’s position as a leading high-tech industry

January 08, 2014

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Percentage of Global R&D Spending by Industry, 2013. Source: Booz & Company “Global Innovation”; Battelle R&D Magazine; Center for Automotive Research 2012. Click to enlarge.

A newly-released report by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) concludes that the automotive industry is not only “high-tech,” it is frequently a leader in technological developments and applications. The report, supported by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, measures the technological nature of today’s auto industry and compares it to other sectors of the economy often viewed as technologically advanced.

The report authors acknowledge the difficulty of defining “high-tech” in an ever-changing economic environment. After reviewing of the works of several researchers and government agencies, CAR developed a working definition to differentiate high-tech industries from other sectors. Broadly, high-tech industries generally have the following characteristics:

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NVIDIA unveils Tegra K1 192-core mobile processor; ADAS applications on the way to autonomous driving

January 06, 2014

At CES in Las Vegas, NVIDIA unveiled the Tegra K1 mobile processor, a 192-core chip featuring the same NVIDIA Kepler architecture that powers the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti GPU. Among its targeted applications—notably mobile gaming—are a variety of automotive applications.

Tegra K1 will drive camera-based, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and street sign recognition, and can also monitor driver alertness via a dashboard-mounted camera.

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Ford unveils Fusion Hybrid research vehicle for autonomous driving

December 13, 2013

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Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle with four LiDAR sensors. Click to enlarge.

Ford, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and State Farm, unveiled a Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle that will be used to make progress on future autonomous driving and other advanced technologies.

The result of an ongoing project that builds on more than a decade of Ford’s automated driving research, the Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle will test current and future sensing systems and driver-assist technologies. Ford’s goal is to advance development of new technologies with its supplier partners so these features can be applied to the company’s next generation of vehicles.

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Scania to lead 3-year European research project on vehicle platooning

December 11, 2013

Scania will take the lead role in a three-year European research project to develop a system for implementing truck platooning on roads. Introducing platooning on European roads can significantly contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of trucks. The European Union has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020; heavy vehicles currently account for 17% of total CO2 emissions.

Through the €5.4-million (US$7.45-million) COMPANION research project, of which €3.4 million (US$4.69 million) is funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme, the partners will identify means of implementing the platooning concept in practice in daily transport operations. The project also includes Volkswagen Group Research; Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH); Oldenburger Institut für Informatik (OFFIS) in Germany; IDIADA Automotive Technology in Spain; Science [&] Technology Corporation in the Netherlands; and the Spanish haulage company Transportes Cerezuela.

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Volvo Car Group in multi-year, large-scale pilot project with autonomous cars on public roads

December 02, 2013

Volvo Car Group will take a leading role in the first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project in which 100 self-driving Volvo cars will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

The project “Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The aim of the “Drive Me” project, which is endorsed by the Swedish Government, is to pinpoint the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility.

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TNO developing V2V Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system to help prevent accidents with cyclists

November 26, 2013

Dutch research organization TNO is developing a Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system (CAEB) for cars and trucks to help prevent accidents with cyclists, especially at and near junctions. The system relies on vehicle-to-vehicle communication between bikes, cars and trucks.

The system is based on TNO’s intelligent Vehicle Safety Platform (iVSP)—the same platform that enables automatic driving. The iVSP draws on various information sources (radar, communication, map data), seamlessly combining these data with the information gained from vehicle sensors and other information sources (surrounding infrastructure, bikes, pedestrians). With CAEB, the bicycle transmits its own position and speed with the aid of wireless communication, GPS and internal sensors.

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Ford Edge Concept showcases new automated driving systems

November 20, 2013

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Ford Edge Concept. Click to enlarge.

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford introduced a set of new prototype automated driving technologies in the Ford Edge Concept. The sensor-based driver-assist technologies and semi-automated features in Edge Concept form the building blocks for the future of automated driving, and will help make driving safer and more efficient, Ford said.

Fully assisted parking aid, a prototype technology, lets customers park their vehicles at the touch of a button, or even by remote control. The concept builds on Ford’s current active park assist feature. It can find a perpendicular parking space using ultrasonic sensors.

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UPS begins operational rollout of ORION advanced route optimization software

October 30, 2013

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ORION infographic. Click to enlarge.

UPS has launched its ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) advanced route optimization software. The rollout of ORION is intended to optimize 10,000 delivery routes by the end of the year, reduce miles driven and reinforce UPS’ sustainability efforts. US deployment to nearly all 55,000 routes is planned to be completed in 2017 and global deployments are planned for the future.

ORION contains more than 250 million address data points. The software combines customers’ shipping requirements with customized map data the company has compiled to provide UPS drivers with optimized routing instructions that meet service-level requirements, while reducing miles driven.

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Euro NCAP releases first results of testing with autonomous emergency braking systems

October 29, 2013

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The tested AEB systems can offer two functions: automatic braking and forward collision warning. Source: NCAP. Click to enlarge.

Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) released the first results of rear-end crash avoidance systems tested against the upcoming 2014 rating protocol. The testing compared 8 vehicles with respect to their performance on the test track.

Real world claims data suggest that Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems can reduce rear-end crashes by one quarter or more and lead to a significant reduction of injuries. From January 2014, Euro NCAP will give credit in its rating scheme to vehicle manufacturers that equip their models with robust forward collision warning and/or automatic braking technology.

