Paris Motor Show reveals automakers in new alliances driving innovation

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【Summary】Paris Motor Show reveals automakers in new alliances driving innovation

Original Claire    Oct 12, 2016 6:30 PM PT
Paris Motor Show reveals automakers in new alliances driving innovation
Claire Pu

By Claire Pu

The recent Paris Motor Show was not only a bazaar of new concepts for fancy cars, but also a hotbed to witness the de facto alliance of car manufacturers and high-tech companies. Deals and cooperation were engaged seemingly every minute in an effort to make the auto industry more digital and high-tech.

BMW, Daimler and VW's Audi announced that they would launch new traffic monitoring services next year which give drivers a view of road conditions miles ahead. They are based on video data collected from sensors in other cars and fed to the three carmakers' jointly-owned navigation mapping services firm HERE.

On the other hand, HERE's Dutch rival TomTom also announced traffic data deals with truckmaker Volvo and carmaker Skoda, a VW subsidiary.

General Motors, Nissan and VW are pushing forward with a plan to pull video data captured by their customers' vehicles using Israeli firm Mobileye's camera-based sensor systems. They believe that through this new endeavor that they may compete with high-tech giants such as Google in the precision-mapping genre required for driverless cars.

"Gradually all of the car manufacturers will have to get more and more involved in managing data. It's natural. We're going to have to work much more collaboratively," Stewart Callegari, a Nissan product planning executive for driverless cars told reporters at the Paris Auto Show.

Meanwhile, connecting vehicles with the Internet needs more reliable mobile networks. With that aim in mind, Germany's top automakers said they were teaming up with telecoms network equipment makers Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Intel to help with developing the next-generation 5G networks set to debut around 2020.

Not only concerned with data collection, traditional carmakers are racing to draw up a blueprint for building autonomous vehicles in the next five years. The timeframe was originally planned as 10 to 15 years, but significantly shortened by the advancements made by Google and Tesla.

Fiat's recent partnership to build self-driving vans with Google is seen by analysts as an example of outsourcing. Some partnerships, like the deal between Chinese carmaker Geely's Swedish subsidiary Volvo Car Group to develop autonomous cars with Uber, and General Motor's partnership with Uber's rival Lyft, are also seen as hybrid approaches.

"The automotive industry has and will continue to become a software business in many ways," Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters.

According to CBInsights, until August 2016, there are 33 corporations currently working on autonomous vehicles, including traditional carmakers such as Ford, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and BMW. The research and development revolves around self-driving systems and mapping-technology. It is not confined to small-size cars but also includes buses and trucks.

Resources from: Reuters, CBInsights

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