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Tesla under NHTSA investigation, Rivian eyeing IPO, atlatec offering live demo at IAA Mobility

Welcome back to the automotive industry news for August 2021! I hope you’ve been having lovely weather where you’re spending your summer – but if not (like in Germany), then perhaps I might interest you in a bit of light reading and a hot beverage instead. We’ll supply the reading of course – let’s get to it: 

Live HD Maps/Lane-Level Guidance Demo at IAA Mobility – via atlatecTesla under NHTSA investigation, Rivian eyeing IPO, atlatec offering live demo at IAA Mobility

We’re super excited to return to real-world events, starting as exhibitors at the re-booted IAA Moblity in Munich next week! To make things even better, we are offering a live, in-vehicle demo:

Together with our partners Artisense and NNG we will demonstrate how HD maps boost ADAS functions such as lane-level navigation/guidance, AR HUD style. Places will be limited, but you are more than welcome to let us know you’d like to reserve a seat – or drop by the atlatec booth A418 in hall B2 to inquire about ad-hoc availability.

Or, if you can’t make it to Munich, we are also running a joint webinar on the topic tomorrow, September 1 at 11 AM. 

Link to the expo page: https://atlatec.de/iaa-mobility-2021/

What Will Come Out Of NHTSA’s Tesla Autopilot Investigation? – via Forbes

 

 

Tesla under NHTSA probe after FSD-related crashes

Sadly, a Tesla using its “Full Self Driving (FSD)” or “Autopilot” system struck an emergency vehicle this month – the 12th time this has been reported. The incident occured right after the US NHTSA announced a probe into Tesla and its ADAS functions. As mentioned in this newsletter last month, Tesla is the only OEM not using HD maps for its hands-free driving system which, like LiDAR, Elon Musk has called “a crutch.” The article, wondering what the NHTSA probe might lead to, also takes a closer look at the background for context.

Link to article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2021/08/23/what-will-come-out-of-nhtsas-tesla-autopilot-investigation/

Ford BlueCruise Hands-Free Driving Still Has Catching Up To Do – via The Verge

Ford BlueCruise hands-free driving system

I thought I’d include this review of Ford’s new hands-free driving system, comparing it to GM’s “Super Cruise” because the two companies’ approach to Level 2+/Level 3 ADAS is so different from Tesla’s – as the article says:

“Both […] use high-definition maps of divided highways across the US and Canada to limit where their respective systems can be used. GM’s maps now include more than 200,000 miles of roads while Ford is initially limited to 130,000 miles although expansions are promised from both. If you aren’t on one of the approved roads, the systems simply won’t engage. While Tesla tells drivers that Autopilot is only meant for use in divided highways, it does nothing to prevent enabling the system anywhere.”

Link to article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2021/08/26/ford-bluecruise-still-has-catching-up-to-do/

Rivian Files for IPO, Seeking About $80 Billion Valuation – via Bloomberg

Rivian eyeing 80bn IPO

In the electric vehicles space, Rivian seems to be eyeing an IPO – after already having raised USD 10.5 billion so far: Building a car company is a costly business!

The desired valuation of USD 80 billion seems like a moonshot at first, considering that Ford, as one of their invstors has a 53 bn market cap – and Rivian has yet to begin regular vehicle deliveries. But then again people were saying similar things about Tesla – and now they’re worth more than the next 9 car makers combined … Apparently the IPO is supposed to happen around Thanksgiving, so this will be one to watch over the next weeks!

 

Link to article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-27/rivian-is-said-to-file-for-ipo-seek-about-80-billion-valuation

That’s it for this time – see you in Munich, or right back here next month!

PS: This monthly overview of automotive industry news is also available via newsletter.

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Mitsubishi, VW and BOSCH go for crowdsourcing HD maps, Waymo launches new simulator

The road to everywhere: are HD maps for autonomous driving sustainable? – via Autonomous Vehicle InternationalThe road to everywhere: are HD maps for autonomous driving sustainable?

Mitsubishi Fuso selects Woven Alpha to power HD mapping for its ADAS – via Safe Car News

Mitsubishi Fuso selects Woven Alpha to power HD mapping for its ADAS

Just a few months after NVIDIA announced their acquisition of DeepMap, Mitsubishi’s Woven Planet has confirmed they’ll be buying mapping company Carmera (bonus article here). And, just in time, Mitsubishi Fuso has announced they’ll be integrating Woven Planet’s HD maps into their ADAS stack.

