Mobility News This Week: General Motors, Otonomo, Amazon Web Services, Yunex Traffic, Volvo Concept Recharge, Google infotainment etc

There were some important developments that took place this week in the field of Electric Vehicles, Connected Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles, Clean Mobility, Shared Mobility etc. We are highlighting some of these below.

  • GM to Source U.S.-Based Lithium
  • Otonomo to utilize Amazon Web Services
  • Yunex Traffic brand launched
  • The Volvo Concept Recharge unveiled
  • Volvo Cars and Google continue partnership
  • General Motors Calls for ‘Equitable Climate Action’
  • Valeo and Omega Seiki working together on two and three wheelers electrification in India
  • BrightDrop to launch sustainable last-mile delivery hub in Seattle
  • Renault accelerates EV strategy
  • Wejo Partners with Microsoft, Palantir and Sompo
  • HERE, Vodafone and Porsche partner on real time warning system
  • Continental to use Supercomputer for research on tire and road wear particles
  • Velodyne Lidar launches India design center in Bangalore
  • General Motors and Shell Partner on Renewable Energy Solutions
  • Hyundai Motor Group working to develop advanced air mobility air traffic operating environment
  • Elektrobit unveils solutions for intelligent automotive digital cockpits

GM to source U.S.-Based Lithium

Lithium is a metal crucial to General Motors’ plans to make more affordable, higher mileage electric vehicles. To secure local and low-cost lithium  the automaker has agreed to form a strategic investment and commercial collaboration with Controlled Thermal Resources. Through this agreement lithium will be sourced in part from California from a more environmentally friendly process than traditional lithium production. This lithium will be produced through a closed-loop, direct extraction process that results in a smaller physical footprint, no production tailing and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

The company said in a press release that a significant amount of GM’s future battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate could come from CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, located in Imperial, California.

As an anticipated part of its $35 billion global commitment to EVs and autonomous vehicles , GM will be the first company to make a multi-million dollar investment in CTR’s Hell’s Kitchen project.

Otonomo to utilize Amazon Web Services

Otonomo will utilize Amazon Web Services (AWS) to accelerate vehicle data-based innovation. Otonomo is a provider of platform and marketplace for vehicle data, and by integrating its vehicle data platform with AWS’s connected mobility solution, AWS customers in the automotive sector and beyond can now use their existing cloud infrastructure to make their automotive data available via the platform.

Otonomo furnishes automakers and mobility service providers with the opportunity to create new revenue streams using the vast amounts of data that vehicles generate on a daily basis, which automakers are required to store and maintain.

Yunex Traffic brand launched

Former Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) is being launch under new brand name Yunex Traffic. The company will operate as new company of Siemens Mobility as of July 1st with a clear business focus and entrepreneurial freedom

Yunex Traffic will be positioned in a fast-paced market, where it can strategically leverage its market-leading position in offering innovative, smart, and comprehensive mobility solutions for roads and cities. It will continue to focus on adaptive traffic control and management, highway, and tunnel automation as well as smart solutions for V2X and road user charging (tolling). Automation and digitalization are a main focus of its portfolio strategy, making use of the possibilities that cloud

The Volvo Concept Recharge unveiled

Volvo Cars has unveiled Concept Recharge which is a “manifesto” for the next generation of all-electric Volvos. Built on mantra of ‘less but better’ at its core there is more interior space with improved aerodynamic efficiency. The next generation of Volvo’s fully electric cars – the first of which is the company’s first SUV on a completely new electric-only technology base – will feature flat floors, as previewed in the Concept Recharge.

By removing the engine and replacing it with a full battery pack under the flat floor, the designers have extended the wheelbase and the wheel size of the car. It also provides more space and a better seating position for all those inside the car.

It also has a 15 inch touch screen supporting next-generation connected infotainment system.  A LiDAR sensor, built by Luminar and a critical part of Volvo Cars’ plan for forthcoming safe autonomous drive technology, is placed in an optimal position on the roof to collect data on the environment around the car.

Volvo Cars and Google continue partnership

Volvo has extended its strategic collaboration with Google.  The Group was the one of the first car makers to introduce cars with an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS with Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play built-in.

The next generation of Volvo Cars’ approach to user experience is part of the VolvoCars.OS, an umbrella of the various operating systems in electric Volvos across the car and the cloud, and starts with Android Automotive OS and a new in-car display approach.

