Winter is here! Driving to work through the snow and rain this morning, I once more realized what a luxury it is to drive a personal automobile: I honestly hope this industry can find a sustainable way for us to keep these comforts …
I also hope you are staying warm and cozy at this time – so curl up with a hot beverage of your choosing and let’s dive into this month’s read:
As you may remember, Tesla announced earlier this year that they’d be removing radar sensors from all upcoming models – presumably because they were interfering with the superior environmental perception provided by their cameras. I took a critical look at the camera vs. radar argument in this guest article for AV International in July – and now the first radar-less Tesla is coming out. CNET’s editor in chief, Tim Stevens, experienced multiple false positives during his test drive and comes to a clear conclusion:
“This is a massive problem. It happens on both the highway and on secondary roads, any time the cruise control is engaged even without Autosteer. It means the car’s cruise control is patently unsafe, which means the entirety of Autopilot is unsafe. And that means the car itself is unsafe.”
Chip shortage: automakers with high profits, suppliers suffer
– via Market Research Telecast
The semiconductor crisis affects everyone? Yes, but actually no: A new EY study says automotive OEMs seem to have successfully mitigated the shortage by prioritizing their high-end, high-margin models – and posted record profits for the last quarter. Their suppliers, on the other end, are negatively affected by the lower-volume, more volatile requests from carmakers with over 40% of Tier1s “now in a financially tense situation” according to PwC.
As someone working in sales along the automotive value chain, I negotiate quite a few contracts with both OEMs and suppliers. Next time I get the argument that “this will never happen, anyway, why do you care if we leave the clause in the contract”, I might just reply with a link to this article ….
BMW is turning to Qualcomm to supply chips for the automaker’s self-driving cars – via Automotive News
Speaking of chips and Tier1s: Qualcomm’s play to out-bid Magna for Swedish sensor maker Veoneer got completed this month. People in the industry were confident that Qualcomm’s real acquisition target was Arriver: a subsidy of Veoneer working on cutting edge ADAS/autonomous driving technology that was formed when Zenuity, the supplier’s former joint venture with Volvo Cars was disbanded.
Now, Qualcomm was able to announce BMW as a new flagship customer for its automotive-grade chips – and Arriver will ride that wave as a supplier of ADAS technology to the OEM. I guess both Mobileye and Nvidia will keep a close eye on the developments to follow …
Aurora releases first commercial beta of Aurora Driver autonomous driving system – via Green Car Congress
Let’s close on a note about autonomous trucks: Aurora released a first commercial version of their self-driving stack this month. In a collaboration with truck maker PACCAR and logistics carrier FedEx, the “Aurora Driver” is going to service a route between Dallas and Houston: a highway that’s seeing a lot of interest in this field, with TuSimple, Kodiak Robotics, Embark and other players also having chosen Texas for testing and commercial debuts in the autonomous trucking space.
Aurora uses cameras, radars and a priprietary LiDAR for perception and claims that Driver is ready for commercial use, mastering “unprotected left and right turns, high-speed merges, and various forms of construction” in its present beta form.
That’s it for this month; I hope you enjoyed the selection – be careful on winter roads and have a lovely advent season!
All the best