Volkswagen will build its connected car tech on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform

Volkswagen Automotive Cloud

Volkswagen has enlisted the help of Microsoft to allow its customers to utilise digital services in its connected cars. The joint solution – called the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud – operates on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, allowing customers to access key services and seamlessly switch between in-car and home services. The German car manufacturer enlisted the help of Microsoft’s Azure platform to offer extra-value services, such as the ability to continue streaming music from their home when getting into their car, or accessing a conference call while on their way to work.…

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Renault unveils autonomous concierge concept for last mile delivery

EZ-PRO concept-car

Renault has unveiled the EZ-PRO, an autonomous delivery concept that could provide a modular, last-mile option for logistics operators. Renault launched the futuristic concept at the Hannover Motor Show this week, highlighting the company’s confidence in this potentially lucrative market. The ‘last mile problem’ is a critical challenge for cities, as the boom in online and mobile commerce has caused an influx of petrol- and diesel-powered vans into crowded centres and suburbs, ramping up pollution. Companies are exploring a range of solutions, from autonomous electric vehicles to electric bikes and…

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Arm launches dedicated processor for autonomous vehicles

processor for driverless vehicles

SoftBank’s British chip-making giant Arm has launched what it describes as the “world’s first autonomous-class” processor for driverless vehicles. The Arm Cortex-A76AE has been designed exclusively for automotive applications. The processor is the first in Arm’s new Automotive Enhanced (AE) line and includes specific features for in-vehicle processing. The move opens the door to the design of safety-hardened chips that combine both the processing performance required for autonomous applications and high-integrity safety features. Arm counts Nvidia, NXP, Renesas, Samsung’s Harman business, and the Siemens Mentor unit among its driverless-car industry…

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IDT acquired by Renesas for $6.7 billion, with focus on autonomous vehicles

IDT acquired by Renesas for $6.7 billion

Japanese semiconductor solutions provider Renesas has agreed to buy California-based Integrated Device Technology (IDT) for $6.7 billion. The move will leave the company well placed to provide a wide range of products that will be essential to self-driving vehicles. Renesas is a leading provider of embedded processors, while IDT specialises in sensors, connectivity, and wireless power. Together, the companies’ products are poised to improve performance and efficiency in high-computing electronic systems. The initiative will see Renesas expand its analog solutions line-up and strengthen its kit solution offerings, which combine its…

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Uber closing self-driving truck division

Otto Uber

Uber is pulling down the shutters on its self-driving trucks unit, a programme rooted in the $680 million acquisition of San Francisco-based Otto in 2016. The company has announced that it is now refocusing its efforts on self-driving cars as it gears up for IPO in 2019. Last week, Uber’s head of advanced technologies, Eric Meyhofer, confirmed that the company’s fleet of self-driving cars is being redeployed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to resume public testing. Uber’s autonomous vehicles were pulled from public roads in March, following a fatal collision with a…

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Liege gets smart parking through NB-IoT technology – and a new partnership


Belgium-based CommuniThings has partnered with Orange to launch the first smart-parking solution over NB-IoT technology for commercial use. Dubbed as “Shop & Drive”, the solution assists commuters to find available parking space via a mobile application at the same time as stimulating shopping activities through increased vehicle rotations at each spot. This Shop & Drive smart parking solution running on Orange Belgium’s Mobile IoT network introduces low-power wireless sensors and open-data applications serving residents, retailers and municipalities. CommuniThings has been selected by Orange Fab BeLux – an accelerator programme for…

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Volkswagen, NVIDIA, Bosch launch Networking for Autonomous Vehicles (NAV) Alliance

NAV Alliance

Leading automotive manufacturers and technology providers have joined forces to create the Networking for Autonomous Vehicle (NAV) Alliance. Aquantia, Bosch, Continental, NVIDIA, and the Volkswagen Group of America have formed a partnership that will draw on their expertise in the car manufacturing, networking, and AI spaces, to help develop new autonomous and connected vehicle technologies. The NAV Alliance will offer a framework for collaboration around technology, specifications, interoperability, testing, and product development, with a focus on multi-gigabit in-vehicle networking. It is hoped the initiative will help solve real-world challenges in…

