News from Volvo, Voyage, FCA, GM, Cruise, Aurora, Uber, Lyft

Your monthly automotive briefing

Another month has come and gone – and as usual, there’s been a lot going on in automotive over the last weeks. Here’s some key items that stuck out to me during May:

“The challenges of developing autonomous vehicles during a pandemic” – via VentureBeat

This piece is actually from April 28 – I missed it last month but I absolutely wanted to include it in this newsletter: The article is a bit on the long side but well worth it for the insights into the role of simulation in the development of AVs, using examples from Waymo, Cruise, Aurora, Uber and Lyft.

“Volvo bucks the industry, will sell LIDAR-equipped self-driving cars to customers by 2022” – via The Verge

The question seems to be as old as time: When will autonomous vehicles actually appear on public roads? It’s a question that’s notoriously hard to get right and many in the industry have been far too optimistic in their past guesses, so it’s probably good advice to be skeptic of specific answers. Volvo, however, didn’t hold back this month: The company announced that starting 2022, using LiDAR technology by Luminar, their production vehicles will be able to do just that – at least on (some) highways.

“Fiat Chrysler and AV startup Voyage partner on self-driving minivans” – via TechCrunch

It seems that AV startups are starting to embrace the expertise of traditional car makers: After Waymo recently announced a massive investment by Tier1 giant Magna, this month it was Voyage’s turn: CEO Oliver Cameron made public that his company is partnering with FCA who will be supplying them with purpose-built Chrysler Pacificas and the support to deeply integrate Voyage’s AV stack with vehicle technology such as braking and steering systems.

“GM working on semi-autonomous Ultra Cruise to operate on all roads” – via The Detroit News

Did I just say that Volvo aims for autonomous driving on a set of highways? GM is aiming even higher, looking to develop a successor to its Super Cruise system – internally named “Ultra Cruise” – that would allow cars to travel autonomously on all kinds of roads: highway, urban and rural. Unlike Volvo, however, GM has yet to give any information on when this technology is going to be available and which models are likely to be outfitted with Ultra Cruise.

That’s it for this month – enjoy your read! And if you would like to receive these monthly updates via newsletter, you can sign up for that here.


Automotive Innovation in April 2020

News from Zenuity, GM, Honda, Mobileye, Carmera, Volvo, Daimler Trucks and atlatec

Hello Dear Reader,

Whether or not the automotive industry is in a crisis, it’s not stopping major players from dropping rather interesting news this month. Here’s my overview of some items I found especially interesting in April:

“Volvo, Veoneer split Zenuity software JV” – via Automotive News Europe

Swedish Zenuity was started as a joint venture by Volvo and Veoneer; now it will be split up between the two again. Volvo aims to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles and will take over those parts of the company while Veoneer will reportedly absorb the ADAS-related Zenuity business. Apparently it’s not yet clear who will be developing ADAS for Volvo Cars in the future – if you have any insights on this, I’d be happy to learn about it!

“GM, Honda partner to develop two new all-electric vehicles” – via CNBC

Inter-company collaboration seems to be a very popular trend these days. GM and Honda now have announced one of the more recent ones, aiming to jointly develop new electric vehicles. GM brings their battery designs to the table while Honda reportedly will design the vehicles which are supposed to be released exclusively under the Japanese brand in the 2024 model year. Also notable: Honda will apparently be using GM’s automated driving system Super Cruise.

“The Cameras in Your Car May Be Harvesting Data as You Drive” – via Consumer Reports

If you haven’t had a good discussion about data privacy in highly connected vehicles for a while, here’s a conversation starter for you. The article takes a look at Mobileye and Carmera to examine what kind of data is actually being collected in today’s production vehicles – and what happens with it. To quote a source from the article: “The problem is that currently there are no federal laws limiting the collection and use of that data, or even requiring clear disclosure of what is being shared, and with whom. It’s the Wild West out there.”

“Daimler, Volvo Trucks Team Up On Hydrogen Fuel Cells For Heavy Trucks” – via Forbes

To be honest, I haven’t heard much about fuel cell technology for quite a while. Apparently, there’s still lively interest in the commercial vehicle sector though: Daimler Trucks and Volvo are now consolidating their research in a joint venture – and, adding to the trend of collaboration, they’ve announced this JV will be open for other companies to join as well. Since there are still a number of companies working on this (the article mentions Bosch and Toyota), it will be interesting to see if this is the start of a new open development platform in the commercial vehicle space.

