[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.]
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.
ABI Research: 6 transformative paradigms driving toward smart, sustainable automotive transportation
March 25, 2016
ABI Research has defined six transformative paradigms for the automotive industry over the next 25 years: the software-defined car; sensors and big data; the connected car; cooperative mobility and the IoT; electrification; and car sharing/driverless cars. While the first three phases are already underway, the latter three will start to drive the market forward within the next 10 years, according to the market research firm.
Car manufacturers are currently revamping vehicles’ electronics and networking architecture to ensure every sub-system is connected and software-defined. Moving toward the next decade, the automotive industry will achieve cooperative mobility. Cars will communicate with not only each other but also infrastructures and environments. Electrification will then change the way consumers power their vehicles. And, lastly, car sharing and driverless cars will likely lead to market consolidation.
BMW rolls out new strategy, focusing on further advances in e-mobility and automated driving; Project i 2.0
March 16, 2016
BMW has revealed initial details of its new strategy, “Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT”. The BMW Group sees digitalization as an opportunity to make mobile life simpler, safer and more convenient, thereby capturing new customer groups. In the coming years, the Group will focus on broadening its technological expertise, expanding the scope of digital connectivity between people, vehicles and services and actively strengthening sustainable mobility.
BMW’s technology focus will therefore be on consistently achieving further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving. Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the BMW Group will bring new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and interior design. BMW said that it would usher in the next decade with a new BMW i model.
Ford forms new Smart Mobility subsidiary to develop and to invest in mobility services
March 11, 2016
Ford Motor Company has created a new subsidiary—Ford Smart Mobility LLC—to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services. The new subsidiary will have operations in Palo Alto, California, and Dearborn, Michigan. Jim Hackett, former Steelcase vice chairman and CEO, is leaving his position on the Ford Board of Directors to serve as chairman of the new subsidiary.
Ford Smart Mobility LLC is part of Ford’s expanded business model to be both an auto and a mobility company. (Earlier post.) The company is continuing to focus on and investing in its core business—designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. At the same time, Ford aggressively is pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. (Earlier post.)
Ford and Pivotal collaborate on software platform for FordPass
February 08, 2016
Ford is working with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider Pivotal to build a software platform supporting FordPass, announced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) (earlier post), that will enable the company to innovate rapidly and to iterate on new applications and mobility solutions for consumers.
FordPass, described as a free digital, physical and personal platform, is an ambitious new customer service product that incorporates software services and apps, human agents and storefronts and is intended to support the company’s strategic transformation into an auto and a mobility company. FordPass features four benefits for members: Marketplace includes mobility services such as parking and sharing; FordGuides help consumers move more efficiently; Appreciation, where members are recognized for their loyalty; and FordHubs, where consumers can experience Ford’s latest innovations.
IBM study finds consumers very interested in alternative ownership models for cars, self-enabling vehicles
January 12, 2016
Consumers expect to use cars differently—showing particular interest in self-enabling vehicles—though they don’t necessarily want to own one in the traditional sense, according to the results of IBM’s automotive consumer study, presented at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This presents opportunities for automakers to apply analytics and cognitive capabilities to develop new vehicle options.
“A New Relationship – People and Cars,” developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), reports that consumers also show a high level of interest in self-enabling vehicles, or cars that can learn, heal, drive and socialize. These capabilities include autonomous, self-driving cars, vehicles that can be fixed without human intervention and the implementation of cognitive computing to learn and assimilate to the driver’s behaviors, the vehicle itself and the surrounding environment.
Ford launches ambitious FordPass product as element in its strategic transformation to mobility company
January 11, 2016
At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Ford announced FordPass—an ambitious new customer service product that incorporates software services and apps, human agents and storefronts—intended to support the company’s strategic transformation into an auto and a mobility company. With FordPass, Ford says it aims to do for car owners what iTunes did for music fans, especially in terms of reimaging the relationship between automaker and consumer.
FordPass, which officially launches in April, offers free membership, regardless of whether or not the user is a current Ford customer. (Ford is hoping that by extending its services to non-customers, it can enlarge its pool of potential buyers.) Benefits include a Marketplace offering mobility services, some of which Ford has been helping to develop through its Smart Mobility initiatives over the past few years; FordGuides, who will provide over-the-phone or face-to-face assistance on mobility issues or questions; Appreciation, for membership loyalty; and FordHubs, where members can go to experience the company’s latest innovations.
Ford Dynamic Shuttle Service moves from experiment to pilot, providing point-to-point shuttle rides for employees
December 14, 2015
Ford is piloting an on-demand Dynamic Shuttle service for its Dearborn, Michigan, employees this month, providing a new mobility solution featuring smart ride-hailing technology with premium customized shuttles, applying insights from earlier experiments and research with global urban commuters.
Dynamic Shuttle—a Ford Smart Mobility experiment announced in January (earlier post)—supports the company’s broader effort to change the way the world moves. Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to take connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics to the next level.
KPMG study finds autonomous vehicles & mobility services could add one trillion more vehicle miles traveled annually by 2050
November 26, 2015
Innovations in autonomous vehicles, connectivity, and mobility-on-demand will have a profound impact on consumers, particularly among younger and older people, according to a new study by KPMG. With these age groups set to embrace these technological and transformational changes, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the US will soar by approximately one trillion additional miles per year by 2050.
According to KPMG’s research, which consisted of consumer focus groups in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver, two generations will largely drive consumer demand in the future, the millennials and the “baby boomers plus”—ranging from 45 to 75 years. However, in every age group, participants showed significant attraction to mobility on demand for specific conditions or circumstances, including safety, weather, premium experience, and leisure time.
Ford to invest $1.8B in R&D in China
October 13, 2015
Ford Motor plans to invest RMB 11.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) in research and development in China in recognition that Chinese consumers are increasingly driving global innovation. The investment will allow Ford significantly to build up its research and development capabilities in the country—especially at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center (REC)—and will help Ford create more world-class vehicles in China, for China.
First established in 2007 as part of Ford’s global product development network, Ford’s REC includes advanced product development laboratories which help the company develop new powertrains, test electronic systems, analyze the durability and safety of interior materials and improve vehicle manufacturing quality using the latest in 3-D scanning technologies.