Some of the areas the companies will focus are:

  • Building a user experience for simplicity to optimise safety like clear split of information for the driver, according to the level of relevance while behind the wheel.
  • A high-resolution driver information screen gives the driver the most relevant information related to driving, such as speed and battery levels.
  • Large, centralized touch screen that provides rich content, easy-to-see information and responsive interaction.
  • Seamless connection to mobile device and to use it as a key
  • Volvo Cars app to offer everything else that comes with a modern life and electric car ownership. For example finding and paying for charging
  • Regular software updates to add new functionalities over the air (OTA)

General Motors Calls for ‘Equitable Climate Action’

General Motors has called for ‘Equitable Climate Action’ and has launched a new fund aimed at advancing climate equity. The new $25 million fund will complement GM’s $35 billion investment in EV and AV programs globally through 2025.

The announcements were made by GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. The company’s broader focus on equitable climate action, which is rooted in four key areas:

  • The Future of Work: The company to promote safety, quality, training and jobs for American workers.
  • EV Access: The company will offer a wide selection of EVs across a range of price points, from the Bolt EV to the Cruise Origin shared autonomous vehicle. GM also recently announced programs leveraging its HYDROTEC fuel cells for rail and aircraft applications.
  • Infrastructure Equity: GM is committed to ubiquitous charging solutions that can help meet customers where they are.
  • Climate Equity: GM will help fund organizations that are closing the climate equity gap at the community level and across four key areas: the future of work, EV access, EV infrastructure equity and climate equity.

Renault accelerates EV strategy

Renault has made several announcements to provide acceleration of to EV strategy and to offer competitive, sustainable & popular electric vehicles.

Highlights of the announcement are as follows:

  • The greenest mix in the European market in 2025, with over 65% of electric and electrified vehicles in the sales mix and up to 90% electric vehicles in the Renault brand mix in 2030.
  • Renault ElectriCity: a compact, efficient, high-tech electric ecosystem in Northern France, combined with the Group’s e-powertrain MegaFactory in Normandy.
  • A strategic partnership with Envision AESC to build a gigafactory in Douai to support the manufacture of latest technology, cost-competitive, low-carbon batteries from 2024.
  • A joint project with the French start-up Verkor to codevelop a high-performance, locally sourced, and sustainable battery by 2022.
  • A standardized cell footprint covering 100% of future BEV launches across all segments to reduce costs by 60% at pack level by 2030.
  • A highly compact e-powertrain enabling -30% on costs and -45% on wasted energy, giving an extra EV range of up to 20km.
  • A more balanced and more profitable product portfolio with 10 new electric vehicles.
  • Two icons with Renault 5 costing 33% less compared to ZOE and another timeless revival with ‘4ever‘.
  • A muscled-up all-electric C-segment with the All-new MéganE in 2022.
  • Renault Group expertise in generating added value throughout the battery lifecycle with Mobilize: up to 400 euros per year with V2G for EV drivers and a residual value of up to 500 euros per battery.

Wejo Partners with Microsoft, Palantir and Sompo

Wejo, a global leader in connected vehicle data, has joined forces with Microsoft, Palantir and Sompo to advance applications of connected vehicle data worldwide. Through the combination of their strategic partnerships and investment, the companies will be supporting Wejo’s vision of building the manufacturer-agnostic industry standard in connected vehicle data, creating applications across multiple marketplaces, including automotive, smart city, fleet, insurance, mobility, payments and more.

Wejo will build its suite of data and intelligence solutions on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. By combining forces, the two organizations will unlock the power of connected vehicle. The partnership with global insurance provider Sompo Holdings and Palantir aims creating an opportunity for connected vehicle data in the Japanese market and accelerate the development of Wejo’s products and expansion into APAC.

HERE, Vodafone and Porsche partner on real time warning system

HERE Technologies, Vodafone and Porsche are working together on real-time warning system. The companies are conducting a feasibility study and will be trialling how 5G technology and highly precise location determination can improve traffic safety and reduce the number of road accidents in the future.

The three companies are collaborating in the development of a real-time warning system so that vehicles and their drivers can receive hazard warnings directly, without any delay, and therefore be responded to immediately.

