HERE Maps To Offer Real-Time Digital Service

Intelligent real-time maps, location-based services and highly-automated driving: the future of mobility lies in a digitized world – one that can be reached through the products and services of HERE. First-rate maps and a new understanding of location-based services are the foundation for HERE to continue on its successful growth course – as an open, independent and value creating company. This is to the benefit of the many hundreds of HERE customers from multiple industries.

AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG will provide strong support for this development as new HERE shareholders. The three premium manufacturers successfully concluded the acquisition of Nokia’s mapping and location business HERE on 4 December, 2015 after receiving approvals from all competent authorities. The new shareholder and governance structure is designed to secure HERE’s independence and allow for the seamless continuation of their day-to-day business.

HERE’s location platform is set to deliver high definition maps combined with real-time location information, providing customers a detailed representation of the real world in real time. This is achieved through HERE’s leading mapping technology combined with countless data sources such as cars, mobile phones, the transport and logistics sector as well as infrastructure elements.

While HERE currently powers its map with data from more than 80,000 sources and billions of probe points daily, the company is actively engaged in connecting to millions of vehicles and their on-board sensors that generate information about the car’s surroundings. The more data added to the HERE platform, the better its maps, products and services become. This brings a huge benefit for all customers leading to more comfort when travelling, safer roads for everybody, less congestion, and cleaner urban areas.

HERE being secured as an independent and open company creates new options to accelerate this effort with customers providing the company with huge quantities of anonymized data. In that context the currently more than 2 million connected vehicles from AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG which are capable of collecting advanced high quality location based data already offer enormous potential to accelerate the development of HERE’s location platform. To enable HERE to further enhance its location platform, improve its products and generate new services for all customers, the three companies, together with HERE, are evaluating the benefit of providing sensor data from their fleets to HERE. All customers – automotive, enterprise, consumers – are invited to join and benefit, as such a step would make HERE even more attractive for customers and additional investors.

HERE already plays a central role in the development of highly automated driving, because no vehicle manufacturer can successfully develop this future area of mobility without high precision, up-to-date maps. Generating these maps is precisely where HERE leads the way. Four out of five new vehicles sold in Europe and North America with in-car navigation have first-rate digital maps from HERE on board. In future, maps will give vehicles the ability to effectively ‘see around corners’, enabling them to anticipate road hazards and prepare and adjust driving strategies accordingly in a way that increases driver trust.

“No one understands the potential of digital maps better than the HERE team with its 6,500 employees worldwide. The shareholders will therefore give HERE free rein in accelerating its growth strategy,” said Prof. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “HERE has again and again redefined the map over the last 30 years. It is our expectation that it will continue to lead the industry in its next phase of innovation, thereby creating further value.”

“The combination of this leading map technology with data from vehicles, devices and infrastructure will give HERE and its customers a clear advantage in the development of future mobility services,” commented Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development. “As more partners and customers join this model, HERE will be able to provide even better, more up-to-date maps and a precise digital real-time representation of our world of mobility.”

“Customers from the automotive industry are particularly interested in highly-automated driving. But HERE is much more than a market leader in digital maps,” explained Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Memberof the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “With its high level of innovation and exceptional employees, the company has the potential to become the leading provider of technology for real-time location services in the digitized world of mobility.”

To achieve this, HERE will build on its current strengths and will add new capabilities. HERE aims to strengthen its market leadership among automotive customers and expand its consumer and enterprise businesses – through organic growth, as well as strategic partnerships and acquisitions. HERE’s aim is to create one of the world’s leading location platforms, which will combine data regarding all forms of mobility and the interfaces between our daily life and the world of digital maps.

