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!

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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