Audi and Ericsson partner to bring 5G connectivity to automotive manufacturing

Audi and Ericsson partner to bring 5G connectivity to automotive manufacturing

Automobile manufacturer Audi and Ericsson have announced plans to pioneer the use of 5G technology for automotive production.

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At Audi's headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, the two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. Audi and Ericsson have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in the coming months, experts from both companies will run field tests in a technical centre at the "Audi Production Lab" in Gaimersheim, Germany.

Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at Audi AG, said, "The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on the production of the future. A powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance for us. As part of the project with our partner Ericsson, we are testing the opportunities offered by 5G technology for industrial applications in the smart factory."

In addition to the Ingolstadt plant, Audi and Ericsson are exploring whether 5G can be used in other Audi Group factories.

Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson, said, "Ericsson is already running 5G industry programs all over the world to help manufacturers boost productivity and create new business opportunities. This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing."

5G is the next-generation of mobile communications, which will extend the performance of today's mobile networks to serve the future needs of consumers and industries. 5G networks will deliver a better and faster broadband experience for consumers, while for businesses 5G will be an enabler to open up new applications for everything from connected vehicles to the smart factories of tomorrow.

The technology has many network characteristics that are essential for Industry 4.0 with increasingly flexible and complex production processes. It allows for faster data throughput rates and more network capacities, as well as promising highly secure availability. Moreover, ultra-low latency ensures fast response times between equipment in the factory system.

In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson will test a latency-critical application using wirelessly connected production robots that are equipped with a gluing application, a commonly used technique in auto body construction.

The planned infrastructure at the technical centre in Gaimersheim will include the implementation of 5G technologies in a simulated production environment that mirrors those of Audi's plant in Ingolstadt and other locations. The laboratory will be equipped with Ericsson's Proof-of-Concept (PoC) network which is an open trial facility to enable early deployments of 5G technology.

The network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including WiFi or wireless LAN, or wired (Ethernet) connectivity of production components.

Yokohama Rubber develops technology for producing Isoprene from Biomass

Yokohama Rubber develops technology for producing Isoprene from Biomass

The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., announced that it has developed the world’s first technology capable of efficiently producing isoprene from a biomass. The new breakthrough is the result of joint research with RIKEN and Zeon Corporation.

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Isoprene is a raw material in the production of synthetic rubber (polyisoprene rubber) used in automobile tyres and other applications. Industrial isoprene currently is produced as a by-product of naphtha pyrolysis. The development of this new technology for synthesising isoprene will reduce dependence on petroleum and contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is considered a cause of global warming.

Yokohama Rubber, RIKEN and Zeon began joint research in 2013 and in 2015 discovered a new isoprene-synthesising process using a computer-based in-silico metabolic design technology. Further development of this new technology has led to the creation of cells with excellent isoprene-synthesising capability based on a new artificial pathway and highly active enzymes.

The new technology has succeeded in creating cells with the in-vivo capability of generating isoprene from a biomass (sugar) that serves as the starting material. The in-vivo generated isoprene is then polymerised to achieve synthesis of polyisoprene rubber. The research leading to this new technology took advantage of the cell design and plant science technologies of the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS).

It is widely understood that isoprene is produced naturally from mevalonic acid (an intermediate substance formed from sugar) through a five-stage reaction, but the new artificial pathway constructed through the joint research reduces that process to two stages.

Furthermore, the highly active enzymes possess a phenomenal isoprene-producing capability that is not achievable by natural enzymes. Introducing this artificial pathway and these enzymes into colon bacilli gives the bacteria an isoprene-generating ability that it lacks in nature and enables an efficient artificial synthesis of isoprene. Yokohama Rubber has confirmed that this technology can also be applied to butadiene-based synthetic rubber and other diene rubbers.

Continental signs membership agreement with AI research group at the UC Berkeley

Continental signs membership agreement with AI research group at the UC Berkeley

Continental announced that it is expanding its international network for artificial intelligence (AI) in Silicon Valley.

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"We are joining forces with the world's leading AI researchers," said Demetrio Aiello, Head of Continental's Corporate Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Lab. "Building on the momentum of our strategic partnerships with the University of Oxford, DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) and other AI thought leaders, we have signed a five-year agreement to be members of the UC Berkeley DeepDrive (BDD) center."

The research partnership focuses on optimising the speed of neural networks, as well as protecting AI systems in safety-critical applications. Both Continental and BDD are driven by the goal of implementing the AI research results into series production as quickly as possible.

BDD works with state-of-the-art technologies for machine seeing and learning in automotive applications. The multidisciplinary centre is managed by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Industry sponsors support the program to help bring new technologies to automotive applications. Professor Trevor Darrell, also Director of the "Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology" (PATH) program, leads the group.

"Continental is a leader in the automotive industry and BDD is opening up opportunities for artificial intelligence and autonomous driving in automotive applications, which makes for a great team," said Darrell.

In the first year of the program membership, Continental and BDD are focused on two fields of research. First is the testability of AI algorithms in safety-relevant systems. Drivers need to be sure that the complex technology in their vehicles will work properly, so BDD is developing methods that will allow the reliability of AI systems to be tested more efficiently. The researchers at the centre are also looking at how to operate AI applications in a memory-efficient way to accelerate and optimise neural networks. This will allow easier implementation of AI methods in vehicles.

