Tata Motors signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Volkswagen Group and Skoda for exploring Joint Development projects

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  • Explore long-term partnership for joint development projects
  • To develop innovative solutions for Indian and overseas market
  • Evaluate combined value chain activities to create synergies
  • Partnership to help Tata Motors become “FutuReady” by embracing new technologies
  • ŠKODA to lead project for Volkswagen Group brands

Tata Motors today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a long-term partnership with Volkswagen Group and Skoda, to explore strategic alliance opportunity for joint development of products. The agreement has been signed by Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD of Tata Motors, Matthias Mueller, CEO of Volkswagen AG and Bernhard Maier, CEO of Skoda Auto.

The document lays down the scope and objectives in order to reach agreement on the modalities and terms of a long-term cooperation in identified areas of partnership. Skoda Auto will take the lead on behalf of the Volkswagen Group to drive forward work towards development of vehicle concepts in the economy segment.

Announcing this strategic alliance opportunity, Guenter Butschek, CEO and Managing Director, Tata Motors, said, “We are delighted to announce our potential cooperation with Volkswagen Group and Skoda. We strongly believe that both the companies, by working together, can leverage from each other’s strengths to create synergies and develop smart innovative solutions for the Indian and overseas market. This is in alignment with Tata Motors’ efforts to make itself ‘FutuReady’ by embracing new technologies, fostering higher platform efficiency and offering solutions that connect with the aspirations of our customers.”

“Our aim with the envisaged strategic partnership with Tata Motors is to lay the foundations in the Group and the brands that will enable us to offer customer-oriented mobility solutions in the emerging, fast-growing automobile markets, as elsewhere. By offering the appropriate products, we intend to achieve sustainable and profitable growth in very different parts of the world. That is why we are systematically pursuing our regional growth strategy”, Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, commented.

“We are looking forward to the joint project with Tata Motors. Delegating project responsibility to ŠKODA underscores the great confidence of the Volkswagen Group in the ability of our brand. Together with Tata we will be specifying the concrete opportunities for collaboration over the coming months”, Bernhard Maier, CEO of ŠKODA Auto, stated.

Tata Motors and SKODA Auto, representing the Volkswagen Group, will detail out the guiding principles and terms of cooperation in the next few months. Post successful completion of definitive agreements, the two companies will start joint development work and joint value-chain activities. Based on this joint work, Tata Motors plans to launch products in the Indian market, starting calendar year 2019.

About Tata Motors:

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of INR 2, 75, 561 crores (USD 41.6 billion) in 2015-16. Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa and Indonesia. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, the business comprising the two iconic British brands. It also has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India.  With over 9 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the country’s market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top in passenger vehicles. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, South America, Australia, CIS and Russia.

About Volkswagen Group

The Volkswagen Group with its headquarters in Wolfsburg is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. The Group operates 120 production plants in 20 European countries and a further 11 countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, over 610,000 employees worldwide produce nearly 42,000 vehicles, and work in vehicle-related services or other fields of business. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries. With its “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” future program, the Volkswagen Group is paving the way for the biggest change process in its history: the realignment to become a globally leading provider of sustainable mobility.

Tata Motors and Microsoft India collaborate to redefine the connected experience for automobile users

Tata Motors aims to enhance in-car connectivity and efficiency to provide an enriched mobile experience for its consumers

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Tata Motors and Microsoft India announced a strategic agreement to redefine connected and personalized driving experiences for Indian customers. Tata Motors will leverage Microsoft’s connected vehicle technologies that bring together artificial intelligence (AI), advanced machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities on the global hyper-scale Azure cloud, to traverse the digital and physical worlds and create a highly personalized, smart and safer driving experience across the digital life of a vehicle owner. The first vehicle showcasing the vision for these enhanced driving experiences will be unveiled at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show on 7th March 2017. This will be via Tata Motors’ unique user interface application and services suite utilizing Microsoft enabled functionality like advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, telematics and remote monitoring features.

Commenting on the partnership, Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors, said, “With the aim to develop innovative and technologically leading products that excite customers, we at Tata Motors, understand the need for a connected ecosystem that can integrate into the digital lives of customers. We are using Microsoft’s connected vehicle technologies on Azure intelligent cloud to bring the digital lives of our customers into the cars they drive. Making the most of fast-paced innovation cycle that Microsoft has to offer, we will create a fully connected and seamless driving experience for our customers.”

Commenting on the association, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said, “We are excited to partner with Tata Motors as they embark on a new journey of innovation with Microsoft Azure cloud. Using IoT, AI and machine learning technologies, we will provide vehicle owners in India and across the world with a safe, productive and fun driving experience.”

