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November 1, 2017 News of the Day: Trump Administration Backs Down From V2V Mandate, Hitachi Develops 'One Fail Operational' Tech for Self-Driving Cars

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【Summary】November 1, 2017 News of the Day

Eric Walz    Nov 01, 2017 12:40 PM PT
November 1, 2017 News of the Day: Trump Administration Backs Down From V2V Mandate, Hitachi Develops 'One Fail Operational' Tech for Self-Driving Cars

Trump Administration Backs Down From V2V Mandate

WASHINGTON DC -- According to a report from the Associated Press in Washington DC, the White House has decided not to pursue a rule requiring all new cars to exchange data with each other via vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology.

The news comes from unnamed sources cited by the AP, including two officials in the auto industry and two others whose organizations have spoken with the Trump administration. With traffic deaths rising in the last few years, the decision raises fears that efforts to improve safety on the road could stall.

Under a proposal issued last December, all new vehicles would have to come equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology by 2023.

With this technology, vehicles can send information about their location, direction, and speed to other cars. This can help vehicles identify crash risks and warn other drivers on the road. It can even be used to prevent crashes that couldn't be prevented by current camera or sensor technologies, thanks to radio signals that provide 360-degrees of coverage and the ability to "see" around corners and through other cars. According to the Department of Transportation, the technology can prevent or lessen the severity of up to 80 percent of crashes not involving alcohol or drugs.

This mandate has been a few years in the making. The government was preparing for the proposal way back in 2014. At the time the proposal was issued, regulators anticipated a final rule would be ready in 2019. The government would have phased in the regulations from 2021 before requiring full compliance by 2023.

Sources told the AP that the Trump administration was backing off the proposal because it doesn't want to pressure the auto industry with higher costs. However, the plans aren't completely off the table. Although the proposal has been dropped from the list of regulations under active consideration by the White House Office of Management and Budget, it's still on the government's long-term agenda.

Currently, the Cadillac CTS sedan comes equipped with V2V technology as standard equipment.

Hitachi Develops ‘One Fail Operational' Tech for Self-Driving Cars

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Hitachi Automotive Systems announced that it has developed what it terms 'One Fail-Operational' technology, a technology the company says is essential for Level 3 autonomous driving.

The technology is a backup system for autonomous cars. For example, if one core component of an autonomous driving system such as the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is damaged and is non-functional, this technology transfers some critical functions to other components, enabling the vehicle to temporarily continue to drive autonomously, and safely and smoothly transfer control of the driving back to the driver. Hitachi Automotive Systems aims to commercialize the technology by 2020.

Currently, automotive manufacturers are developing Level 3 autonomous driving vehicles in which systems essentially perform all driving tasks, aiming for full-scale market entry by around 2020. However, one issue plaguing engineers  is how to safely and smoothly transfer control back to the driver in case a core component is damaged or fails, and the autonomous driving system cannot function.

Adding Redundancy

Hitachi Automotive Systems' newly-developed technology consists of a system with redundant architecture. When a core component is damaged and ceases to function during autonomous driving, the technology uses methods such an emergency circuit to prevent partial functionality, and transfers some functions to other components related to autonomous driving, enabling the autonomous driving system to continue to function. This means that the vehicle can temporarily continue to drive autonomously, and safely and smoothly transfer control of the driving back to the driver, even if a core component is damaged and ceases to function.

In the autonomous driving system constructed by Hitachi Automotive Systems, typically the external sensors detect the situation around the vehicle and using sensor fusion, this information in the autonomous driving ECU, which executes the judgement function and selects the most suitable autonomous driving plan, including the driving speed and trajectory.

After the information is consolidated, the autonomous driving ECU drives the vehicle while sending the control signals necessary for actuator control of the vehicle to the Vehicle Motion Controller (VMC).

As an example, if an autonomous system malfunctions, the VMC will inherit some of the autonomous driving ECU's vehicle control functions, and autonomous driving can continue for 10 more seconds while the system alerts the driver to take control of vehicle handling. Because the autonomous driving ECU sends a safe trajectory to the VMC so that both devices redundantly ensure the trajectory, the vehicle can gradually transition to reduced functionality.