To me, this is two interesting pieces of news in one: First, the consensus that HD maps will be required for next-level ADAS features (Level 2+ and above) is once again confirmed across vehicle categories, leaving Tesla as basically the only OEM to double down on not using them (see also the article on Autonomous Vehicle International above). Second, the field of HD mapping is facing consolidation – and investor-backed players might have to opt for a profitable sell-off in the short term, rather than waiting for the elusive moment in time when the AV business model will fully take off.

Link to article: https://safecarnews.com/mitsubishi-fuso-selects-woven-alpha-to-power-hd-mapping-for-its-adas/

Welcome to Simulation City, The Virtual World Where Waymo Tests Its Autonomous Vehicles – via The Verge

Welcome to Simulation City, The Virtual World Where Waymo Tests Its Autonomous Vehicles

Waymo is arguably one of the front runners in autonomous driving, and they have always been vocal about their view of simulation as a cornerstone of it: According to the company, Waymo has simulated 15 billion miles of driving, compared to “only” 20 million miles of real-world driving that have been completed.

In addition to their older simulator Car Craft, Waymo has now presented their new software, called “Simulation City” – which it hopes will bridge some gaps, such as new vehicle models. The article contains a video and a GIF giving some visual impressions, too, so feel free to steal a glance!

Link to article: https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/6/22565448/waymo-simulation-city-autonomous-vehicle-testing-virtual

Bosch builds digital twin for more accurate maps – via eeNews Europe

Bosch builds digital twin for more accurate maps

This month was ripe with mapping-related news! Tier1 supplier BOSCH is partnering up with Volkswagen to create a “crowdsourcing” solution, aiming to produce/update HD maps by leveraging the data of sensors on board series production vehicles – in this case the VW Golf 8. The article quotes BOSCH’s Dr. Mathias Pillin as saying “The more vehicles that provide information now and in the future, the larger and more robust the database will be for automated and assisted driving”, which seems to be in line with what other suppliers are banking on, most famously perhaps Mobileye.

It looks like crowdsourcing will truly be the holy grail of HD mapping in this decade – and it will be very interesting to see the differences in how automotive players approach this (traditional Tier1s vs. tech companies such as NVIDIA) as well as which strategies and platforms we’re going to see.

Link to article: https://www.eenewseurope.com/news/bosch-builds-digital-twin-more-accurate-maps

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May 2021 news: SAE, German legislation, Ford and atlatec

As we are slowly entering the summer season, let’s look back and recap the latest automotive news of May. This month SAE updated the official names for ‘Autonomous Driving’ Levels, Germany passed legislation for autonomous vehicles driving without safety drivers’ presence, and Ford released its first electrical truck – the F-150 Lightning.

Apart from that, we kindly invite you to join our live panel discussion on ADAS testing that will take place in just a week. You can register for both German and English sessions – pick the one that fits you best. 

SAE Updates, Refines Official Names for ‘Autonomous Driving’ Levels – Via Car and Driver

SAE autonomous driving levels

There’s a lot of debate around what “autonomous driving” really is; and some pretty diametral view points – sometimes within one and the same company (looking at you, Elon Musk and Tesla’s legal department). One framework that’s proven to be useful in differentiating between what does and does not constitute self-driving technology are the SAE Levels Of Driving Automation (L0 – L5).

This standard, formally known as SAE J3016 has now been updated to more accurately separate driver support features (L0 – L2) and automated driving features (L3 – L5). It also clearly classifies simultaneous use of modern ADAS features like ACC and LKA as a Level 2 system – and thus firmly places it in the driver support domain. So get the latest “cheat sheet” and you’ll be well prepared for the next heated ADAS vs. AD debate – which we probably all get into at some point.

Germany Passes Legislation For Autonomous Vehicles Driving Without Driver’s Presence – Via Tech Times

May 2021 news: SAE, German legislation, Ford and atlatec

Speaking of automated driving: In a move sure to surprise many, Germany’s national parliament has voted to allow testing of Level 4 systems on public roads from 2022 – without a safety driver on board. Some restrictions such as proper insurance and remote shutdown options apply, but those hardly seem like roadblocks for companies serious about this type of technology.

With several OEMs in the country as well as players like Argo AI and Mobileye already testing their cutting-edge systems on public roads in Germany, it will certainly be interesting to see what to actually expect on and off the Autobahn next year – and how the public will react.