“atlatec – a startup from Karlsruhe is mapping the world” – via Automobil Industrie/Vogel Communications (German only)

Our CEO Henning was recently interviewed by a German automotive magazine. The interview focuses on the current impact of the Corona crisis and takes a look at how atlatec differentiates from some of the big players in the mapping sector. The site requires a free registration for access to the article (available in German language only). 

That’s it for this month, enjoy the read! As always, if you feel I missed something or if you have any remark, you can just leave a comment here or reach out to us on LinkedIn. Stay safe!

All the best

Tom Dahlström


Automotive Innovations in March 2020

News from TRI-AD, DMP/Ushr, VW, Daimler, Waymo and more

This month has definitely been special for all of us, as we’ve entered uncharted territory – personally, as a society at large and as contributors to global business and the automotive market; all at the same time. I’ve decided to still compile this monthly overview and to focus on “regular” industry news: I’m sure all of you get plenty of information on how the Corona situation develops, from sources much more suited to speak on it.

So, if you feel like reading about something else: Here’s some pieces of news on innovations in automotive that stuck out to me this month – click the headline for the articles.

“TRI-AD and DMP kick off HD Map update PoC from April 2020” – via TRI-AD

I rarely link uncommented press releases, but I had a hard time finding independent coverage of this news piece. As someone who works for a mapping company I had to include this info, though: The Toyota Research Institute and DMP-owned Ushr are entering a PoC for automatic change detection and updating of HD Maps.

While TomTom and Hella Aglaia have piloted a similar case in Berlin before, this is definitely an area where there is still much to learn and discover, so we’ll absolutely be looking forward to the results of this pilot!

“Waymo raises $2.25 billion to scale up autonomous vehicles operations” – via VentureBeat

You might think that, as an Alphabet subsidiary Google’s spinoff Waymo has all the cash it might ever need for its mission to “build a safer driver.” That’s why their now-announced billion-dollar raise is interesting to me – it stands to reason that it’s very much about closer inter-company collaborations and strategic/technological partnerships, and CEO Krafcik hints at as much.

One of Waymo’s new investors is MAGNA – possibly the world’s only Tier1 supplier with a portfolio big enough to build an entire car by themselves. Maybe we’re seeing the first steps towards a proprietary “Google Car”?

“TuSimple, ZF partner to develop and produce autonomous truck technologies” – via CNET

Speaking of inter-company collaborations, this trend seems to be taking off in the autonomous driving space: The newest combo to announce pooling of their resources are Tier1 supplier ZF and 5-year-old TuSimple, which focuses on autonomous trucks. Judging from both parties’ statements, the partnership seems to be aimed at getting AD technology purpose-built for truck applications ready for production vehicle status.

“atlatec wins Tech.AD Europe award for scenario database” – via atlatec

This month, I have some news of our own to contribute: The delegates of Tech.AD’s Autonomous Driving Europe conference in Berlin voted to award atlatec first place in the category “Most advanced real-life testing & simulation techniques in autonomous driving” – thank you! You can see the case video, explaining atlatec scenarios and the role of our real-world road and traffic data for virtual validation/verification on our LinkedIn profile.

That’s it from me for this month – if you have any thoughts or questions, please leave a comment!

Stay safe

Tom Dahlström // atlatec


News from Lyft, Aptiv, Hyundai, Canoo and Tesla

February 2020 in Automotive

Another month over! This one was rather travel-intense for me; and there was a lot to be seen all over. Here’s some news from the automotive industry that stuck out this February:

“Aptiv’s self-driving cars have given 100,000 paid rides on the Lyft app” – via TechCrunch

“But what about revenue?” is one of those questions that every autonomous ride-hailing service inevitably faces. And it makes sense: Technology on its own can hardly survive unless one can build a sustainable business model around how to use it. In that regard, ride-sharing company Lyft and self-driving tech company Aptiv have good reason to celebrate a major milestone, having recently completed 100 000 rides with paying customers on board.