Explainable AI focuses on understanding precisely how an AI system makes decisions. To test artificial intelligence in detail, experts must know exactly how it works. In addition to the benefits of the research itself, Aiello shared another important advantage of the membership. "The opportunity to have colleagues from Silicon Valley and other Continental locations working as part of BDD research teams enables more efficient collaboration and transfer of expertise. It also allows us to identify the talent we need for our AI strategy at an early stage."

By the end of 2018, Continental will employ around 400 engineers worldwide with specific AI expertise and also add AI experts in product and process development.

SEAT’s Arona and Ibiza to be equipped with a digital cockpit

SEAT’s Arona and Ibiza to be equipped with a digital cockpit

SEAT is bringing its versatile and customisable Digital Cockpit to the Arona and Ibiza, providing clearer information that is better suited to individual drivers.

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The SEAT Arona is the first crossover on the market to benefit from the 10.25" interactive, customisable display, which has already aided drivers in the SEAT Leon and Ateca since January 2018. In the UK, the Digital Cockpit comes as standard in Xcellence Lux and FR Sport trim for Arona, Ibiza, Leon and Ateca.

The pixel-dense digital instrumentation not only has a more modern and versatile design, but provides greater functionality, allowing drivers to view everything from classic information found on analogue dials, such as speedometer and tachometer, to full-colour maps and navigation.

"We are fully committed to offering our customers the best quality design, bringing in the precision of a classic gauge into the digital world, where each pixel is designed with the same accuracy", said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Director of Design at SEAT. "Taking advantage of this disruptive digital environment, our interior car design upgrades to the next level."

Controlling the information provided is simple and requires the driver to merely press the steering wheel-mounted 'View' control button to scroll through the three different available main displays, minimising driver distraction and maximising the clarity of information provided depending on the driver's needs.

Transitions between the available information on the 1280 x 480 pixel TFT display are smooth thanks to its 75 Hz refresh rate, which makes information easier to read.

BorgWarner’ innovation to help improve efficiency and reduce emissions in hybrid vehicles

BorgWarner’ innovation to help improve efficiency and reduce emissions in hybrid vehicles

Developed for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), BorgWarner’s innovative Exhaust Heat Recovery System (EHRS) will enter production later this year for vehicles from a major North American automaker.

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By using the heat from exhaust gas which would normally be diverted through the exhaust pipes and wasted, the company's technology reduces engine warm-up time, enhances efficiency and significantly improves fuel economy and reduces emissions. This cost-effective solution offers compact packaging, low weight and can easily be integrated into existing vehicles.

"Until a cold engine reaches its optimal operating temperature, it is much less fuel efficient and generates higher emissions, which is one of the challenges to master for upcoming emissions regulations. Our EHRS minimises engine heat up time, helping automakers around the globe meet new and more stringent regulations," said Joe Fadool, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Emissions & Thermal Systems. "With the EHRS, BorgWarner serves the growing demand for highly efficient solutions to reduce emissions and strengthens its position as a leading supplier of clean technologies."

Combining an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a waste heat recovery system (WHRS), BorgWarner leverages its vast experience in heat transfer and exhaust gas aftertatment technologies, such as EGR coolers and valves, enabling the company to offer a superior solution.

The EHRS reduces mechanical losses by using the energy conserved within the exhaust gas. During engine cold starts, a valve controls the exhaust gas flow, routing it through a heat exchanger, where the thermal energy of the gas heats up the vehicle's subsystem fluids. As a result, the engine warms up faster, reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency.

BorgWarner's low-pressure EGR valve precisely controls the temperatures in the combustion chamber, improving engine efficiency and combustion timing. In addition, the technology reduces carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions as well as particulate matter (PM).

Hitachi Automotive Systems to supply ADAS ECU to Mitsubishi Motors

Hitachi Automotive Systems to supply ADAS ECU to Mitsubishi Motors

Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. announced that its Advanced Driver Assistance System Electronic Control Unit (ADAS ECU) was selected for use in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s eK Series vehicles, which refers to three models: the eK Wagon, eK Custom and eK Space.

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The ADAS ECU is an integrated control for all the functions of numerous advanced driving support systems, such as the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system, the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system, the Lane Departure Warning system (LDW), etc., within a single controller.

Hitachi Automotive Systems developed the ADAS ECU in 2007 based on the drive control technology accumulated through approximately 40 years of developing market performing Engine Control Units. From 2009, the ECU has been equipped on numerous mass-produced models.

As a standard feature, Mitsubishi Motors' eK Series is equipped with autonomous emergency braking systems that reduce damage or avoid collisions with alarms and automatic breaks whenever there is a danger of collision with preceding vehicles or pedestrians. Also, in addition to the AEB system that prevents collisions and the already existing erroneous start prevention feature (when driving forward), advanced driving systems such as collision mitigation avoidance assistance for drivers who accidentally press the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal, with added capabilities for driving in reverse or avoiding pedestrians (when driving forward), are equipped on all models. These vehicles are aimed at elderly drivers and equipped with advanced technology that supports safe driving. They meet the Japan's recommended new safety concept of "Safety Support Car S (Support Car S) Basic Plus.

Hitachi Automotive Systems is supporting these Support Car S vehicles' preventative safety functions with ADAS ECU technology, and moving forward, will continue contributing to preventing traffic accidents caused by drivers including the elderly and accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

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