Volkswagen and NVIDIA combine to infuse AI into future vehicle lineup

Volkswagen and NVIDIA combine to infuse AI into future vehicle lineup

Volkswagen and NVIDIA have shared their vision for how AI and deep learning will shape the development of a new generation of intelligent Volkswagen vehicles.

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At the opening of the 2018 International CES, Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess and NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang discussed on stage how AI is transforming the auto industry and highlighted the new I.D. BUZZ, Volkswagen's exciting new rebirth of the iconic Volkswagen MicroBus, reimagined in electric car form and infused with AI technology for the cockpit and self-driving.

"Artificial intelligence is revolutionising the car," Diess said. "Autonomous driving, zero-emission mobility and digital networking are virtually impossible without advances in AI and deep learning. Combining the imagination of Volkswagen with NVIDIA, the leader in AI technology, enables us to take a big step into the future."

"In just a few years, every new vehicle should have AI assistants for voice, gesture and facial recognition as well as augmented reality," Huang said. "Working with Volkswagen, we are creating a new generation of cars that are safer, more enjoyable to ride in than anything that has come before, and accessible to everyone."

Focus on intelligent co-pilot capabilities

One exciting potential outcome of AI infusion into Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ are "Intelligent Co-Pilot" capabilities, which will include convenience and assistance systems based on processing sensor data from both inside and outside of the car. The systems can be enhanced throughout the life of the vehicle via software updates, and can gain new capabilities as further developments are made in autonomous driving. Thanks to deep learning, the car of the future will learn to accurately assess situations and analyse the behavior of others on the road, enabling it to make the right decisions.

Building on the NVIDIA DRIVETM IX Intelligent Experience platform, AI-enabled features such as facial recognition for unlocking the vehicle from the outside, driver alerts for bicycles, gesture recognition for user controls, natural language understanding for flawless voice control, and gaze tracking for driver distraction alerts are all possible.

Volkswagen's path to autonomous driving

The I.D. BUZZ is part of the I.D. family1 with which Volkswagen will launch its electric car campaign and gradually introduce autonomous driving starting in 2020. More than 20 fully electric vehicles are planned by 2025 toward its goal of becoming the world leader in this area.

These new models are based on the completely new MEB car architecture that is consistently geared towards zero-emission, digital mobility and make use of the electric drive's overall package benefits. Using a battery that is integrated flat in the chassis floor, and a compact drive system, they offer a generous and highly variable interior. To this end, pioneering technologies are available from the electric compact car segment, such as the operating concept featuring an augmented-reality head-up display. From the start, the models based on the MEB architecture will offer the very latest assistance systems and will be prepared for the respective levels of autonomous driving that are available. The MEB electronic systems will also be gradually introduced to vehicles with conventional drive systems that are based on the MQB architecture.

VW and self-driving tech experts Aurora announce strategic collaboration

VW and self-driving tech experts Aurora announce strategic collaboration

The Volkswagen Group and leading self-driving technology company, Aurora Innovation, announced a strategic collaboration ahead of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

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The collaboration brings the two companies together to realise self-driving electric vehicles in cities as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) fleets.

The Volkswagen Group defined its goal of becoming a global leader in autonomous driving with its dedicated Self-Driving System (SDS) in its future program "TOGETHER – Strategy 2025". This strategic direction builds on a long tradition for the Volkswagen Group as a leader in the fields of automated vehicle and advanced mobility technologies. In 2005, a Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab-Stanford University team claimed victory at the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, which is widely considered the dawn of the automated vehicle era.

Self-driving technology is set to become the centrepiece of future personal mobility. The collaboration with Aurora will provide valuable experience with the world-class engineering team to the ongoing development of software and hardware for driverless vehicles, and, additionally, mobility services for urban and rural areas.

