Connected Car News: MW, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Volvo, Renesas, HERE, Streetlight, Nuro, Odyssey Semi, WiMi, UHunder, Lightning eMotors, NEC & Keysight Technologies

In connected car news are BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Volvo, Renesas, HERE, Streetlight, Nuro, Odyssey Semi, WiMi, UHunder, Lightning eMotors, NEC and Keysight Technologies.

Livent Lithium for BMW

The BMW Group will be accelerating its expansion of e-mobility in the coming years. By 2030, at least half the company’s global sales are expected to come from fully-electric vehicles. This will also increase the need for lithium, an important raw material for production of battery cells. For this reason, the company will source lithium from a second leading supplier, US-based Livent. The value of the multi-year contract will total around 285 million euros. Livent will supply the lithium directly to the BMW Group’s battery cell manufacturers from 2022 on.

MBZ-EQ Premiers on 4/15

Mercedes-EQ will unveil the all-electric luxury saloon EQS in a digital world premiere on the Mercedes me media online platform on Thursday, 15 April 2021 at 6.00 p.m. (CEST). Members of the Board of Management, including Ola Källenius, Britta Seeger, Markus Schäfer and Sajjad Khan, as well as Gorden Wagener, the Chief Design Officer, will briefly present the EQS’s technical highlights, which enable progressive luxury for all the senses, heralding the start of a new era for the company.

FEV Software & Testing Solutions, responsible for the realization of software and test applications within the FEV Group, has developed T-BMS (Testbench Battery Management System), a standardized interface solution for battery module testing on test benches. The special feature of T-BMS is the simple calibration of the system, which enables the test operation of different battery modules. There is no need for time-consuming conversion and adaptation work on the test equipment. This saves costs in the battery development process and shortens time-to-market.

As the demand for battery electric vehicles increases, so do the challenges for efficient battery systems. To support OEMs in this task, FEV has developed the T-BMS test system – a standardized interface in the battery development process between the battery modules to be tested and the test bench.

Isuzu Buys UD Trucks from Volvo

The Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors completed the transaction whereby Isuzu Motors acquired UD Trucks from the Volvo Group for an enterprise value of JPY 243 billion (approximately SEK 19 billion) on a cash and debt free basis. The strategic alliance within commercial vehicles between the two groups, aiming to capture opportunities in the ongoing industry transformation, will now also become operational. The transaction is estimated to have a positive impact on the Volvo Group’s operating income in the second quarter 2021 of close to SEK 2 billion and increase the Volvo Group’s net cash position by approximately SEK 19 billion.

The Alliance between the Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors is set to a build long-term and robust relationship. Alliance work is now entering the next phase to derive potential synergies in areas that will encompass but are not be limited to:

  • Forming a technology partnership, intended to leverage the parties’ complementary areas of expertise within both well-known and new technologies and creating a larger volume base to support investments for world-class technology.
  • Creating the best long-term conditions for a stronger heavy-duty truck business for UD Trucks and Isuzu Motors in Japan and across international markets by transferring ownership of the complete UD Trucks business from the Volvo Group to Isuzu Motors.
  • Exploring further opportunities for even broader and deeper collaboration within the commercial vehicle businesses across geographical areas and product lines for future urban logistics solutions.
  • Exploring cooperation in the areas of purchasing and logistics, leveraging common technology, as well as the geographical footprint complementarity and volume expansion.

The Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors will establish a Joint Alliance Office, with facilities both in Japan and Sweden, which will be overseen by an Alliance Board comprising the Isuzu Motors President, the Volvo Group CEO and other key executives from the two groups.

The Alliance is agreed to have a minimum duration of 20 years and is intended to address possibilities and challenges of the logistics industry of the future, maximizing value and benefits for customers as well as for society.

Renesas New ADAS SoC

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced a new power and functional safety solution for systems based on the R-Car V3H system-on-chip (SoC) for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) automotive front cameras and driver monitor cameras.

