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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 unveils I.D. EV concept; 1st MEB-based vehicle, to launch in 2020; up to 373 miles

September 28, 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen staged the world premiere of the I.D., a concept vehicle presaging the first of a new fleet of Volkswagen electric cars and highlighting Volkswagen’s vision for the future in a number of areas, including autonomous driving and a new Open Space concept for the interior.

The compact I.D. is driven by a 125 kW electric motor powered by a battery pack, and has a range of 400 - 600 km (249 - 373 miles) under European test conditions. I.D. will be the first Volkswagen built off the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). The production version of the I.D. is due to be launched in 2020 at a price on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models. The I.D. concept car at the show further demonstrates a concept of autonomous driving for the year 2025.

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NVIDIA and TomTom developing cloud-to-car mapping system for self-driving cars; DRIVE PX 2

NVIDIA and TomTom, the Dutch mapping and navigation group, are partnering to develop artificial intelligence to create a cloud-to-car mapping system for self-driving cars.

The work combines TomTom’s extensive HD map coverage, which already spans more than 120,000 km (75,000 miles) of highways and freeways, with the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 computing platform (earlier post). Together, the solution accelerates support for real-time in-vehicle localization and mapping for driving on the highway.

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HERE unveils next-generation open platform real-time data services for automotive industry

On the eve of the Paris Motor Show, HERE, the high-definition mapping and location services business company acquired by Audi, BMW and Daimler (earlier post), announced next-generation vehicle-sourced data services. The HERE Open Location Platform will harness real-time data generated by the on-board sensors of connected vehicles—even from competing car brands—to create a live depiction of the road environment.

Drivers will be able to access this view of the road through four services that provide information on traffic conditions, potential road hazards, traffic signage and on-street parking at high quality. The goal is to ensure that drivers have more accurate and timely information with which they can make better driving decisions. HERE plans to make the services commercially available to any customers both within and outside the automotive industry from the first half of 2017.

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Telecommunications and automotive majors form global cross-industry 5G Automotive Association

September 27, 2016

Audi AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm Incorporated have formed the “5G Automotive Association”. The association will develop, test and promote communications solutions, support standardization and accelerate commercial availability and global market penetration.

The goal is to address connected mobility and road safety needs with applications such as connected automated driving, ubiquitous access to services and integration into smart cities and intelligent transportation.

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Renault-Nissan and Microsoft enter multi-year agreement on next-gen connected driving

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Microsoft Corp. have signed a global, multi-year agreement to partner on next-generation technologies to advance connected driving experiences worldwide.

The companies will work together to develop next-generation connected services for cars powered by Microsoft Azure, one of the company’s intelligent cloud offerings. These new services are intended to improve customer experience via advanced navigation; predictive maintenance and vehicle centric services; remote monitoring of car features; external mobile experiences; and over-the-air updates. The partnership will accelerate development of best-in-class infotainment and location-based services that will:

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Volkswagen Truck & Bus launches RIO: open cloud-based platform for transportation industry digitization

September 21, 2016

At the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2016 show in Hanover, Volkswagen Truck & Bus is presenting itself to the public for the first time as a group of strong brands: MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

In addition to numerous new products, Volkswagen Truck & Bus is emphasizing alternative drives and connected commercial vehicles. In addition to electromobility for commercial vehicles—from the Volkswagen e-load up! to MAN’s heavy-duty distribution eTruck—Volkswagen Truck & Bus is launching RIO—a new brand bundling digital solutions for transportation & logistics into a cloud-based open platform that can serve as the “operating system” for the entire transportation industry.

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Cypress sampling new Traveo MCU solutions for secure, high-speed networking for automotive body electronics

September 19, 2016

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. is sampling new devices in its single-power-supply Traveo automotive microcontroller (MCU) family that provide secure, high-speed networking for body electronics applications.

The new S6J342xxx series supports the Controller Area Network Flexible Data-rate (CAN FD) standard for high-speed, in-vehicle networking, enabling large amounts of data to be exchanged between each CAN node. The MCUs address the critical need to secure data on in-vehicle networks with enhanced Secure Hardware Extension (eSHE) support, preventing unauthorized connections to electronic control units (ECUs).