“Autonomous vehicles undergo ‘reality check’” – via Automotive News Europe

Not everyone is in a celebratory mood, though: Traditional OEMs such as PSA, Volvo and Daimler have been hitting the brakes on R&D and/or marketing efforts as far as self-driving capabilities are concerned. This article gives a nice overview of which European companies currently take what stance on the issue.

“Hyundai taps EV startup Canoo to develop electric vehicles” – via TechCrunch

Just a few weeks ago, Lincoln announced it would team up with startup company Rivian to build better electronic vehicles. This month, Hyundai made it public that they’re joining forces with Canoo from LA, aiming to develop a new EV platform. I wonder if we will see more such collaborations between “the old” and “the young” as the year continues; it’s an exciting trend as far as I’m concerned!

“Tesla is Slowly Pushing Germany Into Recession” – via CCN

Here in Germany, the discussion whether Tesla actually is a threat to traditional, well-established OEMs is almost at least as old as Tesla itself. This article takes a comparative look at recent sales figures; the diagram for last quarter alone is very impressive (or alarming, depending where you stand). CCN also highlights the industry’s relevance for the total German economy, which is massive: When the CEO of BOSCH says things like “It could well be that we have passed the peak of automotive production”, it is probably a good time to revisit this discussion.

That’s it for this month – as always: Please tell me if you feel I missed something big or if you come across any insights into what should be included next month.

I will be packing for Tech.AD Berlin this weekend as atlatec is a nominee for the “Tech.AD Europe Award” – if you happen to be at the conference, too, I look forward to seeing you there! Otherwise, I remain available via email and on LinkedIn.

All the best

Tom Dahlström


News from GM, Rivian, and Mobileye

Your monthly automotive briefing

We hope you enjoyed your Christmas break and had a good start into 2021. As we already approached the end of the first month of this year, let’s look back at the articles and companies that drew our attention.

Enjoy the monthly overview that the atlatec team has prepared for you:

U.S. DOT Test Initiative Gives VOICES To Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem – Via Forbes

When it comes to autonomous vehicles, everyone loves to debate safety and how to validate it. It is indeed a formidable challenge, and so far, most AV companies have gone their own ways in dealing with this, publishing disengagement reports and similar. This has been controversial, however, since there are no standards and the numbers therefore can’t really be compared – this may now change in the US:

The Department of Transportation has launched the VOICES program (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety) which aims to “allow for testing in a representatively complex and connected multi-system environment without having to leave the sanctity or privacy of your development lab.”

Since a lot of our data goes into the domain of virtual validation/verification, we know firsthand that this is a very diverse domain so far – it will be very interesting to see what materializes under the new US administration.

GM redesigns its logo after more than 50 years – Via CNN Business

GM changes their logo – so what, one may ask? This is not a design newsletter, after all. Their reasons for doing so – and the fact that it’s the first time in over 50 years – are highly relevant, however:

The new GM logo is designed to reflect their all-in commitment to electric vehicles (with some elements supposed to liken electric connector plugs), and it comes with a marketing campaign titled “everybody in” to further underline that this indeed where all of GM intends to go. With GM’s recent announcement to spend up to $27 billion on electrification of their portfolio and now the new logo, it seems there’s no more room for debate whether electric vehicles will become mainstream fast.

Rivian raises $A3.4 billion ahead of key electric vehicle launches – Via The Driven

It’s not just GM who are banking on cleaner mobility. With Covid-19 having had a major impact on a lot of automotive companies, investments in many areas have dried up – electrification is not one of them:

Rivian, a Bay Area startup that is aiming for electric trucks and delivery vans (the latter to be supplied to Amazon, for example), have kicked off the new year with a new investment round, bringing in $2.6 billion. This raises the total money raised by the company to about $8 billion and their valuation to over $25 billion, apparently – before having delivered a single vehicle.

Mobileye is bringing its autonomous vehicle test fleets to at least four more cities in 2021 – Via TechCrunch

Over the last 2 years, there’s been a clear trend regarding how OEMs view the use of HD maps in production vehicle ADAS technology: While there used to be a debate whether this is really necessary, it seems that by now virtually every car maker (except Tesla) agrees that HD map data will be a requirement to support L2+ systems and anything above.

