[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Ford investing $1.2B in 3 Michigan plants; focus on trucks, SUVs, big data & mobility services
March 28, 2017
Ford Motor Company is investing $1.2 billion in three Michigan manufacturing facilities to strengthen its leadership in trucks and SUVs and support the company’s expansion to an auto and mobility company.
Ford is investing $850 million in Michigan Assembly Plant to retool the plant to build the all-new Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco. Employees at Michigan Assembly Plant will begin building Ranger at the end of 2018 and Bronco in 2020.
Toyota and NTT agree to collaborate on ICT platform R&D for connected cars; 5G
March 27, 2017
Toyota Motor Corporation and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation have agreed to collaborate on developing, verifying, and standardizing technology in the connected car field, combining the automotive vehicle-related technologies of Toyota with the information and communication technologies(ICT) of NTT Group companies.
Toyota and the NTT Group (one of the world’s largest ICT companies), making use of big data obtained from automotive vehicles, will carry out joint research and development of technologies necessary for solving various issues including traffic accidents and congestion, and for providing customers with new mobility services. Four main areas of collaboration currently identified are:
Volkswagen Group launches Future Center Europe: focus on future mobility concepts
March 04, 2017
The Volkswagen Group has taken an additional important step to implementing its digitalization strategy with the launch of the Future Center Europe, located in Potsdam, Germany.
Volkswagen says that it intends to link the automotive and digital worlds in a way that benefits customers, society and the economy—and to promote the Volkswagen Group to become the leading mobility provider by 2025. The Future Center’s functions therefore go beyond standard product development.
Honda forming new R&D operation for “new value” areas: robotics, mobility systems and energy management
February 28, 2017
Honda R&D Co., Ltd., the R&D subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., plans to create “R&D Center X,” a new research and development operation within the company, which will assume responsibility for “new value” areas that include robotics technology, mobility system and energy management, etc. The official establishment of R&D Center X will take place in April.
Honda has decided that evolving digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and “big data” offer potential for value creation in a wider range of fields beyond its current field of businesses. To address this opportunity, Honda R&D Center X will take a “non-traditional” approach to assume responsibility for the research and development in “new value” areas.
NTU, JTC and SMRT to develop integrated transport solutions with joint research lab; “Mobility-as-a-Service Lab”
February 15, 2017
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), JTC and SMRT Services Pte Ltd (SMRT) have joined forces to develop innovative solutions that seamlessly integrate multiple modes of transportation, for better connectivity and accessibility. This is in line with the Government’s aim of making Singapore a living lab to develop and test new urban solutions.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the three parties paves the way for the formation of a new “Mobility-as-a-Service Lab”. It leverages the strengths of each partner to fulfil Singapore’s vision of a car-lite society, comprising NTU Singapore’s capabilities in research and development, evaluating engineering trials and data analytics, JTC’s expertise in master planning of industrial parks and the development of innovative infrastructure, and SMRT’s experience as a multi-modal transport operator.
Ride-sharer Grab to invest $700M in “Grab 4 Indonesia” 2020 master plan
February 03, 2017
Grab, the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia, launched its “Grab 4 Indonesia” 2020 master plan, endorsed by Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM), the Government of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board. Under the plan, Grab will invest US$700 million in Indonesia over the next four years to support Indonesia’s goal of becoming Southeast Asia’s largest digital economy by 2020.
“Grab 4 Indonesia” covers a range of programs that aim to provide all Indonesians an opportunity to move into the digital economy, including opening a Grab R&D center in Jakarta to develop technology innovations for the Indonesian market; launching a social impact fund to invest in companies focused on deepening financial inclusion; and increasing access to mobile payments and financing opportunities across the country.
KPMG Survey: execs say connected car generates 10x revenue than a conventional vehicle; market share based on units “outdated”; BEVs #1 trend
January 24, 2017
Advancements such as connectivity, big data, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are driving new economic models for automakers, and most see tremendous revenue potential and consumer value in leveraging driver and vehicle data to offer mobility services, according to the 2017 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Study.
