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Driver Assistance Systems

[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.]

Audi, BMW and Daimler agree with Nokia on joint acquisition of HERE digital mapping business; swarm intelligence for new information density

August 03, 2015

AUDI AG, the BMW Group and Daimler AG have agreed with Nokia Corporation that they will acquire its mapping and location services business HERE. The acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of HERE’s products and services as an open, independent and value-creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors.

The three partners will each hold an equal stake in HERE; none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest. Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

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Delphi acquires Ottomatika and invests in Quanergy to boost automated driving and ADAS capabilities

July 31, 2015

To enhance its leading active safety and automated driving capabilities, Delphi has acquired software company Ottomatika, and has made a strategic investment in 3D LiDAR sensing leader, Quanergy. These strategic moves strengthen Delphi’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) applications and could help speed the adoption of automated vehicles.

Ottomatika, Inc. is a spinout from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) led by Dr. Raj Rajkumar which provides advanced automated driving software; Delphi has been partnering with the company since November 2014. (Earlier post.) Quanergy is a privately-held, Silicon-Valley-based technology company developing 3D time-of-flight LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors for real-time 3D mapping and object detection, tracking, and classification.

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Volkswagen MY2016: high-end driver assistance moves throughout the lineup; next-gen MIB II infotainment system

July 29, 2015

For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen is offering a number of advanced driver assistance (ADAS) features that were only previously available on the premium Touareg SUV, and is also adding some new ones that democratize driver assistance for the compact sedan and compact hatchback classes. These features include: Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); the Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); and an active Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist) system.

Also, Volkswagen’s new MIB II infotainment system will be available later this year on most MY2016 Volkswagen products. MIB II not only creates the foundation for the next generation of Volkswagen’s Car-Net connected vehicle services platform, but also offers a comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features. The first 2016 models featuring the new infotainment system will start landing in dealer showrooms late July 2015.

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Roland Berger study explores need for consolidation in vehicle electronic architectures

In a new study, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants explores the strategy of module consolidation as a solution for the feature- and function-driven increasing complexity of vehicle electronic architectures.

Consumers increasingly expect the latest and greatest in electronics and safety when purchasing a car, regardless of type. Whether it’s an instrument cluster with a graphics rich, fully reconfigurable display or a lane departure warning system, a tremendous amount of processing power and electronic communication is required. The current approach to adding these features to vehicle’s electric/electronic (E/E) architectures is generally “ad-hoc”—i.e., simply adding a new ECU every time a new vehicle feature requires processing power. This has resulted in vehicles with as many as 100 ECUs and more than 100 million lines of code in ultra-luxury cars.

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GM opens new $14M Active Safety Test Area at Milford; 22 different active safety technologies across GM MY2016 US lineup; V2V and autonomous driving

July 25, 2015

GM officially opened its new $14-million, 52-acre Active Safety Test Area at its Milford Proving Ground near Detroit. GM’s brands—Chevrolet, Buick GMC and Cadillac will offer 22 different active safety technologies across their 2016 model year US lineups, ranging from driver alerts to those that automatically intervene and assist the driver in critical situations.

Safety engineers will develop and test these and other safety technologies for products around the world at the new Active Safety Test Area. Cynthia Bay, director of Active Safety Electronics and Controls said the facility is also ideal for testing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies, which will be standard on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

The most recent J.D. Power APEAL study found that the increasing number of safety-related technologies equipping new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners. (Earlier post.)

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J.D. Power: growing usage of safety technologies in new vehicles contributes to increasing vehicle appeal

July 24, 2015

The safety-related technologies with which manufacturers are increasingly equipping their new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners, according to the J.D. Power 2015 US Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

The APEAL Study, now in its 20th year, examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive. Owners evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which combine into an overall APEAL Index score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale. The overall APEAL score has increased by 4 points year over year to 798 in 2015. The study finds that some safety features can contribute to a significant boost in APEAL scores. For example, the overall score among owners of vehicles with blind-spot monitoring and warning systems is 38 points higher than among those without them.

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U Michigan opens Mcity test environment for connected and automated vehicle technologies

July 20, 2015

The University of Michigan has opened Mcity, the first large controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars. Mcity was designed and developed by U-M’s interdisciplinary Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Mcity is a 32-acre simulated urban and suburban environment that includes a network of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, streetlights, building facades, sidewalks and construction obstacles. It is designed to support rigorous, repeatable testing of new technologies before they are tried out on public streets and highways.

