Nissan and DeNA unveil Easy Ride mobility service in Japan

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YOKOHAMA, Japan and TOKYO – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and DeNA Co., Ltd. today unveiled the Easy Ride brand for the new robo-vehicle mobility service that the two companies are developing jointly. The companies also announced plans for a field test with public participation.

The public field test will take place in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan from March 5, 2018, to March 18, 2018.

Nissan and DeNA started collaborating to develop a new mobility service that uses autonomous driving technology in January 2017. The two companies aim to combine the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, through technological assets in autonomous driving, vehicle electrification and connected cars, with DeNA’s experience in developing and operating driverless mobility services using its expertise in the internet and artificial intelligence.

With “more freedom of mobility” as its concept, Easy Ride is envisioned as a service for anyone who wants to travel freely to their destination of choice in a robo-vehicle. The goal is to allow customers to use a dedicated mobile app to complete the whole process from setting destinations and summoning vehicles to paying the fare.

Customers can also select recommended local destinations and sightseeing routes depending on their objectives. Nissan and DeNA plan to support multiple languages and to use a remote monitoring system to ensure customer safety.

Nissan and DeNA started a technical field test using an autonomous vehicle this year. The companies will recruit participants for the March field test from today until Jan. 15 through the Easy Ride website, https://easy-ride.com.

Nissan and DeNA aim to provide the service as a new infrastructure option that supplements existing transportation. With customers able to discover new local destinations through Easy Ride, the companies expect the service will also help energize cities and neighborhoods.

About DeNA
DeNA (pronounced “D-N-A”) develops and operates a broad range of mobile and online services including games, e-commerce, entertainment, healthcare, automotive and other diversified offerings. Founded in 1999, DeNA is headquartered in Tokyo with over 2,000 employees. DeNA Co., Ltd. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (2432). For more information, visit: dena.com

Via Nissan News

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DENSO and NEC Establish a Joint Venture to Develop Essential Connectivity Technologies for Cars of the Present and Future

KARIYA (Japan) ― DENSO Corporation and NEC Platforms, Ltd., a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, today unveiled a new joint venture, DENSO NEXT CO., LTD. The company will develop in-vehicle information and communications equipment critical for fostering a truly connected environment inside vehicles, such as instrument clusters, head-up displays, and on-board communication equipment. The company will start operations on December 1, 2017.

The recent cockpit innovation and advancement of connected technologies have made communication between products in the cabin more complicated, rapidly increasing the need to develop in-vehicle products more efficiently. DENSO NEXT will harness DENSO’s advanced automotive engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and NEC Group’s advanced technologies and track record in the information and communications technology (ICT) business to quickly design and bring to market advanced in-vehicle equipment.

DENSO NEXT will be located on the premises of NEC’s Tamagawa Plant in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan. The innovations developed by DENSO and NEC Platforms engineers will enable DENSO to more efficiently produce existing information and communications equipment, and to create new products in line with vehicle cockpit advancements.

DENSO NEXT combines DENSO’s deep experience with automotive components and NEC and NEC Platforms’ expertise in IT and network technologies and experience in developing automotive components. NEC and NEC Platforms have expertise in ICT and conventional in-vehicle equipment through their development of wireless communication and software products. Their expertise will be applied to achieve further advancement of in-vehicle equipment that requires high reliability and long-term assurance.

In December 2016, DENSO and NEC started to collaborate in advanced driver assistance, automated driving, and manufacturing using AI and IoT. The two companies will take full advantage of technologies, products, and organizations created through the collaboration to help create a safe and secure automotive society for all people around the world.

The profile of the joint venture is as follows:

Name DENSO NEXT CO., LTD.
Location 1753 Shimonumabe, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan(on the premises of NEC’s Tamagawa Plant)
President Takahira Katoh
Establishment November 24, 2017
Capital 15 million yen (approximately US$133,000)
Ownership 51% owned by DENSO, 49% by NEC Platforms
Employees 50 employee (Projected as of September 2018)
Business description Development of in-vehicle information and communications equipment

* Exchange rate used is 113 yen to the US one dollar, at the end of October for convenience only.