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Audi deepening partnerships with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent on connected cars in China

September 11, 2016

In China, Audi has signed tripartite memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent respectively. The partners will deepen their cooperation in the areas of data analysis, internet-vehicle platform building and urban intelligent transport.

The partnerships will be supported through the brand’s strong development capabilities in China. In Beijing, Audi operates its largest research and development facility outside of Germany. The R&D center is part of Audi China, a 100% Audi AG daughter-company, and puts a strong focus on key future technologies such as connected car, piloted driving, new energy vehicles and digital services.

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DENSO looks to increase holding in FUJITSU TEN, making it a group company

September 10, 2016

Auto parts supplier DENSO Corporation, Fujitsu Limited, and Toyota Motor Corporation have reached a basic agreement to start consideration of changing the capital structure of automotive electronics manufacturer FUJITSU TEN, in which the three companies have stakes. DENSO is part of the Toyota Group.

In the automotive field, the interface between the driver and vehicle is becoming increasingly important due to remarkable technological innovations. Against this backdrop, DENSO has agreed with Fujitsu and Toyota to review specific changes to make FUJITSU TEN a group company of DENSO and to enhance cooperation between the two companies in developing in-vehicle ECUs, millimeter-wave radar (earlier post), advanced driver assistance / automated driving technologies, and basic electronic technologies, among others.

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Fujitsu develops low power consumption technology for 5G

September 07, 2016

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has built a prototype wireless unit incorporating inter-subarray coding technology, which makes it possible to achieve high-speed transmissions, in excess of 10 Gbps, for 5G mobile wireless base stations and access points. It has achieved these high speeds while maintaining low power consumption levels on par with Wi-Fi.

In verification tests, the prototype successfully transmitted signals simultaneously to multiple devices. In order to achieve 5G ultra high-speed communications, for which development is ongoing with the aim of practical implementation by about 2020, attention is centered on technology that uses the millimeter waveband and multiple antenna elements to simultaneously transmit signals as beams to each individual device.

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Mercedes-Benz Vans launches new Vito in China; unveiling electric van of future this week

September 06, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Vans launched its new mid-size van—the Vito—at the Chengdu Motor Show in China on Friday. The first batch of the new Vito rolled off the production line at Daimler’s local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC) in Fuzhou in August. The new Vito will be ready for delivery to dealers at the end of September.

In an event to be held this Wednesday at its “Van Innovation Campus” in Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Vans will unveil its vision of the van of the future: connected and electrically powered. (In July, Daimler Trucks unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, an all-electric, short-radius distribution heavy-duty truck, based on a three-axle truck from Mercedes-Benz. Earlier post.)

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Japan 3D map JV beginning process of creating high-def 3-D maps for autonomous vehicles; dynamic mapping

September 05, 2016

The Nikkei reports that Tokyo-based Dynamic Map Planning (DMP), formed earlier this year by Mitsubishi Electric, mapmaker Zenrin and nine automakers, will begin creating high-definition 3-D maps for self-driving cars this month.

The project is supported by the Japanese government (SIP-adus, Strategic Innovation Promotion Program Innovation of Automated Driving for Universal Services) in support of an effort to have autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020 equipped with a dynamic mapping system that combines real-time, “dynamic” information with a high-definition 3D map base. The result, say the planners, is a “one stop” information source that can provide necessary information for automated driving.

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Baidu and NVIDIA team up on cloud-to-car platform for self-driving cars; HD maps, Level 3 control, automated parking

September 01, 2016

At the Baidu World Conference in Beijing, Baidu CEO Robin Li together with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced a partnership to use artificial intelligence (AI) in the creation of a cloud-to-car autonomous car platform for local Chinese and global car makers.

NVIDIA and Baidu have a long history of working together on AI. The latest addition to their partnership will combine Baidu’s cloud platform and mapping technology with NVIDIA’s self-driving computing platform to develop solutions for HD maps, Level 3 autonomous vehicle control and automated parking.

