South Korea's Doosan Infracore has acceded to make an investment in autonomous driving systems start-up PoteNit. Details of the heavy equipment subsidiary of Doosan Group's first start-up investment were not publicised. PoteNit's autonomous mobile robot (AMR) attracted Doosan Infracore's investment. Doosan Infracore has an intention to include automation solutions into its business portfolio as it has pursued to create technology that can roboticise mining and construction machinery. Meanwhile, Australia-based investment banking service provider Macquarie reported that the logistic robotics market worldwide is projected to expand to USD 2.40bn (EUR 1.94bn) in 2020 from its evaluation of USD 1bn, and to over USD 18bn in 2025.
US-based ridesharing company Uber Technologies has announced that it is cooperating with federal officials who are investigating the firm's fatal self-driving crash in Arizona. An autonomous Uber car failed to stop as it fatally struck a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated that the firm is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTBA) in its probe on why the car did not see the woman crossing the street. Uber suspended the tests on its own autonomous vehicles after the crash.
On 12 April 2018, Japan-based Hino Motors Ltd and Germany-based Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH (Volkswagen Truck) revealed that they have formed a strategic partnership. The companies will collaborate in areas including connectivity and self-driving technologies as well as diesel and gasoline-electric hybrid engines. The partnership was formed in view of the transformation in the commercial vehicle sector that needed automated driving capabilities and lower-emission vehicles.
According to Li Xiang, CEO of China-based electric car startup CHJ Automotive (CHJ), in a bid to boost self-driving technologies, by the end of 2018, a strong R&D team will be formed by the company in the US. From July 2018 to December 2018, self-branded large sports utility vehicle featuring with super-long mileage will be launched by the company. Li added that tailor-made electric vehicles (EVs) will be developed for China-based ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing's (Didi) platform to assist it in reducing cost of maintaining a stable car supply on the platform. The EVs will bring more convenient ride-hailing services.
The German vehicle maker Volkswagen (VW) is negotiating over a possible cooperation with the Japanese truck producer Hino, a subsidiary of Toyota. The possible partnership would involve the development of conventional engine units, hybrid technology, electric trucks, autonomous driving systems and truck connectivity, VW declared. The two companies are expected to finalise a cooperation agreement soon.
Upon inking a strategic cooperation memorandum on 9 April 2018, a cooperation will be formed by China-based automaker Great Wall Motors and Chinese Internet giant Baidu to work on shared vehicles, big data, intelligent connected vehicles and self-driving technology. There will be incorporation of i-Pilot, Great Wall Motors' self-driving system with Baidu's Apollo system. Baidu will help Great Wall Motors to develop a trial area for intelligent connected vehicles in Xushui district of Hebei province. An open platform will also be set up by both parties for self-driving software and hardware.
Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will introduce a driverless shuttle bus for students within the coming months. The university, local transport operator SMRT's operations and maintenance unit SMRT Services and Dutch automated transit system provider 2getthere entered into an agreement on 16 April 2018 to launch the buses to NTU's campus. The bus will ply a 500m route connecting the main academic areas and student halls and will ferry up to 300 passengers daily. It can take 24 people at a time and travel at speeds of up to 40kmh. The bus knows to avoid pedestrians and can get through heavy rain. It is equipped with light detection and ranging (lidar) and ultrasound sensors, as well as cameras to help it see its way around. The road is embedded with small magnets to act as navigation guides.
Test runs were conducted for the bus along a 350m route between two student halls on the NTU campus since November 2017, safely transporting a total of 4,000 passengers. Eventually, the bus is expected to traverse the entire campus and beyond - connecting the campus to neighbouring CleanTech Park. It will also be integrated into an app called Jalan-Jalan that integrates various transport modes on campus, including shuttle buses and e-scooters. The app is being tested on NTU's campus and at CleanTech Park after the university entered into a partnership with JTC and a SMRT-backed start-up mobilityX in August 2017. The app is expected to be launched in phases across the country by end-2018.