This long-term strategy is secured through a new governance structure, safeguarded by a supervisory board that will consist of representatives of the new owners and independent, recognized industry figures. AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG do not acquire joint control of HERE and there is a clear separation between their roles as customers, suppliers and investors. In addition, HERE will remain open to all customers, and be open to other investors who would create an even broader shareholder structure. All this ensures that HERE’s unequivocal commitment to openness and independence is firmly established. After the successful closing of this investment, the three premium manufacturers expressed special thanks to Celsius Capital, under Carlos Bhola, for supporting them from the start and achieving a successful conclusion to this investment.

Volvo To Develop Next Generation Automotive Technology With Microsoft

Volvo Cars will work together with Microsoft, the leading platform and productivity company, to jointly develop next generation automotive technologies. The two companies revealed how Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer, might be used in future to redefine how customers first encounter and explore a car, as well as how cars might be bought and sold in future.

Areas of future collaboration between the two companies could include autonomous driving technologies and the utilisation of data generated from connected cars to create new services. Today’s HoloLens demonstration was conducted at Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond, USA, and showed how mixed reality might be used by customers to configure cars in three dimensions. With HoloLens, a powerful, wearable computer, holograms are mixed into the physical world.

“HoloLens offers the freedom to create a bespoke experience which customers can steer themselves. Imagine using mixed reality to choose the type of car you want – to explore the colours, rims, or get a better understanding of the features, services and options available,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President, Marketing Sales and Service at Volvo Cars. He added HoloLens technology might also liberate dealers from more traditional sales environments and allow them to take a car configurator out on the road in small Pop-Up stores, shopping malls or on the high street, opening up new sales channels and introducing cars to a far larger potential audience.

At the HoloLens demonstration, participating journalists were also given a mixed reality preview of Volvo’s new S90 premium sedan, which will be unveiled in reality at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The event offered an indication of the potential of mixed reality to transform the relationship between the customer and the car. Journalists were able to experience Volvo’s new sedan and its latest autonomous driving technology in 3D before the car has even been built and launched.

“We are thrilled to be working with Volvo Cars to reimagine what is possible in car design, discovery and purchasing. We are excited to be at this intersection of technology and human-centric design with Volvo,” Scott Erickson, Senior Director, Microsoft HoloLens at Microsoft Corp.

The demonstration marks the beginning of longer term cooperation between Volvo and Microsoft that will embrace a range of new technologies, all of which have implications for the automotive industry. One area of focus will be autonomous driving. Volvo Cars is a pioneer in car safety and is leading the way when it comes to connected cars and autonomous driving. It has announced a programme called Drive-Me in which 100 self-driving and connected cars will be given to real customers on real roads around the Swedish city of Gothenburg by 2017, the world’s largest autonomous driving experiment.

Other areas of cooperation are expected to include how information gathered by cars and their drivers can be used to enhance the driving experience and the possibility of using predictive analytics to improve safety.

“We are extremely happy to innovate with Microsoft in the field of future mobility,” said Klas Bendrik, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Volvo Cars. “Today’s technology will allow us to achieve not only a more sustainable and crash-free future but also new benefits for our customers and society. Together with Microsoft we aim to pioneer in this field.”

Kevin McCann, Managing Director of Volvo Car Australia highlighted that “Volvo Cars has always put people first. Everything we do starts with ‘what can we do to make this person’s life better, easier and more comfortable?’”. We have always used this philosophy when we design our cars. Designing cars around people has led to many innovations over our 89 year history. â€œA collaboration such as this further entrenches Volvo as a leader in safety and an innovator in technology advancement”, added McCann.

Queensland Team Powers Up For Race To Chase The Sun

Clenergy TeamArrow, which includes seven current QUT students and seven alumni in its ranks, will race teams from across the world to be the fastest car under the sun at the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The biennial challenge tasks 46 teams from 25 countries with completing a gruelling 3,021km journey from Darwin to Adelaide while showcasing the latest advances in solar technology.

Clenergy TeamArrow, one of three Australian teams in the ‘Challenger’ class, will leave Darwin on Sunday (October 18) in their $250,000, 220kg vehicle, capable of reaching a top speed of 126km/h. The solar panels of the solar electric vehicle power a battery pack or can solely power the car, which runs on less power than a toaster.