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Panasonic develops high precision, wide field of view millimeter-wave radar technology for automotive applications

October 15, 2013

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The new high-precision radar keeps close objects separated. Click to enlarge.

Millimeter-wave radar is capable of detecting pedestrians and other vehicles in night time and under poor weather conditions. Panasonic Corporation has developed high precision, wide field of view millimeter-wave technologies that are able to detect cars, pedestrians and bicycles separately in less than 0.1 seconds, on the condition that they are separated by 20 cm.

These technologies will be applied to 79GHz radar, and utilized in detection sensors to avoid accidents occurring at intersections, accelerating the adoption of advanced safety support systems. These technologies also allow the operation of multiple millimeter radars, enables for a wider field of view (FOV) system.

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NXP delivers first RoadLINK Car-to-X communications chip; in sampling with major automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers

October 11, 2013

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NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced that the SAF5100, the first product from the RoadLINK range, is now available for automotive customer design-in. The SAF5100 is a flexible software-defined radio processor for car-to-car (C2C) and car-to-infrastructure (C2I) communication, helping to realize NXP’s vision for a complete C2X (C2C+C2I) solution.

Scheduled for mass production in the second half of 2014, the SAF5100 is also the first product to become generally available from the MK4 reference design for connected vehicles, following its unveiling in July by NXP and Cohda Wireless, a leading specialist in wireless communication for automotive safety applications. (Earlier post.)

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Toyota to launch advanced driving support system using automated driving technologies in mid-2010s; new pedestrian safety system

Toyota Motor Corporation has developed a next-generation advanced driving support system—Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA)—which uses automated driving technologies to support safer highway driving.

AHDA links two automated driving technologies to support safer driving and reduce driver workload: Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control, which wirelessly communicates with preceding vehicles to maintain a safe distance; and Lane Trace Control, which aids steering to keep the vehicle on an optimal driving line within the lane.

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Opel bringing Ampera with special nav system and Meriva EVs to iZEUS project on intelligent electric driving and recharging

October 02, 2013

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iZEUS Ampera. Click to enlarge.

Opel has presented a specially-equipped Ampera extended range electric vehicle to the Technical Institute Karlsruhe (KIT), marking the beginning of a field trial in the research project iZEUS (intelligent Zero Emission Urban System) in Stuttgart.

The research project iZEUS is developing concepts and practical examples for the integration of electromobility in private and urban commercial transport. The goal of the research is to develop one uniform transport concept that will be tested and demonstrated with the help of fleet tests made up of a significant number of test vehicles. These will ultimately include up to 30 vans (Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL) and some 90 electric cars (smart ed, Opel Ampera and Toyota Prius) for private transport.

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Ford acquires software startup Livio to advance smartphone-based in-car connectivity

September 27, 2013

Ford has acquired startup connectivity application developer Livio for about $10 million. Livio—which started with Livio Radio—currently offers software development products including Livio Connect API, Livio Connect SDK, hardware emulators, reference code, libraries for iOS, Android and Blackberry, an authentication server, testing tools and a firmware update transfer feature.

Livio, co-founded by Jake Sigal and Massimo Baldini, will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Global Technologies, which manages all aspects of intellectual property for Ford. Livio will function as a separate department within Ford Electrical/Electronic Systems Engineering, while integrated into Ford’s overall connectivity operations.

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Nissan LEAF with semi-autonomous driver assistance systems cleared for public road testing in Japan; moving to Autonomous Drive

September 26, 2013

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The LEAF with semi-autonomous ADAS. Click to enlarge.

Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn took delivery of Japan’s first license plate for a car equipped with semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It clears the way for a Nissan LEAF equipped with the technology to be tested on the public roads in Japan for the first time. The research program will accelerate the development of technologies fundamental to Autonomous Drive (AD).

The systems are designed to allow the driver to manually take over control at any time. The license plate includes the number 2020, which reflects Nissan's goal to be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by the year 2020. (Earlier post.)

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SwRI to launch Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES)

As vehicles become increasingly dependent on computers to operate integrated systems, from engine timing to anti-lock brakes, it is crucial to safeguard those systems from outside threats. To investigate leading-edge technologies and understand and reduce the risk of attack, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is forming the Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES).

The joint industry program aims to provide pre-competitive and non-competitive research in automotive embedded systems security to protect the safety, reliability, brand image, trade secrets and privacy of client members’ future products. It is open to original equipment manufacturers and affiliated businesses in the automotive industry.

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Ko-Fas project finds cooperative transponders and cooperative perception technology could bring significant road safety benefits

September 25, 2013

The 17 partners—including vehicle manufacturers BMW and Daimler; suppliers Continental and Delphi; and universities, institutes of applied science and research establishments—in Germany’s €25-million (US$34-million), 4-year Cooperative Vehicle Safety (Ko-FAS) research initiative presented the final results from the project last week in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The results showed that use of cooperative transponder technologies in combination with cooperative perception technologies could bring important benefits for road safety.

The aim of this project was to improve road safety significantly, with an attendant reduction in the number of road traffic accidents and fatalities. The approach centered on accurate detection of traffic environments using cooperative sensing and perception, comprehensive situation assessment to precisely evaluate collision risks, and subsequent activation of appropriate advance protection measures.

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