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Researchers find vulnerabilities in cars with MirrorLink, even if disabled

In a study funded by GM, the NSF, and the US Department of Homeland Security, a team at NYU and George Mason University have reported vulnerabilities in MirrorLink that could allow a hacker access to a vehicle through a smartphone, even if MirrorLink is disabled. The team presented their findings at the 10th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies (WOOT '16) in Austin, Texas.

The automotive industry is gravitating toward integrating trusted third-party apps with their In-Vehicle-Infotainment systems (IVI) via smartphones. This is typically facilitated by a pair of apps: one that executes on the smartphone and the other executes on the IVI which, in turn, is connected to the vehicle’s Controller Area Network (CAN) bus.

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ORNL team presents solution for coordinating connected and automated vehicles at merging roadways; reduced fuel consumption and travel time

August 29, 2016

A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed an optimization framework and an analytical closed-form solution that addresses the problem of optimally coordinating connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) at merging roadways to achieve smooth traffic flow without stop-and-go driving.

They validated the effectiveness of the efficiency of their proposed solution through a simulation, showing that coordination of vehicles can significantly reduce both fuel consumption and travel time. A paper on the work is published in IEEE Transactions On Intelligent Transportation Systems.

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Audi introducing first vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service: Traffic light information system

August 15, 2016

Audi of America, in conjunction with Traffic Technology Services (TTS), will launch the first vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) driver assistance system—Traffic light information—on select 2017 Audi Q7, A4 and A4 allroad models this fall.

Traffic light information, an Audi connect PRIME feature, enables the car to communicate with the infrastructure in select cities and metropolitan areas across the US. The car receives real-time signal information from the advanced traffic management system that monitors traffic lights. The link between vehicle and infrastructure is routed via the on-board LTE data connection and Traffic Technology Services, Inc. servers.

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Panasonic acquires German software company OpenSynergy; virtualization for integrated cockpit solutions

August 09, 2016

Panasonic Corporation has acquired all the outstanding shares of the German software company OpenSynergy GmbH, making it a subsidiary. OpenSynergy specializes in embedded automotive software for cockpit solutions; it products enable the convergence of instrument clusters, head units, advanced driver assistance systems, and car connectivity systems.

A current cockpit system is controlled by different systems: one handles multimedia functions such as navigation and audio; another for driver support functions such as warning signals on head-up display. To integrate such different functions going forward, and to provide a better and intuitively easier driving support, system integration needs to be achieved from the operating system level, Panasonic said.

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Fujitsu develops technology to enable high-speed deep learning

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has developed software technology that uses multiple GPUs to enable high-speed deep learning powered by the application of supercomputer software parallelization technology. This newly developed technology was implemented in the Caffe deep learning framework, where, in a test measuring learning time using AlexNet on 64 GPU-equipped computers, it achieved a learning speed that is 27 times faster than a single GPU.

Compared with before this technology was applied, it achieved learning speed improvements of 46% for 16 GPUs and 71% for 64 GPUs (according to internal comparisons). Using this technology, the time required for deep learning R&D can be shortened, such as in the development of unique neural network models for the autonomous control of robots, automobiles, and so forth, or for healthcare and finance, such as with pathology classification or stock price forecasting, enabling the development of higher-quality models.

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VW BUDD-e electric microbus named “2016 Concept Truck of the Year”

August 02, 2016

The Volkswagen BUDD-e battery-electric microbus concept (earlier post) has been named “2016 Concept Truck of the Year” at the 15th Annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. Judges recognized the all-electric microbus concept for raising the standards of automotive design, with features that address both the utility and mobility needs of the present and future.

The first Volkswagen vehicle built using the company’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB), the BUDD-e captures the brand’s heritage, while offering a glimpse into the company’s next-generation connectivity, infotainment and EV technologies. The BUDD-e concept’s highlights include:

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Singapore LTA selects nuTonomy for trials of autonomous mobility-on-demand transportation service; new AV testing center

August 01, 2016

In addition to Delphi (earlier post), Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has also selected nuTonomy to begin trials of an autonomous mobility-on-demand transportation service. The partnership will expand and accelerate the nuTonomy’s development efforts in Singapore as it progresses towards the launch of a commercial autonomous vehicle (AV) service in 2018.