One very interesting endeavor in that domain is “crowdsourcing” the data for creation or maintenance of those maps: Using sensor data collected from the entire production fleet while the vehicles are being driven in customers’ daily lives.

Mobileye is one company that is heavily invested in doing just that – and announced at CES that their test vehicles will come to Detroit, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo and perhaps New York this year (following deployments in Jerusalem and Munich). As a mapping company, we’ll be following the reception closely – as well as which other sensor makes might follow suit.

I hope this short overview helps you to stay on top of automotive news.

Stay tuned for the upcoming industry newsletter at the end of February!

The video talk with atlatec team is already available on YouTube. Feel free to watch it and share your feedback with us. 


News from Mercedes-Benz, Geely, Waymo, GM/Cruise and Argo.AI

January 2020 in Automotive

A happy belated new year to you! 2020 has certainly seen a very dynamic start, with a number of impactful news – so much so, that you might have missed a few recent developments in the automotive space.

If so, here’s your chance to catch up with the industry – click any headline to get to the article:

“Mercedes-Benz relaunches smart cars as electric brand with Geely” – via electrec

Daimler has been planning on going all electric with smart for a while now – what’s new is that they’re bringing Chinese OEM Geely into the mix. smart will thus become a joint venture in a move that Daimler hopes will boost Chinese sales and streamline production.

“Waymo’s autonomous cars have driven 20 million miles on public roads” – via Venturebeat

Last year, it was announced that Waymo had hit the 10 million milestone (literally) with their real-world AV operations – after ten years. Now, just one year later, they’ve doubled that number and reached 20 million miles. While the number of miles is not a catch-all KPI without context, that’s still an impressive feat in scalability and once again puts Waymo at the top of the field, ahead of Zoox, Cruise, Baidu and others.

“GM unveils Cruise Origin driverless shuttle” – via CNBC

GM’s “Super Cruise” was arguably the first production vehicle to feature some actual autonomous driving capabilities – in fact the Cadillac is about to get a brand-new feature: bonus press release. So it seems worth listening when GM’s AV subsidiary, Cruise announce what might otherwise be “just” another autonomous shuttle concept. The company goes straight for Level 5, with no room (or even controls) for a safety driver and CEO Dan Ammann has made it clear that Cruise is aiming for the Origin to be a production vehicle.

“A Decade after DARPA: Our View on the State of the Art in Self-Driving Cars” – via Argo.AI

I rarely include company blogs in these reviews, but I felt this warrants an exception: Argo.AI has seen massive investments both from Ford and Volkswagen and is arguably one of the frontrunners regarding self-driving capabilities. In this piece, CEO Bryan Salesky reflects broadly on the state of autonomous driving – and tries to take some of the AV hype out of the discussion: “For those of us who have been working on the technology for a long time, we’re going to tell you the issue is still really hard, as the systems are as complex as ever.”

As always, if you feel I missed something major this month (or if your company has some exciting news coming up that should be included in the months ahead), please let me know – I appreciate any and all feedback!

And if you would like to have a chat in person, check out the updated overview of expos attended by atlatec. See you out there!


News from Volvo, Daimler, Cruden and atlatec

November 2019 in Automotive Innovation

We’re back from another conference in Detroit (Tech.AD) and have picked up lots of interesting news items from our industry this month. Let’s get right into it; here’s some light weekend reading for you:

“Car Makers’ Electric Vehicle Plans – A Brand-by-brand guide” – via The Sunday Times Driving

Electrification is one of the major automotive trends these days – and it can be hard to keep up with the different strategies, models and roll-out plans of all the OEMs out there. This article is exactly what it says in the headline: a very helpful overview of what is going on at which brand and where they aim to take it. If you’re interested in EVs, you might see yourself returning to this one more than once!

“Engineering v Human-centric Visuals for Simulation”– via Cruden

When we talk about 3D maps for simulation, one of the important clarifications is whether they’re used for ADAS/vehicle dynamics simulation or in Driver-in-the-loop (DIL) systems – the requirements for both can differ quite a lot. This blog piece along with a sleep infographic by Cruden explains the differences rather helpfully.