Immediately after a component ceases to function, the system alerts the driver to the emergency situation and temporarily continues to drive autonomously so that the driver can safely and smoothly transition to manual handling.

Hitachi Automotive Systems says it will continue to strive to develop and provide products and solutions that will contribute to the commercialisation of autonomous driving vehicles.

Lithium Demand Projected to Rise as Li-Ion Battery Technology Improves

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NEW YORK -- According to a research report published Freedonia Group, the global demand for lithium metal is projected to rise 8.9 percent per year through 2019 to 49,350 metric tons. In lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) terms, the value of the global lithium market is projected to reach $1.7 billion.

Advances in rechargeable battery technology expected to fuel market demand. The report also points out that rapid expansion in the lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery industry as world demand for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage systems such as Tesla's Powerwall, and high-drain portable electronics continues to grow.

"The range of EVs can be improved, and the fuel consumption of hybrid EVs can be reduced using lithium-ion batteries. The diverse types of rechargeable batteries, distinguished by the materials used for the electrodes and electrolytes, have a short-range due to lower energy density and have a short operational life when compared with that of lithium-ion batteries.

Growth in vehicle fleet leads to a proportionately faster change in the acceptance of EVs, thereby providing growth prospects for the global lithium market," explained Mahitha Mallishetty, a lead metals and minerals research analyst at Technavio.

Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company Announces "DRAC VISION 2022" Strategy

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Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company (DRAC) today released its 2022 Vision at a media briefing in Wuhan. Dongfeng Renault aims to sell 400,000 vehicles by 2022, based on nine local models, including three new EVs, with a focus on the SUV segment. Meanwhile, its dealer network will expand to 400, and the company intends to deliver the best level of quality and customer satisfaction.

At the media briefing, Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Groupe Renault, said, "We recognize China as the world's largest auto market and as a global trendsetter in the mobility of the future and that is why we have made it a strategic priority for growth in Groupe Renault's new mid-term plan, ‘Drive the Future.' Together with Dongfeng Group, we have the resources, scale and technologies to support DRAC's sustainable growth in the Chinese market."

According to Mr. Li Shaozhu, General Manager & Deputy Secretary of CPC of Dongfeng Motor, "Built on a strong understanding of market trends and a commitment to fulfilling customer hopes of enjoying a great life, the Vision 2022 plan reflects the shareholders' confidence in DRAC, as well as the company's responsibility to the shareholders, the dealers, all stakeholders and to society as a whole. We will fully leverage the synergies of our Golden Triangle among Dongfeng, Renault and Nissan to help DRAC begin a new chapter of innovative development."

Johnson Controls Expands AGM Battery Portfolio as Automotive Electrification Demands Grow

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MILWAUKEE - Today's cars have more than 150 electrical devices to meet consumer and industry requirements for safety systems, comfort and sustainability. To meet these increasing demands, Johnson Controls Power Solutions will introduce 11 new Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery group sizes at the 2017 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas.

AGM batteries differ from flooded lead acid batteries in that the electrolyte is held in the glass mats, as opposed to freely flooding the plates with liquid. Very thin glass fibers are woven into a mat to increase surface area enough to hold sufficient electrolyte on the cells for their lifetime.

"Increased electrical loads from features such as navigation and entertainment systems have redefined the critical role of the battery," said Dan Autey, VP and GM of North American Aftermarket, Power Solutions, Johnson Controls. "This expanded line offers more options for consumers looking for reliable and durable batteries that support features that reduce emissions and increase safety and comfort."

Johnson Controls can now address nearly 90 percent of the cars in the U.S. that would require a replacement AGM battery, including high-electrical-load vehicles and stop-start vehicles, which are expected to grow globally by 60 percent by 2025. In anticipation of this growth, Johnson Controls will invest more than $780M globally between 2015 and 2020 in AGM technology in order to increase capacity.

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