The KPMG research, which polled nearly 1,000 executives with the world’s leading automotive companies, found that 76% say one connected car generates more revenue streams than 10 conventional cars. In fact, expectations for data-driven revenue are so great that 71% say measuring OEM market share based on units sold is outdated.
Alstom invests €14M in electric autonomous shuttle company EasyMile
Rail transport giant Alstom is investing €14 million (US$15 million), and thus taking a minority stake, in EasyMile, a start-up developing the EZ10 electric driverless shuttle. The investment forms part of the start-up’s ongoing capital increase. In parallel, Alstom and EasyMile have signed a commercial partnership agreement aiming at joining their forces to provide integrated solutions for urban transportation. Alstom will be present at EasyMile’s board.
The EZ10 provides shared driverless transportation for the last mile. EasyMile electrical shuttles operate from a transport hub to a final destination within a precinct or confined area. EasyMile shuttles transport up to 12 passengers. Since April 2015, the EZ10 has been deployed in more than 50 sites in 14 countries in Asia, North-America, Middle-East and Europe. Paris is one of the latest cities to begin an EasyMile trial.
Route Monkey working with NQIT to develop transport & mobility algorithms for quantum computers
January 19, 2017
Scotland-based route optimization specialist Route Monkey, a unit of telematics and big data company Trakm8, is working on a new generation of transport and mobility algorithms for quantum computers.
Route Monkey already works with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh on creating and enhancing innovative algorithms for transport and travel (earlier post). The two are now joining forces with the Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub (NQIT), led by the University of Oxford. Together, the three organizations will develop, test and commercialize quantum algorithms.
Volvo Cars to establish new shared mobility business unit
January 06, 2017
Volvo Cars will establish a new shared mobility business unit as part of a broad expansion of its car sharing and mobility services strategy.
The new business unit will be based around Sunfleet, one of the world’s first car sharing companies that has been operated by Volvo since 1998. Based in Sweden, Sunfleet has around 50,000 subscribers generating approximately 250,000 transactions in more than 50 Swedish cities.
Honda introduces “Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem” at CES 2017; Honda Riding Assist, NeuV concept w/ AI emotion engine
Honda unveiled its Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem concept at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, connecting artificial intelligence, robotics and big data to transform the mobility experience of the future. Featuring a number of prototype and concept technology demonstrations at CES, the Honda concept envisions a future in which vehicles will communicate with each other and infrastructure to mitigate traffic congestion and eliminate traffic fatalities, while increasing the productivity of road users and delivering new types of in-vehicle entertainment experiences. Vehicles will create new value by autonomously providing services when not in use by their owners.
Honda also announced collaborations with Visa, DreamWorks Animation and start-ups through the Honda Developer Studio and Honda Xcelerator open innovation programs based out of Honda Silicon Valley Lab. Further, as part of its effort to accelerate open innovation, Honda has established a new URL for areas including AI, Big Data and Robotics. Interested companies and individuals can access the following URL: http://www.honda.co.jp/openinnovation/.
Volkswagen CES2017 show app previews emerging Volkswagen digital Ecosystem
January 03, 2017
Volkswagen has developed a special app for CES 2017, available now at the App Store (iOS) and at Google Play (Android). Visitors to CES can use the show app at the Volkswagen booth to experience how human, car and environment will, in the future, be intelligently interconnected in the Volkswagen Ecosystem via the Volkswagen User-ID.
In the future, Volkswagen users will manage all of their mobility and infotainment services via their individual Volkswagen User IDs on a digital platform—the Volkswagen Ecosystem. (Earlier post.) This makes it easy to configure personal settings, integrate any services from third-party sources and port them wherever they wish. Regardless of which Volkswagen model users might step into (personal or rental car), in the future, the car will always prepare their favorite music, configure the display screen and make the right seat adjustments. Volkswagen is working to create a new user experience.
