Autonomous and Self-Driving Vehicle News: Aidrivers, AVIA, Automated Bus Consortium, Bosch Cariad, VW, Owl AI & May Mobility

In autonomous and self-driving vehichle news are Aidrivers, AVIA, Automated Bus Consortium, Bosch Cariad, VW, Owl AI and May Mobility.

Aidrivers Partners with Ashok Leyland

Aidrivers, the global specialist in AI-enabled autonomous solutions across industrial mobility, and Ashok Leyland, a leading multinational automotive manufacturer, have set up an exciting new collaboration designed to invigorate and inspire the development of AI-enabled autonomous vehicles to meet industry’s needs for a sustainable future.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a long-term collaboration which will combine their specialist knowledge and experience to push forward together in this rapidly advancing field.

Aidrivers provides autonomous mobility solutions for industrial mobility automation which optimise clients’ business operations and enable the delivery of efficiency and quality services.

Ashok Leyland, based in Chennai, India, manufactures commercial vehicles, chassis, industrial engines, marine engines and engines for gensets. The company is the second largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India and the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world. It has seven manufacturing plants in India, one in the UAE and one in the UK, and has a footprint across 50 countries.

In the agreement, signed early in January 2022, Aidrivers will provide AI-enabled autonomous solutions and Ashok Leyland will provide vehicle platforms; the partners will work together to explore target markets and opportunities for cooperation.

The agreement foresees the development of autonomous vehicles, industrial mobility equipment and other autonomous industrial automation solutions that can deliver significant value to fleet operators, logistics providers and others. As well as specific project opportunities, the MoU encompasses joint marketing and joint market access as appropriate.

AVIA Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association New Name

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) unveiled its new name, replacing the brand formerly known as the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets. As the leading trade association for companies developing autonomous vehicle (AV) technology that improves safety and enhances mobility, the new brand showcases the evolution of both the AV industry and the organization’s role with policymakers and the public.

AVIA represents a unique cross section of the world’s most innovative technology, automotive, trucking, delivery and rideshare companies. Established in 2016 by founding members Ford, Lyft, Uber, Volvo Cars and Waymo, AVIA was the first advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to AVs. The association has matured from a narrowly-focused coalition to a trade association that engages with federal, state and local policymakers, while representing the breadth of the large, diverse and expanding AV industry. In five years, the association has tripled in membership, reinforced its role as the unified voice of the AV industry, and significantly increased engagement with lawmakers and regulators.

“Autonomous vehicles (AVs) offer significant opportunities to improve road safety as well as transform mobility, boost supply chains, create jobs, increase equity and reduce emissions. The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) remains the foremost voice on the policies needed to make AV benefits a reality for Americans,” said general counsel Ariel Wolf.

The new name aligns with the members’ commitment to precision and consistency in how the industry, policymakers, journalists and the public talk about autonomous driving technology. The association recently called on all stakeholders to clearly distinguish between AVs and driver-assist to boost consumer trust and understanding. AVIA advocates for autonomous vehicles, which perform the entire driving task. AVs do not require human operators, not even to serve as a backup driver; the people or packages in the vehicle are just passengers or freight.

AVIA also welcomes Navya as a new member. Navya is building AV technology to create new modes of transportation for passengers and goods, with pilot projects in over 20 countries.

About the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA)
Argo AI, Aurora, Cruise, Embark, Ford, Kodiak, Lyft, Motional, Navya, Nuro, TuSimple, Uber, Volvo Cars, Waymo and Zoox are members of the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA). AVIA works with lawmakers, regulators, and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of autonomous vehicles. The association is comprised of companies with technical expertise and experience in the technology, automobile, rideshare and trucking sectors. Bringing together their varied backgrounds, the companies formed AVIA to advance AVs’ tremendous safety, mobility and economic benefits to consumers in the safest and swiftest manner possible. For more information, visit our website www.theAVindustry.org.

Automated Bus Consortium RFP for 70 Level 4 Buses

The Automated Bus Consortium, a collective of U.S. transit agencies and departments of transportation, announced the release of a request for proposals (RFP) to procure up to seventy full-size Level 4 automated buses. “Level 4” is a designation of highly automated vehicles as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Level 4 buses operate in pre-determined environments and still have drivers, steering wheels, and pedals. These vehicles will be deployed in revenue service on pilot routes selected by each participating agency, resulting in significant advancements in understanding the impacts of automation.

The RFP represents the first-ever battery-electric automated bus procurement and large-scale deployment for full-sized buses, and was issued by the State of Michigan, which is serving as the lead procurement agency on behalf of the Consortium agencies. Formed by AECOM, the Automated Bus Consortium is a first-of-its-kind approach to investigate the feasibility of pilot automated bus projects and accelerate the deployment of automated transit technologies.