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Upcoming Mercedes-Benz E-Class driver assistance package to enable semi-automated driving

July 13, 2015

Mercedes-Benz will introduce a new driver assistance package for the E-Class coming next spring which will enable semi-automated driving on freeways, highways and in city traffic; allow the car to be moved into and out of tight parking spaces from outside using a smartphone app; and facilitate autonomous braking to mitigate dangerous situations.

Components of the new Driver Assistance Package for the future E-Class include: Intelligent Drive next Level; Active Brake Assist; Evasive Steering Assist; Remote Parking Pilot; Car-to-X Communication; Digital Car Key; PRE-SAFE Impulse Side; and PRE-SAFE Sound.

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Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept turns in best performance so far at Sonoma Raceway

Audi ran the latest generation of its Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept at the Sonoma Raceway in California, surpassing prior performance. The RS 7 took just 2:01.01 minutes to complete the 4,050-meter (2.5 mi) circuit. Audi will be offering piloted driving for the first time in the upcoming generation of the Audi A8; the systems can assume control of the car during parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph).

Audi has been testing piloted driving under increasingly challenging conditions. In October 2014, an RS 7 nicknamed “Bobby” completed a driverless lap on the Hockenheimring at speeds up to 240 km/h (149.1 mph). The new generation of the car is named “Robby,” has a power output of 412 kW (560 hp) and is around 400 kg (881.8 lb) lighter than its predecessor. Whether braking, steering or accelerating, the piloted car controls all driving functions fully autonomously.

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ZF TRW to supply next-gen S-Cam4 systems to European automaker in 2018; ADAS and automated driving; sensor fusion

July 02, 2015

ZF TRW announced the initial contracts for its next-generation camera system—the S-Cam4 family—with a major European manufacture, with deliveries to begin in 2018. This fully scalable family of cameras is designed to meet the increasingly stringent regulatory requirements for advanced driver assist system (DAS) technologies while supporting the evolution toward automated driving, said Peter Lake, ZF TRW executive vice president of sales and business development.

The S-Cam4 family includes a single lens, mono-camera version based on a standard housing and mechanical package designed to help meet test protocols such as EuroNCAP pedestrian triggered automatic emergency braking (AEB) and new potential requirements including a crossing bicycle AEB test. The camera family also includes a premium three-lens TriCam4 version to support advanced semi-automated driving functions.

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BMW Group and NTU Singapore launch US$965K electromobility research program; Electromobility in Asia and Smart Materials

July 01, 2015

BMW Group and Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) launched a new electromobility research program, involving the all-electric BMW i3 and plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8. This new research program will be conducted at the Future Mobility Research Lab located on the NTU campus, which is the BMW Group’s first joint lab in Southeast Asia.

Both parties will be injecting a combined S$1.3 million (US$965,000) to drive the new research projects, on top of the initial S$5.5 million (US$4.1 million) funding allocated to the joint lab in 2013. The new research program will focus on two new areas, Electromobility in Asia and also Smart Materials. This is in addition to the original three research topics on which the joint lab is already working: Advanced Battery; Driver Enhancement; and Intelligent Mobility.

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The Automotive Research Center at the University of Michigan’s Annual Program Review: The Driving Force Behind Autonomous Vehicles

June 30, 2015

by James Garay, ARC

In the fall of 1994, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) awarded MEAM [Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics] a three-year, $7.5-million research grant to establish an Automotive Research Center (ARC) at the U-M.1

Twenty-one years later, the ARC, which operates as a consortium of six universities[2] collaborating with partners from both industrial and government sectors, gathered once again on the University of Michigan’s North Campus for its 21st Annual Program Review. Professionals representing each of the three aforementioned domains (academia, government, industry) comprised the event’s nearly 300 attendees.

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Audi launches next-gen A4 with new Millerized TFSI engine; g-tron model w/ Audi e-gas

June 29, 2015

Audi has unveiled the new-generation Audi A4 and A4 Avant, developed with a high priority on the reduction of CO2 emissions. Among other developments, the new A4 is the launch vehicle for the new high-efficiency 2.0L TFSI based on Miller cycle, introduced by Audi earlier this year at the Vienna Motor Symposium. (Earlier post.) The A4 Sedan and the A4 Avant will be launched in the market this fall.