With this new agreement, the Volkswagen Group is stepping up the pace of its strategic initiatives. As the Self-Driving System (SDS) reaches the required maturity and safety levels in the first cities, it can be integrated across the Group brands, for different product categories: from fully self-driving pods, like SEDRIC, the Volkswagen concept introduced in 2017.

Over the past six months, specialists from the Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL) at Stanford University have already been working intensively with experts from Aurora to integrate Aurora's self-driving system including sensors, hardware and software, such as Machine Learning and AI technology in Volkswagen Group's vehicle platforms. With the customer experience at the centre of this technology development, the Volkswagen Group is focused on creating new solutions, with the goal of providing best-in-class user experience with a focus on safety, convenience and usability. Cities need such smart mobility solutions to help solve their traffic, pollution and traffic safety challenges.

Garmin heads to CES with a new scalable infotainment platform for OEMs

Garmin heads to CES with a new scalable infotainment platform for OEMs

Garmin International will be introducing its scalable infotainment platform for OEMs at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

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The platform uses the Intel Atom quad core x7 or Intel Atom dual core x5 (Apollo Lake) processor and includes multiple premium industry-firsts for consumers like wireless rear-seat navigation, comprehensive weather forecasts along a route, Foursquare's Location Intelligence and Places Database, and unique integration of Amazon's cloud-based Alexa voice service.

"Garmin's scalable infotainment platform offers a level of performance and design that consumers expect from consumer electronics but have never seen in OEM infotainment," said Kip Dondlinger, Garmin automotive OEM manager of product and user experience. "The new platform provides adaptable hardware and software for infotainment head units that suit specific OEM needs at the mid- and high-end levels of the market."

Driving in bad weather can be a common concern for consumers. To help bring peace of mind, Garmin utilises predictive routing algorithms that work with AccuWeather Go powered by MinuteCast technology to display the weather conditions that can be expected along any given route. Thanks to this joint effort between Garmin and AccuWeather, the scalable infotainment platform offers the first navigation system to provide comprehensive minute-by-minute weather forecasts with Superior Accuracy to pinpoint exact routes.

The Garmin scalable infotainment platform takes Alexa integration in the vehicle to a new level. Alexa works directly with the on-board navigation and media player software established by Garmin – which means no smartphones or apps required. Consumers can easily select their destination with the Alexa hands-free voice service and then have it automatically synced to turn-by-turn navigation from Garmin. What's more, consumers can ask Alexa questions and receive both audio and on-screen responses; play music through the head unit's media player; control home automation while travelling on the road; and access hundreds of other Alexa skills from the vehicle's head unit.

In addition, Garmin also uses the infotainment platform for wireless rear-seat navigation and entertainment. Tablets or smartphones – Apple or Android – will have access to the head unit's mapping and full navigation functionality streaming over Wi-Fi to the rear seat. Rear seat passengers will be able to see the vehicle's route, search points of interest, and even send destinations to the head unit. Users can also stream media content from the infotainment system to their device via Wi-Fi, making the vehicle an entertainment hub that mimics the experience seen on commercial airliners.

The versatile platform includes on-board and connected Foursquare points of interest (POI) integration, a feature that was recently launched by Garmin as a factory-installed navigation solution. With Foursquare's Places Database that powers 125,000+ developers including Uber, Twitter, Samsung and Snapchat, Foursquare adds more POIs in the categories of Food and Drink, Lodging, and Entertainment which are the most searched categories in a car.

Autonomous vehicle sales to surpass 33 million annually in 2040, IHS Markit says

Autonomous vehicle sales to surpass 33 million annually in 2040, IHS Markit says

More than 33 million autonomous vehicles will be sold globally in 2040, a substantial increase from the 51,000 units forecast for the first year of significant volume in 2021, according to the latest autonomous vehicle sales forecast from business information provider IHS Markit.