Stop Worrying and Love the F-150 Lightning – Via auto connected car news

May 2021 news: SAE, German legislation, Ford and atlatec

When is a car not a car? When it is a truck – or perhaps even something else entirely. Ford has revealed the battery electric version of its best-selling truck, dubbed the F-150 Lightning – and while thorough, independent reviews will need to be considered, it seems that competitors such as Rivian or Tesla’s Cybertruck will be facing a formidable competition:

The product management at Ford seems to have employed impressive user centricity; completely rethinking what a truck actually is – or can be. The F-150 Lightning is not only powered by a battery: It will also power external appliances, from work crews’ tools all the way to complete households, if necessary in a blackout: Something that will arguably be a selling point for citizens of US states regularly threatened by flooding, tornadoes or wildfires. For companies that run work crews (perhaps the most important customer segment for this vehicle), the BEV version of the F-150 may well turn the question of “Why go electric” into “Why not”: The use of a vehicle that makes both the job and fleet management easier (thanks to improved telematics) and that can easily be recharged back at the company lot every night seems compelling – even more so if it also brings maintenance costs down, which are typically higher for combustion engine vehicles.


You may remember our article about ADAS testing from last month’s newsletter, exploring a solution to create and leverage reference data at scale that we co-created for Porsche. Now we bring the contents to you live, as a webinar together with our partners:

Join atlatec CEO Henning Lategahn as well as representatives from GeneSys, MdynamiX and the Kempten University of Applied Sciences on June 8th or 10th:

We are offering sessions both in English and German language. So far the resonance has been amazing; which is why we’ve upgraded our webinar hosting package to allow for additional registrations. So if you haven’t already, you are warmly invited to sign up – we hope to see you next week!

I hope this overview helps you to stay on top of industry news. Make sure to watch the latest fire-side chat with the atlatec team. The video is already available on YouTube.

Stay tuned for the atlatec industry newsletter coming in the end of June!

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News From atlatec, Volvo Trucks, Aurora, Polestar, And Volvo Cars

Hello Dear atlatec subscriber,

As usual at the end of each month, we’ve prepared a brief automotive news overview to help you to keep track of the hottest headlines.

This time, we’re especially happy to include some news of our own! Additionally, we found interesting developments at Volvo Trucks and their partnership with Aurora, the Polestar’s long-term commitment to the first climate-neutral EV, and Nvidia’s DRIVE Orin AI-computing platform, that Volvo Cars has opted to use for their AV.

I hope you enjoy the read and make sure to watch out latest fire-side chat that is already available on YouTube.

ADAS Testing: From Subjective Customer Preferences To Objective Validation At Scale – Via atlatec

Porsche

While actual autonomous vehicles may still be a few years out, the L1/L2 ADAS domain is already going stronger than ever. That’s why we’re happy to publish some news of our own this week: A detailed look at a solution for ADAS validation that brings capabilities and fidelity previously limited to proving grounds to public road testing.

Take a look at this solution for creating and leveraging reference data at scale as it was piloted by Porsche and built together by atlatec and our partners GeneSys, MdynamiX and the Kempten University of Applied Sciences. We’re quite excited to share this and hope you will take an interest, too: If you have any thoughts, we’d love to hear them!

Volvo partners with Aurora to accelerate autonomous truck applications – Via Autonomous Vehicle International

News From atlatec, Volvo Trucks, Aurora, Polestar, And Volvo Cars

Autonomous trucks are often regarded as perhaps the first instance of actual production AVs we’re likely to encounter on the open road. Reasons include the focus on (relatively non-comlex) highway routes, saving human drivers the grind of long-distance trips as well as the clear business case to be made in the logistics domain.

The latter, of course, relies on actual commercialization – towards which Volvo Trucks may have just taken another step, announcing a partnership with AV stack provider Aurora. The mutual goal: To bring autonomous hub-to-hub truck operations to North America – and thus bringing everyone a step closer to encountering actual AVs on public roads.

Polestar ‘will have to question everything’ in order to build the first climate-neutral EV – Via Tech Crunch

News From atlatec, Volvo Trucks, Aurora, Polestar, And Volvo Cars

Basically every car maker and their suppliers are currently asking themselves, “How can we reduce carbon emissions a bit more – and perhaps offset the rest?” This is, of course, a relevant effort; and it continues to produce reductions for CO2, NOx and other emittents by a few percent every year (or at least every time a new emissions standard is announced).

However, instead of asking about 10% less, Geely-owned Polestar has chosen to question everything about themselves, aiming for 100% elimination of emissions – including not only the operations lifecycle of their new “Polestar 0” model, but also the entire supply chain and production, moving away from toxicity-related materials for chassis and batteries.

That asking bigger questions lead to bigger answers is something tech companies like Google have known for a long time (see “10X thinking”) – it will be exciting to see its effects on automotive and manufacturing, and whether others will follow suit!

