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October 26, 2017 News of the Day: Waymo Plans to Test Self-Driving Tech on Michigan's Snowy Roads, Cypress Semiconductor Selected for DENSO's Stereo Vision Sensor for ADAS

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【Summary】October 26, 2017 News of the Day

Eric Walz    Oct 26, 2017 12:13 PM PT
October 26, 2017 News of the Day: Waymo Plans to Test Self-Driving Tech on Michigan's Snowy Roads, Cypress Semiconductor Selected for DENSO's Stereo Vision Sensor for ADAS

Waymo Plans to Test Self-Driving Tech on Michigan's Snowy Roads

WASHINGTON — Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit Waymo is expanding winter testing to Michigan as it works to address a challenging environment for self-driving cars—snow and ice.

Waymo said Thursday that Michigan is the sixth state where the self-driving car project will test autonomous vehicles. The company chose the state to see how vehicles will respond in snow, sleet, and ice.

Waymo has been testing vehicles in Texas, Arizona, Washington state, Nevada and California and starts in Michigan next week on public roads with a backup safety driver sitting in the driver seat if necessary.

"For human drivers, the mix of winter conditions affects how well you can see and the way your vehicle handles the road. The same is true for self-driving cars," said Waymo chief executive John Krafcik in a blog post. "Our ultimate goal is for our fully self-driving cars to operate safely and smoothly in all kinds of environments."

Waymo said it has conducted cold-weather testing since 2012, including some around the Nevada and California border of Lake Tahoe, but the new testing in Metro Detroit may pose tougher challenges navigating snow slicked or icy roads crowded with commuters.

Waymo opened a development center in Novi, Michigan in May 2016, working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to integrate Waymo's self-driving technology into Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, which the company currently uses for its pilot autonomous ride-hailing program in Phoenix.

Meanwhile, General Motors chief executive Mary Barra said Tuesday the Detroit automaker is working hard on self-driving cars and expects to deploy cars without backup drivers in "quarters not years."

Waymo has been mapping areas in Metro Detroit and wants to assess how its sensors perform in wet, cold conditions. One hurdle is self-driving car mapping software may have challenges in winter weather.

One challenge for Waymo may be inattentive human drivers. Many self-driving vehicles from numerous companies have been struck by careless drivers in California, according to reports filed with the state.

Cypress Semiconductor Selected for DENSO's Stereo Vision Sensor for ADAS

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley based Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: CY), today announced that global automotive supplier DENSO Corporation has selected Cypress' 6-Channel Automotive PMIC and FL-S Serial NOR Flash memory solution to enable the latest stereo vision sensor for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

The DENSO stereo vision sensor uses image processing techniques to detect obstacles of different shapes and lane lines, as well as empty spaces on the road. This supports autonomous emergency braking and automatic steering control to avoid obstacles. Cypress' highly-integrated, 6-Channel automotive PMIC regulates power for the entire sensor, and the FL-S NOR Flash memory enables fast program execution for high-performance systems. Each device has a small footprint that makes the solution ideal for this compact design.

"Our solution offers a small physical footprint and world-class performance that was an ideal fit for the design requirements for DENSO's innovative stereo vision sensor," said Kiyoe Nagaya, vice president of the Automotive Business Unit at Cypress. "We are proud to have our automotive PMIC and flash technology in this stereo vision sensor enabling smart, accurate and reliable safety features."

Cypress works with the world's top automotive companies to bring leading-edge automotive systems typical of luxury models to mainstream vehicles, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), 3-D graphics displays, wireless connectivity, full-featured touchscreens and superior body electronics.

Cypress' automotive portfolio includes the Traveo MCU family, power-management ICs (PMICs), PSoC programmable system-on-chip solutions, CapSense capacitive-sensing solutions, TrueTouch touchscreens, NOR flash, F-RAM and SRAM memories, and USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity solutions for today's advanced vehicles.

Lexus 'Highway Teammate' Autonomous Driving Feature to Debut in 2020

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TOYOTA CITY,, Japan — Lexus premiered to the world today its automated-driving-capable "LS+ Concept" concept vehicle at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017. It also unveiled at the show limited editions of the "RC F" and "GS F", commemorating the 10th anniversary of Lexus "F" sports models.