The new models deliver CO2 emissions as low as 95 grams per kilometer (152.9 grams per mile) for the A4 Sedan 2.0 TDI ultra with 110 kW (150 hp). The new A4 Sedan has the best drag coefficient in its class at 0.23, while Avant has cd 0.26. Further, although compared with the previous model the car’s dimensions have grown, its weight has been reduced by up to 120 kilograms (265 lbs), depending on the engine. The body of the new Audi models is one of the lightest in its class due to an intelligent material mix and lightweight construction.

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Jaguar Land Rover’s Sixth Sense R&D: monitoring driver heart rate, respiration and brain activity to reduce accidents

June 23, 2015

Jaguar Land Rover revealed a set of new road safety technology research projects being developed to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers who are stressed, distracted and not concentrating on the road ahead.

The Jaguar Land Rover “Sixth Sense” research projects utilizes advanced technology from sports, medicine and aerospace, to monitor the driver’s heart rate, respiration and levels of brain activity to identify driver stress, fatigue and lack of concentration. The UK-based team is also looking at innovations that would reduce the amount of time the driver’s eyes are off the road while driving, and how to communicate with the driver via pulses and vibrations through the accelerator pedal.

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

June 16, 2015

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

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

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BMW introduces 6th generation 7 Series; new 740e plug-in hybrid; remote control parking

June 10, 2015

BMW has introduced the new generation (6th) of its top-end 7 Series, featuring technology innovations in the areas of lightweight design, powertrains, chassis, operating systems, and intelligent connectivity. The all-new BMW 7 Series will be offered in the US exclusively as a long wheelbase version.

Key factors in enhancing dynamics, efficiency, comfort and safety are the use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the body structure; engines from the BMW Group’s new generation of power units; the plug-in hybrid system in the new BMW 740e; the Executive Drive Pro active chassis system; the Driving Experience Control switch with ADAPTIVE mode; and BMW Laserlight.

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BMW, INRIX developing on-street parking prediction system

June 03, 2015

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

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

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DENSO invests in truck platooning company Peloton; platooning as managed service

May 28, 2015

DENSO International America, Inc. has entered into an investment agreement with Peloton Technology, a developer of platooning systems for large truck transportation fleets. Peloton’s truck platooning system is an integrated safety, efficiency and analytics platform that builds on advanced safety technologies such as collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control systems.

DENSO and Intel Capital co-led the $16-million oversubscribed Series A investment round, which will help accelerate Peloton’s development and deployment of platooning technology. Volvo Group Venture Capital, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, has also invested in Peloton. (Earlier post.) The deal was finalized late last month.

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Audi showcasing R8 e-tron piloted driving EV at CES Asia; piloted driving Audi A7 Sportback

May 25, 2015

At CES Asia 2015 in Shanghai, Audi is showcasing a piloted driving technology study version of its new R8 e-tron battery-electric sports car, introduced earlier this year at the Geneva show. (Earlier post.) Audi is also featuring a piloted driving version of its A7 Sportback. (Earlier post.)

The R8 e-tron—340 kW (456 hp) of power, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds, and a driving range of 450 km (280 miles)—is based on the multi-material Space Frame of the second-generation production R8. The piloted driving technology study integrates a range of future technologies for lightweight design, high-performance drive systems and functions for piloted driving.

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

May 24, 2015

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

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

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Study using real-world data finds low speed autonomous emergency braking leads to 38% reduction in rear-end crashes

May 13, 2015

A study by a team of researchers from Europe, Australia and New Zealand has found that Low Speed AEB (autonomous emergency braking) technology leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes. The study, published in the journal of Accident Analysis & Prevention, also found that there is no significant difference between urban and rural crash benefits. The study also concluded that Low Speed AEB technology needs widespread fitment for maximum benefits.

Autonomous Emergency Braking is one of the more promising safety technologies that is becoming increasingly common on modern passenger cars. The low speed option normally consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30 km/h or 50 km/h (18.6 mph and 31 mph). Previous studies have predicted significant expected benefits of AEB technology in low speed rear-end crashes but, so far, there has been little evidence that they really work.

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Lux forecasts global driver assist market to grow to $102B market by 2030

April 13, 2015

In a new research report, “The $102 Billion Opportunity in Partial Automation for Cars”, Lux Research calculates that the revenue opportunity from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) features will grow from $2.4 billion today to $102 billion in 2030, corresponding to a 26% CAGR. The new estimates for the total opportunity exceed those of previous Lux Research reports due to a combination of stronger-than-expected automotive sales in 2014 and a more granular approach to the sensors and technologies that enable ADAS features.

