Connected Car Tips: Tesla, Optimus Ride, Waymo, AutoNation, Mitsubishi, Velodyne, HyreCar, ParkWhiz & HARMAN

In connected car news this week were Tesla, Optimus Ride, Waymo, AutoNation, Mistsubishi, Velodyne, HyreCar, ParkWhiz and HARMAN.

Tesla Sotware Update Truck Reveal Date

A software update will allows for Tesla “Chill” the opposoite of lucrdious warp speed “makes acceleration more gradual – ideal for smoother driving and a gentler ride for your passengers.” Also in the update allows dirviners to get in and out of the driver’s seat more easily. When a driver parks, the steering wheel and driver’s seat will automatically adjust for an easier exit. After returning the seat adjusts to the settings for the driver. Tesla will reveal the Tesla Semi truck on November 16 in Torrance.

Optimus Ride Financing Optimal

Optimus Ride, a MIT spinoff company developing self-driving technology, announced it has closed an $18 million Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners with participation from Emerson Collective, Fraser McCombs Capital and renowned venture capitalist and current director of MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito. Optimus Ride has raised a total of $23.25 million through two rounds of financing. The company will immediately use the capital to scale its current vehicle fleet and make strategic hires as well as continue its efforts to educate the market of the potential of fully autonomous driving technology.

AutoNation to Service Waymo Vehicles

Automotive retailer AutoNation announced that it has partnered with Waymo, the Alphabet Inc., self-driving technology company, in a multi-year agreement to support Waymo’s autonomous vehicle program. AutoNation will offer strategic capabilities to maximize the life of Waymo’s vehicles across the United States.

AutoNation franchised stores, AutoNation USA stores and other AutoNation locations, will provide long-term vehicle maintenance and repairs for Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid vehicle fleet, and will expand with Waymo as they add additional brands. Having served over 40 million customers and representing 33 brands, AutoNation is uniquely positioned to work with Waymo as it expands its operations. AutoNation will offer complex mechanical and cosmetic repairs to maintain Waymo’s self-driving fleet.

Mistubushi In-Vehicle Monitoring

Mitsubishi Electric announced that it has developed the first in-vehicle monitoring system with a single wide-angle camera to detect both the driver and front passenger simultaneously.

Conventional in-vehicle monitoring systems generally use a single camera to analyze the driver’s face for drowsiness or distraction. More recent imaging systems monitor the driver as well as the front passenger, but require several cameras. Mitsubishi Electric has refined this concept by developing a technology that uses just one wide-angle camera to identify both the face and hand gestures of driver and front passenger. This allows OEMs to offer a range of safety and personalization features at a lower cost.

“Monitoring both front-seat occupants not only lets us check driver-centric safety behavior, but also allows us to support additional gesture inputs for in-cab systems such as climate control or audio,” says Mark Vogel, senior product development manager at Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America. “Providing a mix of safety and convenience features within the same monitoring system is critical as the line between those disciplines continue to blur.”

With features in development to monitor upper body position and detect slumping or collapsing, this technology may soon be able to identify medical emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke. In such circumstances, the vehicle could take immediate action by dialing emergency services or even rerouting to a nearby hospital. Active safety monitoring systems like this will become especially important as we evolve toward the self-driving car.

This technology is expected to launch commercially in 2018. Mitsubishi Electric will exhibit the driver monitoring system during the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017 from Oct. 27 – Nov. 5 and the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 in Las Vegas from Jan. 9 -12.

Smart Start 1 Million Mark

Smart Start, the leading ignition interlock provider in the world, installed its one millionth U.S. customer this week to continue its mission of saving lives through technology.

SF Motors Buys GM Assembly Plant

SF Motors, a Silicon Valley electric vehicle (EV) company announced that the acquisition of AM General’s commercial assembly plant (“CAP”) has closed. SF Motors, which is the only EV company to establish its own U.S. and Chinese manufacturing capabilities, will use the plant for upcoming North American EV production as part of its global strategy to provide a new line of premium EVs.

HyerCars for Hire in NY

HyreCar, the low-cost, low-commitment online car rental service, today announced it had begun offering short-term vehicle rentals, including TLC-plated cars, to drivers throughout the state of New York. With this announcement, HyreCar brings the number of states it is active in to 29.

ParkWhiz Amazon Alexa Skill

ParkWhiz announced the launch of a new parking skill for the Amazon Alexa service, allowing customers to use voice-activated commands to find, reserve, and pay for parking.

The ParkWhiz skill for Alexa offers a hands-free method to find a parking space near an address, calculate the walking time to their destination and book parking on Once booked, drivers will receive an email notification with their parking pass which they can display on their smartphone for validation.

Velodyne Partners with BoE

Velodyne LiDAR Inc., the world leader in 3D vision systems for autonomous vehicles, announced that it has partnered with BoE Systems to integrate its VLP-16 Puck and Puck LITE 3D LiDAR sensors into BoE Systems’ UAV fleet for geospatial data collection and analysis.

With this integration, BoE Systems provides full 360° imaging of geography and equipment for a multitude of industries with a critical need for quick, safe, and accurate aerial inspections, including transportation, utilities, telecommunications/infrastructure, construction, aggregate, forestry, and agriculture. BoE Systems acquires imaging data, processes it, and works with customers for tailored analysis and inspection reports, allowing them to address immediate and future needs and compliance issues. In addition, BoE Systems’ proprietary hardware and software integrations provide digital maps with a level of detail that allows for the development of highly accurate flood models, drainage analysis, Building Information Modeling (BIM), contour mapping, and more.

HARMAN Continues Polycom RealPresence Media Suite

HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets announced an agreement for HARMAN to continue the development and selling of the Polycom RealPresence Media Suite and support for the Polycom Video Content Management portfolio. HARMAN will leverage the expertise of its global engineering team to ensure that the Polycom Media Suite Portfolio continues to lead the market in enterprise-grade recording, streaming and content management solutions.

The Polycom RealPresence Media Suite extends HARMAN’s offerings for enterprise customers looking to add video recording, streaming and content management to their IoT strategy. HARMAN has been a key partner of Polycom’s since 2016 including aiding in research efforts in India.


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