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