Although “the hype around autonomous vehicles often reaches levels that defy logic,” Lux tartly notes, the foundational technologies that are being progressively deployed as part of that technology roadmap can be rationally analyzed for opportunity.

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Honda’s 2016 Pilot features more power, 9-speed option, new drivetrain capabilities

April 10, 2015

Honda is enhancing its new third-generation MY2016 Pilot mid-size SUV with a new, more powerful direct-injected 3.5-liter engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology producing 280 horsepower (210 kW) @6000 rpm and 262 lb-ft (355 N·m) of torque @4700 rpm, and new 6-speed and 9-speed (a Honda first) automatic transmissions. The engine’s peak output and torque are up 30 hp and 9 lb-ft, respectively, over the previous model.

The new Pilot also features a new Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD System and all-new selectable Intelligent Traction Management system with Normal, Mud, Sand, and Snow modes on the AWD model and Normal and Snow on the 2WD model.

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Nissan Around View Monitor autonomous driving technology to assist deepsea ROVs

Nissan is providing its Around View Monitor (AVM) technology—a building block of its autonomous drive technology—to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Topy Industries, Ltd., through a joint development project. Nissan’s AVM technology will help remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) operators avoid obstacles and navigate the ocean seafloor more easily while they search deep underwater for resources.

AVM is one of the base technologies for Nissan’s autonomous drive vehicles, which the company aims to bring market by 2020. First commercialized in 2007, AVM provides a virtual 360-degree overview of a car from a bird’s-eye view as pictured from above. The technology helps drivers visually confirm the vehicle’s position relative to parking spaces and adjacent objects and maneuver into parking spots more easily. Nissan added Moving Object Detection (MOD) technology to AVM in 2011 and continues to develop other associated safety technologies.


AVM in autos uses four super-wide angle (180 degrees), high-resolution (1.3 megapixel) cameras on the front, rear and side mirrors of the vehicle. Footage from each camera is composited into a single sharp virtual birds-eye view image that, due to the use of super-wide angle and high-resolution cameras, allows the driver to see multiple views.

Under the Japanese government’s SIP initiative, JAMSTEC, Japan’s agency that develops next-generation technologies to explore for resources deep under the sea, and Topy Industries, one of the top manufacturers of robot crawlers in Japan, have teamed up to develop a highly-efficient operating system for undersea searches using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The ROVs being tested by JAMSTEC and Topy include a version of Nissan AVM which features three-dimensional picture processing capability.

The AVM 3D function is combined with the ROV’s camera to improve measurement of distances on the ocean floor. This provides operators, controlling the ROVs aboard mother ships at sea, an overhead real-time bird’s-eye view of the remote vehicle and its immediate surroundings. The goal is to improve the efficiency of undersea searches by avoiding obstacles on the seabed with better real-time situational awareness.

The project exemplifies how AVM know-how is being put to practical use in complex operating environments and is among the Japanese Cabinet office’s Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), which aims to realize innovation through the promotion of research & development activities across government ministries.

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Jaguar introduces Gen 2, aluminum-intensive XF; up to 60 mpg US with diesel Ingenium engine

April 02, 2015

Jaguar has unveiled the second-generation, all-new Jaguar XF at the New York International Auto Show. The coupé-like design uses Jaguar’s aluminum-intensive (75% aluminum) architecture (earlier post) to enable weight savings of up to 190 kg (419 lbs)—making the 163PS diesel model 80 kg (176 lbs) lighter than the nearest competitor—plus an increase in torsional stiffness of up to 28%. The architecture also delivers improvements in packaging and proportions.

The powertrain range will consist of: 163PS (161 hp, 120 kW) and 180PS (178 hp, 132 kW) 2.0-liter diesel manual and automatic; RWD, 240PS (237 hp, 177 kW) 2.0-liter gasoline automatic; RWD, 300PS (296 hp, 221 kW) 3.0-liter diesel automatic; RWD and AWD, 340PS (335 hp, 250 kW) and 380PS (375 hp, 279 kW) 3.0-liter gasoline automatic. With fuel economy as low as 60 mpg US (3.94 l/100 km) (104 g/km CO2) on the European combined cycle from the Ingenium diesel (earlier post), the all-new XF delivers an improvement of almost 20% compared to its predecessor.