Volvo Cars chooses Nvidia DRIVE Orin SoC for Highway Pilot AD system – Via Autonomous Vehicle International

News From atlatec, Volvo Trucks, Aurora, Polestar, And Volvo Cars

More news from Sweden, and thus from Geely, who are also the proud owners of Volvo Cars: As was announced during NVIDIA’s GTC this month, the car maker has chosen their “DRIVE Orin” system to enable its passenger cars to drive themselves.

As Volvo Cars has previously announced, they’re skipping Level 3 entirely, instead aiming for L4 operations on highways as their debut on the autonomous vehicles stage. The first vehicle to come with the new NVIDIA SoC is the next-gen XC90; in which it will work hand in hand with ADAS software developed by Zenseact and LiDAR sensors supplied by Luminar.

Stay tuned for the atlatec industry newsletter coming at the end of May! In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. 

Get automotive industry news directly to your mailbox – sign up for the atlatec newsletter.

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News from Tesla, Volvo, Honda, and atlatec

Your monthly automotive briefing

As we approach the end of March, let’s look back at the headlines that made noise this month. In this issue: Tesla, Honda, and Volvo. This month we are especially excited about the release of atlatec’s brand-new website. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this challenging project and contributed to the result that we are ready to present. Feel free to check out atlatec.de and let us know what you think. 

Tesla touts self-driving to consumers. To the DMV, it tells a different tale – Via Los Angeles Times

News from Tesla, Volvo, Honda, and atlatec

Tesla is one of those companies that tends to polarize people: You’re either a real fan or a pronounced sceptic, with little middle ground between “Teslaratis” and outspoken critics.

One large reason for that is Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” (FSD) feature – on which, apparently, Tesla is pretty divided itself: While Elon Musk has repeatedly praised the system as an actual self-driving feature on Twitter, his lawyers argue the polar opposite in front of the DMV: A new trove of emails, revealed after after a public records request show that Tesla’s lawyers adamantly claim FSD to be nothing but a L2 driver assist feature – with no perspective or even a plan to turn it into anything resembling autonomous driving, under any conditions.

The article contains a link to the emails if you want to dive in yourself. An additional takeaway that was very interesting to us: Tesla lawyer Eric Williams references the Model 3 handbook, clarifying that FSD will indeed have trouble in areas for which proper map data is not available and may very well be unable to recognize stop signs and traffic lights due to inaccurate maps. Once again, quite the contrast to the messages of Musk himself, who has called reliance on (HD) maps “a really bad idea” before. 

Honda launches world’s first level 3 self-driving car – Via Asia Nikkei

News from Tesla, Volvo, Honda, and atlatec

So there it is, the first Level 3 system on the market, that will actually allow you to take your hands off the wheel, while the car takes over responsibility for driving.

Honda debuted its first L3 feature this month, the “Traffic Jam Pilot” which can drive autonomously in bumper-to-bumper highway traffic, while the “driver” is free to enjoy the infotainment system or otherwise occupy themself – provided they remain able to take back operations if the system notifies this to be required.

Honda reports they’ve driven 1.3 million kilometers for testing, and have simulated around 10 million scenarios in preparation. Still, the company wants to make sure they’re not moving too fast: The feature will only be available to 100 leasing customers to start with and they’re limiting it to speeds up to 50 km/h rather than the 60 mph regulation allows for.

Volvo says it will be ‘fully electric’ by 2030 and move car sales online – Via CNBC

News from Tesla, Volvo, Honda, and atlatec

Volvo Cars is one company that has been behind some massive innovations in automotive over the decades: The 3-prong safety belt, SIPS/side airbags and limiting all new vehicles to 180 km/h top speed, to name a few. The first and the latter were pretty controversial at their time (the latter as recently as 2020) but Volvo did what they thought was right anyway.

The next chapter in that legacy may be ahead: Volvo Cars has announced they see “no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine” and will sell nothing but electric vehicles by 2030. By 2025, half of the fleet shall be fully electric already, with hybrids making up the other 50%.

In addition to this massive overhaul, they also want to modernize the customer experience in order to make car sales more digital and mainly online-driven, only offering in-person assistance where customers really want it (e. g. around test drives and delivery).

atlatec.de relaunched with all-new website concept and design – Via atlatec

News from Tesla, Volvo, Honda, and atlatec

This month, we have some news of our own, and we’re pretty excited about it: After loads of discussions, drafting, designing and reworking, we are happy to announce the launch of our all-new atlatec.de website.