Continental to use Supercomputer for research on tire and road wear particles

Continental has received a grant worth 43 million core hours of supercomputer time for their joint basic research project. The other participants with the technology company for the grant are the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France. The Project aims to help advance fundamental research for tire and road wear particles.  Its goal is to learn more about the decomposition of rubber polymers to better understand the wear behavior of tires. The associated simulations of the behavior of complex polymer structures are very time-consuming. For this reason, the project partners applied for the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) initiative. With the digital computing power granted, they now have the opportunity to perform polymer simulations in greater depth and on a broader scale.

Velodyne Lidar launches India design center in Bangalore

Velodyne Lidar has announced the launch of its new India Design Center in Bangalore. The center will further the company’s growth strategy to drive continuous innovation in lidar sensor and software solutions that transform lives by advancing safe mobility and smart communities in global markets.  The India Design Center will closely collaborate with Velodyne’s San Jose, Calif.-based engineering team in leading-edge research and development to build customer-focused solutions.

General Motors and Shell Partner on Renewable Energy Solutions

General Motors and Shell, through its wholly owned subsidiary MP2 Energy are collaborating to provide comprehensive energy solutions programs to GM’s customers and supply chain partners, including fixed-rate home energy plans backed by 100 percent renewable energy resources. This program is currently available for eligible owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles in Texas. Coming this summer, owners of electric vehicles from GM brands will have the opportunity to select home energy plans that include the option for free overnight hours of EV.

Hyundai Motor Group working to develop advanced air mobility air traffic operating environment

The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group has entered into a partnership with ANRA to develop the operating environment for the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry. ANRA Technologies is a provider of end-to-end drone operations and traffic management solutions for unmanned system operators and airspace managers.

This is the first in a series of air traffic management partnerships Hyundai plans to establish in the development of an industry consortium building the AAM operating ecosystem.

As part of the partnership, ANRA will provide strategic insight on Hyundai’s concept of operations (ConOps) for AAM airspace management and ground mobility integration. The two companies will also identify research opportunities to help inform regulatory decisions and advance infrastructure projects.

Elektrobit unveils solutions for intelligent automotive digital cockpits

Elektrobit (EB), a supplier of embedded and connected software products for the automotive industry, has announced new offering providing car makers with solutions for intelligent automotive digital cockpits.

EB Cockpit System Solutions support the development of next-generation in-vehicle user experiences—from specification, design and conception to production engineering and integration of hardware, software, and third-party applications.

The new solutions—first used by Sony Group Corporation to support the development of the its EV, VISION-S Prototype—allow car makers to offload the creation of custom cockpit designs to EB’s team of experts. EB claims to make it possible for them to differentiate their vehicles without the investment and resources required to build them from scratch and maintain over time.

Valeo and Omega Seiki working together on two and three wheelers electrification in India

Valeo, an automotive electrification technology company, and Omega Seiki Mobility (OSM), part of Anglian Omega Group, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), through which Valeo will provide the electric powertrains for OSM Vehicle Range.

Valeo will provide its 48V electric powertrain system (reducer, integrated Motor and Inverter) along with the Powertrain Control Unit for Omega Seiki Mobility cargo three-wheelers “Rage+ and Rage+ Frost”. In addition, Valeo’s engineers will provide the technology integration support to help Omega Seiki Mobility to go to the market quickly. Valeo and Omega Seiki Mobility will further collaborate for the upcoming vehicle models to be manufactured by the company in India.

Valeo, pioneer and world leader in 48V affordable systems, launched, in 2020, fully integrated compact 48V electric powertrain system in India to aid affordable electrification for small mobility vehicles – two and three wheelers, that are extensively used for first and last mile connectivity in the country.

BrightDrop to launch sustainable last-mile delivery hub in Seattle

BrightDrop, a company working on building a smarter way to deliver goods and services, has collaborated with the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL) to launch one of the nation’s first zero operating-emissions, last-mile neighborhood delivery hubs.  Some of the other entities part of the program are the City of Seattle, and tech and delivery companies, AxleHire, Coaster Cycles and REEF.

The delivery hub in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood is a pilot program using zero operating-emissions technology to test new vehicles, delivery models and other technologies to help accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable last-mile solutions.

(Based on Press Release by the companies)


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