Portuguese and Spanish authorities have signed an agreement to develop a joint road corridor for driverless motor vehicles resorting to the aid of 5G telecommunication networks. This is a pan European experience which involves other cross border roads in countries like France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, FiInland, and Germany.
Following a fatal car crash involving US-based electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla's Model X SUV in March 2018, the company claimed that the accident was due to the victim's own mistake and defended its semi-autonomous Autopilot system. Tesla claimed that the driver, Walter Huang, had his hands off the steering wheel for six seconds prior to the crash and Autopilot was activated during the moments. The accident occurred during the day and the company further claimed that the accident was possible due to Huang not paying attention even though multiple warnings were given by the car. The crash is currently under investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Huang's family plans to sue Tesla and has mandated US-based law firm Minami Tamaki. The firm stated that Tesla's defective Autopilot feature could be the likely cause of death.
At Shanghai's Tus-Caohejing Science Park, Autowise.ai tested its self-designed driverless cleaner trucks. It is claimed to be the first of its kind in the world. The fleet consists of two types of trucks, one measuring three metres long and another six. The co-founder of Autowise.ai, Ye Qing said that truck can be easily volume-produced, as the high-tech sensors fitted on it only cost CNY 300,000 (EUR 38,742.38 USD 47,607.61). Every morning at 2am, the driverless truck will activate itself and clean the roads. After it finished, it will also automatically discard the trash and return to parking.
In China, TuSimple officially announced its venture into driverless container truck market in Beijing on 3 April 2018. Five units of Delong X6000 driverless container trucks will be put into a trial operation before increasing the number of 25 by end-2018. The company and Shaanxi Automobile Holding Group (Shacman) will jointly conduct massive trial operations in the coming two years.
A prototype electric vehicle imagined by French automotive design school École ESPERA Sbarro and equipped with different sound effects created by vehicle parts manufacturer Faurecia has been presented at the Geneva Motor Show (8-18 March 2018). The company's site in Bavans, which specialises in the development of the signature sound of premium automotive brands, is waiting for the go-ahead from manufacturers to develop sounds for electric vehicles in accordance with the future EU legislation requiring electric and hybrid vehicles to audibly alert others of their presence when travelling at speeds below 20 kmph. This will be a requirement from 2019. The regulation defines the frequency bands, but the sound that the vehicles must make has not been specified and can also change depending on the speed at which it is travelling. The Bavans site is therefore expanding. A new 3,200 m2 building is being built at the site in order to accommodate the 100 new recruits expected within a year's time.
France-based autonomous vehicle technology company EasyMile has entered into a three-year research cooperation with the University of Melbourne in Australia. An EasyMile autonomous vehicle has arrived at the university. With a speed of up to 40km an hour and a carrying capacity of 12 people, the vehicle will be used for research purposes initially.
German vehicle manufacturer BMW is to build a fifth assembly line at its plant in Steyr, Austria, from the middle of 2019. Four and six-cylinder diesel engines will be built on the line from February 2020. The housing for electric engines will also be built at Steyr from 2019. A total of 240 jobs will be created. BMW has also invested EUR 100mn (USD 122.88mn) on 30 additional engine test rigs where it can simulate real driving conditions. The test rigs have been in full operation since the beginning of 2018 and are used for testing acoustics and exhaust gases. Temperatures between minus 40 degrees and plus 50 degrees Celsius and altitude differences of up to 5,000m can be simulated. Eight different fuels from gasoline to various diesel mixes can also be tested.
An academic study on energy preservation conducted collaboratively by the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) and the Smart Mobility Research Centre, has received BMW Group Thailand's BMW 330e M Sport which is the automobile producer's new electric plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV), at the Engineering Faculty of Chulalongkorn University. The study aims to facilitate future electric vehicle- (EV) related developments and the achievement of EPPO's objective to have 1.2mn PHEVs and EVs plying the streets of Thailand by 2036, through a database that compiles the results of driver behavioral patterns analysis, in addition to EVs and PHEVs' energy efficiency evaluation made from data collected in the Greater Bangkok area. BMW has also reiterated its commitment to spur Thailand towards a mobility's persistent future.