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Key market dynamics influencing growth are accounted for in the latest analysis from IHS Markit. The rapid convergence of autonomous driving and mobility services such as ride-hailing is a central driver of early deployment and growth. The United States will lead the world in initial deployment and early adoption of production autonomous vehicles as early as 2019, while Europe and China are expected to begin adding considerable volume from 2021 onward. Mobility-as-a-Service will first bring this technology to the masses before individual ownership of autonomous vehicles enters the picture.

"The first autonomous vehicle volumes — beyond retrofit test vehicles — will arrive in 2019 through driverless mobility services," said Egil Juliussen, Ph.D. and director of automotive technology research at IHS Markit. "Volumes will surpass 51,000 units in 2021 when personally owned autonomous cars reach individual buyers for the first time, and IHS Markit forecasts estimate nearly 1 million units will be sold in 2025 across shared fleets and individually owned cars."

Significant ongoing investment in transportation technology by OEMs, suppliers, mobility service providers and technology companies contributes to earlier deployment timelines, while dedicated mobility service brands within many automakers contributes to higher volumes of autonomous vehicles in the forecast. The IHS Markit analysis reflects partnerships and ecosystems forming around technology and services that will help the industry address the complex challenges around the evolution of autonomous mobility. All of these are contributing factors to the forecast, which also incorporates a new demand-driven methodology, as the industry shifts from thinking exclusively about unit sales to usage per distance or time. The forecast also includes a breakdown of Levels 4 and 5 of the industry-standard Society of Automotive Engineers Levels of Automation.

"Diversity of choice in personal mobility and autonomous driving technologies are both evolving more quickly than ever, but their convergence will have the greatest impact," said Jeremy Carlson, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit. "Autonomous mobility services can deliver newfound personal freedom to the young, old, disabled and others without reliable transportation for everyday needs" he added, "but the benefits don't have to stop there. Fleet operators in big cities who better understand the lower operational costs of battery electric vehicles are more likely to employ them to drive higher amounts of vehicle and passenger miles travelled."

Additionally, an increasing number of governments around the world contemplate phasing out or disincentivising gas-powered vehicles in favor of hybrids and electric vehicles, and as OEM efforts toward vehicle electrification continue, it's logical that air quality in cities should improve.

United States first to deploy autonomous mobility

The US market will see the first autonomous vehicle sales in the world, the IHS Markit forecast says, as many individual states and the nation as a whole are expected to adopt an industry-friendly regulatory approach. The first uses will be in mobility service fleets, which will provide early hands-on experience with the technology and help reduce consumer scepticism. Announcements from General Motors, Waymo and Uber contribute to early projected mobility fleet volumes in 2019 before personal autonomous vehicles become available as early as 2021. Total US volumes of autonomous vehicles are expected to reach 7.4 million units per year in 2040.

China leads in total volume, driven by mobility services

Mobility services have taken hold in many Chinese cities already, and driverless variants are expected to maintain popularity with consumers. Additionally, the automotive and technology industries are aggressively closing the gap in key sectors including autonomous driving and artificial intelligence. Regulations on autonomous vehicle testing and deployment are expected soon in China, and will provide clarity for the industry to reach 14.5 million autonomous vehicle sales in 2040.

European markets remain strong in ownership of autonomous vehicles

European regulations are an obstacle to the same ride-hailing services that will drive initial deployment in the US, but European markets are especially strong in technology-rich luxury brands. As a result, according to the forecast, the balance in Europe will tip toward personally-owned autonomous cars over driverless mobility fleets, amounting to 5.5 million autonomous vehicle sales annually in 2040.

Other global markets see late deployment and low adoption

A variety of factors will limit adoption of autonomous vehicles in other global markets, according to IHS Markit, including the presence and strength of the local automotive industry, regulations governing autonomous driving and/or mobility services including ride-hailing, and the complexity of local driving conditions. While many countries including Japan, South Korea, Australia and Canada will have a mix of favourable conditions that introduce autonomous vehicles locally as early as 2022, most global markets are expected to experience more roadblocks that bring late initial deployment and low adoption of autonomous driving overall. In 2040, IHS Markit forecasts autonomous vehicles sales in other global markets to reach nearly 6.3 million per year combined, compared to more than 27.4 million between the US, China and Europe.

