Connected Car News: lvl5, Geotab, Panasonic, Sumitomo, Lexus, DriveWyze, Mentor, Volvo, Geely, Microchip, Qualcomm & SpotHero

In connected car news this week were SUVs, Geotab, Panasonic, Sumitomo, Lexus, DriveWyze, Mentor, Volvo, Geely, Microchip, SpotHero and lvl5.

More SUVs than Babies Down Under

New born babies may be cute but Australians don’t love them as much as they love their SUVs. In 2016, Australia said hello to a new baby every 1 minute and 41 seconds, but it said hello to a new SUV every 1 minute and 10 seconds, such is the surging popularity of the SUV market.

SUVs have also, for the first time ever, outsold passenger cars for the first six months of 2017. This hasn’t always been the case, however. In 2006 there were just 171,000 SUVs sold in Australia, representing a meagre 20 percent of the Australian new car market. Fast forward 10 years to 2016 and that number has almost tripled to 441,000 SUV sales, or a staggering almost 40% of the total market.

Auto-ISAC Geotab, Panasonic & Sumitomo

The Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC) welcomes Geotab, Panasonic Automotive and Sumitomo Electric as new members. The inclusion of these companies exemplifies the Auto-ISAC’s continued efforts to promote collaboration between Tier 1 suppliers and automobile manufacturers around vehicle cybersecurity. The Auto-ISAC was formed by automakers in August 2015 to establish a global information sharing community to promote vehicle cybersecurity.//

Lexus LC Black Panther-Driven

At Comic Con, Lexus and Marvel have announced a collaboration to pair the first-ever 2018 Lexus LC with Marvel’s dynamic Black Panther character in the highly anticipated film, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, slated to hit theaters on Feb. 16, 2018.


Based on its recent analysis of the weigh station bypass systems market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Drivewyze Inc. with the 2017 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Company of the Year

Depending on the carrier’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Inspection Selection System safety score, a Drivewyze equipped truck can bypass weigh stations up to 98 percent of the time. Based on a study of more than 94 million truck visits to weigh stations, Drivewyze calculates that each bypass generates an average savings of $9.31 in operating costs.

More Funding for SpotHero

SpotHero, North America’s leading parking reservation service, announced  that it has raised $30 million on the heels of record growth. SpotHero’s Series C funding round further accelerates the company’s ability to bring to market innovative parking reservation tools and mobile technologies that make parking easy and efficient, bridging today’s transportation needs with those of the future.

Insight and other existing investors along with new investor Global Founders Capital lead the $30M Series C growth round. Autotech Ventures, a transportation-focused fund that invests in software and electronics startups enabling connected and autonomous vehicles, participated as well.

More Funding for Nauto

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto, whose artificial intelligence-powered system and data platform is helping improve fleet safety and informing the development of self-driving technology, has closed a $159 million Series B financing round, led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and Greylock Partners. Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.

Microchip MOST for Volvo XC60

Media Oriented System Transport (MOST®) technology, developed by Microchip Technology Inc. will network the in-vehicle infotainment system of Volvo Cars’ second-generation XC60 SUV. The highly publicized Volvo XC60 will be the fourth Volvo model to implement MOST150 technology, which continues to meet Volvo’s high standards for in-vehicle infotainment. Volvo Cars has been utilizing Microchip’s MOST technology for years to provide the highest-quality digital multichannel audio streaming.

MOST150 is the latest version of MOST technology. It provides the industry’s first automotive-ready physical layer for Ethernet packet transport inside vehicles in accordance with the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet specifications. MOST150 can transport video, audio, packet and control data with zero processor overhead and offers dedicated application-specific hardware interfaces to simplify data communication. MOST technology offers a robust and proven method of system management and control with reliable Quality of Service (QoS). In addition, MOST technology offers a complete and scalable system solution which includes a full ecosystem of tools, software, schematics and multimedia companion IC products.

Mentor ISO Certifcation

Mentor, a Siemens business, announces that independent compliance firm SGS-TÜV Saar has certified the ISO 26262 compliance of tool qualification reports for key software elements of its groundbreaking new Veloce Strato emulation platform. The certification extends Mentor’s leadership in functional safety assurance and hardware emulation technology, while helping chip designers meet and exceed the increasingly stringent safety and quality requirements of the global automotive industry.

Representing Mentor’s twenty-second ISO 26262 product qualification, these newest additions to the Mentor Safe program underscore the company’s commitment to securing the functional safety qualification of critical documentation for all signature members of its industry-leading electronic hardware and software design solutions portfolio.