Delphi and nuTonomy were shortlisted from several participants which submitted proposals for autonomous mobility-on-demand concepts under the Request for Information (RFI) issued by LTA in June last year. (Besides mobility-on-demand services, LTA is also exploring SDVs for other public transport applications, such as self-driving buses.)

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Singapore Land Transport Authority selects Delphi for autonomous vehicle mobility-on-demand program

The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) has selected Delphi Automotive PLC as a strategic partner to implement autonomous mobility concepts.

Delphi will provide a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) and will develop a cloud-based mobility-on-demand software (AMoD) suite, opening up new potential autonomous markets for Delphi’s customers. Delphi will conduct a trial of an urban, point-to-point, low-speed, autonomous, mobility-on-demand service in Singapore’s Autonomous Vehicles Test Bed located at one-north, a business park in the western area of the city.

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Audi AG developing automotive driver health as new business area; leveraging digitalization, connected vehicles

Audi AG has become a founding partner in Berlin’s “Flying Health Incubator”, a center supporting startups that develop digital innovations in the healthcare sector. The investment highlights Audi’s interest in developing “automotive health”—enhancing the customer’s health and fitness while driving—as a new business area. With the Audi Fit Driver offering, the brand is already testing innovative services and functionalities in this field.

In the Flying Health Incubator, Audi AG is entering into dialog with decision-makers from the startup scene and from the healthcare industry. Together, the partners will strive to identify trends, technical solutions and business models in the digital health market at an early stage.

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Daimler chief Zetsche: Daimler working toward swarm organization; mobility services, digitalization and e-mobility

July 25, 2016

In an interview with Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche said that the company is implementing swarm organization management techniques to enable more rapid development in emerging critical areas such as digitalization, mobility services and e-mobility.

The swarm organization method, explained Zetsche, supplements the hierarchical-management pyramid with cross-functional and interdisciplinary groups and eventually replaces them.

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NIRA Dynamics, InfoCar expand availability of Road Surface Information software with OBD plug-in

Sweden-based NIRA Dynamics, a software company developing sensor-fusion-based systems for different vehicle applications, is rolling out its Road Surface Information (RSI) software more broadly, in partnership with InfoCar AB.

Road Surface Information (RSI) by NIRA continuously monitors the quality and tire grip level of the road surface—without stereo cameras, adaptive suspension or other expensive sensors. With sensor-fusion-based algorithms, RSI can determine the level of road roughness and road friction.

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Ford takes stake in Civil Maps; 3D mapping technologies for fully autonomous vehicles; AI and voxel hashing

July 16, 2016

Civil Maps, a start-up developing 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles, raised a $6.6-million seed funding round, led by Motus Ventures and including investment from Ford Motor Company, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.

Civil Maps’ mission is to make it possible for fully autonomous vehicles (SAE Levels 4-5) to drive anywhere smoothly and safely. The company’s focus is on building continental-scale maps for autonomous vehicles and providing precise localization using voxel-hashing algorithms. Although GPS and IMU (inertial measurement unit) technologies can in theory determine both position and orientation of vehicles, the accuracy is limited by atmospheric distortion, the start-up notes.

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NSF leads $400M federal effort to boost advanced wireless research

July 15, 2016

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will invest more than $400 million over the next seven years to support fundamental wireless research and to develop platforms for advanced wireless research in support of the White House’s Advanced Wireless Research Initiative. These investments will support the research community in experimenting with and testing novel technologies, applications and services capable of making wireless communication faster, smarter, more responsive and more robust.

This new program will enable the deployment and use of four city-scale testing platforms for advanced wireless research over the next decade and builds upon the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Spectrum Frontiers vote yesterday. (Earlier post.)

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Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates all-terrain self-driving technology; off-road connected convoy

July 12, 2016

Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated a range of innovative research technologies that would allow a future autonomous car to drive itself over any surface or terrain.