Using Microsoft technology will empower Tata Motors to provide connectivity features on mainstream, mass-market vehicles at affordable prices. Tata Motors will continuously develop and launch new connected services and applications that make it easier for people to stay connected to work, entertainment and social networks, with greater safety & security as well as services to maximize better use of newly found in-car free time.

In addition, Tata Motors’ recently launched ring-fenced vertical, TAMO, will act as an open platform to foster innovation through a startup ecosystem and develop vehicles with on-the-go connectivity. In its first phase, the advanced offerings will incorporate technologies such as cloud computing, analytics, geo-spatial & mapping and increased human-machine interface, creating a new benchmark in the industry for connected vehicles. TAMO will provide a digital eco-system, which will be leveraged by Tata Motors to support the mainstream business in the future.

Connected experience for vehicle owners

In the future, Tata Motors vehicles will offer drivers and passengers a highly digital driving experience. Microsoft Azure cloud computing technologies will allow advanced navigation, predictive maintenance and vehicle centric services, remote monitoring of car features, external mobile experiences and over-the-air updates. These will be powered by Microsoft Azure cloud and services such as advanced analytics, machine learning, IoT and artificial intelligence. Among the driving scenarios being explored for the future are the following:

  • Based on their profile and location data, vehicle owners can receive proactive point-of-interest, shopping and route assist recommendations enabling them to achieve more on the go.

  • Pre-emptive service alerts based on vehicle health data will enable owners to avoid costly down time en-route on planned road trips.

  • Using industry-leading firmware over the air (FOTA) and software over the air (SOTA) updates protocols, key vehicle settings can be updated remotely, over the cloud. These will help cloud based diagnostics and the ability to use insights from vehicle data to prevent warranty and recall issues, and offer new services that improve user experience.

  • By capturing, analyzing and acting on live road conditions, vehicle owners will be able to increase safety, optimize vehicle performance by avoiding roadblocks and rough terrain. By unifying navigation, data elements like maps, weather, traffic, and parking the solution can deliver optimized routing and location based services to vehicle owners.


Also read:

Tata Motors forays into future mobility solutions with TAMO

Tata Motors to unveil performance brand TaMo; Two-seater mid-engined sportscar will be unveiled at 2017 Geneva Motor Show


About Tata Motors

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of INR 275,561 crores (USD 41.6 billion) in 2015-16. Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa and Indonesia. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, the business comprising the two iconic British brands. It also has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India.  With over 9 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the country’s market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top in passenger vehicles. Tata cars, buses and trucks are marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, South America, Australia, CIS and Russia.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 7,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development and customer services and support, across nine Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft is committed to touching and transforming lives and businesses in India through technology.

Via Tata Motors Press-Release

HARMAN Partners with Ultrahaptics to Bring Custom Haptic Sensations to the Connected Car

New Haptic Technology Keeps Drivers Focused on the Road by Controlling Commands with Sensations

STAMFORD, CT – HARMAN International (NYSE: HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the development of a mid-air haptic feedback system, developed in partnership with Ultrahaptics, an organization dedicated to creating a connection between people and technology by using ultra sound to project sensations onto a hand. The new technology allows drivers to control infotainment and audio systems with hand gestures, enabling them to keep their eyes on the road and lowering cognitive distraction while driving. Reducing driver distraction is critical as distracted drivers are responsible for accidents that daily claim more than eight lives and cause 1,161 injuries in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In collaboration with Ultrahaptics, HARMAN has created a mid-air haptic system featuring sophisticated sensations that can control multiple in-vehicle systems, including audio infotainment functions. The system creates haptic sensations that track the driver’s hand movements, which then gives feedback for various gesture commands. The haptic solution allows drivers to simply move their hands in the air and feel the controls to adjust their embedded infotainment system.

“As cars become more connected, driver safety has never been more important, which is why HARMAN constantly works to deliver solutions designed to keep drivers safe on the road,” said Stefan Marti, VP, Future Experience, HARMAN. “Our haptic feedback solution makes the driving experience safer by enabling drivers to keep their eyes on the road while still maintaining intuitive control of infotainment and audio systems.”

HARMAN worked closely with Ultrahaptics to design this unique system combining custom haptic sensations, gestural interfaces and HARMAN’s custom visual interactive Graphic User Interface (GUI). This solution from HARMAN and Ultrahaptics showcases a unified system with a highly-integrated haptic and audio-visual component.

“Partnering with HARMAN to combine expertise from both organizations has enabled us to develop a unique solution that will improve driver safety,” said Steve Cliffe, CEO, Ultrahaptics. “Technology and connectivity continue to be further integrated into our lives, particularly in the car, requiring organizations to consistently innovate to deliver technology that will change how drivers interact with their vehicles to keep them safer while driving.”