“Volvo safety guru Lotta Jakobsson on AV crash tech” – via SAE

If we no longer have to drive ourselves – what will we do during car travel? Car interiors, seating positions and lots more might change dramatically once it’s no longer a set-in-stone requirement to keep your hands on the wheel. That, of course, brings with it entirely new demands for crash safety and the tech behind it. A glimpse into the future by Volvo’s Lotta Jakobsson that’s worth reading – not least for how she describes her work: “I’m an expert in how bones are broken.”

“Car OEMs See No Easy ADAS-to-AV Path” – via EE News

With Daimler’s announcement to no longer pursue robo taxis as an AV use case, there’s been renewed focus on the question how to get to L4/L5 autonomous driving: Can it be done by continuously evolving L2/L2+ ADAS systems (evolutionary path) or does it require completely different thinking and engineering (disruptive path)? This in-depth piece takes a comprehensive look at the question.

“atlatec Live Demo at CES 2020” – via atlatec/LinkedIn

This one’s about us: Our CEO Henning Lategahn made it public this week that we’ll offer our first-ever US live demo during CES in Las Vegas. To quote himself: “Whether you’re building AV algorithms, validating sensor models or work on simulation for ADAS functions: Discover how real-world maps can boost your efforts and take a ride with us in January 2020!” The article includes a link through which you can book one of the available demo slots. See you in Vegas, Baby!

If you have any remarks about the pieces linked above, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always happy to have a conversation and remain available by email or on LinkedIn. Speak soon!

All the best

Tom Dahlström
atlatec GmbH


News from Zoox, Volkswagen, Argo, Tesla, DeepScale

October 2019 in Automotive Innovation

Another month over already! We’ve had a busy October with the Novi Testing Expo, but that only helps when you want to stay up to date – so here’s a little selection of what’s been catching our eye in automotive this month: 

“Self-driving vehicle startup Zoox has expanded to Las Vegas” – via TechCrunch

Zoox is regularly named as one of the 3 companies with the lowest disengagement rates in autonomous driving. This month, they announced the launch of operations ins Las Vegas, apparently to get comfortable with a new range of use cases like high-volume night-time traffic, higher temperatures and more. We’ll keep any eye out during CES in January! 

“VW predicts its standalone self-driving unit will be ‘the world’s best-funded start-up’” – via The Verge

Only recently, Volkswagen announced a massive investment in Argo.AI, but apparently the appetite for autonomous driving is still high in Wolfsburg: The company is now launching its own internal company “VWAT” (short for Volkswagen Autonomy) which will also swallow up Audi’s subsidiary AID with a similar goal. The new joint mission: Getting Level 4 autonomous cars production ready by 2025. 

“Tesla is buying computer vision start-up DeepScale in a quest to create truly driverless cars” – via CNBC

As a major proponent of the “Sensors only, no maps” faction, Elon Musk’s Tesla has good reason to invest in real-time computing power. One step in that direction is the acquisition of machine learning company DeepScale – as CNBC writes: “DeepScale’s technology was designed to help automakers use low-wattage processors, which are standard in most cars, to power very accurate computer vision.”

“Drivers Don’t Trust or Accept Lane-Keeping Systems” – via Auto Connected Car News

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that while most drivers are pretty confident in the abilities of adaptive cruise control systems, the trust in lane-keep assistants is low: Apparently, that’s “partly because [drivers] didn’t feel that the systems drove like they do when they’re in control.” A good reminder to not only focus on tech in AVs, but on UX – and of the MAYA design principle, telling us to aim for what’s “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable” for customers.

“The New Transportation Leaderboard” – via

The final piece for this month is an awesome infographic – or, to quote the author Lennart Dobravski: “a comprehensive overview of 16 major modes within New Transportation ranging from e-scooter sharing all the way to space-travel providers, which may one day allow us to travel to the moon and beyond.” Certainly a useful reference of who the players are, especially in an area of the industry which is as dynamic as autonomous driving!

Do you have any thoughts on either of these items? Did I miss something major? Leave a comment and let me know! Or, if you happen to be in Detroit for Tech.AD next month, tell me face-to-face!