So, why the do-over? First of all, we wanted to reflect the degree of maturity that we’ve achieved over time: Working for international automotive OEMs and Tier1 suppliers as well as other leading companies in the mobility sector, we thought it was high time to get rid of what our CEO lovingly called “Mickey Mouse animations” and replace similar young-blood gimmicks with actual footage of our work.

Secondly, we wanted to present said work in a more customer-oriented manner: Rather than focusing on what we find interesting ourselves, the new website breaks down our solutions by customer use cases, such as HD maps/scenarios for simulation or maps for AV/ADAS production systems. For those and more, atlatec.de now offers dedicated pages focusing on specific, related parts of our portfolio: All the relevant info is curated in one place, the rest left to explore elsewhere, for those who want to do so.

If you decide to take a look at the new website, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it: Let us know by simply replying to this email or shoot us a message on LinkedIn!

I hope this overview helps you to stay on top of the industry news. Make sure to watch the latest fireside chat with the atlatec team on YouTube.

Stay tuned for the atlatec industry newsletter coming end of April!

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Automotive news February 2021

News from TuSimple, Motional, New Flyer, AIMotive, and MathWorks

As usual, at the end of the month the atlatec team prepares for you a short overview of the automotive news that we found the most interesting. Enjoy the summary and make sure to watch our latest Zoom talk – it is already available on YouTube

5,000 autonomous trucks [by TuSimple] will hit the roads in China in 2021” – via Jair Ribeiro/Medium

NVIDIA

There has been a lot of news from China about robotaxi rollouts in the last few months; now comes a huge leap for autonomous trucks: TuSimple, a 4 year old startup has received approval for operating a fleet of 5000 fully self-driving trucks, without safety drivers on board.

This is also interesting news for investors in the space: TuSimple expects to turn a net profit of $300 million thanks to this move – while eyeing an IPO in 2021 that might lead to a $7 billion valuation.

“Motional Initiates Testing Of Driverless Vehicles In Las Vegas” – via Forbes

motional

Motional, the joint venture by Hyundai and Aptiv, will begin to offer driverless rides in Las Vegas, joining companies such as Waymo and Cruise. A “safety steward” (with somewhat unspecified responsibilities) will apparently be on board, but the permit issued by the state of Nevada allows for an empty driver’s seat.

An interesting detail is that operations are reportedly focused on “suburban residential areas”, which arguably make for a good use of AVs: Offering a bridge across the “last mile” gap between public transit stations and people’s homes might make more sense that deploying an ever-rising number of vehicles in city centers, where public transportation is usually at its best and most dense.

“Self-Driving Tech Heads To Transit With New Flyer’s Autonomous Electric Bus” – via Forbes

New Flyer Bus

Speaking of public transportation: Why are we reading so much about autonomous trucks and robotaxis, but rarely hear of autonomous buses? Reasons behind that might be the challenge of navigating massive vehicles in dense, busy urban environments – but apparently New Flyer, North America’s biggest producer of buses feels up to that: Their first autonomous model, an electric Xcelsior, will begin testing in 2022.

There’s also advantages over other AV use cases according to New Flyer president Chris Stoddart: “One of the nice things is the ability to pre-map the routes, when you can run your vehicle around that route and pre-map it so that you have some redundancy and don’t have to rely completely on your various visual systems all the time […] When your average bus speed is only 12.5 mph that certainly helps.”

“AImotive, MathWorks team to improve autonomous vehicle simulation” – via Futurride

Mathworks

There’s lots of providers of tools for AV/ADAS simulation, and it mostly seems they’re sticking to their own devices, attempting to build the best solution they can independently of other players in the space. It’s a refreshing change to see some collaboration here, with AImotive and MathWorks integrating their “aiSim” and “RoadRunner” offerings:

This will apparently allow for an easy import of road models created in RoadRunner (formerly by VectorZero) into aiSim, an ISO 26262/ASIL-D-certified simulation platform. Since RoadRunner in turn provides the ability to import real-world OpenDRIVE HD maps (e. g. by atlatec), this might indeed make for a compelling toolchain, coupling access to realistic environment models with sophisticated virtual sensor simulation. If you happen to be using/trialing this solution, we’d love to hear some impressions!

We hope you enjoyed this issue. Stay tuned for the upcoming automotive news overview at the end of March. Get the overview directly to your mailbox – sign up for the atlatec newsletter.


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News from Daimler Trucks, Waymo, Volvo Trucks, Honda, and atlatec

Your monthly automotive briefing

November has been quite an eventful month not only for automotive industry, but also for atlatec. We are happy to announce that our HD maps are compatible with one more simulation tool: Cognata

Also, our team is ready to present the result of the collaboration with TrianGraphics – the sample data is already available for download on our website.

