News This Week: Autonomous Vehicles, Connected Vehicles, Clean Mobility, Shared Mobility, Research and CES 2021

The post presents some important developments that took place this week in the field of Autonomous Vehicles, Connected Vehicles, Shared Mobility, Clean Mobility, and Research.

Foxconn and Geely Holding join forces

Foxconn and Zhejiang Geely Holding are joining forces to provide contract manufacturing and provide consulting services on electric vehicle (EV) technologies to automakers. The JV will also have focus on connectivity and autonomous driving technology and shared vehicles. Both the company will hold 50% in the venture. Coming together of these two companies would be interesting to see as Taiwan based Foxconn is a major Apple Inc supplier and Chinese automaker Geely owns Volvo Cars and holds a minority stake of 9.7% in Daimler AG.

Continental mobility study: Many people still doubtful about electric cars’ environmental friendliness

Continental recently released Mobility Study 2020. The highlights of the study are as follows:

        • Continental Mobility Study 2020 shows a clear split when it comes to e-mobility

        • According to the results of the study, enthusiasm for electric cars is strong in China, while reservations still need to be overcome in Germany, France, the USA and Japan
        • Acceptance of electric mobility has increased in all five countries surveyed in recent years
        • Skeptics particularly report the lack of range as a central obstacle to purchase
        • In major European cities, critics say there are too few public charging stations

The study concluded that since 2013, the proportion of car owners who can imagine driving an all-electric car in the future has risen in most countries, and quite considerably in some. But there are still major reservations when it comes to electric mobility: the low availability of charging stations, range anxiety, the need for charging breaks when on longer journeys, and the high price when compared with cars with combustion engines are some of the impediments to wider adoption.

Sony VISION-S prototype vehicle undergoes public road testing

Sony Corporation announced the completion of its VISION-S prototype vehicle and has begun public road tests in Europe. The company intends to contribute to the evolution of mobility by contributing safety, security, and in-car entertainment and for which it is bringing together its cutting-edge technologies together. Sony also plans to conduct driving tests in other regions as well going forward.

Solaris joins European Clean Hydrogen Alliance

Solaris joined a few dozen other entities as a member of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance at the end of 2020. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance is an initiative led by the European Commission. Its aim is to scale-up, by 2030, the production and deployment of hydrogen as a fuel produced by means of low-emission technologies and renewable energy sources. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance is one of the many measures taken by the European Union to bolster its position as a world leader in the production and deployment of hydrogen in industry and the energy grid. It is also one of a host of actions intended to support the EU’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Solaris is one of the leading European bus and trolleybus manufacturers so its joining the alliance would be seen as a positive development.

Renesas and Microsoft collaborate on connected vehicle development

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced its collaboration with Microsoft to accelerate the development of connected vehicles. The R-Car Starter Kit, based on Renesas’ R-Car automotive system-on-chip (SoC), is now available as a development environment for the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP). MCVP combines a partner ecosystem with a horizontal platform of Azure cloud, AI and edge services on top of which mobility companies can build customer-facing solutions. MCVP helps mobility companies accelerate the delivery of digital services across vehicle provisioning, two-way network connectivity, and continuous over-the-air updates of containerized functionality. Within the Renesas development environment, customers can utilize MCVP components and Renesas Board Support Package (BSP) in addition to multimedia package for R-Car.

Groupe Renault and Plug Power to work together on Fuel Cell Technology

Groupe Renault and Plug Power, a company known for fuel cell systems and hydrogen related services, have signed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to launch a 50-50 joint-venture based in France by the end of the first half of 2021. The JV will offer products and solutions to the LCV market, designed around 3 key pillars:

  • R&D: Groupe Renault and Plug Power intend to establish an Innovation Center for the development of fuel cell technology and hydrogen fuel cell LCV vehicles based on existing and future Groupe Renault platforms.
  • Manufacturing: the joint-venture will combine the manufacturing capabilities to establish a vertically integrated fuel cell stack and system manufacturing center in France
  • Sales: this partnership will create a hydrogen vehicle eco-system solution company that offers vehicles, hydrogen fueling stations, hydrogen fuel, and services to customers. This comprehensive solutions approach will accelerate adoption by commercial fleets.

HERE Technologies unveils EV Routing feature

HERE Technologies unveiled a new EV Routing feature to optimize both private and commercial electric vehicle routing while minimizing the number of charging stops and reducing battery charging times. EV Routing delivers the most optimal route including charging time that allows trips and charging stops to be planned by taking into account both static and dynamic data like topography, road geometry, real time traffic information and traffic patterns. It can be synced to the consumption model of the vehicle and can be adjusted to different driving styles, loads or weather conditions.