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Uber: Poor object recognition and system design caused death

Uber crash

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released the preliminary findings of its investigation into the fatal accident in March involving an autonomous Uber test vehicle and a pedestrian. Uber announced on 23 May that it was formally ending its driverless test programme in Arizona, where the accident took place. While ‘probable cause’ has been left blank by investigators, whose work is ongoing, their initial report makes it clear that the accident was due to poor object recognition and system design, and Volvo’s own emergency braking and driver assistance…

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Intel Mobileye signs European deal for 8 million semi-autonomous cars

traffic road highway

Intel’s Mobileye autonomous driving division has signed a deal to supply an unnamed European automaker with driverless vehicle and driver assistance technologies. The value of the deal has not been announced, but is reported to cover eight million vehicles. Autonews reports that the deal will begin in 2021, when Mobileye’s EyeQ5 chip, which is designed for fully autonomous driving, is launched as an upgrade to the EyeQ4 that is scheduled for rollout this summer. According to figures from Statista, VW has by far the largest share of the European car…

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Apple has more autonomous cars on road than Waymo or Tesla

Apple car

Apple has increased its fleet of autonomous test vehicles in California to 55, with 83 registered drivers, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The announcement means that Apple now has more autonomous test cars in the state than Waymo (51), Tesla (39), and recent entrant (14). Only GM Cruise has more registered vehicles, at 104. According to the DMV, 53 companies are testing a total of 409 autonomous vehicles in California. However, Apple has yet to apply for a driverless permit, which would allow it to…

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Ultra-fast power options open up for electric vehicles


Home charging of plug-in cars looks set to be displaced by charging stations in car parks and petrol stations, as investment in EV infrastructure soars, says Jessica Twentyman. For electric vehicle (EV) owners today, charging their car at home is a vital part of the daily routine. If they’re lucky and they plan their trips well, they can avoid the worst symptoms of ‘range anxiety’ – the fear that their vehicle’s battery will run out of charge before they arrive home or are able to locate a charging station. The…

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Five automakers motoring ahead with 3D printing


In recent months, major automotive companies have announced new moves in 3D printing as the technology gathers pace in their sector. Jessica Twentyman reports. The global automotive industry was one of the earliest sectors to see the potential of 3D printing. Today, it’s where some of the most mature applications of the technology can be found. Take, for example, General Motors, the maker of automobiles under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC brands. The company claims to have owned some of the first 3D printers, and now has some of…

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MIT system enables autonomous driving on poorly mapped roads


A new system from MIT, known as MapLite, enables self-driving cars to navigate using just GPS and sensors. Self-driving systems are typically seen being tested in urban environments – locations that have been mapped and manually labelled to allow an AI to navigate the roads safely. However, a team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), supported by the Toyota Research Institute, have rigged a Toyota Prius with LIDAR and IMU sensors and used CSAIL’s MapLite system to enable the vehicle to drive autonomously beyond city…

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BMW, Ford, Toyota, Jaguar partner on Future Mobility, blockchain, IOT

Future Mobility

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd (SMMT) has launched a ‘Future Mobility Challenge’ to the technology and automotive sectors. Under the new scheme, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch, Ford, and Toyota are collaborating with the SMMT to encourage tech startups across a broad range of sectors – including finance, health, and even fashion – to pitch solutions to a range of challenges that are facing the automotive industry (see below). The Challenge aims to explore a range of issues, from investigating the potential of blockchain, to security, the…

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IoT solution to bring location awareness for half a million cars


Manheim is deploying an LPWAN solution from sister company Cox Communications to track the locations of its vehicles across its North American sales lots. Automobile auctioneering company Manheim is using a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN)-based Internet of Things (IoT) system developed by its sister company, Cox Communications, (both owned by Atlanta-based Cox enterprises), to track up to 500,000 vehicles at car lots across North America. The new solution, known as Cox2M, is designed for asset management across multiple industries, but is initially being launched with the company’s automotive division to…

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