"Mobility-as-a-Service is a boon to autonomous driving, and it will help prove and improve the technologies while allowing the industry to re-imagine the relationship between the car, the driver and the user experience," Carlson said.

Juliussen added, "As operational areas expand, miles travelled and the business opportunity increase considerably. Business decisions — battery electric vehicle versus hybrid, how to deploy cyber security, data privacy and monetisation — will become even bigger differentiators than they are today."

Baidu selects ON Semiconductor image sensors for its Apollo autonomous driving platform

Baidu selects ON Semiconductor image sensors for its Apollo autonomous driving platform

ON Semiconductor has joined Baidu's Apollo Autonomous Driving Platform to allow these ecosystem partners to get the plug-and-play compatible imaging solutions jointly developed by both companies.

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Apollo provides an open source, reliable software and hardware system, enabling the efficient development of autonomous driving systems by automotive systems designers. Image sensing is a key component of the Apollo platform which supports enhanced autonomous driving functionality.

ON Semiconductor's fully-qualified 3 μm-based advanced CMOS image sensor product provides a foundation to allow customers to immediately begin development of vision systems for autonomous driving, with the flexibility to move to future sensors at volume deployment. With high dynamic range (HDR), the sensor is able to provide crisp, clear single images and video in the challenging low and mixed light scenes synonymous with automotive environments.

In addition to simplified and accelerated design, test and implementation of automotive camera applications, the relationship gives Apollo ecosystem members priority access to ON Semiconductor's technical support and product information. All Apollo partners will also get early opportunities to work with future generation, breakthrough image sensing technologies from ON Semiconductor.

"Given the importance of cameras as sensors for autonomous driving, we considered many aspects in our selection process for the Apollo platform including product roadmap, experience in automotive, and technical support for ecosystem platforms," said Mr. Zhenyu Li, VP and General Manager of Intelligent Driving Group at Baidu. "ON Semiconductor was the right choice for Apollo platform image sensor needs."

Ross Jatou, VP and General Manager of the Automotive Solutions Group at ON Semiconductor said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Baidu on their Apollo platform. We believe that the value of such a platform to Automotive system designers will be tremendous. It is underlined by the number of industry leaders already engaged and looking to utilise it. Image sensors are fundamental components of ADAS implementations throughout the vehicle, and they will become even more relevant as the industry moves towards fully autonomous cars. Joining forces with Baidu by providing the image sensor solution for the Apollo platform is further validation of ON Semiconductor's leading position in automotive image sensing."

Infineon enables flexible wireless charging for automotive and consumer applications

Infineon enables flexible wireless charging for automotive and consumer applications

Infineon Technologies has said that it is offering flexible chip sets for high performance including software IP for smart and safe wireless charging applications.

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Working with a systems solution partner, Infineon provides reference designs for both inductive and resonant wireless charging solutions for on-the-go charging, whether in the car, at home or in public places.

Automotive in-cabin wireless charging

The controller works seamlessly with power devices from Infineon to provide a complete charging solution:

  • Voltage Regulator and Power MOSFET technology enable high efficiency power conversion, while network ICs serve for reliable communication according to highest automotive standards
  • Supports the current 15 W charging standards, including fast charge smartphones, and can support future changes through a software update
  • An enhanced power stage architecture improves Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) performance 10-15 dB over existing solutions on the market
  • A newly developed supplemental Foreign Object Detection system provides enhanced detection accuracy to meet critical customer safety requirements.


"AURIX microcontrollers help the next-generation in-cabin wireless charging systems meet strict automotive safety, security, environmental and regulatory requirements", said Ralf Koedel, Marketing Director Microcontroller at Infineon. "Still, they enable industry-leading charging performance and efficiency".