The multi-million pound autonomous all-terrain driving research project aims to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather conditions. To enable this level of autonomous all-terrain capability, Jaguar Land Rover’s researchers are developing next-generation sensing technologies that will be the eyes of the future autonomous car.

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Automotive and telecoms sectors to launch EU project for connected and automated driving

July 07, 2016

Europe’s leading trade associations for the telecommunications and the automotive sectors intend to launch a large-scale, pre-deployment project to test connected and automated driving at the EU level.

The industry-led project will focus on use cases and test functionalities in three main areas: automated driving, road safety and traffic efficiency, and the digitalisation of transports and logistics. Functions that are being considered include high density platooning, cooperative collision avoidance, remote control parking, local-hazard warnings and traffic flow optimization. High definition maps will be updated with a fast connection to the internet on phone or other mobile devices.

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Volkswagen and LG agree on joint development of next-gen connected car platform

July 06, 2016

The Volkswagen Group and LG Electronics have signed a memorandum of understanding on joint research and development of a next-generation connected car service platform.

Going forward, the two companies will work together on Volkswagen’s Cross Over Platform, which is aimed at enhanced vehicle connectivity and convenience. Using cloud technology, it will offer drivers seamless digital access to extensive features such as smart home and location-based services. Over the coming years, the two companies will be concentrating on:

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Renault-Nissan Alliance delivers €4.3B synergy target early; autonomous drive and connectivity expected to deliver major savings

Renault-Nissan Alliance generated €4.3 billion (US$4.8 billion) in synergies in 2015, one year ahead of schedule and an increase of 13% from 2014. Purchasing, engineering and manufacturing were the main contributors.

The Common Module Family and cross-production continue to reduce costs, while the development of technologies including autonomous drive and vehicle connectivity is expected to generate major savings moving forward. With the convergence, the Alliance expects to generate at least €5.5 billion (US$6.1 billion) in synergies in 2018

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BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye partner on open platform to bring fully autonomous driving to market by 2021

July 01, 2016

BMW Group, Intel, and Mobileye are collaborating to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021. The three are creating an a standards-based open platform—from door locks to the datacenter—for the next generation of cars.

The goal of the collaboration is to develop future-proofed solutions that enable drivers to not only take their hands off the steering wheel, but reach the “eyes off” (level 3) and ultimately the “mind off” (level 4) level transforming the driver’s in-car time into leisure or work time.

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Report: combination of new mobility technologies creates opportunities for cutting emissions, but requires strategic policy interventions

June 30, 2016

The combination of connectivity, automation plus shared vehicle ownership and use has the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper, cutting energy use and helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles. However, these energy and carbon benefits are by no means guaranteed and will require strategic policy interventions to maximize them according to new report by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The study—Automated vehicles; Automatically low carbon?— was presented at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference at the Olympic Park in London. According to the study, better coordination and connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure is likely to improve energy efficiency, as well as potentially make road transport safer and quicker.

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Route Monkey and Sygic parter on route optimization for EVs

June 27, 2016

Scotland-based route optimization specialist Route Monkey (earlier post) has signed a partnership agreement with global GPS navigation expert Sygic. The partners aim to develop jointly a fully integrated optimization and navigation platform for electric vehicles (EVs).

The new platform will see Route Monkey schedule a fleet’s EVs—as well as its conventional vehicles—in a way that optimizes the fleet as a whole. It then sends the best route for the entire itinerary to each driver, directly into the Sygic Navigation app. Working together, Sygic and Route Monkey can also schedule stops at charge points en route to top-up the batteries, and provide real-time navigation to recharging stations.

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Columbus, Ohio wins $40M DOT Smart City Challenge; $10M more from Vulcan, $90M from private partners

June 24, 2016

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that Columbus, OH has been selected as the winner of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) As winner of the Challenge, Columbus will receive up to $40 million from US DOT and up to $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. to supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan.

Using these resources, Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully-integrated city that harnesses the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity to reimagine how people and goods move throughout their city.

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Beijing Foton launches “China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance”; Auman Energy Super Truck

June 23, 2016

Chinese truck and utility vehicle manufacturer Beijing Foton has launched the China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance and showcased the Auman EST (Energy Super Truck) at an event in Athens, Greece.

