Urban Mobility: Automakers join consortium for connected and autonomous vehicles, Crossing hurdles for autonomous vehicles

  • V2V technologyConsortium and funding for connected and autonomous vehicles: The federal government announced a consortium of global automakers and budgetary funding to better support advancements in connected and autonomous cars, V2V, vehicle safety, and protection from hackers. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made the announcement last week surrounded by senior executives from 18 automakers joining the consortium. The first project will focus on cyber security, which is considered a critical issue for putting autonomous vehicles on roads. Foxx also discussed, during his visit last week to the Detroit Auto Show, the Obama administration making $3.9 billion in funding available for development of connected car technology and automated vehicles. That would fund a 10-year pilot program to test what is expected to become a nationwide vehicle-to-infrastructure network and to press forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology, known in the industry as V2V and V2I. “We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Foxx said.
  • Continental AG’s president Jeff Klei believes strongly in autonomous vehicles coming to our roads, but a few hurdles must be crossed first. Continental is playing a large role in autonomous vehicle testing. Klei predicts there will be 54 million autonomous vehicles will be on roads by 2035. Data sharing between municipalities and automakers will be necessary. He said that for his forecast to be met, autonomous vehicles will need an accurate road map and reliable data from the infrastructure – such as stop lights, speed limits, lane closing, and road work – along with live traffic updates from other vehicles. Automakers will need the cooperation of municipalities, which may or may not have a centralized traffic control system.
  • Uber fine and Chinese investment: The California Public Utilities Commission followed a judge’s recommendation last week to fine Uber $7.6 million for failing to meet data reporting requirements in 2014. The PUC says driver data is necessary to determine whether or not Uber is serving all manner of passengers in any neighborhood. Taxis must also comply with those rules. Uber’s main ridesharing competitor, Lyft, has complied with regulators. In a separate story, Uber Technologies said that its Chinese division will receive an undisclosed amount of investment from Chinese firm and aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA Group. It’s part of Uber‘s strategy to break into China’s huge tourism industry. Services will include an array of transportation services to and from airports and for HNA flights, as well as online financing for the automotive sector.
  • Where consumers think cars are going: Check out, “Consumers, cars and the Internet of Things.” In this second IBM report from its Auto 2025 series is analysis of what more than 16,000 consumers worldwide said about the industry – particularly, how they personally expect to use automobiles in the next ten years.
  • Hybrid jet: NASA is experimenting with a hybrid airplane engine at its Glenn Research Center in Ohio to contribute to emissions reducing technologies for commercial aviation. The aircraft hybrid system would use electric motors working in concert with a jet turbine, like the ones used in today’s commercial airliners. Researchers think this hybrid propulsion system could reduce fuel consumption by up to 30% compared to traditional aircraft.
  • Toyota is trying out a data transfer system for connected cars that could go way beyond 5G technologies in mobile phones. Toyota is working with Kymeta Corp., a Washington State-based technology company that is developing a new type of satellite antenna that could deliver massive amounts to data to vehicles. The challenge will be mounting large satellite antennas on a car. Kymeta has designed a six-inch wide plate-like antenna that might fit. One test run has two Kymeta antennas in the roof of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car.

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