The new solution includes the RAA271050, a 42V synchronous buck ‘pre-regulator’ that accepts the vehicle’s 12V supply and steps it down to an intermediate supply voltage of 3.3V or 5.0V. The RAA271000, a seven-channel PMIC (power management IC), then takes the RAA271050’s output and steps it down further to the various supply voltages needed by R-Car V3H and its peripherals such as LPDDR4 memory. Both devices were developed per the ISO-26262 standard, and can support system safety requirements up to ASIL D. The solution satisfies all the power and functional safety requirements for the R-Car V3H. It provides supply voltages with the current capability to meet all power specifications, including sequence, voltage accuracy, and load step response. For safety, it provides all the necessary power and digital monitoring functions.

Renesas’ new solution provides best-in-class efficiency, with power loss reductions of up to 33 percent compared to competitive PMICs under comparable operating conditions. Lower power loss enables operation at higher temperatures, reducing cooling costs and delivering better reliability. Additionally, the RAA271050 and RAA271000 were designed to match R-Car requirements with no unnecessary overhead, reducing component cost and PCB area. Renesas is providing a reference hardware solution that includes the new components, speeding design time and reducing testing requirements for customers.

HERE StreetLight Multi-Modal Traffic Metrics Data

HERE Technologies, the leading location data and technology platform, to announced that StreetLight Data, Inc. (“StreetLight”), the leader in big data analytics for mobility, is making its multi-modal traffic metrics available on the HERE Marketplace.

StreetLight combines machine learning with deep transportation knowledge, vast computing and mobile data resources to provide insights on multiple modes of transportation across North America through its StreetLight InSight® platform. Every month, the company ingests, indexes and processes around forty billion anonymized probes from smart phones and navigation devices in connected cars and trucks. Adding context from numerous other sources like IoT data, parcel data and digital road network data, it develops a view into North America’s vast network of roads, bike lanes and sidewalks.

The aggregated metrics provide rich insights into traffic patterns across North America, spanning vehicle, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian travel. These insights help solve important transportation challenges, ranging from contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions, improving equitable transportation access, to reducing traffic fatalities and beyond.

By using the HERE Marketplace as an additional distribution channel, StreetLight leverages HERE’s extensive ecosystem and reaches customers across industries such as public sector, automotive, mobility and transport & logistics.

Woven Captial Invests In Nuro

Woven Capital, L.P. an $800 million global investment fund that supports growth-stage companies in mobility, made an equity investment in Nuro, Inc. (“Nuro”), a leading robotics company providing autonomous delivery. The investment is part of Nuro’s Series C round of funding, advancing its work in designing and engineering self-driving road vehicles to transform local commerce through autonomous delivery.

This marks the first investment from Woven Capital. The fund was established in January 2021 as the investment arm of Woven Planet Group, Toyota subsidiaries which started the business recently, dedicated to building the safest mobility in the world. The move by Woven Capital reflects their commitment to backing companies which develop innovative technologies and business models that further mobility, automation, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, connectivity, and smart cities.

Odyssey Semi Raises $5 Million

Odyssey Semiconductor Technologies, Inc. (“Odyssey”, “Odyssey Semiconductor”, or “the Company”), a semiconductor device company developing innovative high-voltage power switching components based on proprietary Gallium Nitride (GaN) processing technology, today announced it has raised $5 million (1.25 million shares at $4.00 per share) in a common stock private placement to further fund the development and production of high-voltage vertically-conducting GaN power-switching devices. GP Nurmenkari, as consulted by Intuitive Venture Partners, acted as the exclusive placement agent.

WiMi EV HoloAR HUD Approved

WiMi Hologram Cloud Inc.  a leading Hologram Augmented Reality (“AR”) Technology provider, announced that its electric vehicle (“EV”) holographic AR product “WiMi HoloAR HUD” has obtained a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) certification to enter the U.S. market. The certification documents state that the exterior designs, data transmission protocols, and radiation patterns of “WiMi HoloAR HUD” have been tested and certified by the FCC.

In November 2020, the holographic head-mounted display product (“head-mounted display”) “WiMi Hologram Soft Light” has been approved by the FCC to enter the U.S. market, and the holographic AR product “WiMi HoloAR HUD” is the second product that has been approved by the FCC to enter the U.S. market.

The U.S. FCC issues its FCC certifications for electronic products. Foreign products, including radio application products, communications products, and digital products, are required to obtain the FCC’s approval prior to entering the U.S. market.

