We are told to leave politics out of business.
Today, that is impossible for me: I could not currently justify a blog’s inherent call for attention if I did. Business doesn’t exist in an independent vacuum – and so we must talk about war.
This month, we witnessed the dawn of war. This is a war born out of philosophies and behavioral patterns that we hoped long overcome in Europe. A war that grimly impacts every single Ukrainian – including business partners I was meeting and discussing projects with just weeks ago.
The world we live in has since changed. Decades-old norms and status quos are disappearing rapidly, such as the neutral stance of Sweden and Finland, the indifference of Swiss banks or the quasi-pacifist German defense policy.
If a single good thing has come from Putin’s war of aggression, it is the self-fulfilling prophecy of what he sought to disrupt: a courageous unity among EU and NATO members. It is needed now more than ever.
As a defensive alliance, we must have the courage to defend what we stand for. As a community based on humanitarian values, we must extend them to our neighbors in need. As people of principles, we must uphold them – especially when it becomes inconvenient to do so.
We must stand with Ukraine – or we risk losing what unites us.
Bosch to Acquire 3D Mapping Specialist Atlatec GmbH – via Auto Futures
Last week, automotive Tier 1 supplier Bosch signed a contract to fully acquire mapping company atlatec – yes, that’s us.
Following Nvidia’s acquisition of DeepMap and Toyota/Woven Planet buying Carmera last year, atlatec becomes the latest independent HD mapping company to be snapped up by a larger player in the automotive space. Although I am obviously biased, it seems like a smart move:
Bosch aims to use atlatec’s capacities to boost its own technology in the L3/L4 automated driving space – an effort all major players (other than Tesla) agree will require HD maps to function in the foreseeable future. So it stands to reason that deeply integrated HD maps/mapping capacities will serve as a lever to bring performance up while keeping costs down – a combination that has long been one of the key selling
Waymo to keep robotaxi safety details secret, court rules – via TechCrunch
One of the key components to make autonomous driving work is trust: The public’s trust that the vehicles you are deploying will be at least as safe as human drivers, if not safer. The quest for this trust took a bit of a blow this month, with Waymo’s legal win over the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Here’s the issue:
Before deploying AVs for testing on public US roads, companies need to file for a permit with the DMV – a filing that inevitably includes sensitive information about their technology, its operations and the underlying safety case.
Waymo has been granted a testing permit in California – and an undisclosed party filed a public record request for information related to it (the DMV is a public sector entity, after all). Waymo asserted they should have the right to black out pieces of information that include trade secrets and redacted heavily, making the eventually released documents rather inconclusive.
The underlying conflict of interest is one between companies’ rights to protect trade secrets/intellectual property (which they have to share parts of with safety regulators) and the public’s right to information when it concerns public safety.
To my knowledge, this was the first court ruling of this sort – but it could certainly have larger implications, if it serves as a precedent in future cases.
Tesla again – is it starting to feel like they are over-represented on this blog? Maybe, but it’s hard to ignore articles that include sentences like this one:
“The recall shows that Tesla programmed its vehicles to violate the law in most states[.]”
This relates to Tesla’s FSD performing what’s called a “rolling stop” at intersections, meaning it would coast through stop signs at lower speed rather than coming to a complete halt as mandated in most states.
Some people were wondering whether it was a big deal for a vehicle to roll a stop sign since that’s what most human drivers do, too. Personally, I find it a very big deal if an OEM configures technology to intentionally break the law, because I don’t want private companies deciding which laws to follow and which not.
Industry expert Philip Koopman does a very good job at citing 10 total reasons why you should care in this blog post which I absolutely recommend as a bonus read.
That’s it for this month. I hope all of you are safe and look forward to better times, when we will return to automotive news only.
All the best