September 5, 2017 News of the Day: Metawave Secures $7 Million in Funding to Accelerate Development of Automotive Radar, Mercedes Benz to Launch Via Ride-Hailing in London to Compete With Uber

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【Summary】September 5, 2017 News of the Day

Original Eric Walz    Sep 05, 2017 1:06 PM PT
September 5, 2017 News of the Day: Metawave Secures $7 Million in Funding to Accelerate Development of Automotive Radar, Mercedes Benz to Launch Via Ride-Hailing in London to Compete With Uber

Metawave Secures $7 Million in Funding to Accelerate Development of Automotive Radar

Palo Alto, Calif., — Silicon Valley based Metawave Corporation announced its initial seed round of $7 Million from investors including Khosla Ventures, Motus Ventures, and Thyra Global Management.

Metawave builds wireless technology platforms using engineered metamaterials and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to change existing wireless systems and communication infrastructures. The company will initially focus on providing smart radar platforms for autonomous vehicles, including general Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and will soon enable smart antenna platforms for 4G / 5G wireless communications.

CEO, Dr. Maha Achour and CTO, Dr. Bernard Casse, proven leaders in the fields of wireless and metamaterials technologies, are leading the company.

"This significant influx in seed capital will allow us to attract world-class talent and enable access to significant resources to move quickly," said Metawave's CEO Dr. Maha Achour. "We are confident in our investors' ability to help guide and work with us to build solutions to fulfill large market opportunities, and we feel fortunate to work with each of them as we grow our team and commercialize our products."

Motus Ventures, focused on transportation, smart infrastructure, and IoT, has been with Metawave since the beginning, helping guide on strategic business decisions as well as funding. The firm's managing director, Jim Disanto, said, "Clearly, the automotive industry is undergoing a big disruption, and innovative providers are in a position to make a big difference in that market alone. The radar and antenna technology being developed at Metawave is game changing in the auto industry and potentially many others. We're enthused to be working with such a talented team."

Lead investor Thyra Global focuses its tech fund on mobility, AI, and IoT. Founder and managing member Dennis Paul commented, "We're pleased with the core team that Maha has put into place. The goal now is to build on that and find exceptional people with unique experience in RF, wireless, and intelligent AI in the commercial and defense sectors. We're excited to work with high quality co-investors such as Khosla and Motus in helping Metawave achieve their goals."

"The auto industry has gone through cycles to find the best camera and the best LIDAR, and now it's the radar era - time to find the best and smartest radar platform," said Metawave's CTO Bernard Casse.

Mercedes Benz to Launch Via Ride-Hailing in Europe to Compete With Uber

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FRANKFURT — Daimler AG will start ride-sharing shuttles in London later this year, expanding its cooperation with U.S. startup Via Transportation Inc.

Via, which is based in New York, already offers 1 million rides a month in Chicago, New York and Washington D.C., complementing local transport by allowing customers to hail a van to a virtual bus stop using their smartphone.

Via, who has worked with Daimler since 2015, plans to raise a total of $200 million for the expansion, people familiar with the process said. While Daimler is the lead investor, the parties did not disclose a funding amount. Adding to the strategic investment, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Vans unit will contribute $50 million to the new partnership.

"On-demand ride-sharing offers many new ways of making city traffic efficient, needs-based and sustainable," said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "Via is one of the most successful providers in the growing ride-sharing sector while Mercedes-Benz Vans has the perfect vehicles."

Carmakers are increasing investments in partnerships with companies offering new services as urban consumers show less interest in owning a car. Toyota Motor Corp. last month invested an undisclosed amount in Grab, Southeast Asia's leading ride-hailing operator, a year after it bought a small stake in San Francisco-based industry heavyweight Uber Technologies Inc.

Offering rides in specially customized Mercedes Vito and V-Class vans will boost Daimler's suite of services beyond selling vehicles, in addition to its Car2Go car-sharing program and Mytaxi hailing and Moovel transport apps. The venture with New York-based Via will be open to cooperating with public-transport authorities for licensing, Daimler said.

The Via service works by connecting multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing riders to share a vehicle. It was first offered in New York in 2013. Users request a shared ride through an app, and an algorithm finds a suitable vehicle headed in the same direction, reducing detours.

Combining Via's technology with Mercedes-Benz Vans was "ideal for our vision of offering efficient, affordable, sustainable, and convenient shared rides everywhere," Via Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ramot said in the statement.

The mobile app-based pick-up service, based in Amsterdam, will be rolled out soon to more European cities, Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler and Via said Monday in a joint statement.

The European joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via will operate as a new entity with headquarters in Amsterdam, Daimler said, adding that Volker Morhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, will join Via's board of directors.

Daimler and Via's joint venture will seek to partner with public transit operators across Europe and to develop vans with electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

BorgWarner's Electric HVH Motor Technology to Power Scania Hybrid Bus


AUBURN HILLS, Mich., — Global automotive part supplier BorgWarner continues to drive electrification into the commercial electric bus market segment with its powerful high voltage Hairpin (HVH) 410 electric motors.