Enjoy your monthly overview of automotive industry news!

Daimler Trucks partners with Waymo to build self-driving semi trucks – Via TechCrunch

When I initially saw the headlines about this, I was intrigued by words like “partnership” and “collaboration” between Waymo and Daimler Trucks North America. Upon closer reading of the press pieces, it turns out this partnership amounts to: Daimler selling trucks to a customer (who happens to be Waymo). Apparently, the Freightliner team at Daimler will not be involved in the “Waymofication” of the vehicles and have no insight whatsoever.

Seems like a lot of buzz for “OEM sells vehicles”, but serves to highlight the conflict of legacy OEMs and Silicon Valley software companies: Will the Daimlers of the world become the new Tier1s in the world of autonomous driving? Let’s wait and see – after all, Daimler Trucks still has its own AV project going on with Torc Robotics …

Volvo Trucks to electrify entire lineup by 2021 – Via electrive

There’s been a lot of news items this year about OEMs electrifying their model range; most recent examples including GM and Volkswagen, whose chairman called EVs “the only reasonable option” for the future.

One piece that was not quite as popular was this one from Volvo Trucks – which piqued my interest because electrification in commercial vehicles (save for buses) hasn’t been that much of a hot topic in my opinion. That might change quite soon, with Volvo promising EV options for their entire range, starting next year in Europe.

Mapflix for Simulation – Via atlatec

Cut down on delivery times and budget demands for HD maps: The atlatec OpenDRIVE database gives you instant access to over 1000 km of real-world HD maps. Our founder and CEO Dr. Henning Lategahn calls atlatec database “Mapflix for Simulation”: it is as easy to access and is cost-efficient.

Honda Wins World-first Approval For Level 3 Autonomous Car – Via International Business Times

It’s actually happening: Starting in Q1 of next year, the public will be able to buy a new Honda, capable of L3 automation – the first SAE level to actually be considered “automated driving” rather than “driving support”. To start, the vehicles will only be taking over operation on highways, and only in limited situations, such as stop-and-go traffic. To me personally, that’s one of the most tedious driving situations, though, so automating it should be a great value add for people in areas prone to traffic jams.

UK to ban sales of new diesel and gasoline cars in 2030 – Via CNBC

Easily the most underreported piece of news to me this month: The UK has decided to ban the sale of new petrol/diesel driven vehicles from 2030 (hybrids from 2035). Sure, Norway is 5 years earlier – but the UK is a rather different animal, both in terms of population and economy. While I feel this is an exceptionally brave move and hope to see it turn into a success, I remain somewhat sceptical: The required infrastructure alone will be a massive feat – and ten years can be a much shorter time, especially if you are also dealing with Brexit and a worldwide pandemic right when you start.

Atlatec joined forces with TrianGraphics to Create 3D Visualization of San Francisco HD maps – Via atlatec

And some more news from atlatec: We’ve released an expanded version of our San Francisco HD map sample – one that includes 3D assets and textures, for use in CarlaVTD and other simulations, entirely free! Visit the article to read more about the data, which was created in a collaboration with Trian Graphics, see a video and grab a download link. And if you do: Be sure to tell us what you think!


Just like last month, we got on a Zoom talk with Henning Lategahn and Tom Dahlström to discuss some of these news – the video is now available on YouTube. We hope you enjoy this issue!

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News from Daimler, Bosch, HERE, Mitsubishi, Tesla

December 2019 in Automotive Innovation

I hope you had lovely holidays and would like to extend my best wishes for the new year! 2020 is going to be an exciting one for us at atlatec, and I hope the same is true for you. Speaking of exciting stuff, here’s some news from our industry that stuck out this month – enjoy the read:

“Bosch and Daimler Launch San Jose Robotaxi Pilot” – via Forbes

Just a few weeks after Daimler’s new chairman Ola Källenius announced the company would cut down its investment in robotaxis, the car maker has now launched a pilot service in San Jose, collaborating with Tier1 supplier Bosch. The service is only open to a select group of pilot users (who are company employees) and there’s going to be both a safety driver and a separate engineer on board with passengers. However: “Daimler and Bosch hope to begin offering service to the general public in San Jose as soon as possible” – let’s see when that will turn out to be.

“Mitsubishi, NTT to buy 30% stake in digital mapping company HERE” – via Reuters

It’s been 4 years since BMW, Daimler and Audi teamed up to buy HERE from Nokia, aiming to build proprietary mapping competence rather than relying on (and being dependent upon) US tech companies. Now they’re going to share with Mitsubishi and Japanese telco provider Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT). The goal, according to HERE’s CEO Edzard Overbeek: “[F]urther diversifying our shareholder base beyond automotive, which is important given the appeal and necessity of location technology across geographies and industries.”