The Internet super truck project is a collaboration that brings together Foton Motor Group, Cummins, and Daimler AG and aims at building Internet-driven super trucks that are green, efficient, safe, and intelligent through the integration of global resources, the effective use of new energies, the establishment of vehicle networks, and the implementation of intelligent truck-loading technology.

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DOE awarding $16M to 54 projects to help commercialize promising energy technology from national labs

June 22, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $16 million in funding to help businesses move promising energy technologies from DOE’s National Laboratories to the marketplace. This first Department-wide round of funding through the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) will support 54 projects at 12 national labs involving 52 private-sector partners. Among the selected technologies are a number addressing advanced vehicle and transportation needs.

The TCF is administered by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), which works to expand the commercial impact of DOE’s portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. In February of 2016, OTT announced the first solicitation to the DOE National Laboratories for TCF funding proposals. It received 104 applications from across the laboratory system, for projects in two topic areas:

  • Topic Area 1: Projects for which additional technology maturation is needed to attract a private partner; and

  • Topic Area 2: Cooperative development projects between a lab and industry partner(s), designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab developed technology.

All projects selected for the TCF will receive an equal amount of non-federal funds to match the federal investment.

A selected list of transportation-related TCF selections, as well as the Topic Area 2 projects and their private sector partners is below.

Transportation-related TCF Awards
Technology National Lab Partner Funding
Manufacturing Of Advanced Alnico Magnets for Energy Efficient Traction Drive Motors Ames Carpenter Powder Products $325,000
Direct Fabrication of Fuel Cell Electrodes by Electrodeposition of High-performance Core-shell Catalysts Brookhaven $100,000
Nitride-Stabilized Pt Core-Shell Electrocatalysts for Fuel Cell Cathodes Brookhaven $100,000
Enhancing Lithium-Ion Battery Safety for Vehicle Technologies and Energy Storage Idaho $119,005
Vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus Network Safety and Security System Idaho Mercedes-Benz R&D North America $150,000
Large Area Polymer Protected Lithium Metal Electrodes with Engineered Dendrite-Blocking Ability Lawrence Berkeley $73,831
Cryo-Compressed Hydrogen Tank Technology in an Internal Combustion Engine Application Lawrence Livermore GoTek Energy $431,995
Scaled Production Of High Octane Biofuel From Biomass-Derived Dimethyl Ether NREL Enerkem $740,000
Thermal Management for Planar Package Power Electronics NREL John Deere Electronic Solutions (JDES) $250,000
Assembly Of Dissimilar Aluminum Alloys For Automotive Application PNNL $500,000
Development of Electrolytes for Lithium Ion Batteries in Wide Temperature Range Applications PNNL Farasis Energy, Navitas Systems $375,000
Direct Extruded High Conductivity Copper for Electric Machines Manufactured Using the ShAPE Process PNNL General Motors R&D $600,000
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NVIDIA deep learning software platform gets trio of big updates

June 20, 2016

NVIDIA announced three major updates for its deep learning software platform. NVIDIA DIGITS 4 introduces a new object detection workflow, enabling data scientists to train deep neural networks to find faces, pedestrians, traffic signs, vehicles and other objects in a sea of images. This workflow enables advanced deep learning solutions—such as tracking objects from satellite imagery, security and surveillance, advanced driver assistance systems and medical diagnostic screening.

When training a deep neural network, researchers must repeatedly tune various parameters to get high accuracy out of a trained model. DIGITS 4 can automatically train neural networks across a range of tuning parameters, significantly reducing the time required to arrive at the most accurate solution.

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Local Motors debuts first self-driving vehicle using IBM Watson Internet of Things for Automotive

June 16, 2016

Local Motors, creator of the first 3D-printed cars (earlier post), introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. The vehicle, dubbed “Olli,” will be used on public roads locally in Washington DC, and late in 2016 in Miami-Dade County, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Olli was unveiled during the grand opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, MD and transported Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. along with vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility. The electric vehicle, which can carry up to 12 people, is equipped with IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle.