– Harman Press Release

Maruti’s answer to Renault’s Kwid; To debut at 2018 Auto Expo

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The new cross-hatch will replace the Alto K10. Suzuki Crosshiker concept. *Image used for representative purpose only

The Renault Kwid has made one of the biggest splashes in the Indian automotive scenario in recent times. This entry-level hatchback has captured many a customer’s fancy and wallet with its SUV-inspired styling and accessible pricing, thus becoming a regular on the India’s top ten bestselling vehicles list. In the process, it has attained a large chunk of market share among the entry-level hatchbacks. The sales numbers speak for themselves, with the Kwid selling an average of 8,812 units per month over the 2016 calendar year.

The Kwid has also eaten into the volumes of market leader Maruti Alto which has seen a sales decline from 20,658 units in September 2015 to 17,351 units in December 2016. This seems to be enough impetus for Maruti Suzuki to sit up and take notice; it has begun work on an all-new hatchback which is likely to hit showrooms sometime sometime next year. This new hatchback will be an all-new model and will not be a direct replacement for the Alto, as reported elsewhere.

This new cross-hatch will be aimed directly at the Renault Kwid. However, details at the moment are scarce, but it would be safe to predict a higher ground clearance along with an upright SUV-like styling. There is also no news of what’s going to be under the hood of this new model. We expect the familiar range of Maruti engines that include the 800cc and 1.0-litre petrol on duty.

Expect Maruti to unveil this new model at the Auto Expo 2018 sometime early next year.


This article is originally published by AutocarIndia. Image source: AutocarIndia.

Ford invests in Argo AI, An artificial intelligence startup,In drive for autonomous vehicle leadership


San Francisco, Feb. 10, 2017 – Ford Motor Company today announces it is investing $1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, to develop a virtual driver system for the automaker’s autonomous vehicle coming in 2021 – and for potential license to other companies.

Founded by former Google and Uber leaders, Argo AI is bringing together some of the most experienced roboticists and engineers working in autonomy from inside and outside of Ford. The team of experts in robotics and artificial intelligence is led by Argo AI founders Bryan Salesky, company CEO, and Peter Rander, company COO. Both are alumni of Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center and former leaders on the self-driving car teams of Google and Uber, respectively.

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“The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile, and autonomous vehicles will have as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. “As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future.”

The current team developing Ford’s virtual driver system – the machine-learning software that acts as the brain of autonomous vehicles – will be combined with the robotics talent and expertise of Argo AI. This innovative partnership will work to deliver the virtual driver system for Ford’s SAE level 4 self-driving vehicles.

Ford will continue to lead on development of its purpose-built autonomous vehicle hardware platform, as well as on systems integration, manufacturing, exterior and interior design, and regulatory policy management.

Argo AI will join forces with Ford’s autonomous vehicle software development effort to strengthen the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. Argo AI’s agility and Ford’s scale uniquely combine the benefits of a technology startup with the experience and discipline of the automaker’s industry-leading autonomous vehicle development program.

“We are at an inflection point in using artificial intelligence in a wide range of applications, and the successful deployment of self-driving cars will fundamentally change how people and goods move,” said Salesky. “We are energized by Ford’s commitment and vision for the future of mobility, and we believe this partnership will enable self-driving cars to be commercialized and deployed at scale to extend affordable mobility to all.”

The collaboration supports Ford’s intent to have a fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable vehicle for commercial application in mobility services in 2021.

“Working together with Argo AI gives Ford a distinct competitive advantage at the intersection of the automotive and technology industries,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “This open collaboration is unlike any other partnership – allowing us to benefit from combining the speed of a startup with Ford’s strengths in scaling technology, systems integration and vehicle design.”

Also complementing the relationship will be Ford Smart Mobility LLC, which will lead on the commercialization strategy for Ford’s self-driving vehicles. This includes choices for using autonomous vehicles to move goods and people, such as ride sharing, ride hailing or package delivery fleets.

Ford will be the majority stakeholder in Argo AI. Importantly, Argo AI has been structured to operate with substantial independence. Its employees will have significant equity participation in the company, enabling them to share in its success. Argo AI’s board will have five members: Nair; John Casesa, Ford group vice president, Global Strategy; Salesky; Rander; and an independent director.

The $1 billion investment in Argo AI will be made over five years and is consistent with the autonomous vehicle capital allocation plan shared last September as part of Ford Investor Day.

