autonomous driving

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Daimler to buy partner’s stake in Car2Go

Daimler to buy Europcar’s 25 per cent stake in short-term rental service Car2Go for $118 million, Daimler said in a statement.

Daimler and BMW are already in discussions to combine their short-term rental services Car2Go and DriveNow to develop driverless taxis.  

Germany’s two biggest luxury automakers are gaining a strong presence in the mobility market which is currently dominated by Uber and Didi Chuxing in China.

Daimler and BMW want to build a joint business that includes short-term rental, ride-hailing, electric vehicle charging, and digital parking services, consolidating their strong footprint in Europe.

The two companies have not confirmed the plans, but Daimler said last month it was open to considering a broader alliance and a partial listing of its mobility services operations.

The automaker said on Thursday its mobility services business was poised to expand its portfolio and its customer base, using the expertise gained from Car2Go to work toward an offering with self-driving cars.

“The goal is to develop the required expertise and resources so that we are a leader in the future business with self-driving cars,” Daimler said.

China’s Geely took a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler last week, demonstrating a desire to cooperate on technology.

Consultancy firm, PwC has said that conventional automakers could become marginalised by technology firms if they do not develop pay-per-mile mobility services.

Their share of global auto industry profits might fall from 85 per cent to less than 50 per cent by 2030.

“In this scenario, the only companies that can survive in the long-term are either those that prevail as a clear innovation leader on the product side, or those that recognise that mobility is no longer a product, but rather a service,” said Christoph Stuermer, global lead analyst at PwC Autofacts.

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Global concern over cybersecurity

59 per cent of connected car owners are concerned the car they own could be cyber-attacked.

As the number of connected cars on the road grows, their interaction with the environment around them and other connected devices becomes important.

New features that both simplify or amplify the car driving experience can introduce vulnerabilities that hackers could abuse.

The cybersecurity challenge presented above could be a major issue in the current race for car manufacturers to build and develop the most connected vehicle.

A recent survey by Irdeto, the Global Consumer Connected Car Survey, examined consumer ownership and purchasing plans for connected vehicles, awareness of cyberattacks targeting connected cars and cybersecurity concerns for both connected cars and autonomous vehicles.

The research was conducted online late last year and surveyed 8,354 adults, aged 18 and over, in six countries, including Canada, China, Germany, Japan, UK and US.

The key findings from the survey included:

Consumers are aware that a connected vehicle has the potential to be targeted by a cyberattack. Of the consumers surveyed, 85 per cent indicated that they believe any connected car has the potential to be targeted by a cyberattack. In addition, the survey found that 59% of connected car owners are concerned that their vehicle could targeted by a cyberattack.

The survey results also found that most consumers are aware that autonomous vehicles introduce security risks, with only 12 per cent stating that they don’t have any cybersecurity concerns about buying an autonomous vehicle.

Of those consumers who plan on purchasing a vehicle, more than half indicated that they are likely to research if the car they are buying is able to protect itself against a cyberattack. These results indicate that cybersecurity may be a key factor for many consumers when they are purchasing their next vehicle.

China led all markets in the number of consumers who are planning on buying a connected car, with 67 per cent indicating that they either own a connected car or plan on buying one in the future. Consumers in Japan were the least likely to buy a connected car, with only 22 per cent stating that they own or will buy a connected car.

In addition, millennials, aged 18-24 are the most likely to buy a connected car in the future, with nearly half surveyed indicating they will purchase a connected vehicle. However, as respondents increased in age, the desire to purchase a connected car in the future decreased. Only 20 per cent of consumers aged 55 and over indicated that they would buy a connected car in the future.

It is safe to say that cybersecurity is on the mind of consumers who plan on buying an autonomous vehicle, with most consumers across the globe having at least one concern, if not several.

Automakers need to start thinking about how they implement cybersecurity into autonomous vehicles before adoption rates take off. 

Click here to read the Global Consumer Connected Car Survey.

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Volvo’s Drive Me takes a detour

Autonomous Driving Brain in Volvo’s XC90 Drive Me car.

Volvo’s Drive Me autonomous driving project is taking some detours compared with promises the automaker made when it announced the program.