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BMW Group introduces MINI and Rolls Royce centenary concepts; individual mobility based on megatrends and projections

To mark its centenary year in 2016, the BMW Group is looking further ahead than usual with a series of Vision Vehicles designed to anticipate and respond to future mobility needs. At its Munich Centenary Event on 7 March, the automaker introduced the BMW VISION NEXT 100. (Earlier post.)

BMW now has introduced two more Vision concepts: the MINI VISION NEXT 100 and the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A fourth Vision Vehicle, by BMW Motorrad, will make its premiere on 16 October in Los Angeles, completing the BMW Group’s brand quartet of far-forward looking concepts.

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Volkswagen learning-enabled “Regular Routes” navigation feature detours around traffic jams even without active navigation

June 15, 2016

Volkswagen has developed a learning-enabled navigation feature known as Regular Routes. The system automatically “memorizes” regularly driven routes (e.g. to work) and then scans them to see if there are any traffic disturbances.

If a jam has been identified along the route, the navigation system will automatically select an alternate route even when in the inactive mode. The latest generation of the Discover Media and Discover Pro radio-navigation systems from Volkswagen come with Regular Routes as a standard feature.

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Ford Sustainability Report details pilot program in South Africa to deliver health care, education

A new Ford Motor Company pilot program aims to enhance mobility health services in rural areas of South Africa and Nigeria.

Ford Project Better World brings together multiple organizations such as World Vision South Africa, and social entrepreneurs to deliver health education, medication, nutrition and basic services to thousands of underserved people in remote areas. The services will be accessed using enhanced mobility and connectivity technologies from Ford vehicles. Ford Project Better World is detailed in the automaker’s 17th annual Sustainability Report, released today.

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Savari launches next-gen V2X solutions to accelerate adoption of safety apps in connected and self-driving cars

June 14, 2016

Savari Inc. announced its next generation of MobiWAVE On-Board Units (OBUs), StreetWAVE Road-Side Units (RSUs) and V2X middleware. These new solutions add to Savari’s experience in V2X communication technology and target automotive manufacturers, tier one suppliers and governments.

V2X communication technology is widely recognized throughout the industry as a ready-to-deploy option to bring advanced situational awareness to the driver through V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) and V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian) safety applications. V2X systems can operate independently or complement other connected vehicle technologies, and they offer the benefit of working in a non-line-of-sight environment with a 0.6 mi./1 km range. Savari’s V2X solutions are roadway proven, amassing more than 15 million miles and four hundred thousand hours of public safety pilot testing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

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Qualcomm announces Connected Car Reference Platform

June 09, 2016

Qualcomm Incorporated, through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., announced the Qualcomm Connected Car Reference Platform aimed at accelerating the adoption of advanced and complex connectivity into the next-generation of connected cars.

As a leader in automotive connectivity with more than 340 million chips shipped so far for products for more than 20 automakers, Qualcomm Technologies developed a product designed to maintain pace with an ever-increasing set of automotive use cases facilitated by the latest advances in 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. The platform is also designed to solve for challenges such as wireless coexistence, future-proofing and support for a large number of in-car hardware architectures.

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Daimler Trucks pushing forward with platform strategy for chassis and electrics/electronics

June 08, 2016

Daimler Trucks is systematically expanding its strategic pillars of intelligent platforms and modules beyond the existing modular drivetrain components. The platforms for drivetrain components for medium- and heavy-duty engines and for automated transmissions are already successful in the market, and account for about 50% of a truck’s value added.

Daimler Trucks is now introducing multi-brand platforms for other truck module groups, including uniform electrics/electronics architecture (E/E), chassis and cab. Joint development and purchasing will be carried out wherever there is no impact on customer perception and brand differentiation.

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Rambus & Movimento team to deliver personalized OTA security for automotive; one-time, single-use keys unique to each vehicle

June 07, 2016

Digital security provider Rambus and Movimento, leading provider of over-the-air (OTA) software lifecycle and data management for the automotive/IoT sectors, have partnered to deliver secure, convenient and personalized OTA vehicle updates critical to safety and performance in the era of the connected car.