Volkswagen plans integrated mobility concept in Rwanda; vehicle production in Kenya
December 23, 2016
Volkswagen is taking a further step to develop market potentials in Africa. The Hon. Francis Gatare, Director of the Rwanda Development Board, and Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Group South Africa, this week signed a memorandum of understanding for a new integrated mobility concept in Kigali in the presence of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand.
Volkswagen also this week inaugurated a vehicle production facility in Kenya. At the inauguration, Diess underlined Kenya’s key role within the Volkswagen brand’s Africa strategy: “After over 60 years of Volkswagen vehicle production in South and North Africa, I am delighted to now have a further site in Kenya. We will systematically continue to develop our position in the fast-growing African car market.”
DOE to award almost $20M to new research and development projects for advanced vehicle technologies
December 15, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001629) for the Vehicle Technologies Office of up to $19.7 million, subject to appropriations, to support research and development of advanced vehicle technologies, including batteries, lightweight materials, and advanced combustion engines, as well as innovative technologies for energy efficient mobility.
The funding opportunity seeks projects in four areas of interest that apply to light, medium, and heavy-duty on-road vehicles, energy efficient mobility, and transportation infrastructure systems Battery500 Seedling Projects; Integrated Computational Materials Engineering Predictive Tools for Low-Cost Carbon Fiber; Emission Control Strategies for Advanced Combustion Engines; and Energy Efficient Mobility Research and Development.
Volkswagen Group launches standalone mobility services company MOIA; initial focus on ride-hailing
December 05, 2016
The Volkswagen Group officially launched its new mobility services company MOIA. Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller previewed the formation of the new business unit during a presentation of the Group’s new strategic plan—TOGETHER - Strategy 2025—in Wolfsburg in June. (Earlier post.)
“MOIA will help us gain a deeper understanding of new forms of mobility and how to make them even more attractive in future, to offer a much broader scope than at present and to tailor these services to suit very wide-ranging needs,” Müller said at the launch event in London. “Even though not everyone will still own a car in future, MOIA can help make everyone a customer of our company in some way or another.”
Nissan announces new strategy for customer ownership experience; leveraging connected car, big data, and personalization
November 29, 2016
In Japan, Nissan announced a new, comprehensive strategy to transform its customer aftersales experience through innovative technology and enhanced services. The company anticipates that, as a result, connected car services and greater choice in accessories and personalization will increasingly drive growth in its aftersales business, anticipated to contribute 25% of aftersales revenue by 2022.
Connected car technology and expanding use of big data will enable Nissan to offer new services, improve the dealership experience and increase customer retention. In the future, Nissan cars will provide customers advance notice when servicing is needed, as well as automatically order parts to ensure dealership availability on customer visits. Connected car technology will also dramatically streamline Nissan’s global supply chain, bringing just-in-time logistics to increase manufacturing efficiency, from plants to the dealer.
Juniper Research: taxi sector to lead self-driving market to >22M consumer vehicles on the road by 2025
November 23, 2016
New findings from Juniper Research project that the annual production of self-driving cars will reach 14.5 million in 2025, up significantly from only a few thousands in 2020, resulting in a global installed base of more than 22 million consumer vehicles by 2025.
The new research, Autonomous Vehicles & ADAS: Adoption, Regulation & Business Models 2016-2025, found that the market adoption of AV (Autonomous Vehicle) technology is set to accelerate over the next few years, driven by increasingly stringent vehicle safety specifications; environmental pressures; and rapid technological developments.
RideCell introduces white-label global carsharing and ridesharing platform for automakers; used by BMW ReachNow
November 16, 2016
RideCell, Inc., the developer of a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform for leading automakers and transit providers globally, unveiled today at AutoMobility LA the worldwide release of its white-label multiservice platform that allows car manufacturers to provide on-demand mobility when and where it’s needed. (A white-label product or service is produced by one company and rebranded by its customers.)