The Austrian automotive supplier Polytec increased its EBIT by 5.1% to a record EUR 55.10mn (USD 67.71mn) in 2017. The turnover rose by 4% to EUR 676.4mn. The passenger cars division recorded a 2% growth to EUR 434.1mn. The commercial vehicle parts division grew by 12% to EUR 165mn. The turnover of the non-automotive division remained stable at EUR 77.3mn. Polytec is planning to invest EUR 260mn by 2020. The majority of the funds will go into the construction and expansion of factories as well as digitisation. The company's head office in Hörsching is to be modernised for EUR 3.5mn.
South Korea's Hyundai Mobis unveiled a KRW 3bn (EUR 2.28mn USD 2.80mn) 3D-printing lab at the auto parts maker's Mabuk Technical Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. The Design Model Workshop's use is for the testing of varying 3D-printed auto parts on a full-sized new car model sculpted from clay. Powder-based 3D printers and clay modelling machines are some of the design facilities available at the 430-square-metre site. It will function as a one-stop centre for the design process by consolidating sample design, car modeling and editing stages.
The German automotive supplier and tyre company Continental has reportedly appointed Alexander Klotz as new boss of its Technical Center India (TCI). Some 3,000 employees work at TCI.
German automotive supplier MFT Motoren und Fahrzeugtechnik has signed a strategic partnership with India-based Precision Camshafts with the aim of opening up more American and Asian markets. According to MFT boss Guido Clinski, the strategic alliance will allow MFT to continue to grow solidly in times in volatile times for the automotive industry, and to secure its site and jobs here in Cunewalde, in the German region of Upper Lusatia. Yatin Subhash Shah, Managing Director of PCL states that the Indian firm hopes to use the company's excellent reputation and the expertise to jointly develop and implement new ideas. The firms will jointly invest in research and development and pool competences and networks to offer new technological solutions.
On 9 April 2018, Valeo was presented with two Pace Awards, for its laser scanner Scala and new air conditioning system. Scala offers a 145 degree view and is capable of detecting objects up to 150 metres away. The scanner is adapted for autonomous vehicles and already equips the Audi A8. The Valeo R-744 air conditioning system functions without chemical coolant using a natural alternative. This system increases electric vehicles range by 15% for temperatures between 0 and 15 degrees Celsius and by close to 30% for temperatures between 0 and -20 degrees Celsius. Valeo was also a finalist for the 48 V alternator and starter for hybrid vehicles. The company invested EUR 1.11bn (USD 1.37bn) in R&D in 2017, filing the most patents in France.
On 16 April 2018, Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp stated that it planned on introducing vehicles with short-range wireless technology in 2021. The technology uses dedicated short-range communications to transmit data up to ten times per second up to 300 meters to nearby vehicles. The data include speed, direction and location. The company said that the technology has the potential of preventing accidents.
The Gear Up Bluetooth Pintar intelligent tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) has been released by Malaysian automaker Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua (Perodua). Users of the system will be able to check tyre pressure in real time. In addition, the FOBO Tire mobile app can be downloaded by customers to receive real time information regarding the temperature and pressure of their tyres via their smartphones.
The app is available for Android 4.3 and iOS 7.1. Until 30 June 2018, one unit of the TPMS can be purchased for MYR 385 (EUR 80.37 USD 99.20) . Following that, the TPMS will be available in the Peninsular for MYR 430.
Cryptographic technologies will be installed by Honda Motor in cars to be mass-manufactured in 2019. The Japan-based automaker will install the cryptographic key to electronic control units. The Key Management Centre will be unveiled by the automaker. A cryptographic key will be unveiled by the Key Management Centre for communications among auto parts like a brake, steering, among others, to be transmitted to component producers' facilities.
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