Mobileye previews strategy for Autonomous Vehicles

Mobileye, an Intel Company, previewed the strategy and technology for autonomous vehicles (AV). The highlights of the strategy are:

        • Delivering a sensing solution that will make use of Mobileye’s technology – including Road Experience Management (REM) mapping technology, rules-based Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) driving policy and two separate redundant sensing subsystems based on camera, radar and lidar technology.
        • Mobileye plans a software-defined radar customized to autonomous vehicles. It will be introducing solutions that will innovatively deliver such advanced capabilities in radar and lidar for AVs while optimizing computing- and cost-efficiencies.
        • Crowdsourced mapping technology: Mobileye claims its technology can now map the world automatically with nearly 8 million kilometers tracked daily and nearly 1 billion kilometers completed to date. Mobileye will start driving its AVs in four new countries without sending specialized engineers to those new locations.

FCA and Grubhub partner

Xevo has partnered with Grubhub, a leading food-ordering and delivery marketplace, to deliver safer, contactless food ordering capabilities in FCA vehicles via an app on the Uconnect Market connected services platform. Grubhub boasts the largest and most comprehensive network of restaurant partners, featuring more than 300,000 restaurants in 4,000 U.S. cities. Uconnect Market, developed in partnership with Xevo, enables consumer interactions with popular brands and services through embedded ordering and transaction capabilities via the in-vehicle touchscreen. 

Qualcomm brings digital cockpit experiences and NIO NIO ET7

Qualcomm Technologies and NIO USA are working together on next generation digital cockpit technologies to be featured in NIO’s first flagship sedan, the NIO ET7. Available in 2022, NIO ET7 will feature the 3rd Generation Qualcomm Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform and Qualcomm Snapdragon Automotive 5G Platform, bringing in-vehicle experiences to consumers. By leveraging Qualcomm Technologies’ technological innovation and automotive product portfolio NIO aims to bring more intuitive and immersive digital cockpit experiences and 5G technologies to users.

Mitsubishi Motors introduces In-Vehicle Garage Control

Chamberlain Group and Mitsubishi Motors North America announced myQ Connected Garage is now part of the My Mitsubishi Connect platforms. myQ, a technology platform developed by Chamberlain Group claims to enable seamless smart access control, provides automakers the ability to integrate Smart Vehicle Access within their own connected service platform so drivers can safely open and close their garage door through convenient in-dash touchscreen control. The technology will debut on the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, the brand’s sporty design and technology-forward compact SUV. A new 8-inch smartphone-link display audio (SDA) system comes standard on the Eclipse Cross, giving the driver better access to and control of features available through the My Mitsubishi Connect app, including myQ Connected Garage.

Nexteer Automotive invests in Israel-based Tactile Mobility

Nexteer Automotive has invested in Israel-based Tactile Mobility, a tactile virtual sensing and data company. Tactile Mobility’s software collects data using vehicles’ built in, non-visual sensors including wheel speed, wheel angle, RPM, paddles position, gear position, and then analyzes it to yield actionable insights in real-time. These insights provide a clear-cut, highly accurate description and analysis of the continually evolving state of vehicles, roads and vehicle-road dynamics.

Smart eye unveils new aftermarket driver monitoring system

Smart Eye AB, a company known for eye tracking software for driver monitoring systems, recently unveiled aftermarket driver monitoring system. By studying a person’s eye, face and head movements, Smart Eye’s driver monitoring solution can recognize driver drowsiness or distraction and prevent traffic accidents caused by an inattentive driver.

And by integrating DMS software and interior sensing system software, Smart Eye’s solution claims to see even further to detect people, pets and everyday objects throughout the vehicle’s interior.

Magna collaborating with Fisker to develop an ADAS

Magna is collaborating with Fisker to develop an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), which will be applied to the Fisker Ocean SUV that is expected to launch in late 2022. The companies will work together to develop industry-unique ADAS features and a suite of software packages powered by a scalable domain controller architecture. In addition to leveraging cameras and ultrasonic sensors, the ADAS package includes digital imaging radar technology.

