December 7, 2017 News of the Day: Honda Partnering with SenseTime on AI & Autonomous Driving, DENSO to Expand its Venture Capital Investments in New Mobility Technology

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【Summary】December 7, 2017 News of the Day

Eric Walz    Jan 13, 2018 12:04 PM PT
December 7, 2017 News of the Day: Honda Partnering with SenseTime on AI & Autonomous Driving, DENSO to Expand its Venture Capital Investments in New Mobility Technology

Honda Partnering with SenseTime on AI & Autonomous Driving

As part of its 2030 Vision strategy announced in June, Honda aims to have a car with Level 4 self-driving capability on sale by the year 2025. On Thursday, Honda announced it has signed a 5-year joint research and development agreement with China's SenseTime, an IT firm specializing in artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is an important technology in order to achieve level 4 and 5 self-driving cars that can operate in virtually any set of road conditions a human could. The key is deep learning or machine learning, a form of AI where computers "learn" how to perform actions on their own based on given data, without the need to be explicitly programmed.

For self-driving cars, the AI systems are refined by collecting millions of road data which includes the actions of other vehicles and pedestrians. Waymo's self-driving fleet has already surpassed 4 million miles of real world testing, and millions more in simulation.

According to Honda, SenseTime excels in image recognition technologies, especially recognition of moving objects, powered by deep learning algorithms. In their new partnership, Honda will join its AI algorithms for environment understanding, risk prediction and action planning with SenseTime's moving object recognition technologies.

The goal is to develop a reliable self-driving system that will be able to handle both highways and complex urban environments. However, Honda says the technology can also be used in robotics development.

A level 4 autonomous vehicle allows a driver to take their eyes off the road and in some cases even nap behind the wheel. However, in certain situations, such as rough weather or changed road conditions due to an accident or road works, the driver will need to take over after being prompted well in advance. Should the driver fail to take over control, the car will be able to safely stop by the side of a road. The ultimate goal is a Level 5 car where no driver is required.

DENSO to Expand its Venture Capital Investments in New Mobility Technology


SOUTHFIELD, Mich., — DENSO, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, plans to expand its venture capital investments in a broad range of new technologies to make a world of self-driving and connected cars a reality.

At this year's CES 2018, DENSO will provide a glimpse of the present and future for these innovations, including both core automotive startups and innovative technologies from bio sensors to cybersecurity with potentially huge applications for the way we get around. Three successful DENSO ventures will demonstrate at the company's CES exhibit, while the next wave of early-stage startups can pitch DENSO's venture capital head, Tony Cannestra.

"DENSO's vision for the future of mobility goes beyond automotive, and it will take the combination of a broad range of emerging technologies to make that vision a reality," said Tony Cannestra, director of Corporate Ventures at DENSO. "This year we'll look especially at companies tackling automated driving, cybersecurity and both biometric and vehicle sensors, including LIDAR and radar. Our CES meetings will play a big role in decisions over the next year."

The CVC Group led by Cannestra typically invests between $1 - $4 million in early stage startups working on technologies that are strategically relevant to the transportation industry. Currently, DENSO has a portfolio of more than 10 startup investments and is aggressively seeking to expand its investment efforts.

DENSO's startup investments target innovative technologies with applications in connectivity, autonomous drive, shared mobility and electrification (CASE). Recently, DENSO has also announced several investments in R&D and manufacturing CASE technologies. This includes a $4.3 billion global R&D commitment and $1 billion investment in its largest US manufacturing facility to produce electrification and safety technology.

GM to Use Lightweight Carbon Fiber for Pickup Truck Beds


DETROIT — General Motors is planning on using carbon fiber for the beds of its redesigned full-size pickups to improve performance and reduce vehicle weight, Automotive News has reported.

Two sources familiar with the company's plans confirmed the use of the high-strength material, which is usually reserved for luxury vehicles and sports cars because it costs significantly more than steel and aluminum. It is also much lighter.

Carbon fiber, according to one source, is expected to be used as part of a mix of materials for the box of the pickups, including aluminum. The truck beds could mark GM's first use of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic, a product the automaker announced it was co-developing with Japan-based Teijin Limited in 2011.

Carbon fiber is considerably stronger and lighter than steel and aluminum, but it's more expensive, mostly because of a long, labor-intensive production process. As a result, the composite is used only for select parts in low-volume vehicles.

The carbon fiber bed is expected to be among a significant number of changes in materials for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups to meet progressively stricter fuel economy regulations and better position them against crosstown rival and truck leader, Ford Motor Co.

Ford shifted its F-series pickups, including the full-size F-150, to lightweight aluminum alloy bodies starting in 2014. The F-150 is the best selling pickup truck in the U.S.

According to the Wall Street Journal, GM will begin offering the carbon fiber beds within two years. The Journal reported that the carbon fiber beds would go in premium versions of the pickups, but more efficient production processes could help the automaker eventually offer carbon fiber beds in lower trims.

Beermaker Anheuser-Busch Reserves 40 Tesla Electric Trucks

tesla truck.jpg

Tesla's waiting list for its electric vehicles is growing. Anheuser Busch has just reserved 40 of Tesla's new electric trucks in its push to reduce emissions and fuel costs.

It was likely the largest publicly announced order Tesla has received for its electric trucks, which are scheduled to be in production by 2019. The truck was revealed by Elon Musk in November in a typical grandiose Tesla press event in California.

"At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative," said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy. "This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact."

The U.S. subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV plans to use the trucks for shipments to wholesalers within the 500-mile (800-km) range promised by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

A range of trucking, grocery, and retail companies have reserved at least 116 Tesla Semi trucks, according to a Reuters tally, including Anheuser-Busch's 40. The giant beermaker is joining a growing waiting list for Tesla's electric vehicles.

Last month, Tesla received orders for its electric trucks from high-profile companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. For the company's other vehicles, Tesla has collected nearly 500,000 deposits from people wanting to purchase its new Model 3 electric sedan.

Airbiquity Unveils New ‘OTAmatic' for Over-the-Air Automotive Software Updates and Data Management


SEATTLE — Airbiquity, a leader in connected vehicle services, today announced the latest release of OTAmatic The new OTAmatic release strengthens Airbiquity's product offerings to securely automate and orchestrate automotive OTA software updates and data management for connected vehicles.

Airbiquity addresses a unique problem, as the number of connected vehicles produced accelerates, automakers have enabled their vehicles to receive periodic OTA software updates and transfer data, such as via a vehicle's infotainment system.

With a reliable and secure OTA solution in place, billions of dollars in software-related recalls and cybersecurity expenses can be mitigated, vehicle performance and feature enhancements can be delivered to a vehicle after purchase.

However, OTA updates present unprecedented challenge for automakers — managing the increasing complexity of planning and executing OTA software update and data management campaigns for millions of vehicles around the world.

Airbiquity's market-leading OTAmatic software and data management offering addresses this challenge, with a sophisticated back-end service delivery management capability that allows automakers and suppliers to efficiently plan and execute multi-ECU software update and data campaigns at scale.

The new OTAmatic solution now includes the anonymization and normalization of vehicle data for automaker and third-party companies, on-demand software updates enable consumer purchase of new features and services, and additional security, including authentication, encryption, and the compromise-resilient Uptane software update security system for automotive (initiated and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security).

"Airbiquity has an unrivaled track record of developing innovative software technology, cloud-based services, and successfully deploying connected vehicle programs," said Kamyar Moinzadeh, President and CEO of Airbiquity. "We're committed to continually improving our OTAmatic offering so our automotive customers can better manage their vehicles over the entire vehicle lifecycle."

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