By integrating ridesharing and carsharing into a single platform, RideCell makes it easy for car manufacturers to create and launch a premium mobility service in a matter of months. The RideCell platform is being used by the BMW Group to power the ReachNow carsharing service. (Earlier post.) First introduced in April 2016, RideCell powers the service which has more than 370 BMW and MINI vehicles.
Ford working with Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles
November 15, 2016
Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute recently launched the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles, a new program for leading global mayors who will work together to prepare their cities for the emergence of autonomous vehicles.
The intention of the initiative is to galvanize experts and data to accelerate cities’ planning efforts, and to produce a set of principles and tools that participating cities, as well as cities around the world, can use to chart their own paths forward. The inaugural cities in the initiative include Austin, Texas; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Los Angeles, California; Paris, France; and Nashville, Tennessee. Five additional cities will be announced later this year. At AutoMobility LA, Ford CEO Mark Fields announced that his company is working with Bloomberg in this initiative.
Mercedes-Benz launches new private car-sharing scheme: Croove
November 10, 2016
A new car-sharing platform from Mercedes-Benz will go online at the start of December. App-based Croove pairs up private vehicle owners and hirers. The Croove scheme will be launched in Munich to begin with and is open to any brand of vehicle.
The peer-to-peer car-sharing platform is another example of a CASE strategy project that has advanced from idea to implementation. The acronym CASE is the name given to the specific area of strategy at Mercedes‑Benz Cars that focuses on the future-oriented issues of “connectivity”, “ autonomous driving”, “sharing” and “electric drive systems”. (Earlier post.)
Toyota to establish car-sharing and other mobility services platform; collaboration with and investment in Getaround; smart key box
October 31, 2016
Toyota Motor Corporation will establish a Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to collaborate with various service providers, as well as telematics insurance. Given on the proliferation and popularity of mobility services, such as car-sharing, the MSPF will have various functions to support these mobility services, and to leverage the Toyota Smart Center (TSC), the Toyota Big Data Center, and financial services.
Toyota also announced an investment in, and pilot car-sharing program with, US car-sharing company Getaround.
BMW Connected update adds new services and devices
October 07, 2016
A new update to the BMW Connected adds new services and additional devices to the personal mobility companion. The launch of BMW Connected Version 3.0 for iOS includes new benefits, such as: Alexa integration, first-mile navigation, vehicle service alerts, a battery-saving mode, and an Apple Watch app. BMW Connected Version 1.0 for Android is also now available.
With the announcement of BMW Connected at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and its market launch earlier this year, BMW kicked off its vision of an intelligent, highly personalized network of digital services that integrate the vehicle seamlessly into the life of the consumer. Using its flexible platform—the Open Mobility Cloud—as a basis, BMW Connected services is available anytime, anywhere – inside or outside the vehicle. Additionally, with its ability to create an intelligent BMW ID based on a user’s travel patterns over time, BMW Connected users get a personalized experience over all available touchpoints, including smartphones, smartwatches, and Alexa-enabled devices.
Volkswagen’s MEB for EVs: long electric range, open-platform, open-space, pricing for the volume market; “tablet on wheels”
October 05, 2016
Brands within the Volkswagen Group have been rolling out modular component matrices, or assembly toolkits, for their light-duty vehicles over the past few years. Until recently, the four main modular toolkits (modularen Baukästen) of the Group were: the MQB (transverse, driven by the Volkswagen brand); the MLB (longitudinal, driven by the Audi brand); the MSB (standard drive, driven by Porsche); and the NSF (New Small Family).
Development work on these continues; Audi, for example, is refining MLB evo—the second-generation of MLB and the foundation for the battery-electric e-tron quattro SUV due out in 2018. (Earlier post.) These four main kits are now joined by the all-new Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten (“Modular Electric Drive kit”, or MEB), being developed by the Volkswagen brand. The MEB will be the foundation for an entirely new generation of battery-electric vehicles designed not only to be electric and feature extended range, but to be connected, autonomous, open and priced for the volume market as required by Volkswagen’s positioning.
HERE unveils next-generation open platform real-time data services for automotive industry
September 28, 2016
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.