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Toyota and Lexus roll-out low-cost automated braking safety packages on RAV4 Hybrid and RX crossover

March 30, 2015

At separate press conferences Wednesday and Thursday at the New York Auto Show, Toyota will reveal the RAV4 Hybrid SUV, while Lexus unveils its all-new fourth-generation RX luxury crossover SUV. Both debuts will mark the arrival of new, multi-feature, integrated safety packages, each anchored by automated pre-collision braking and offered at a price below comparable systems across the auto industry.

Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) and Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) are designed to support the driver’s awareness, decision making and vehicle operation over a wide range of speeds. Packaged together in an integrated system, their features help address three key areas of accident protection: preventing or mitigating rear collisions; keeping drivers within their lane; and enhancing road safety during night time driving. The systems are intended to address commonly occurring crash types according to traffic accident statistical analyses.

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New Ford S-MAX first worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter

March 24, 2015

Ford of Europe announced that the a new S-MAX will be the first Ford worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter, a new technology that scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.

Intelligent Speed Limiter for the first time combines the two current Ford technologies Adjustable Speed Limiter and Traffic Sign Recognition, which are both already available on models including Focus, all-new Mondeo, and Kuga SUV. Drivers can choose between speed limiting systems in the vehicle menu using the steering wheel controls, and activate them using the speed system controls.

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Renault Trucks Optifuel Lab 2 vehicle results: reduction in fuel consumption by 22% compared to conventional truck

March 19, 2015

Following several months of road trials and test bench programs adding up to the equivalent of 20,000 km (12,427 miles), Renault Trucks Optifuel Lab 2 laboratory vehicle (earlier post) is recording fuel consumption 22% lower than that of a production Renault Trucks T. This means 7.2 liters of diesel are saved for every 100 km covered, together with a 194 g reduction of CO2 emissions for every kilometre travelled.

Optifuel Lab 2 has been equipped with 20 technologies, each of which meet four major challenges associated with consumption: energy management, aerodynamics, rolling resistance and driving aids. Based on a Renault Trucks T, Optifuel Lab 2 is an ongoing version of the Optifuel Lab 1 introduced in 2009.

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Delphi Automotive launching coast-to-coast automated drive

March 15, 2015

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

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

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Opel developing eye-tracking technology to guide headlights

March 12, 2015

Engineers at Opel, in collaboration with the Technical University of Darmstadt, are developing eye-tracking technology for application in a third-generation of automotive adaptive lighting that will be introduced after the current AFL+ bi-xenon system. The concept is that the driver’s eye movements will control the direction and intensity of light.

High-performance eye-tracking systems can require 5 to 10 cameras; for the Opel system, the researchers began with a simple webcam. Focused on the driver’s head, it scanned prominent points, such as the nose and eyes, to detect movement and thereby the driver’s line of sight.

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Mobileye unveils Gen4 system-on-chip EyeQ4; visual processing for ADAS and automated driving; design win for 2018

March 05, 2015

Mobileye N.V., a designer and developer of camera-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for the automotive industry, introduced its 4th-generation system-on-chip, the EyeQ4. Leveraging the company’s more than 15 years of expertise in designing computer-vision specific cores, the EyeQ4 consists of 14 computing cores out of which 10 are specialized vector accelerators with extremely high utilization for visual processing and understanding.

The first design win for EyeQ4 in series production has been secured for a global premium European car manufacturer for production to start in early 2018. The EyeQ4 would be part of a scalable camera system starting from monocular processing for collision avoidance applications, in compliance with EU NCAP, US NHSTA and other regulatory requirements, up to trifocal camera configuration supporting high-end customer functions including semi-autonomous driving. The EyeQ4 would support fusion with radars and scanning-beam lasers in the high-end customer functions.

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Volvo Cars announces production-viable autonomous driving system; targeting limited pilot customer rollout by 2017

February 19, 2015

158389_Autonomous_drive_technology_Complete_system_solution
Volvo Cars’ holistic solution generates exact positioning and a complete 360° view of the car’s surroundings using a combination of multiple radars, cameras and laser sensors. A network of computers processes the information, generating a real-time map of moving and stationary objects in the environment. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Cars has developed what it says is a unique, complete system solution that makes it possible to integrate self-driving cars into real traffic. Based on its analysis of potential technical faults, Volvo Cars designed a complete production-viable autonomous driving system. The key is a complex network of sensors, cloud-based positioning systems and intelligent braking and steering technologies.