Recharging consumer devices without complicated thermal management

The Infineon XMC microcontroller provides a powerful and cost-effective platform. The scalable architecture can support everything from a fast charge smartphone, to a 20 W robot, up to a 60 W drone and beyond. Paired with power products, like MOSFETs and Driver ICs, this system can provide full power wireless charging without complicated thermal management, often achieving charging rates equivalent to wired charging.

The XMC based 2.5 W low-power solution from Infineon is the industry's lowest cost resonant wireless charger. It supports both one-to-one and multi-device charging on a single transmitter. By using a higher frequency, very small coils can be employed in a variety of form factors, with no regard to nearby metallic objects. These benefits make the technology ideal for charging wearables, headphones, smart clothing and other connected IoT applications.

DHL's Streetscooter trucks to use BMW i3 battery modules

DHL's Streetscooter trucks to use BMW i3 battery modules

Logistics giant DHL is looking to electrify its vast fleet of trucks and vans in the future by buying EVs or making its own trucks, like the "Streetscooter".

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StreetScooter GmbH is an electric vehicle manufacturer located in Aachen, Germany. In December 2014 Deutsche Post DHL Group announced that it was purchasing the company.

The supplier for the Streetscooter program is BMW with its i3 battery modules.

The battery packs will be manufactured at the BMW Group Competence Center for Electric Mobility in Dingolfing and are composed of 8 modules, outfitted with 12 cells each — making for a total capacity of 33 kilowatt-hours (kWh). The battery management system, and sensor and climate control tech, are all BMW designed as well. The battery cells themselves come from Samsung SDI.

The CEO of Streetscooter GmbH, Professor Achim Kampker, commented on the news: "The BMW i3 high-voltage modules are exemplary for extraordinary reliability and performance in the car sector. They enable us to use state-of-the-art electric drive technology and integrated energy management even in demanding supply and distribution traffic."

The announcement represents a further milestone on Deutsche Post DHL's path towards building and selling an affordable, mass-production all-electric delivery van.

Dr. Alexander Kotouc, Head of Product Management BMW i, says companies using BMW's battery tech testifies to its capacity: "The choice of BMW i battery modules for the Streetsccoter is further proof that robustness, innovation and sustainability in future-oriented products are by no means mutually exclusive. The successful transfer of state-of-the-art automotive technology, even in the challenging field of postal and parcel delivery, testifies to the far-sightedness and universality of the BMW i concept."

LG Electronics and HERE Technologies partner on autonomous car tech

LG Electronics and HERE Technologies partner on autonomous car tech

LG Electronics is partnering with HERE Technologies to offer a next-generation telematics solution for autonomous vehicles, combining LG's advanced telematics technology with high-precision map data and location services powered by the HERE Open Location Platform.

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Through their planned collaboration, the companies aim to support automakers globally with a robust and secure data communications hub for highly automated and fully autonomous cars.

HERE is the world's leading provider of map data and location services to the automotive industry, powering more than 100 million cars on the road today. The company is also working with automakers on the development of HD Live Map, its highly-accurate cloud-based map service which supports connected ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and automated driving solutions. HD Live Map, which LG intends to deploy in the joint solution it offers automakers, identifies all roads and surrounding features such as lane markings, stop signs, crosswalks, speed signs and traffic lights. The importance of the company's intellectual property and potential was highlighted in 2015 when a consortium of global automotive companies – Audi, BMW and Daimler – acquired HERE. The company has since also welcomed additional investors from the broader technology industry.

When fully developed, telematics will play a key role as the communication hub for autonomous vehicles. First, sensors in the vehicle's ADAS – comprised of cameras, radar and lidar – read the surrounding environment and send the data to the cloud along with information on nearby vehicles collected via V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything). All the information gathered is repeatedly analysed and transmitted to the telematics systems of vehicles for customised driving information.

LG's telematics solutions support various communication technologies from GPS to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and mobile communication.

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