“Tesla Release Electric Car Patents To Public” – via IFLScience

60 years ago, when Volvo invented the 3-point seat belt, they decided to open the patent to other car makers for free: The potential for saving lives was more important than clinging to intellectual property. If you thought such decisions for the common good couldn’t happen in today’s economy (like I did), Elon Musk proved you wrong this December, opening Tesla’s EV patents to other companies. The move might also make sense from a business standpoint, however: If it helps to drive the electrification of traffic as a whole, it stands to reason that more customers will look to buy an EV – and thus consider a Tesla.

“We Need to Move Beyond the Car” – via Cruise Automation/Medium

This one’s less of a news item in the sense that it describes a new technological feat by GM’s self-driving car company Cruise – but I felt it’s an important piece, taking a step back to reflect on the automotive industry’s overall approach and asking the question whether we’re even solving for the right problems: “Despite making up less than 1% of all vehicle miles traveled, ride-sharing has added further congestion, more emissions, and potentially even decreased safety in our cities from over-tired and overworked drivers.”

“Real-world road and traffic data for simulation” – via atlatec/YouTube

In closing, I have some atlatec news to offer in the form of a video: We are now able to offer real-world traffic data (in addition to maps) for use in simulators, such as IPG’s CarMaker. We and our pilot OEM customer for this technology are confident that this kind of real-world content will be very helpful for digital validation of AV/ADAS systems that are supposed to react to traffic and other moving agents, such as adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic alerts, adaptive high-beam control and more – what do you think?

That’s it for this month – have a happy new year and see you at CES in Vegas!


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

Reminder: We also offer this monthly Automotive Innovation overview as a newsletter – if that sounds interesting to you, you’re more than welcome to sign up here.

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News from Tesla, Waymo, Cruise, Lynk & Co., atlatec

Another month is over – and while Covid-19 seems to be flaring up again all over the world, it’s not the only news out there: The automotive industry, which was hit hard by the Corona crisis has produced some interesting news items this October. Here’s my personal overview of what stuck out:

European Safety Assessment Slams Tesla Autopilot for Its Inability to Keep Drivers’ Attention – via The Drive

This month, Tesla released the beta version of its “Full Self-Driving” system to a limited batch of paying customers. The resonance has been mixed and there’s lots of video and more out there, showing situations which FSD apparently handles well – or not. This article got a bit lost in the wake of all this – but I feel it emphasizes an underlying conflict of any self-driving tech relying on drivers’ attention: The better the self-driving performance and user experience, the less attention “drivers” will pay – and the less they’ll be prepared to take over in critical situations. Tesla’s user experience is apparently the worst at keeping drivers’ attention in auto mode, as per this recent NCAP analysis.

Bonus: I also recommend a look at this Twitter thread by Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron who took the time to analyze footage from one of the first test drives in detail.

Waymo will allow more people to ride in its fully driverless vehicles in Phoenix – via The Verge

Waymo, arguably a leader in the autonomous vehicles domain reached another milestone this month: The Google company will open up its driverless robotaxi service in Phoenix to about 1 000 app users, who can now request rides without safety drivers onboard. Remote operators will be on standby to take control of the vehicles if necessary, but Waymo expects little work for them.

Cruise can now test driverless vehicles on the streets of San Francisco – via The TechCrunch

Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, is not yet offering rides to the public but got approval by the Californian DMV “to test five autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the wheel on specified streets within San Francisco.” This is the fifth permit for driverless testing after Waymo, AutoX, Nuro and Zoox and it comes with some restrictions: “The Cruise vehicles are designed to operate on roads with posted speed limits not exceeding 30 miles per hour, during all times of the day and night, but will not test during heavy fog or heavy rain, the DMV said.” 

There’s an ongoing discussion about the ethics of these public-roads tests: On the one hand, companies are supposed to “verify vehicles are capable of operating without a driver” to get a permit, but on the other hand those tests are being conducted with the specific purpose to verify this in the first place – they are tests, after all. This has potential for further controversy, and further underlines the need for comprehensive, real-word-based simulation ahead of on-road operations.

Lynk & Co’s compact SUV costs €500 a month but might earn you a profit – via The Verge

This was relatively unnoticed news this month, but I find it worth noting because GEELY’s Lynk & Co. brand is attempting to redesign one of the basic fundamentals in automotive: The relation between car ownership and access to (car-based) mobility.