Tesla + iRobot  = lvl5 Crowd Sourced HD Maps – A Penny For Your Dashcam Mileage

Three former Tesla and iRobot engineers launched lvl5, a company enabling the mass production of autonomous vehicles by developing advanced computer vision software and crowdsourced HD maps.

Lvl5 was founded in 2016 by Andrew Kouri and Erik Reed, who both worked on Tesla’s Autopilot Team, as well as George Tall, a computer vision engineer from iRobot. The three founders noticed the industry faced a scalability challenge – while there are plenty of companies working to build self-driving vehicles, not one has successfully addressed the issue of global scale.

With lvl5, there’s no need for LiDAR; the system uses a combination of crowdsourced HD maps and sub-$15 consumer-grade cameras. With lvl5, there’s no need for LiDAR; the system uses a combination of crowdsourced HD maps and sub-$15 consumer-grade cameras. To get started collecting the crowdsourced mapping data, lvl5 created a dashcam app, Payver, allowing anyone to earn $0.01-$0.05 per mile driven.

Qualcomm’s Bluetooth SIG for Bluetooh mesh CSRmesh

Qualcomm Incorporated  announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., introduced support for the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) mesh networking standard with the new Qualcomm Bluetooth mesh, a SIG mesh implementation and evolution of CSRmesh connectivity commercialized to date. Qualcomm Bluetooth mesh is planned to be supported on all of Qualcomm Technologies’ future generations of Bluetooth Low Energy products, starting with the QCA4020 and QCA4024 connectivity system-on-chips (SoCs) through engineering samples available today, followed by anticipated commercial availability in September 2017. Qualcomm Bluetooth mesh is designed to allow devices to send and receive messages, act on received messages, and repeat those messages to nearby devices – extending the range of Bluetooth wireless technology by turning Bluetooth-enabled devices into a security-rich mesh network.

Qualcomm Bluetooth mesh is designed to enable customers to develop standards-based solutions that are fully compatible with Bluetooth SIG mesh networking specifications, enabling devices to communicate with each other in a mesh network. Qualcomm Bluetooth mesh supports a wide variety of control and automation applications, including smart home, smart lighting, smart appliances, retail advertising, commercial and many industrial opportunities. Bluetooth mesh solutions are expected to offer full interoperability, enabling organizations who have deployed Bluetooth products to connect them all using a security-rich, standard-based mesh network.

QCA4020 is a tri-mode connectivity SoC integrating Bluetooth Low Energy 5, Dual-band Wi-Fi®, and 802.15.4-based technologies, including ZigBee® and Thread, while QCA4024 integrates Bluetooth Low Energy 5 and 802.15.4. Both solutions support hardware-based security features in a low power, cost-optimized integrated solution and help address IoT fragmentation, making for flexible product development for OEMs, and support for various devices from different manufacturers to talk to each other across different wireless standards, protocols and communication frameworks, while connecting to a system network and cloud and application services.

Volvo & Geely

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, is planning to set up a new joint venture technology company with Geely Holding, the Chinese car group, to share existing and future technology, deepen industrial synergies and provide the economies of scale that will allow them to more rapidly develop next-generation electrified vehicle technology.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, Volvo Cars, Geely Auto and LYNK & CO will share vehicle architecture and engine technologies via cross-licensing arrangements of technologies managed by the new joint venture. They will also cooperate more deeply by commonly sourcing components and cutting procurement costs.

Rover Parking Winner

INFINITI LAB Toronto, a Smart Cities and Internet of Things (IoT) pre-accelerator program from premium car brand INFINITI, announced that Rover Parking, a marketplace for shared parking that allows users to easily access shared parking spaces all over the city using their smartphone, has been named the top startup at the program’s inaugural Demo Day. Eight startups participated in the program, the first North American cohort, and yesterday the companies pitched to an audience of industry professionals, VC investors, and media. The top company was selected by a panel of experts including Stephen Lester, Managing Director of INFINITI Canada; Dane Fisher, General Manager of Global Business Transformation for INFINITI; and Brian Kobus, Director of OMERS Ventures, who chose Rover Parking to move on to the Hong Kong program, set to begin later this Fall. The selection committee also announced that NXCAR, a technology company that transforms new and used vehicles into smart cars, was chosen to join the top 20 startups who will compete for a spot in the Hong Kong program later this year.

“Rover Parking came out on top because of the potential they have to use IoT to change our cities, and the impact we believe they can have as part of the Hong Kong program,” said Dane Fisher, General Manager of Global Business Transformation for INFINITI Motors. “We chose Toronto as the first North American launch of INFINITI LAB because of its role as an IoT hub, and now we’re excited to see what the companies in our Toronto program can do on the global stage.”


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