About DENSO Corporation

DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. Its customers include all the world’s major carmakers. Worldwide, the company has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 38 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs more than 150,000 people. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled US$40.4 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 9.0 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development. DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges. For more information, go to http://www.denso.com, or visit our media website at www.denso.com/global/en/news/media-center/

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company’s experience and global resources, NEC’s advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society.  For more information, visit NEC at http://www.nec.com

The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow.

Via Denso Press Release

BMW Group, in partnership with EVCARD, launches ReachNow car-sharing service in China

The BMW Group, in partnership with EVCARD, a Shanghai-based electric car-sharing company under Global Car-Sharing & Rental Co. Ltd., launches its car-sharing service in Chengdu under the co-brand “ReachNow Powered By EVCARD”.

Reachnow EVcard Global Car Sharing Rental

 (December 1 2017, Chengdu) — The BMW Group, in partnership with EVCARD, a Shanghai-based electric car-sharing company under Global Car-Sharing & Rental Co. Ltd., launches its car-sharing service in Chengdu under the co-brand “ReachNow Powered By EVCARD”. The mobility service based in the capital city of Southwest China’s Sichuan province will offer station-based premium electric car-sharing. The debut of ReachNow in Asia marks the BMW Group’s first mobility service offering in the Chinese market, aiming to provide new and innovative individual mobility solutions to Chinese customers at the price of 2 RMB per minute with 100 units of pure electric BMW i3 to be in operation.

Dr. Bernhard Blättel, Vice President Mobility and Energy Services at BMW Group, says: “The launch of ReachNow in China contributes to the BMW Group’s vision of future mobility. As China and Chinese customers are playing a crucial role in the transformation of mobility, together with our local partners, we aim to bring our worldwide experience in mobility services to this market. We strive to meet the ever-increasing Chinese customer demands for convenient and sustainable mobility with our premium cars and services. ReachNow Powered By EVCARD is a perfect combination of electro mobility and car-sharing that will also contribute to the sustainable and low-carbon lifestyle in urban areas of China. The official launch of the program in Chengdu represents a new milestone within the BMW Group’s Mobility Services Strategy.”

ReachNow Powered By EVCARD will offer customers in Chengdu a high-end, intelligent and flexible on-demand mobility experience. The combination of EVCARD’s APP with BMW Group’s advanced car-sharing technology will offer users to effortlessly complete the whole process of car-usage without a key, including car reservation, pick up, drop off, start and stop the engine, payment etc. A customer service hotline will be available 24 hours to support users in case of any questions.

By 2018, 25 stations will be available in Chengdu, which will be located around high-end areas such as premium residential and commercial areas, office buildings hosting large companies, government compounds and five-star hotels. Users will need to pick up and drop off the cars within the stations. The fleet of fully electric BMW i3, as the world’s most successful electric vehicle in the premium compact segment since its market launch four years ago, will not only ensure green mobility but also driving pleasure to all ReachNow customers.

As a global leader in innovative mobility, BMW has gained rich experience in the operation of mobility service in Europe as well as in the US. In 2011, the BMW Group launched its first car-sharing service in Europe in partnership with the car rental company SIXT under the brand of DriveNow. The service is now active in 13 European cities with more than one million registered users and over 6,500 BMW and MINI vehicles in operation. Based on this successful model, the BMW Group launched in April 2016 an enhanced car-sharing service in the United States under the ReachNow brand, providing users with various individual mobility services such as car sharing, driver service, long term car rental including delivery of car, etc.

EVCARD is one of the largest electric car-sharing service providers in China. Combining its local perspective and expertise in electric car-sharing with BMW’s global experience, the BMW Group will be able to better fulfill Chinese customer’s diverse and individual mobility needs.