What Lynk & Co. is offering with the new “01” model is a built-in car-sharing platform, complete with mobile apps to unlock vehicles by phone etc. Individuals can take out a lease on a 01 (around 500 EUR a month, including service by Volvo dealerships) and then offer it for use via the platform – defining when it’s available and how much they want to charge to rent it out to other users, who don’t pay for vehicles/leases themselves. Sure, car sharing is nothing new – but if done right, this could bring a new level of convenience to the game which might really make a difference.

I find this move a) very brave, because it essentially means a commitment to sell less cars by GEELY and b) very innovative to come from an OEM because it doesn’t attempt to solve any and every mobility challenge by adding more, or better vehicles but instead truly treats mobility as a commodity. The new car – and service – will pilot in Amsterdam, arguably one of the major European cities which has done most to move away from traditional car ownership models.

How Accurate Are HD Maps for Autonomous Driving and ADAS Simulation? – via atlatec

It’s definitely one of the most frequently asked questions for us here at atlatec: “How accurate are HD maps”? It sounds innocent, but answering it correctly is rather complex. However, we feel that the question is important, both when it comes to safety in autonomous vehicle operations and regarding the validity of simulations based on real-world maps.

This month, we’ve therefore taken the time to answer the question comprehensively; taking a close look at what accuracy really means in the context of HD maps – and of course we’re also putting numbers to what atlatec achieves in this domain.


As a first this month, we took to Zoom to discuss some of these news items internally – and we recorded it: Tune in to hear what our CEO, Henning Lategahn thinks about the developments at Tesla and Lynk & Co. and for a some more explanation on the topic of HD map accuracy on our YouTube channel!

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News from atlatec, Tesla, Waymo, Nikola, Zoox

Your monthly automotive briefing

September is coming to and end and it is time for the monthly automotive briefing. Our team has been expanding recently and we are happy to welcome on board our new Marketing Manager Hanna Auseyenka. Hanna is taking over the monthly automotive digest for you. 

September has been quite an eventful month for the automotive industry. As some companies come one step closer towards self-driving future and gain approval to test their driverless vehicles on real roads, others, like Nikola Motors, face distressing news.

Here’s a short overview of articles that might be of interest for you.

Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ Falls Short of Its Name – Via Consumer Reports

There has been plenty of controversy around what Tesla claims to be ‘Full Self Driving Capabilities’ and what specifically constitutes a ‘feature complete’ status for those. Consumer Reports has now undertaken an independent test of all these features – this article is a nice summary of their procedure and results.

Germany wants to permit driverless cars across the country by 2022 – Via TNW

Germany driverless car

Despite coming down hard on Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, Germany isn’t totally against the concept of self-driving cars. Several German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, met last week to discuss possible regulations of self-driving cars. 

Driverless Trucking Not Slowing Down But The Ride Is Getting Bumpier – Via Forbes

driverless trucks

During the recent Automated Vehicles Symposium, industry stakeholders from Waymo, Kodiak, TuSimple, Einride, Penske, PACCAR and others discussed what the future of self-driving trucks will look like. This article is a nice recap of the industry’s supposed turning point by AV veteran Richard Bishop.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton leaves amid fraud claims, shares plunge – Via New York Post

Nikola

Dramatic news for Nikola Motor, the company that aims to produce zero-emissions vehicles: Trevor Milton founder and executive chairman, is stepping down from the company’s board of directors.

Zoox gains approval to test autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in California – Via Venture Beat

zoox

September has been an exciting month for Zoox. It is now the fourth company to receive a driverless testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The other three companies that already have their vehicles on the roads are Waymo, Nuro, and AutoX.

Partnership Between atlatec and Applus+ IDIADA Results in 330 Kilometers Scanned Catalan Roads and a Sample Set – via atlatec

atlatec_idiada_hd_map

Several months ago atlatec Gmbh partnered up with the Spanish company Applus+ IDIADA and scanned 330 kilometers of Catalan public roads to collect data required for the creation of high-definition maps (HD maps) to be used to validate autonomous vehicles. Scanned routes include highways, interurban roads, rural roads, and city streets. The routes were selected for their above-average probability of encountering challenging situations for connected and automated vehicles. 

The collaboration between atlatec and Applus+ IDIADA resulted in the release of a second set of free sample data. As of today, a sample set of Catalan 3D roads with inch-perfect accuracy is available for download on the atlatec website.

All the best

Hanna Auseyenka
atlatec Gmbh

P.S. Do you feel like we missed something? Feel free to send me over your worth-sharing industry news over LinkedIn.