News from Waymo, Scania, atlatec and more

September 2019 in automotive innovation

Once more I’m sharing a few news items from the automotive industry that I found worth discovering this month – hopefully, you find some of them worth your time as well:

“Waymo Valuation Slashed on Autonomous Vehicle Tech Delays” – via Bloomberg

Sometimes it feels like the marketing departments of autonomous driving companies are outperforming their engineers. Now Morgan Stanley has made headlines by adjusting its valuation of Google spinoff Waymo, citing “a series of hurdles relating to the commercialization and advancement of autonomous driving technology” as the reason:

“This Scania autonomous truck concept doesn’t even have a cab” – via Digital Trends

As a contrast to that first piece, Scania has now unveiled an actual concept truck for autonomous applications – this one intended for use in mining areas and so consequently designed for purely autonomous use that there isn’t even any need for a cab:

“New TRL study claims AVs can reduce vehicle collisions by 22%” – via Autonomous Vehicles International

Safety is one of the most discussed aspects when it comes to autonomous vehicles: How safe is “safe?” And should we allow AVs on the road that are not perfectly safe – because they’re still safer than human drivers? A new study by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) adds some numbers to this discussion suggests that “the introduction of AVs to our roads is likely to bring the biggest change in road safety since the introduction of the seatbelt” Read more here:

“Mapping Company atlatec Opens Tokyo Branch” – via atlatec

As a closing piece for this month, we have some news of our own to share (albeit a little bit late): With “atlatec Japan株式会社” we have opened our first office outside our German headquarter this summer – and things are going good. “The market is definitely growing and we see a rising need for real-life maps to be used both in autonomous vehicles and simulations” says our Representative Director Kyosuke Tomoyasu.

If you would like to be notified when I post next month’s overview you’re welcome to sign up for our newsletter here. And if you have any thoughts to share (or feel I missed some major item), please feel free to do so – your feedback is always appreciated!


News from Waymo,, Daimler Trucks, Firstmile, T-Mobile

August 2019 in automotive innovation

Last month I posted a quick recap of what was new in the automotive space which was rather well received on LinkedIn, so I thought I’d do it again: Here’s my personal pick of what’s exciting in automotive this August.

“Decoding the Autonomous Driving Landscape” – via Firstmile VC

This one came out July 31st but I absolutely had to include it: Firstmile has compiled an amazing overview of 232(!) firms active in the autonomous driving space, showing relevant clusters, partnerships and more with neat graphs and everything. You can find the article on Medium:

“How Next-Gen Mobile Networks Will Transform Transportation Infrastructure” – via Forbes/T-Mobile

Most of the time we’re talking about automotive innovation, we’re looking at what we can change on/inside of individual cars. In this article, T-Mobile instead draws an interesting picture of the changes our driving infrastructure faces and takes a look at what next-gen connectivity and communication between cars and traffic lights might bring:

“Driverless Electric Trucks Are Coming, and They’ll Affect You More Than You Think” – via SingularityHub

Personally, I believe trucking to be the field that will make autonomous driving mainstream: We’re talking vehicles that are already fairly expensive, almost exclusively operated commercially and do 90% of their driving on highways, which are way easier to navigate than urban areas. Companies like, Plus.AI and others have entered the phase of commercials PoCs by now. Oh, and Daimler Trucks has announced their first electric semis will resume operation for Penske and NFI:

“Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors” – Venturebeat

Waymo is arguably the most successful company in making autonomous driving happen. With the introduction of the “Waymo Open Dataset”, the company is now sharing a vast amount of the routes it has mapped with the autonomous driving community on an open source basis:

“Autonomous Driving: Are Simulation and 3D Maps the Key to Success?” – via New Mobility World/IAA

This is where I sneak some atlatec stuff into the mix: As an exhibitor of this year’s New Mobility World at the IAA expo in Frankfurt, our CEO Henning was asked to contribute some thoughts to an article on the role of 3D maps for autonomous driving and other R&D applications. The article also takes a look at what sets Waymo apart from the rest of the field.

I’ll probably make this monthly recap a tradition. If you would like to be notified when the next one comes out you’re welcome to sign up for our newsletter here. If you’d like to share some thoughts on this article with me, feel free to reach out via email to or on LinkedIn!

-Tom Dahlström