So much news in the Auto Tech Watch, we barely have time to write it all down.
Here is the most recent score card on partnerships and hook ups in the Car of the Future Space from the past two weeks.
BMW and Daimler are teaming up to develop driverless and electric cars. Volkswagen and Ford have also announced a similar alliance. Last month, Renault and Nissan signed an agreement to work with Waymo on self-driving vehicles.
In late June, five Japanese automakers announced they are now investing in Monet, a ridesharing platform started in October 2018 by Toyota and Softbank. The five companies that will partner include Daihatsu, Isuzu, Mazda, Subaru, and Suzuki.
Wi-Fi vs. 5G
On July 4th, the European Union voted against pushing a Wi-Fi based car standard even after an EU committee endorsed in April a Wi-Fi plan over 5G technology. Twenty-one countries (out of the bloc’s 28 member states), including automaker juggernauts Germany, France, and Italy voted against the proposal. The Wi-Fi standard was backed by Volkswagen, Renault, and Toyota. 5G was endorsed by BMW, Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericson, Huawei, Intel, Samsung, and Qualcomm. It looks like big tech is winning the war over connected cars. Not sure what will happen next concerning this technological direction in Europe.
Electric Car Battery in the Cloud
Say what? The German company Bosch claims they have found a solution to reduce battery cell aging for electric cars. They call it Battery in the Cloud which officials claim can reduce the wear and tear of the battery by as much as 20 percent through continuous status analysis, optimization of the recharging process and even sending driving tips via in-car displays on how to conserve energy. The company’s first customer is China’s DiDi Chuxing, which last year had tens of millions of drivers on its ridesharing platform.
All about the Wheel
Israeli company REE unveiled last week a platform that integrates all electric vehicle components in the wheel. What this means—a flat platform that strategically places the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, brakes, thermal systems, and electronics in the wheel (Is this even possible?). Company officials claim this allows the design of any EV using this platform to have a low center of gravity and improves both energy efficiency and performance—all crucial features for autonomous vehicle development. The wheel that has everything is a wait and see for us!
Another Use for Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Companies around the world are working on over 100 electric powered air taxis for short trips of 15 minutes a piece before recharging. But what about longer trips? A company in Massachusetts wants to utilize hydrogen fuel cells for that. Alaka’I Technologies claim that fuel cells could power longer flights and carry more weight. Company officials recently unveiled a mockup of the six rotor Skai air taxi in Los Angeles and indicated that they plan to start test flying soon. Alaka’i President Brian Morrison said that he estimates the vehicle could fly between two and four hours carrying five people or 1,000 pounds of cargo for up to 400 miles. The ability to fly between cities could assist with air ambulance work, deliveries, or even disaster relief.
Biometric Glasses could become a Driver’s Best Friend
An Oklahoma City based start-up called BlyncSync is currently working on a pair of safety glasses that drivers can wear that will monitor one’s eyes for any signs of distraction and fatigue. Utilizing biometrics, they have researched blink rates and fatigue patterns and plan to market to transportation companies as a way to boost work efficiency among professional drivers. No word yet on whether these glasses will be available for individual drivers.
Solar Car Roofs
If a car is sitting around all day in the hot sun, it might as well be collecting some rays to fuel the thing. Toyota announced earlier this month it is testing a much more efficient solar roof for its electric cars. Officials claim it would be capable of adding 44.5 KM of range a day. Cool!
That’s it for this week. If you have any links to stories on auto tech and the car of the future, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.