Volvo Cars’ Autopilot system is designed to be reliable enough to allow the car to take over every aspect of driving in autonomous mode. The technology advances a crucial step beyond the automotive systems demonstrated so far since it includes fault-tolerant systems. With the Drive Me project entering its second year (earlier post), Volvo Cars is thus moving rapidly towards its goal of placing 100 self-driving cars in the hands of customers on selected roads around Gothenburg by 2017.

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VW to launch technically updated Sharan MPV at Geneva; up to 15% more fuel efficient

At this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, Volkswagen will present an extensive technical update of the Sharan MPV, of which more than 800,000 units have been sold since its launch in 1995. The update includes numerous systems to assist the driver and enhance convenience and comfort, some features being unique to this market segment, as well as new gasoline (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines.

The turbocharged direct injection engines are now up to 15% more fuel-efficient and all now comply fully with the Euro-6 standard. The two new TSI engines produce 110 kW (148 hp, 150 PS) and 162 kW (217 hp, 220 PS); the second, higher-powered engine produces 15 kW (20 hp) more power than its predecessor. Three new TDI engines are available at these power levels: 85 kW (114 hp, 115 PS), 110 kW and 135 kW (181 hp, 184 PS (gain of 7 PS)). All engines, except the smallest diesel model, can be combined with a 6-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG), which now provides a coasting function (decoupling of the engine during deceleration) for additional fuel-saving. The DSG transmission is standard with the top TSI engine; a an alternative, the 150 PS TDI engine is also available with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.

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Infineon and Hella develop new compact, lower-cost 24 GHz blind spot radar sensor

February 05, 2015

Semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies, together with the German automotive supplier Hella, has developed innovative radio-frequency components for a 24 GHz radar sensor which reliably monitors the blind spot in the car’s rear section (Blind Spot Detection).

The module saves space and costs through the integration of multiple, formerly separate components into one transceiver and features low power consumption at improved performance. Due to this efficiency increase, serial production of the driver assistance system is made possible for vehicles outside of the premium segment.

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

January 30, 2015

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

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

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

January 26, 2015

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

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

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NHTSA to include 2 automatic emergency braking systems in NCAP recommendations

January 25, 2015

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

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

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Jaguar Land Rover “Bike Sense” uses color, sound and vibration to help prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes

January 21, 2015

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Jaguar Land Rover is developing a range of new technologies that would use colors, sounds and touch inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards and prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes. Click to enlarge.

At its Advanced Research Center in the UK, Jaguar Land Rover is developing a range of new technologies it calls “Bike Sense” that uses colors, sounds and touch (vibration) inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards and prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes. Nearly 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured on UK roads every year.

Sensors on the car will detect when another road user is approaching and identify it as bicycle or motorbike. Bike Sense will then make the driver aware of the potential hazard before the driver sees it. Rather than using a generic warning icon or sound, which takes time for the driver’s brain to process, Bike Sense uses lights and sounds that the driver will instinctively associate with the potential danger.

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

January 09, 2015

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

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

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Ford announces Smart Mobility plan; 25 initial projects

January 06, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 05, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 04, 2015

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

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

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

January 03, 2015

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

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

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

December 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 25, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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New Toshiba image-recognition processors for ADAS; night-time pedestrian detection and 3D reconstruction

November 14, 2014

Toshiba Corporation will expand its line-up of image-recognition processors for automotive applications with the launch of the TMPV760 series. Sample shipments of the first device, TMPV7608XBG, will start in January 2015, with mass production scheduled for December 2016 onwards.

With TMPV7608XBG, Toshiba is supporting the realization of next-generation Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Support for standard ADAS features includes AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking); TSR (Traffic Sign Recognition); LDW (Lane Departure Warning) and LKA (Lane Keeping Assist); HBA (High Beam Assistance); FCW (Forward Collision Warning); plus new applications that include TLR (Traffic Light Recognition) and AEB pedestrian (during both day and night), which will become part of the Euro NCAP testing program in 2018.

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NXP and partners launch European test drive to showcase the future of Communicating Cars

November 12, 2014

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Ready for the test drive. Click to enlarge.