Mercedes-Benz Vans launches “Startup adVANce” competition for partners for future transport solutions
September 18, 2016
With “Startup adVANce”, a large-scale startup partnership challenge, Mercedes-Benz Vans is starting its search for intelligent solutions relating to the transport of goods and passengers. As part of its recently introduced strategic initiative adVANce (earlier post), the company is to invest a total of €1 million (US$1.12 million). The goal is to find new, innovative partners with whom Mercedes-Benz Vans can establish long-term partnerships without constricting the startups.
Digitalization, urbanization and the Internet of Things are just a few of the megatrends that are placing new demands on virtually every industry. General changes in consumer behavior and mobility patterns are directly affecting logistics providers and vehicle manufacturers. Online buyers, for example, expect new services such as same-day or time-definite delivery and want to know where their orders are at all times. Further, the number of deliveries is growing rapidly.
Ford acquiring SF-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, launching Ford GoBike
September 09, 2016
Ford is acquiring Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and is collaborating with bike-sharing provider Motivate to launch Ford GoBike, expanding its transportation solutions in city centers. Ford also is establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs.
Ford’s acquisition of Chariot, subject to normal customary closing conditions, will serve as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business. The shuttle service is expected to be expanded beyond San Francisco to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months.
Bosch launches eScooter sharing service under new Coup brand
August 03, 2016
Bosch is launching its new Coup eScooter sharing service in Berlin. Coup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bosch, now provides Berlin residents with a new mobility option featuring a simple pricing model. Customers can now find, reserve, and use their nearest eScooter at any time. After reaching their destination, they simply drop off the scooter anywhere in the city center.
Two hundred connected and all-electric scooters produced by Gogoro, a leading eScooter brand, will be available for the launch in Berlin.
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.)
Daimler ups its stake in the professional driver service Blacklane
Daimler AG is continuing to increase its stake in the professional driver service portal Blacklane. During the recently completed financing round, Blacklane received an eight-digit amount that it will use to further expand its global business. The parties agreed to keep the details of the transaction confidential.
Blacklane has approximately 200 employees and is represented in more than 200 cities and 400 airports in more than 50 countries worldwide. Daimler has invested in Blacklane since 2013. The global market for professional ride services is currently estimated to have a volume of about $30 billion per year and is rapidly growing and evolving.
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.
Report: Uber to invest $500M in global mapping project
July 31, 2016
The Financial Times reports that Uber will invest $500 million into a global mapping project in an effort to decrease its dependence on Google Maps and to prepare for autonomous driving. The FT cited “a person familiar with Uber’s plans” as the source.
Uber has already hired Brian McClendon, formerly the head of Google Maps for more than a decade. In a post on the Uber site last week, McClendon noted that “Accurate maps are at the heart of our service and the backbone of our business.”
Ford, MIT project uses LiDAR, cameras to measure pedestrian traffic & predict demand for new, on-demand electric shuttles
July 27, 2016
Ford Motor Company and MIT are collaborating on a new research project that measures how pedestrians move in urban areas to improve certain public transportation services, such as ride-hailing and point-to-point shuttles services.
The project will introduce a fleet of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles that operate on both city roads and campus walkways on the university’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus. The vehicles use LiDAR sensors and cameras to measure pedestrian flow, which ultimately helps predict demand for the shuttles. This, in turn, helps researchers and drivers route shuttles toward areas with the highest demand to better accommodate riders.
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.
BMW Group and Sixt SE extend DriveNow car sharing program to Brussels; 20% of DriveNow fleet electric
July 06, 2016
Car-sharing service DriveNow is extending its service to Brussels—the tenth European city where the premium car sharing joint venture from BMW Group and Sixt SE will operate. Car sharing without a branch office has been allowed in Brussels since June and the service will offer a range of BMW and MINI models on the proven free-floating car sharing concept.