The Rambus CryptoManager platform adds a layer of security to the Movimento OTA solution. Vehicle updates provided by the combined Movimento and Rambus solution offers one-time, single-use keys that are unique to each vehicle, minimizing vulnerabilities and maximizing security.

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Audi’s Gen2 A5 offers up to 17% more performance and up to 22% lower fuel consumption

June 03, 2016

Nine years after the launch of the mid-size A5, Audi unveiled the second-generation A5 and S5 Coupé during an event at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt. The new Audi A5 Coupé will launch in Germany with five engines: two gasoline TFSI and three diesel TDI units.

Their power output has increased considerably and is now between 140 kW (190 hp) and 210 kW (286 hp). Compared with the previous model, they offer up to 17% more performance while consuming as much as 22% less fuel. All the engines combine high efficiency with sporty power development and smooth running—especially the two 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engines.

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Toyota and KDDI jointly to establish global communications platform to support car connectivity

June 02, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and KDDI Corporation (KDDI) are partnering to establish a global communications platform to enable the operation of communications networks throughout the world to support car connectivity.

Toyota aims to bring greater connectivity to its vehicles throughout the world. To do so, a broad-reaching, robust communications platform and the use of a uniform data communications module (DCM) will be needed. Toyota will develop such globally uniform DCMs by 2019. DCMs will be the standard equipment in nearly all new Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Japan and the US by 2020, and will gradually be installed in a range of new vehicles in other major markets over time.

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Volkswagen Group and ride-hailing provider Gett to expand on-demand mobility solutions & activities in Europe

One week after the Volkswagen Group announced a US$300-million strategic investment in global ride hailing provider Gett (earlier post), the two companies laid the cornerstone for their strategic partnership at a kick-off event at the DRIVE Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin. For the Volkswagen Group, this marked its first substantial step in the transition from car making to structuring and providing integrated, sustainable mobility.

Chairman of the Board of Management Matthias Müller stressed the importance of the new strategic partnership, stating that ride hailing will be at the center of the Group’s new mobility on-demand business, which the company is building up as the second pillar alongside the classic automobile business. “Our investment in Gett gives us instant access to a service from which people all over the world can benefit.”

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Audi equipping new models in Europe with Audi connect SIM

May 31, 2016

Audi is now equipping its new models that use the second-generation modular infotainment platform with Audi connect SIM. With the factory-installed SIM card, customers can immediately use the wide range of Audi connect services with the accompanying data flat rate for up to three years.

The Audi connect SIM is a permanently installed SIM card (embedded SIM or eSIM), which customers in Europe will receive in combination with the optional Audi connect equipment package. This transforms the car into a mobile communication center. The SIM card brings Audi connect services on board via an LTE/UMTS module with a download speed of up to 100 MBit/s.

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

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

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

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

May 25, 2016

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

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

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

May 15, 2016

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

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

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

May 13, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 05, 2016

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

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

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

April 30, 2016

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

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

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

April 25, 2016

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

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

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

April 22, 2016

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

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

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

April 20, 2016

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

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

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

April 15, 2016

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

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

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

April 14, 2016

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

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

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

April 13, 2016

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

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

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

April 12, 2016

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

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

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EB software and Mapscape digital maps support WEpods autonomous electric shuttles

April 06, 2016

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

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

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Hyundai Motor Group outlines roadmap for connected car development

April 05, 2016

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

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

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

April 04, 2016

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

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

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

April 03, 2016

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

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

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

March 29, 2016

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

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

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

March 25, 2016

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

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

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

March 23, 2016

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

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

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

March 22, 2016

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

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

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

March 17, 2016

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

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

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

March 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 15, 2016

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

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

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

March 14, 2016

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

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

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

March 04, 2016

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

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

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

March 01, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 22, 2016

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

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

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Ford and Pivotal collaborate on software platform for FordPass

February 08, 2016

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

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

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

February 01, 2016

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

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

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

January 14, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 11, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 08, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 07, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 06, 2016

by Mike Millikin

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

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

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

January 05, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 04, 2016

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

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

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