QUT Mechatronics Engineering graduate and one of the drivers, Amy Gunnell (pictured), said the team were setting their sights high despite their underdog status.

“The 2013 race was the first time we had entered and we were the first Australian car to finish, placing seventh overall. We completed the course in 43 hours last time so this year we’re aiming for under 40 hours and hopefully a top five finish,” she said.

Amy Gunnell and the Clenergy TeamArrow car. “We know it will be tough – some of the top international teams have budgets more than 10 times what we have. We are just a bunch of students and graduates who have built a car that can go really fast but is really efficient.”

Gunnell said the slog across Australia would see the team drive from 8am to 5pm with a cruising speed of about 85km/h.

“You have to be strategic and work out how much time to spend charging versus driving to get the optimal output,” she said. “Last time we had to stop and charge the car on the home straight to Adelaide and crossed the finish line with only enough juice to travel another 250 metres. Our biggest challenge last time was inexperience. We spent two hours on the side of the road after we blew a tyre and other teams would have fixed that in five minutes.

“But we feel better prepared – the car is running brilliantly and we have a great team.”

Aussie Supplier To Build Carbon Fibre Wheels For Shelby Mustangs

Ford and Carbon Revolution are providing a glimpse into what is possible for the Australian automotive industry as the Geelong-based innovator begins production of the world’s first mass-produced carbon fibre wheels for the Shelby GT350R performance car in North America. The project is an example of the work Ford is doing with about 63 suppliers who will continue operations beyond 2016, including 17 who now have earned new business with the company’s global operations.

”While many people believe the auto industry is closing in Australia, Ford is actually investing $300 million in R&D in Australia this year alone – and our partnership with Carbon Revolution is an example of what can happen as we continue to innovate here,” according to Ford President and CEO, Graeme Whickman. â€œAs we move to a new phase in the Australian automotive landscape, enabling our supplier network to grasp new technology opportunities will be good for Australia, including our existing manufacturing team members who are seeking new opportunities and those tertiary students wishing to have a career in the auto industry.”

Ford has been working for around 18 months to ensure its employees are able to transition to the next phase of their lives through several Geelong supplier fairs, providing a $10 million contribution to the Federal and Victorian Governments’ Geelong Region and Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Funds. Carbon Revolution was a recipient of the investment and innovation fund and now employs several former Ford workers at its Waurn Ponds plant in Geelong.

“Geelong will continue to be important for the auto industry as we shift to a business model that is based on ideas and innovation more than hands-on work,” Whickman said. “This type of development shows that there is potential for the ongoing sustainment of a high-tech supplier industry here in Victoria.”

By the end of 2017, Ford expects to become the country’s largest auto employer with around 1,500 highly skilled employees across professions such as engineering and design.

Ford engaged Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus research centre to accelerate already aggressive research and development of advanced light-weight materials for lighter, more efficient mainstream vehicles that also maintain leading safety and quality.

“Consumers today want better fuel efficiency, but they also want more technology and features in the car, which usually adds weight to the vehicle,” said Dave French, director, Asia-Pacific Vehicle Programs. “A focus on light-weighting will be fundamental to our industry for years to come, and we are investigating many advanced materials applications as possible solutions for weight reduction in our vehicles.”

Ford and Deakin researchers have been focusing on the key challenge of manufacturing carbon fibre more affordably for mainstream vehicle production. The research focuses mainly on reducing energy costs whilst increasing production throughput. Energy represents up to 20 per cent of the cost of producing carbon fibre. Ford and Deakin University have a long history of collaboration dating back to the early 1990s beginning with work around technology management and training of company employees.

The university established the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) in 2012 to address some of the major challenges facing society through innovations in materials science, design and performance. In 2014, Deakin University established Carbon Nexus, a globally unique carbon fibre and composites research facility, to specifically focus on carbon fibre and composites research.