The advanced and highly efficient technology propels Scania's new Citywide hybrid bus for urban areas. Positioned between the clutch and gearbox in a P2 layout, the 650-volt electric motor drives the vehicle at low speeds when enough energy is available.

The motor also charges the battery by generating power while braking or driving downhill, and supports the shifting sequence in the automatic mode of automated manual transmissions. With their clean, quiet operation, HVH410 electric motors allow buses to operate in zero emission zones and noise-sensitive areas.

"Hybrid and electric technologies aren't just for passenger cars. As a key enabler for parallel hybrid drive concepts for commercial vehicles, BorgWarner's HVH410 electric motors help meet both market demands and emissions regulations," said Dr. Stefan Demmerle, President and General Manager, BorgWarner PowerDrive Systems.

"This application, as well as our development partnership for future programs with Scania, expands our comprehensive hybrid and electric product portfolio and reinforces our strong reputation as a global leader in clean and efficient technology solutions for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles."

BorgWarner's HVH410 electric motors are available as fully housed motors or as rotor/stator assemblies. Featuring the patented HVH stator winding technology, the powerful electric motors deliver a maximum torque of 2,000 Nm and a power output of up to 300 kW (402 hp) with peak efficiencies of over 95 percent.

In addition, their compact dimensions and individually customizable stack length, cooling and winding configurations facilitate easy integration into almost all electric and hybrid applications.

Jaguar Land Rover Unveils AI Powered Steering Wheel


The traditional steering wheel may be no longer needed in the self-driving cars of the future. However, Jaguar Land Rover believes it may still serve a purpose. The British automaker has unveiled a new concept steering wheel, Sayer, that's designed for an era where cars normally drive themselves and personal ownership is a thing of the past. The wheel would have its own AI system. In an era of car-sharing, the steering wheel can follow you from car to car.

The AI would largely serve as a concierge. It would link you to an on-demand service club, whether or not you own your car, and would help you get a ride when and where you need it. For example, If there's an important meeting you cannot be late for, you could tell the wheel while it's still in your living room and it would figure out when a car needs to arrive and tell you when you might want to take over manual control.

Sayer (named after influential designer Malcolm Sayer) will be a core feature on an upcoming concept car, the Future-Type.

Will something like this wheel ever reach production? Perhap not. Jaguar Land Rover is making a few assumptions about self-driving cars, including the likelihood that you'll even need a steering wheel and the need to integrate AI into a dedicated device. Your phone and a cloud service might be all the AI you'll ever need. However, the steering wheel concept may give engineers something to consider when they design the first wave of autonomous vehicles.

Genesis G70 Sports Sedan to Debut September 15th, Will Compete With BMW, Audi


SEOUL — Hyundai Motor gave media a peek at its luxury marque Genesis' all-new sports sedan G70, with plans to release the car in the U.S. early next year.

"We are planning to launch Genesis G70 in the North American market sometime early next year," said Hwang Chung-yul, senior vice president at the Genesis Project Management Center, at a media preview held in Seoul on Sept. 1. "We will gradually roll out the car in other regions."

Serving as the entry-level car for Genesis, the G70 promises to be a pure sport sedan. It will lower the cost of entry into the Genesis brand, and it's taking the fight straight to the top players in the European entry-level sports sedan market, including the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Audi A4.

Prior to G70 global debut slated for September 15th, Hyundai unveiled the model for the first time to the reporters, as well as introduced some key features.

The new sports sedan comes in a 3.3-liter gasoline turbo engine and a 2.0-liter gasoline turbo engine, as well as a 2.2-liter diesel engine -- the first diesel offering for the Genesis lineup. The carmaker is mulling to add diesel options for other Genesis cars, such as G80 midsize sedan.

The 3.3-liter gasoline version, named "G70 Sports," boasts a 0-100 kph dash time of 4.7 seconds, faster than Kia's new sports sedan Stinger at 4.9 seconds.

Another noticeable feature for the new G70 is server-based speech recognition technology, using Kakao's AI platform for navigation. It is armed with upgraded active safety features, including highway driving assist, driver attention warning and blind-spot collision warning, among others, and equipped with nine airbags.

The new G70 also previews new design themes the carmaker plans to display in future Genesis models. Dubbed "athletic elegance," the car features very sporty proportion, with the overall shape highlighted by a long hood, short front overhang and elegant roofline.

The G70 is the third and smallest model in the Genesis lineup made of the G80 and larger G90. The rear wheel drive sedan is poised to build the brand image of Genesis as high-end cars in the global market.

Hyundai is planning to roll out the Genesis nameplates in Europe and China, the world's largest auto market, but it will take some time, according to a company official.

"We will definitely go to Europe at some point, but cannot reveal the exact launching period," Hwang told The Investor. "We are preparing to set up a dealership network and system in the region," he said.

The carmaker has been stressing it will launch Genesis brand in China as well. But at this time, the exact debut period is also undecided.

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