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Automotive news from Tesla, DeepMap, Volkswagen, and atlatec

Your monthly automotive briefing

Welcome back to the monthly industry newsletter from atlatec. I hope you had a great start into the summer. In this issue, we are covering Tesla’s latest decision to completely remove radar sensors, DeepMap’s future with NVIDIA, and Volkswagen’s idea of pay-per-use self-driving cars. Enjoy the read and make sure to watch our latest fireside chat on YouTube.

Explainer: Tesla drops radar; is Autopilot system safe? – via Yahoo Finance

Tesla

Since atlatec is a computer vision company, you can expect us to be strong supporters of what this type of sensor technology can do. With Elon Musk’s most recent headline news, however, many industry experts believe he is putting too much trust in cameras – by completely removing radar sensors from future Tesla models.

Tesla’s head of AI, Andrej Karpathy, has shed some more light on the reasons behind this move, explaining that in Tesla’s view, their camera system has become so superior to radar that adding “mixed signals” only makes for errors and added sensor fusion effort, rather than higher safety and better performance through redundancy.

If the past is any indication for the future, Elon won’t care much about what other EV/AV companies think about this move – but it remains to be seen if his shareholders will, depending on what results Tesla will be able to deliver regarding its self-driving functionalities.

Nvidia acquires hi-def mapping startup DeepMap to bolster AV technology. – via TechCrunch

Deepmap NVIDIA

Last year, we were actually speculating about whether or not this would happen: NVIDIA, a key investor in DeepMap, has announced they’ll be acquiring the HD mapping company completely.

According to official quotes, the reason is to leverage DeepMaps IP in order to boost NVIDIA’s mapping – and thus, self-driving – capabilities, presumably enabling them to widen their footprint as suppliers for ADAS/AV technology among other automotive OEMs. The one comparison that comes to mind as a direct competitor is Mobileye: It will be interesting to see if NVIDIA will try to establish a similar offering with an end-to-end solution encompassing sensors, processors (remember they bought ARM in 2020) and software.

Volkswagen floats idea of pay-per-use self-driving cars. – via Electronics 360

Volkswagen

Who will use autonomous vehicles, and who will pay for them? Underlying business cases are one of the pillars that will have to carry self-driving technology if it is ever to become mainstream. Volkswagen has shared some ideas: A pay-per-use model, where the public can rent AVs by the hour.

Klaus Zellmer, VW board member for sales, marketing and after sales even shared a possible price: 7 Euros per hour might buy you access to a self-driving Volkswagen model.

One one hand, easy access to autonomous mobility when you need it seems neat – on the other hand, 7 Euros per hour is a hefty price when compared to public transportation solutions that many city dwellers on the globe are used to. For more rural areas, however, this might solve a real mobility problem; especially if co-financed by municipalities, as an addition to public transportation.

Webinar “How to scale ADAS testing with objective KPIs” – via atlatec

ADAS testing

When we opened up registrations for our first-ever webinar, our team made some bets on how many people would sign up. Most of us guessed at around 20 to 30 registrations – and we’re very glad we didn’t put up any money: We ended up with over 500 registered participants, the majority of which joined us live to watch the discussion between atlatec CEO Henning Lategahn and our partners at GeneSys, MdynamiX and the Kempten University of Applied Sciences.

Apparently the topic, scaling precise ADAS testing on public roads and putting measured performance into meaningful context, was quite relevant for many: We are still getting daily requests for the video recording as well as our panelists’ presentations. If you, too, would like to watch it, you can access all the material right here on our website.


By Tom Dahlström

As a business developer, I'm a "matchmaker" between atlatec's HD map/scenario portfolio and the needs of automotive and mobility companies in ADAS and AVs. I try to keep on top of market and technology trends and enjoy sharing with other industry stakeholders.

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