Supported by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments, the AUD $34 million Carbon Nexus facility located at the Waurn Ponds campus of the University has two carbon fibre processing lines, one of which can manufacture various types of industrially relevant quantities of carbon fibre up to aerospace grade. Scientists also are conducting research into the chemical, mechanical and nano-scale characteristics of the carbon fibre materials produced on-site.

In 2014, Ford approved several university research project grants with Deakin enabling the company to draw on IFM’s research capability, along with the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) and other relevant areas of expertise within the university.

World’s Largest Fuel Cell Plant In South Korea

Fuel cells are often mentioned in the context of hydrogen-powered cars, but they can also be used to power homes. The world’s largest fuel cell power plant in South Korea’s Hwaseong city is home to what could be the next best source of renewable energy. Just an hour’s drive south of Seoul lies Gyunggi Green Energy producing 440 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Each 2.8 MW fuel cell takes up the space of one basketball court each. And 21 of them produce enough electricity to power 135,000 households in Hwaseong city.
Fuel cells produce electricity through the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Nothing gets burned, which means only steam comes out of the chimneys, making the plant ideal for locations closer to densely populated cities. And unlike other renewable energy sources, they can run 24/7, 365 days a year, unaffected by the weather. POSCO Energy, South Korea’s largest private energy producer, partially-owns and operates the energy park. The company’s invested significant resources into developing the technology, and later this year, it will become the first South Korean company to fully localise the manufacturing process of fuel-cells, a project that is worth more than 86 million US dollars. “The global market size of the fuel cell is from 5 billion to 15 billion US dollars per year. I think may be Korea is the only country who is intensively supporting fuel cell technology. Once fuel cell power plants and technology gets more familiarized throughout this country, we foresee this technology can be evaluated in a different level,” said Vincent Ghim, team leader of Fuel Cell Business Division of Posco Energy.
Experts agree that fuel cells can be an eco-friendly alternative. “So far, natural gas has been used as a fuel to generate electricity. But it’s also possible to use bio-gas from waste to run fuel cell plants. So, this is a great solution to solve two challenges: energy and environmental protection,” said Professor Kim Kyung-Nam, Green School of Korea University.
By the year 2035, South Korea hopes to produce 11 per cent of its power using new and renewable energy sources, and experts hope fuel cells could play a pivotal role in meeting that target.

Study Confirms Effectiveness Of Autonomous Emergency Braking

Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate, ANCAP, announced findings of a study into the effectiveness of low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in reducing rear-end crashes. Findings from the research project jointly commissioned by ANCAP, the Department of Infrastructure & Regional Development and ANCAP’s sister organisation, Euro NCAP:

    -Revealed low-speed AEB technology lead to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes; and
    -Concluded that low-speed AEB needed widespread fitment for maximum benefits.

AEB is one of the more promising safety assist technologies that is becoming available on new cars – more commonly overseas than in Australia and New Zealand. The low-speed version – referred to by ANCAP as”AEB (City)” – usually consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30km/h or 50km/h. “Previous studies have predicted significant benefits from AEB technology in low-speed rear-end crashes and current research is now demonstrating its effectiveness,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Clarke. “ANCAP and the Department, together with Euro NCAP, established an expert group of representatives across governments, industry, consumer and insurance organisations to determine the effectiveness of AEB in reducing real-world crashes.”

Data from five European countries and Australia was used with the findings showing a 38% overall reduction in real-world, rear-end crashes for vehicles fitted with low-speed AEB compared to a sample of equivalent vehicles without AEB technology. “These findings strongly support ANCAP’s push to have manufacturers fit AEB as standard across all new cars,” said Clarke. ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government, Australian state and territory governments, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation.