Eyeris and Texas Instruments Collaborate

Eyeris Technologies announced its collaboration with Texas Instruments (TI) on an in-cabin sensing AI solution, using TI’s Jacinto TDA4 processors and 2D RGB-IR image sensors. The TDA4 SoC processor enables efficient inference of the Eyeris deep neural network (DNN) portfolio from multiple RGB-IR cameras simultaneously. This complete in-cabin monitoring solution, integrated into the D3 Engineering DesignCore platform is designed for autonomous and highly automated vehicles.

HARMAN Turbo Connect anticipates and mitigates vehicle connectivity discrepancies on the road

HARMAN, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, focused on connected technologies and solutions for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced HARMAN Turbo Connect (TBOT), a new intelligent software agent that anticipates and mitigates vehicle connectivity discrepancies on the road. The newest solution in the company’s telematics portfolio satisfies the current demand for high-speed connectivity with low latency, especially when used alongside 5G-enabled technologies like Smart Conformal Antenna and full 5G and 5G-ready Telecommunications Control Units (TCU).

Britishvolt’s collaboration agreement with Siemens

Britishvolt, an investor in battery technologies, has entered into an exclusive technology collaboration agreement with Siemens. Under the collaboration, Siemens will provide Britishvolt with access to its automation, electrification solutions and Digital Twin manufacturing execution technology. This system gives the opportunity to simulate gigaplant production processes and flows ahead of construction completion, optimising design and efficiencies. It also promises to speed up delivery times, allowing the company to stay on track to deliver the first lithium-ion batteries at the end of 2023.

Hyundai Motor to establish an offshore fuel cell system production facility in Guangzhou, China

Hyundai Motor has signed an investment contract with the government of Guangdong Province to establish an offshore fuel cell system production facility in Guangzhou, China. The investment advances the Group’s global hydrogen leadership and supports its push into China’s rapidly developing hydrogen industry. Construction is scheduled to begin next month and will be completed by the second half of 2022. The plant will be the Group’s first fuel cell production base outside of Korea, with the initial capacity to produce 6,500 units of fuel cell systems per year. The Group will gradually increase the capacity in line with market demand.

FCA to implement Amazon’s Alexa Custom Assistant into its vehicles

FCA will implement Amazon’s Alexa Custom Assistant into its vehicles. The company believes this will make it fast and easy to create intelligent voice experiences for FCA products. The Alexa Custom Assistant solution is built directly on the Alexa technology stack within FCA’s Uconnect system and can be tailored to each FCA brand personality and customer need with a unique wake word, voice, skills and capabilities.This innovative technology also introduces the unique capability of two in-vehicle voice assistants to simultaneously cooperate and fulfill customer requests. FCA has already begun the planning process for the integration of the Alexa Custom Assistant in its future models.

Nissan and Enel present the new integrated solution for effortless e-mobility

Nissan, Enel Energia and Enel X are offering all customers who buy a new 100% electric LEAF the opportunity to take advantage of economic benefits for e-vehicle charging as well as for domestic and business supply. E-ASY ELECTRIC, the integrated solution designed by the compays offers customers who choose the new 100% electric Nissan LEAF 10,000 km of free e-mobility. By signing up to the E-ASY ELECTRIC initiative, customers immediately receive a voucher for 480 kWh, or up to 2,800 km, to charge their vehicle free of charge at over 12,000 Enel X charge points located across Italy via the Enel X JuicePass app.

Toyota Research Institute and Stanford University’s working on improving automotive safety

Toyota Research Institute and Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Lab are conducting research into how to bring together the instincts of professional drivers and automated driving technology. Their goal is to design a new level of active safety technology and share it broadly so that Toyota and other auto manufacturers can deploy it on the road.

TRI has supported the Dynamic Design Lab’s research for many years. The current project draws upon Stanford’s published paper, “Opening New Dimensions: Vehicle Motion Planning and Control using Brakes while Drifting,” in which Stanford researchers demonstrated advanced drifting on MARTY, an electrified, automated DeLorean. Stanford’s experimental results produced a proof-of-concept architecture capable of controlling a rear-wheel drive vehicle in a drift using brakes, steering and propulsion. platforms, including the GR Supra. TRI is also engaging Toyota’s engineering expertise in motorsports and advanced development.

Oxbotica raises $47 Million

Oxbotica, an autonomous vehicle software company, has announced the completion of a $47 million Series B investment with partners across the globe led by bp ventures. The company aims to use the funding to accelerate commercial deployment of its autonomy software platform across multiple industries and key markets. Oxbotica was founded in 2014 by Oxford University professors, Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner. Since then, the company has grown from a UK robotics start-up to one of the world’s leading autonomy companies.

(Based on News Reports and Press Releases)

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