NXP Semiconductors N.V. and industry partners Siemens, Honda, and Cohda Wireless have launched a “Communicating Cars” test drive along the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) Corridor across Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Starting from the electronica trade show in Munich yesterday, the tour will see a convoy of Honda smart vehicles drive through 1300 km (808 miles) of roads, including ITS test fields in Munich, Vienna and Helmond fitted with Siemens intelligent traffic infrastructure.

The demo cars, which are fitted with secure NXP communications technology, will showcase the benefits of smarter traffic control including improved road safety and reduced pollution.

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

October 24, 2014

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

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

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

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

October 23, 2014

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

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

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Tesla adds 2-motor all-wheel drive and advanced driver assistance “Autopilot” to Model S

October 10, 2014

Tesla Motors is adding a two-motor all-wheel drive option for its electric Model S as well as a standard set of forward-looking camera, radar and 360˚ ultrasonic sensors that will, over time with software updates, provide increasing autonomous drive capabilities.

The two-motor all-wheel drive option—designated by the “D” teased by Elon Musk over which the Internet was all atwitter—is available on all three Model S variants (60, 85 and P85) at $4,000 for the 60D and 85D models and as a $14,600-option for the P85D. (The high performance P85D requires the Tech Package, Smart Air Suspension and 21" wheels as well.) D-model deliveries begin in February.

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Major refresh on 2015 Honda CR-V with new Earth Dreams powertrain provides fuel economy gain of up to 12%

October 04, 2014

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2015 Honda CR-V. Click to enlarge.

Honda has given its 2015 CR-V compact SUV, which launched in US dealerships on 1 October, the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in the 17-year history of the model. The 2015 CR-V offers a new direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC engine and new continuously variable transmission (CVT); a new suite of “Honda Sensing” safety and driver assistance systems (DAS); significantly enhanced exterior and interior styling; as well a long list of new standard and available features and a new premium Touring trim.

The 2015 CR-V features increased EPA fuel economy ratings of 27/34/29 mpg (8.7/6.9/8.1 l/100 km) (city/highway/combined) for front-wheel-drive models and 26/33/28 mpg (9.0/7.1/8.4 l/100 km) for Real Time AWD models, both increasing +4/+3/+3 mpg over 2014 models—i.e., an increase in the combined rating of 11.5% and 12%, respectively, compared to the 2014 models.

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Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept hybrid delivers 550 hp with 42.8 mpg fuel economy

October 02, 2014

Infiniti unveiled the Q80 Inspiration concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, it what it called a signal of its intent to break into the top tier of the premium sedan category; the concept will lead to a future model. The four-door fastback is powered by a hybrid electric powertrain that is expected to deliver 550 hp (410 kW) with fuel consumption of 5.5 L/100 km (42.8 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of about 129 g/km.

The powertrain incorporates a new aluminum-based downsized twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that is part of a new engine family which will be introduced within the next two years. (Infiniti plans to double its powertrain range over the next five years.) The 450 hp (336 kW) V6 gasoline engine will be supported by an electric motor powered by a Li-ion battery pack, capable of adding around 75 kW (100 hp) hybrid power boost when required, and a 9-speed automatic gearbox.

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New Ford Mondeo to offer new high-power diesel, 1L EcoBoost, hybrid model, pedestrian detection technology

September 24, 2014

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Mondeo 5-door. Click to enlarge.

Ford Motor Company announced that the all-new Ford Mondeo (which is badged as Fusion in the US) in Europe will offer a new high-power diesel engine in addition to a new 1.0L EcoBoost gasoline engine option and a new hybrid option. The new Mondeo goes on sale as a four-door hybrid, five-door or wagon in dealerships across Europe later this year. The high-powered diesel will be available in early 2015.

Additionally, the new Mondeo will be Ford’s first car globally to offer a new pedestrian detection technology that could help reduce the severity of accidents or help drivers avoid them altogether.

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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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Ford introduces new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX with standard Start-Stop on new EcoBoost and diesel engines

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New Ford C-MAX. Click to enlarge.

Ford of Europe has unveiled the new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX prior to the Paris Motor Show. The models offer significantly improved CO2 figures and for the first time feature as standard Ford’s Auto-Start-Stop technology on EcoBoost gasoline and 2.0-liter TDCi diesel engines. The most improved model is expected to offer a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions.