First 40 Ton Electric Truck For Transport On City Roads

The BMW Group is partnering with logistics company SCHERM Group to deploy a 40-ton pure-electric truck in the city this summer and become the first motor vehicle manufacturer in Germany to use an electric truck of this size to transport materials on public roads. The innovative traction vehicle, which is licensed for use on public roads, will be deployed as of this summer for just-in-time material transport over short distances. The electric truck will drive between the logistics company SCHERM Group and the BMW Group Plant Munich eight times a day, covering a distance of almost two kilometres one-way. Thanks to its alternative drive train, the truck is quiet, CO2-free in traffic and generates virtually no particle pollution for the environment. This is also reflected in the vehicle’s overall assessment in comparison with a truck with diesel engine: The environmentally friendly truck will generate 11.8 tons less CO2 per year – equivalent to a BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics driving almost three times around the world.

“Just under two years ago, our BMW i brand put sustainable mobility on the road. This pure electric truck signals that we are constantly working on innovative solutions and tackling logistics challenges,” says Hermann Bohrer, director of BMW Group Plant Munich. “We are therefore delighted with the cooperation with SCHERM.” The BMW Group and SCHERM Group are investing a six-figure amount in the pilot project, which will initially span one year. If the vehicle proves itself in everyday driving conditions, both partners will seek to expand the project. â€œAfter a long search, we have found an electro-mobility solution for the transport sector,” explains Rainer Zoellner, “e-truck” project manager at SCHERM Group. “We are certain to gain valuable experience with the BMW Group from this pilot project.”

The BMW Group pursues a holistic approach focused on implementing sustainability throughout the value chain. In addition to future-oriented mobility solutions, issues such as corporate environmental protection, efficient use of resources and reduction of CO2 emissions are firmly rooted in company strategy. Since 2014, the BMW Group has sourced more than half its global electricity needs from renewables. SCHERM Group is an international systems provider offering solutions for the logistics, transport, real estate and service sectors. As a provider of services for the entire value chain, the company employs a workforce of around 2,000 employees at 14 locations and on a mobile basis in around 500 company-owned trucks. Sustainability is an important factor the company has defined as a fundamental value.

Audi Plant Use Robots To Move Cars

Audi is testing systems for the intelligent factory of the future. In a pilot phase at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt that started in February, two robots independently transport cars from production to an interim storage area. From there, they later place the sorted Audi models into position according to their shipping destinations, so that logistics employees can load them onto railway wagons. Audi is now preparing the first industrial application. The company is also examining additional areas of application for such robots. â€œThe autonomous transport of our automobiles could allow us to eliminate long walking distances for our employees and to improve the ergonomics of their work,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at AUDI AG.

“Systems like this also have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of our processes.”

The idea for the robots with the name “Ray” came from the Bavarian company Serva Transport Systems and gained a nomination for the German Founder Award already in 2013. Ray is freely movable and highly flexible. It consists of a frame six metres long and three metres wide which uses sensors to determine the position and dimensions of a car, and it then adjusts to it. The robot then carefully grips the wheels and lifts the car up to ten centimetres. Control software allocates a space where Ray then parks the car. In this way, automobiles up to 5.3 metres long can be quickly moved and temporarily stored in a space­-saving manner. As soon as a sufficient number of cars are available on the sorting level for a certain destination, the robot moves them into place for shipment.

The “Ray” robot is further proof of the brand with the four ring’s continued innovation in technology.

Human-Robot Cooperation In Audi’s Production Plants

At its main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, Audi has deployed a robot that works “hand-in-hand” with humans – for the first time ever – without a safety barrier and ideally adapted to the employees’ working cycles. It is the first human-robot cooperation at the Volkswagen Group to be applied in final assembly. For Dr. Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at AUDI AG, while human-robot cooperation opens up entirely new possibilities, he nevertheless doesn’t see a future of factories without people. â€œThe factory of the future will feature increasing interaction between man and machine. That allows us to automate routine operations and to optimise ergonomically unfavourable workplaces. â€œPeople will continue to make the decisions on production processes and our employees will continue to be essential for future-oriented, successful production,” Dr. Waltl said.