With the rapid development of the EV and autonomous driving industries, the demands from both consumers and automakers for holographic AR technology applications have increased significantly. To better satisfy this market demand, the Company launched the “WiMi HoloAR HUD.” The “WiMi HoloAR HUD” has several features, including optical processing, image processing, voice interaction, night vision imaging, AR, ADAS, and cloud services. The “WiMi HoloAR HUD” can use these functions to read a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics data, run apps in the background, such as WeChat and Gaode Map (or Mapbox in overseas markets), display tire pressure, as well as enable Bluetooth connection, voice control, big data analysis, and more. In addition to creating a safer driving environment, these capabilities will also generate more opportunities for WiMi to provide additional value-added automotive services to vehicle owners.

Uhnder Joins ASC

Uhnder, Inc., the leader in digital imaging radar technologies for automotive and mobility applications, announced it has become a member of the Automotive Safety Council (ASC) to help advance safety standards and guidelines for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles. The ASC is an international trade association of the world’s leading automotive safety suppliers working to improve automotive safety systems and equipment.

Uhnder has joined the ASC as a system supplier member and will take an active role on the ADAS and Autonomous Driving Technical Sub-committee. This committee is focused on providing insights and guidance on safety concerns affecting the global automotive industry during a time of rapid technological advancements and new government regulations.

Fluid Truck Orders 40 Lightning eMotors

Lightning eMotors (“Lightning eMotors” or the “Company”), a leading provider of purpose-built commercial electric vehicles for fleets, announced that Fluid Truck has ordered 40 additional zero-emission delivery trucks for its New York City fleet. These vehicles will be utilized by XPO Logistics and NAL Group in their support of IKEA Retail U.S. last-mile delivery efforts.

en electric delivery box trucks from Lightning eMotors have already been put into service within the Fluid Truck network system to serve Manhattan. An additional 30 vehicles from Colorado-based Lightning eMotors will be deployed over the next few months.

The new all-electric vehicles are being deployed by third-party logistics partners NAL Group and XPO Logistics. The companies are renting the vehicles via the Fluid Truck rental platform, which allows businesses to easily rent and pickup vehicles from nearby locations 24/7, 365 days a year.

ChargePoint & NATSO

ChargePoint, Inc. a leading electric vehicle (“EV”) charging network, and NATSO, representing travel plazas and truckstops, announced significant progress in the first year of the National Highway Charging Collaborative, an initiative that will leverage $1 billion in public and private capital to deploy charging at more than 4,000 travel plazas and fuel stops serving highway travelers and rural communities nationwide by 2030. In its first year, the public-private Collaborative successfully funded more than 150 DC fast charging spots with additional access to more than 1,500 publicly available DC fast charging spots for consumers on ChargePoint’s existing network.

NEC Selects Keysight

Keysight Technologies, Inc. a leading technology company that delivers advanced design and validation solutions to help accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced that NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) has selected the company’s scalable and cloud-native 5G core (5GC) network test solution, LoadCore, to validate its 5GC platform.

Keysight’s 5G test tools enable NEC, a Japan-based provider of IT and communications network systems, to accelerate development and implementation of 5GC platforms that support 5G new radio (NR) in non-standalone (NSA) or standalone (SA) mode. Mobile operators deploy 5GC platforms to deliver enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services, as well as ultra-reliable and low latency communications.

Keysight’s LoadCore 5GC network test solution enables NEC to perform network capacity tests, measure device data throughput and model a wide variety of complex end-user behavior and traffic mobility scenarios. Next generation communications, based on 5G NR technology, uses wider bandwidths to manage higher data throughput and traffic flows compared to 4G LTE. LoadCore allows NEC to efficiently optimize performance testing of user plane functions deployed in 5G NR networks.

Volvo Cars Offers All-Gender Paid Leave

Volvo Cars is opting in its 40,000+ employees around the globe, in all plants and offices, into a new all-gender, paid parental leave policy as of April 1, 2021.

The ‘Family Bond’ policy will give all employees with at least one year’s service a total of 24 weeks of leave at 80 per cent of their base pay by default. The policy applies to either parent and the leave can be taken anytime within the three first years of parenthood.

The global policy is more inclusive and supportive than many existing policies around the world, and includes all legally registered parents, including adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents in same-sex couples. Some countries do not offer any paid leave to new parents, or exclude certain groups of parents – the latter is particularly true for fathers.