The new C-MAX family powertrain line-up is being extended to include Ford’s fuel-efficient new 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine with 150 PS (110 kW) and 182 PS (134 kW), and also will be offered with Ford’s new 1.5-liter TDCi diesel engine, delivering 95 PS (70 kW) or 120 PS (88 kW), and a new ECOnetic version that is expected to deliver 99 g/km CO2 in the five-seat C-MAX. The C-MAX family will continue to be offered with 100 PS (74 kW) and 125 PS (92 kW) versions of the multi-award winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine.

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Ford reveals all-new S-MAX; Adaptive Steering Technology

Ford of Europe revealed the all-new S‑MAX seven-seat sports activity vehicle. The new S-MAX will debut Ford Adaptive Steering technology in Europe for optimized response to driver input when it goes on sale in 2015. It will also offer Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and a range of powertrains—including a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine.

S-MAX will also be the first Ford globally to feature Ford Dynamic LED Headlamps with Glare-Free Highbeam that maintain maximum illumination without distracting other road users. Ford’s advanced Pre-Collision Assist technology will assist in mitigating accidents even at motorway speeds.

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Renault Trucks’ Optifuel Lab 2 lab vehicle integrates technologies for more efficient big rigs; road test results coming in 2015

September 11, 2014

Renault Trucks’ heavy-duty Optifuel Lab 2 laboratory vehicle brings together various technologies designed to reduce fuel consumption in heavy-duty trucks and to prepare the way for future production models. Renault Trucks will display a scale model of Optifuel Lab 2 at the upcoming IAA. The vehicle is currently on the road to calculate the fuel savings it can achieve. These figures will be announced during the first quarter of 2015.

Optifuel Lab 2 has 20 technologies on board, each one of which addresses the four main issues associated with consumption: energy management, aerodynamics, wheel resistance and driving aids. Based on a Renault Trucks T, Optifuel Lab 2 is an ongoing version of the Optifuel Lab 1 introduced in 2009. The project has been developed with support from eight partners: Plastic Omnium, Michelin, Sunpower, Renault, IFP Energies Nouvelles, CEP-Armines, CETHIL-INSA from Lyon and LMFA-Ecole Centrale from Lyon. It is also supported by ADEMA, the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Control.

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New Ford Focus in Europe delivers fuel economy improvements up to 19% with new 1.5L TDCi; 1.5L EcoBoost, Enhanced Transitional Stability

September 09, 2014

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New Ford Focus. Click to enlarge.

The new Ford Focus for Europe (earlier post) delivers the car’s most fuel-efficient powertrain line-up yet with improvements of up to 19%, and a significant CO2 emission reduction across the entire line-up.

The new Focus will be the first vehicle in Europe to offer Ford’s new 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine and new Focus also will be available for the first time with Ford’s 1.5-liter TDCi diesel engine. Ford engineers have further optimized power, torque and fuel efficiency from the 2.0-liter TDCi engine; and Focus will continue to be offered with the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine, including a 99 g/km CO2 1.0-liter EcoBoost model.

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

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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Toyota highlights coming advanced driving support system to launch mid-decade; new automated vehicle technology

September 04, 2014

At the fourth annual Toyota Advanced Safety Seminar (TASS) in Ann Arbor, Toyota displayed a range of its future advanced safety system technologies, including environment-mapping systems that can track objects on the road both day and night; 3D information displays that transform the ability to provide road information to drivers, and an advanced driving support system that will be available to US customers in the mid-decade.

In addition to demonstrating safety research underway at the Collaborative Safety Research Center and updating the public on the development progress of fully autonomous vehicles that can operate at high speeds and in inclement weather, Toyota executives revealed the status of several advanced automated driving technologies.

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

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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Mercedes-Benz developing Blind Spot Assist system for heavy-duty trucks

September 02, 2014

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An LED warning light on the A-pillar on the co-driver’s side and an acoustic warning alert the driver to an impending collision. Click to enlarge.

Collisions when turning corners are among the most common and most serious types of accidents associated with trucks and unprotected road users. To address this, Mercedes-Benz is developing a Blind Spot Assist system for its heavy-duty trucks. The system, which utilizes a radar sensor monitoring the area next to the co-driver’s side of the truck, reliably warns the driver about dangers when turning corners in critical situations with restricted vision.

The system also takes into account the tractix curve of the semitrailer and therefore also warns if there is a danger of a collision with stationary obstacles such as traffic lights or street lamps. It also supports the driver when changing lanes.

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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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