Aiming to contribute to achievement of a world free of traffic casualties, Lexus has been actively introducing advanced technologies based on its Integrated Safety Management Concept. To help people enjoy safe and smooth mobility and the fun of driving, Lexus has been developing automated driving technologies. It aims for application in the first half of the 2020s of its "Urban Teammate" technologies for automated driving on regular roads.

The company intends to make automated driving from entrance ramp to exit ramp on motor-vehicle-only roadways possible by using its "" automated driving technologies, which, with an eye toward application in 2020, are featured on the LS+ Concept.

On motor-vehicle-only roadways, through appropriate recognition, judgment and operation by onboard systems in response to actual traffic conditions, these technologies can enable automated merging, lane changes and diverging, as well as keep a vehicle in its lane and maintain vehicle-to-vehicle distance.

The LS+ Concept can communicate with a data center to update its systems' software over-the-air, allowing new functions to be added. Meanwhile, AI that learns from big data, including information on roads and surrounding areas, ensures a high level of automated driving. The car, which can learn and grow along with its users, represents a new age for the image of cars to which people can become emotionally attached.

China Zero Emission Vehicle Mandates Boost Battery Electric Powertrain Demand

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BOSTON — New mandates are to impose tougher limits on fuel consumption and harmful emissions from cars and light trucks.  The mandate in China will require 8 percent of auto makers' sales to consist of zero emission vehicles in 2019 – an equivalent of 120,300 battery electric vehicles to the Volkswagen Group.

Certain U.S. states, such as California, are also tightening their ZEV (zero emissions vehicles) Requirement mandate to 4.5 percent of sales in Model Year 2018 and 22 percent of sales in MY 2025.  In addition, certain countries are to impose bans on the sale of combustion engine-only vehicles from as early as 2025, all in the effort to limit air pollution.

As Europe tried to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it had encouraged the use of diesel powertrains as an alternative, inadvertently causing a rise in nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions. However, the recent Volkswagen diesel emission scandal has dented consumer confidence in diesel and so Strategy Analytics expects automakers will turn to 48-Volt mild hybrids as a near-term solution.  Chronic air pollution in Chinese cities has led to the government taking a tougher line and force automakers to go to battery electric.

The result is that Strategy Analytics now expects a total of over 22 million electrified vehicles to be shipped in 2024, with battery electric, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles all seeing very strong growth rates.

However, Kevin Mak, Senior Analyst at the Automotive Practice of Strategy Analytics remains cautious.  "Despite Volkswagen Dieselgate, do not expect to see a mass conversion from diesel to battery electric overnight.  Battery and charging technologies are improving, but are not really ready yet to develop models with a practical 300 mile driving range and a 15 minute recharge time.  Automakers face the challenge of meeting the near-term mandates with hybridization and still invest billions of dollars to enable a battery electric long-term future."

Karma Automotive Moves into its New Headquarters

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IRVINE, Calif., — Karma Automotive and several hundred employees have landed in a new, quarter-million-square-foot headquarters in Irvine. The luxury automaker, the only American-made car maker based in Southern California, has been operating out of a Costa Mesa headquarters since it debuted in 2015.

The company bought the former Kawasaki headquarters for $56 million earlier this year.

The new headquarters sealed the automaker's rebirth in Orange County. The company, once Fisker Automotive, was bought in a bankruptcy auction in 2014 by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group Corp. for roughly $150 million.

Karma Automotive signed the Irvine lease in August 2016 and unveiled the Revero, its luxury electric sedan, the following month. The first cars, which cost around $130,000, rolled off the Moreno Valley assembly line in June.

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The Karma Revero

The company, in an email Wednesday, Oct. 25, said its plans for production in 2018 is "four to 500 vehicles, based on customer demand."

The automaker has previously said it will open an experience store at the Irvine campus. In the email to the OCRegister, a representative said details about the new showroom would be revealed at a later date. Karma also declined to release sales numbers for the Revero.

According to the company, 334 people now work in Irvine, with 152 people on its engineering and project management teams joining 182 other associates Tuesday, Oct. 24. Karma said 253 new employees are expected to follow by the end of November, with employment in Irvine expected to exceed 600 by year's end. The Moreno Valley plant employs 277 people.

Karma said it is recruiting engineers in electrical, software, industrial and mechanical specialties. Karma also is looking for product engineers and designers for chassis, body, powertrain, thermal, infotainment, safety, and vehicle integration.

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