Under the announcement earlier this week, Volvo would deliver 100 autonomous SUVs to real families in Sweden, where these participants would test Volvo’s autonomous car technology. The cars would be able to run in fully “unsupervised” autonomous mode on certain, pre-approved and pre-mapped freeways in their respective communities.

The original plans, first announced in 2015, stipulated that the participants would be able to test fully driverless, Level 4-ready cars, however, Volvo is now pushing this back to 2021.

The families taking part in Drive Me will now be testing the cars with the same Level 2 semi-autonomous assistance systems that are available in Europe and the US. Eventually, the families will test vehicles with higher levels of automation, but in controlled environments such as a test track under supervision from Volvo safety experts.


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Honda to partner with AI giant

China’s leading artificial intelligence company, SenseTime, announced they have signed a five year joint development and research contract with Japanese car manufacturer, Honda.

SenseTime is highly regarded as a company that excels in image recognition technologies, which is powered by deep learning technology, one of the most advanced AI technologies.

The partnership will combine Honda’s vehicle control system with SenseTime’s algorithms to create an autonomous driving solution.

Autonomous driving solutions can be implemented even if there are no high-resolution maps. 

When a vehicle is driving without a detailed map covering its trajectory, it will still be able to use the self-driving function. This autonomous driving solution offers great advantages to a variety of passenger vehicle scenarios and will also lower transducer manufacturing costs.

SenseTime Japan CEO Lao Shihong said, “Safety is the utmost priority when it comes to driving, and it also constitutes the core of our autonomous driving solution. By combining SenseTime’s strengths in computer vision technologies with Honda’s superior vehicle control technologies, we will together enable a safe and pleasant autonomous driving experience. Moreover, the fact that SenseTime provides core technology to a global enterprise like Honda marks a milestone.”

SenseTime, with a set of core technologies and patents for autonomous driving, has also developed chips and embedded systems for smart AI cars.

The partnership between SenseTime and Honda is expected to accelerate the research and development of smart AI cars.

SenseTime is focused on computer vision and deep learning technologies, and has achieved many commercial successes.

It has powered many industries such as finance, security, smart phone, mobile internet, robotics and many more.

Following its latest US$410 million series B round of financing (which set a record for a single round of funding in the AI field), SenseTime has allocated more resources to developing autonomous driving, intelligent medical treatment, and deep learning computer chips.

The two companies have also announced they are working together to create robot technology.

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Volvo to supply autonomous vehicles to Uber

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Volvo has signed a non-exclusive agreement with Uber to sell tens of thousands of vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of auto alliances.

“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”

The vehicles are developed with Volvo’s fully modular, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world. It is currently being used on Volvo’s 90 series cars and the new XC60 midsized SUV.

The agreement enables a strategic partnership between both parties and marks a chapter in the merging of Silicon Valley-based technology companies and international car makers.

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive.

“Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

By working together Volvo and Uber’s engineering teams have developed the XC90 SUV, which incorporated all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies.

The autonomous cars are to be sold between 2019 and 2021.

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Intel: auto drive cars will lead to safer roads

Intel says autonomous driving will end human driving errors and lead to safer roads for everyone.

Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel Corporation, has discussed his company’s collaboration with Google company Waymo, and says he sees the venture helping to achieve these goals.

“Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes worldwide every year – an average 3,287 deaths a day. Nearly 90 per cent of those collisions are caused by human error,” Krzanich says.

“Self-driving technology can help prevent these errors by giving autonomous vehicles the capacity to learn from the collective experience of millions of cars – avoiding the mistakes of others and creating a safer driving environment.”

Waymo’s newest vehicles, the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, feature Intel-based technologies that offer Waymo’s fleet the processing power required for high-level to fully autonomous driving.

Krzanich says that at the pace autonomous technology is developing, he expects his children to be using the tech exclusively.

“That’s an astounding thought: Something almost 90 per cent of Americans do every day will end within a generation. With so much life-saving potential, it’s a rapid transformation that Intel is excited to be at the forefront of along with other industry leaders like Waymo.”

Autonomous vehicle manufacturers are moving into the Pacific. Last week Auckland company Ohmio Automation announced it will establish a production facility to build autonomous vehicles in Christchurch, and French company Navya stated its intention to build a production facility in Adelaide, Australia.



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