The BMW Group

With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 31 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2016, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.367 million cars and 145,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax was approximately €9.67 billion on revenues amounting to €94.16 billion. As of 31 December 2016, the BMW Group had a workforce of 124,729 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.

Via BMW Press Release

Valeo joins hands with Pyeong HWA Group to create Valeo-Kapec

On February 6, 2017, Valeo announced that it had signed an agreement with its long­standing South Korean partner, PHC Group, to create a joint venture set to become the world leader in torque converters for automatic and continuous variable transmissions.

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Having obtained the necessary regulatory approvals, Valeo and its partner PHC Group today confirmed that the transaction has been completed.

The company will employ approximately 3,150 people and will be controlled and fully consolidated by Valeo. It is forecast to generate sales of around 1 billion euros on an annual basis and will be accretive to Valeo’s operating margin from its first fiscal year.

Valeo-Kapec will capitalize on the two partners’ strong geographic, product and business complementarity to create purchasing, manufacturing and, above all, R&D synergies.

“By strengthening our ties with our long-standing South Korean partner and creating this joint venture, we will double our sales of torque converters for automatic and continuous variable transmissions and become the world leader in this high-technology product line,” said Jacques Aschenbroich, Valeo’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “And by stepping up our presence in South Korea and increasing sales to Hyundai-Kia, we expect our sales in Asia to increase by around 500 million euros.”

Via: Valeo

Velodyne Rolling Out 128-Laser Beam LiDAR To Maintain Driverless Car Vision Lead

https://goo.gl/s87nLG

Velodyne VLS 128 LiDAR
A street image created by Velodyne’s new VLS-128 LiDAR sensor, top, has 10 times the resolution of an image from its previous top-end unit, below.

Forbes: Velodyne, the top supplier of sensors that give self-driving cars 360-degree, 3D vision, is releasing a significantly enhanced laser LiDAR that can see further and with higher image resolution than anything currently available amid rising competition from startups touting cheaper or higher-quality sensors.

The tech company created by David Hall, who patented the first spinning LiDAR for driverless vehicles more than a decade ago, begins shipping initial units of its 128-laser beam VLS-128 in December, with production to expand in 2018. The sensor has at least 10 times the resolution of Velodyne’s previous top-end model and can see dark objects in a vehicle’s path as far away as the length of three football fields.

“We want to be able to see tire debris out on a road and then steer around it,” Hall told Forbes. “The current thinking is that’s about 300 meters, and it has to see something pretty black. We think we can do that with this device.”

Self-driving cars need artificial intelligence and cutting-edge computing power to understand and react to road conditions and surroundings. Just like human drivers, they also need to see. Cameras and radar are already standard equipment on many new vehicles, alerting drivers of pedestrians and nearby hazards they may not notice. But LiDAR’s ability to create detailed, somewhat ghostly “point cloud” images of surroundings – in virtually all lighting and weather conditions and at long range – makes it a vital tool for robotic cars.

Velodyne got a big head start in the optical sensor market when it supplied 64-beam LiDAR units to contestants in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, a legendary engineering competition that helped ignite the self-driving car revolution. Now its racing to complete a fully automated factory in San Jose to supply up to a million of the vision devices a year to auto and tech customers making driverless cars, which Halls expects to help drive down the cost of the exotic optical devices in the process.

Hall declined to discuss pricing for the new product, beyond confirming that initial units will cost several thousand dollars. Product refinements and mass production will lower the cost significantly, he said, without elaborating.

Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving tech company, outfits its vehicles with long- and short-range LiDARs the company says it designed in-house. GM recently bought Strobe, a little-known LiDAR company in Southern California that is developing a highly low cost “chip scale” sensor, while Germany’s Ibeo is expanding its automotive LiDAR business. And since 2016, startups including AEye, Innoviz, Quanergy, LeddarTech, Luminar and Oryx Vision have announced funding deals and industry partnerships to get their sensors to market as quickly as possible.