Peter Mosch, Chairman of the Group Works Council of AUDI AG, said, “We see the opportunities presented by the advancing interaction between man and machine. The decisive aspect for us is how this development is guided. We welcome it when it neither jeopardises jobs nor leads to people losing independence to machines.” For the employees of the A4/A5/Q5 assembly lines at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant, the new, direct cooperation between humans and robots is an enormous help. Until now, employees have had to bend over material boxes to take out the coolant expansion tanks which may seems like a simple task, but with frequent repetitions it can lead to back problems. From now on, the task will be taken over by a robot, known internally as “PART4you”. It works hand-in-hand with the Audi employees and is fitted with a camera and an integrated suction cup. This enables it to pick up the components from the boxes and to pass them to the assembly workers at the right time and in an ergonomically optimal position. â€œIn a production process with increasing diversity of model versions, PART4you provides the employees with important assistance.

It selects the correct component and holds it ready to be taken. This means that the employees no longer have to reach over long distances or bend down repeatedly,” said Johann Hegel, Head of Assembly Technology Development. â€œThe robot becomes an assembly assistant operating at the same speed as the assembly worker – and not the other way around. Thanks to a soft protective skin with integrated safety sensors, there is no danger to the employees.” Because PART4you fulfils the special safety precautions for cooperating robots, the intelligent system has received the required certificate from the employers’ liability insurance association. Since 2013, Audi employees in the A4 body shop in Ingolstadt have been working with the same type of robot equipped with an adhesive nozzle instead of a suction cup – but with fixed timing and without passing components. In the body shop, the robots support the employees by applying adhesive to bonded seams. Instead of applying the adhesive to the body parts themselves, the employees only have to put them in place and start the automatic procedure.

Audi is planning further applications of human-robot cooperation, also at its international production sites.

Cloud-Based Information Sharing For Road Conditions

Volvo Cars, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are working together on a project to enable cars to share information about conditions that relate to road friction (such as icy patches). The information will be shared through a cloud-based network – a revolutionary approach to improving traffic safety. And with the test fleet now expanding from about 50 cars to 1000 cars, the project is moving rapidly towards its goal of making the technology available to customers within a few years. â€œThe more information that can be shared on the road, the fewer surprises there are. And when you’re driving, surprises are what you most want to avoid,” says Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) at Volvo Cars. â€œIn light of that, we’ve developed a slippery-road alert, which notifies drivers about icy patches and contributes to making winter road maintenance more efficient. We’re also adding a hazard-light alert, which will tell drivers if another vehicle in the area has its hazard lights on. With these first two features, we have a great platform for developing additional safety features. This is just the beginning,” Erik Israelsson continues.

And the research project is getting closer to real-world implementation: with the technology in place, the testing and validation phase is now about to begin. In this phase, Volvo Cars will both expand the test fleet 20-fold and broaden the test area to include two big Scandinavian cities: Gothenburg and Oslo. Together, these measures will provide a more complete picture of how the system will work in real winter traffic conditions. The slippery-road alert also sends information about icy patches to road administrators as a complement to existing measurement stations along the road. The data can help road administrators and their contracted entrepreneurs to better plan and execute winter road maintenance and quickly address changed conditions.

In addition, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration will conduct an independent assessment of the system to identify additional uses for the data in aiding future winter road maintenance. Volvo Cars strategically invests in and initiates partnerships to create cloud-based solutions. The hazard-light and slippery-road alerts are the first safety features in the Volvo cloud. The development of sophisticated communication via the mobile network is part of the company’s aim to offer customers a fully connected experience.

“In the future we will have increased the exchange of vital information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and infrastructure,” says Erik Israelsson. “There is considerable potential in this area, including safer traffic, a more comfortable drive and improved traffic flow,” he adds. â€œThis will bring us closer to our safety vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. And it’s another way in which the ‘Designed around you’ philosophy improves the driving experience,” concludes Erik Israelsson.