By the end of this year, Argo AI expects to have more than 200 team members, based in the company’s Pittsburgh headquarters and at major sites in Southeastern Michigan and the Bay Area of California.

Argo AI’s initial focus will be to support Ford’s autonomous vehicle development and production. In the future, Argo AI could license its technology to other companies and sectors looking for autonomous capability.

Also Read:

Ford & Toyota join hands to establish ‘Smart Device Link’ Consortium; To accelerate industry driven standards for In-Vehicle Apps

Ford survey concludes that consumers are embracing new technologies in transportation services

Via: The Ford Motor Company-Mediacenter

Peugeot buys “Ambassador” brand rights from Hindustan Motors

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Modified & restored Hindustan Motors Ambassador

KOLKATA: Ambassador, the iconic Indian car brand that till less than a decade ago carried both the Prime Minister and the common man, is being sold to French carmaker Peugeot.

The C K Birla Group-owned Hindustan Motors formalised the deal for Rs 80 crore on Friday. Production of Ambassador cars had stopped around three years ago.

“We have executed an agreement with the Peugeot SA Group for the sale of the brand Ambassador, including the trademarks… We intend to use the proceeds from the sale to clear dues of employees and lenders,” a CK Birla Group spokesperson said.

To those who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, Ambassador wasn’t just a car; it was an inseparable part of India’s urban landscape.

The car’s absence of looks was never in doubt. But in an era of limited choices, the spacious fourwheeler was the preferred choice for most Indians who could afford it. Even today for many, the car remains synonymous with memories of their fonder and younger days and a marker of a more innocent India.

It is not clear if Peugeot will use the Ambassador brand for its cars in India. A questionnaire mailed to the French company remained unanswered.

The Ambassador brand was introduced seven decades ago when Hindustan Motors launched the Morris Oxford series II (Landmaster) in a new avatar with minor changes.

peugeot-logo-2010-1920x1080Peugeot to re-enter India through a joint venture with CK Birla Group

PSA Group, the France-based carmaker and owner of automotive brands like Peugeot and Citroen, will soon re-enter the Indian market. The company is reportedly in talks with the New Delhi-based CK Birla Group for a probable manufacturing venture. An official announcement about the same is expected to be made by the end of this week. Though detailed information hasn’t…read more

Source: Link

Piaggio Group’s Aprilia Racing signs partnership agreement with BACKtoWORK24

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Milan, BacktoWork24 – a subsidiary of Gruppo 24 Ore and leading player in the Italian market for investment in small and medium-sized enterprises and startups by private investors — and Aprilia Racing — the technological development platform of the Piaggio Group and Italian centre of excellence for innovation in the technical/motorcycle sector — have recently signed a partnership that was presented at the Milan headquarters of the Gruppo 24 Ore on February 6.

The agreement aims to further the development and visibility of innovative startups and SMEs within the BacktoWork24 network, thanks to Aprilia Racing, recognized as a leading company at the national and international level, which will provide its international platform and one-of-a-kind technology.

As a result of this partnership, companies in the BacktoWork24 network will be able to field test their products and services using the tools of the Aprilia Racing MotoGP Platform, and to present their innovations through important visibility channels at the national and international level.

MotoGP spaces will serve as the location for technological testing and the development of innovative processes and services that, depending on their nature, can be developed independently or in concert with Aprilia Racing.

“The main objective of this operation,” explains BacktoWork24 CEO Alberto Bassi, “is to broaden the spectrum of opportunities for our companies through integration and collaboration with corporate companies. Over the course of 2017 we will select a panel of companies operating in different sectors to which Aprilia Racing will offer their assets, including an open-innovation approach.”

“We are pleased to have signed this partnership with BacktoWork24, which can in fact be a test case for visibility and the development of innovative new businesses,” said Romano Albesiano, Technical Director of Aprilia Racing. “Over the course of the MotoGP Racing Championship, Aprilia has had the honour of being the representative of Italianness in the world, and with this agreement we can provide our spaces synergistically in a circuit that reaches 15 different nations around the world. ”

Aprilia Racing, through the MotoGP platform, comes in contact every year with over 291 million viewers, of which about 2.5 of them are in the stands. In this context, startups will be introduced that, with dedicated activities during the races, private and showroom tests, b2b and b2c events,  and racetrack marketing activities in 15 countries and four continents, will have a unique showcase to introduce innovative products and services.

Presentation of the initiative was held on Monday, February 6, 2017, at 17:30 at the headquarters of the 24 ORE Group at Via Monte Rosa 91 in Milan. During the event, a space was provided where interested entrepreneurs could present their projects to the BacktoWork24 / Aprilia Racing team.

Press release

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