So far, few of those companies are producing in high volume, while Velodyne will supply tens of thousands of LiDAR sensors to customers this year. To maintain its advantage, there’s also pressure to keep improving its products.

The new model “represents all of Velodyne’s learning from having built and deployed LiDAR sensors around the world for more than a decade,” said Chief Technology Officer Anand Gopalan. “Range and resolution are both critical, and we’ve tried to maximize both, maintaining a 360-degree field of view and a high frame rate. And as far at the long-range resolution goes, there’s nothing out there that matches the 128.”

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The new VLS-128, right, has twice as many lasers and 10 times the resolution of the company’s previous high-end sensor, the HDL-64, left.

Alan Ohnsman covers technology-driven changes reshaping transportation. Follow him on Twitter. Have tips to share with Forbes anonymously? Click here.

Via: Velodyne

Live Streaming of the Lamborghini Urus Worldwide Premiere

The Lamborghini Urus is an upcoming SUV designed by Lamborghini. The car will be unveiled on 4 December 2017 and will be put on the market for the 2018 model year. The name comes from the Urus, the ancestor of modern domestic cattle, also known as the aurochs

Live streaming will start at 6:00 PM Central European Time (CET).

Porsche announces launch of an open innovation platform

Open doors for innovation: At the Slush conference in Helsinki, Porsche now announced the “Porsche NEXT OI Competition”.

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Slush, Helsinki : Together with the start-up High Mobility, the sports car manufacturer will launch an open competition for digital development in February 2018. Applications focusing on the vision of the future sports car are being sought. Developers can use app-mockups in a safe environment to build their own applications and, moreover, to present and test these applications virtually with the help of a car emulator. Infotainment, navigation, parking applications or chassis play a role in this. The competition is open to interested parties worldwide and is aimed particularly at freelance developers, start-ups, students – but also to internal developers at Porsche, who are invited to participate outside of the limits of their own area of responsibility. You can find further information as well as access to registration here: www.porsche-next-oi-competition.com.

Slush is a startup and tech event, organized annually in Helsinki, Finland. In 2016, Slush gathered 17,500 attendees, including 2,300 startups, 1,100 investors and 600 journalists, together representing 130 countries. The specific purpose of Slush is to arrange meetings between investors and startup founders: in 2017, there were 1327 registered investors and 2500 startups, which had scheduled ca. 7000 “matchmaking” meetings.

At the start-up conference Slush in Helsinki, Porsche is networking with talents and young companies. The goal is to exchange thoughts on innovative ideas and to give each other mutual inspiration. Amidst the transformation of the automobile industry, the central topics for the sports car manufacturer are electrification, digitalisation and connectivity. Porsche is pursuing the vision of remaining the most successful brand for exclusive and sporty mobility in the future. Hence, the company is exploring new horizons and seeking collaboration with start-ups that provide innovative business models and solutions. Thilo Koslowski, CEO of Porsche Digital, spoke about Porsche’s vision of the future and about how the sports car manufacturer plans to realise this vision in cooperation with innovative start-ups from all over the world.

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Thilo Koslowski, CEO Porsche Digital(r), start-up conference Slush

At Slush, Porsche is also showing a virtual reality model of the Mission E, the concept vehicle of Porsche’s first all-electric sport car. Together with the start-up ZeroLight, Porsche is enabling the Slush-attendees to virtually sit on the driver’s seat of the Mission E and to experience the vision of the digital cockpit live.

Series version will hit the road at the end of the decade

The first fully electric Porsche sports car will be introduced on the market at the end of the decade. The key data: the goal is system power of 600 hp, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and a range of over 500 kilometers. In terms of charging time, it should take approximately 15 minutes to recharge 80 per cent of the battery’s maximum range.

Source: Porsche Newsroom