Following its launch in Munich in June 2011, DriveNow has constantly expanded its mobility services in Europe and now has more than 600,000 customers. In addition to its five German locations (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf and Cologne), DriveNow services are also available in London, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm and—as of this month—in Brussels. In Germany, DriveNow records an average of over half a million journeys every month. An average journey is between 8 and 15 kilometers and lasts 20 to 40 minutes.
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.
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.
Lux Research: Toyota, Daimler, Honda leading auto OEMs for self-driving cars; innovative business models key
June 21, 2016
Although every major automotive company has announced plans for a car with self-driving capabilities, only five carmakers—Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Volvo—earn a positive take in Lux Research’s analysis of OEMs’ autonomous vehicle efforts.
In an emerging scenario of few significant technical differentiations and near-ubiquitous systems capabilities, Lux Research evaluated 12 carmakers and offered a “positive” rating based on three key criteria: demonstrated capability, investment and partnerships.
VW Group strategy calls for >30 new BEVs by 2025 with annual EV sales of 2-3M units; mobility services
June 16, 2016
Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller presented the company’s new new strategic plan—TOGETHER - Strategy 2025—in Wolfsburg. With regard to vehicles and drivetrains, the new strategy places special emphasis on e-mobility.
The Group is planning a broad-based initiative in this area: it intends to launch more than 30 purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) over the next ten years. The Company estimates that such vehicles could then account for around a quarter of the global passenger car market. The Volkswagen Group forecasts that its own BEV sales will be between two and three million units in 2025, equivalent to some 20 to 25 percent of the total unit sales expected at that time.
Ford Sustainability Report details pilot program in South Africa to deliver health care, education
June 15, 2016
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.
Volkswagen Group and ride-hailing provider Gett to expand on-demand mobility solutions & activities in Europe
June 02, 2016
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.”
Toyota and partners share first information from innovative car-sharing project in Grenoble
May 27, 2016
Based on the idea that multimodality was one of the keys to solving city traffic gridlock and pollution, the project makes available 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, the Toyota i-ROAD and COMS, on a sharing platform called Ha:mo (harmonious mobility). These eco vehicles can be hired up to one hour before use and are located in one of 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel, a subsidiary of French energy company EDF. The stations can handle the service’s proprietary badge or any existing public transport subscriber badge. People can use them either in a round-trip or one-way pattern, and they can be booked on a smart phone. Users can also plan their multimodal city trips by connecting to the Grenoble metropolis’ route planning service, Métromobilité.
BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in Scoop; carpooling mobile application
May 25, 2016
BMW i Ventures announced a strategic investment in Scoop Technologies, Inc., creators of the carpooling mobile application “Scoop”. Since launching in August 2015, Scoop commuters have taken more than 40,000 trips, offsetting nearly 500,000 in commute mileage for riders. Originally launched in Pleasanton, CA, Scoop now also operates commute trips into San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and North San Jose.
The Scoop app automatically connects co-workers and neighbors who live in the same neighborhood and travel to the same work area. Commuters select each trip one way at a time and choose whether to ride or drive. Scoop’s algorithm matches them to a carpool with neighbors and co-workers for the most efficient commute.
Volkswagen Group makes $300M strategic investment in on-demand mobility provider Gett
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.
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.
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.
BMW Group Launches car sharing service “ReachNow” in Seattle
April 08, 2016
Following a successful pilot program, BMW Group has launched ReachNow, a free-floating premium car sharing service, in Seattle. In addition to debuting the ReachNow car sharing service in Seattle, BMW Group Member of the Board Peter Schwarzenbauer also announced the establishment of ReachNow’s North American headquarters in the city and its plans to expand the service to three additional cities in 2016—with the intention of servicing 10 North American cities.
ReachNow is designed to provide drivers with an experience that is as convenient as owning a car. The user experience is premium, with fast registration and an almost instant approval process—in two minutes or less. The initial fleet of 370 vehicles, including the BMW i3, the BMW 3 Series and the MINI Cooper, will be located on the streets of Seattle for immediate use. The service will expand to include Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the next quarter.
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.
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.