Participants in this program include founding member agencies Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, MetroLINK, Michigan Department of Transportation/Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Capital Area Transportation Authority, Michigan State University, and Huron Transit Corporation. They will be joined by new Consortium members NJ TRANSIT and RATP Dev.

The Automated Bus Consortium previously announced the completion of the country’s first automated bus specification, combining the American Public Transportation Association’s Standard Bus Procurement Guideline for standard bus specification with the new full-size bus Automated Driving System requirements developed by AECOM with input from the Consortium’s Bus Specification Committee.

By combining the purchasing power of multiple agencies across the U.S., the Automated Bus Consortium aims to accelerate the adoption of state-of-the-art, safety-focused automated features not yet available to the industry. These features are designed to assist the bus operator in maneuvering the vehicle safely and improve service reliability. With the release of the RFP, the Consortium intends to select vendors by summer 2022 and receive a bus prototype for testing and certification in late 2023.

Bosch’s Cariad & VW Partners for SAE Level 3

More safety and less stress for drivers, more rapid deployment of automated driving functions across all vehicle classes: Bosch and the Volkswagen Group subsidiary Cariad are now collaborating to achieve this objective, and have agreed to form an extensive partnership. The companies want to make partially and highly automated driving suitable for volume production, and thus available to the broad mass of consumers. For the vehicles sold under the Volkswagen Group brands, the alliance aims to make functions available that will allow drivers to temporarily take their hands off the steering wheel. More specifically, these functions are Level 2 hands-free systems for urban, extra-urban, and freeway driving, as well as a system that takes over all driving functions on the freeway (SAE Level 3). The first of these functions are to be installed in 2023.

For partially and highly automated driving, the two companies will jointly develop a state-of-the-art, standardized software platform. The aim is to use this platform in all privately used vehicle classes sold under Volkswagen Group brands – and thus in one of the world’s biggest vehicle fleets. It will also be possible to integrate all the component parts developed by the alliance in other automakers’ vehicles and ecosystems

At various locations belonging to the two companies, and especially in Stuttgart and Ingolstadt, associates from the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division and Cariad will work together to develop partially and highly automated driving functions. Working in mixed, agile teams, they will be part of a global network. At peak times, it is expected that the various modules required by the project – from middleware to individual applications – will occupy more than 1.000 experts from the two companies. The two companies have already started recruiting fresh experts to work in the alliance as well.

The focus of the project’s work will be data-driven software development on the basis of information from 360-degree surround sensing. For this purpose, a highly innovative development environment will be created for the recording, evaluation, and processing of data. The environment will also make use of AI methods. The idea behind this is a simple one. The more extensive the pool of data from real road traffic, the more robust and natural the design of the partially and highly automated driving functions can be. This applies, for example, to additional layers for high-resolution maps for the localization and lateral and longitudinal guidance of vehicles. The alliance will also be working on these layers. Moreover, it applies equally to everyday driving situations and to what are known as “corner cases” – the seldom occurring road-traffic incidents that are especially tricky for a system to resolve.

“The best proving ground for the development of automated driving is road traffic. With the help of one of the world’s biggest connected vehicle fleets, we will gain access to a huge database. This will allow us to take automated driving systems to a new level. All our customers will be able to benefit from this,” says Dr. Mathias Pillin, president of Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions. “Together, we can test automated driving functions on a broader scale in actual vehicles and implement them more quickly. Our engineering work will be done jointly, with Bosch and Cariad as one team. There has never been an alliance like this in the automotive industry,” says Dr. Ingo Stürmer, the alliance’s project director at Cariad.

This also involves feeding the data gathered in real traffic conditions into the development process – continuously and in real time. Each kilometer driven in real traffic conditions, and the data gathered, evaluated, and processed as a result, means a bigger pool of data and a better basis from which to make even higher levels of automated driving reality and get them safely and reliably onto our roads. The partners have also agreed to examine the possibility of joint development targets and timelines on the path the fully automated driving (SAE Level 4).

The guiding principle behind this partnership on equal terms is as follows: one of the world’s biggest automaking groups plus one of the world’s biggest automotive suppliers equals a huge step forward in the development of automated driving.

OWL AI Funding

Atonomous Imaging (Owl AI), a developer of patented monocular 3D thermal imaging and ranging solutions for automotive active safety systems, today announced $15 million in Series A funding led by State Farm Ventures®. Additional participation in the round included Excell Partners, Luminate NY Accelerator, Empire State Development, MHNW Consortium, Dr. Sanjay Jha, (former CEO of both GlobalFoundries and Motorola Mobility), as well as others.

The foundation of Owl’s patented technology is an adaptation of a thermal ranging solution developed under a challenge grant from the US Air Force to track missiles in flight traveling at over 1,000 mph. The solution to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) requires redundancy and diversity, maximized across a 3D image map. Owl has developed a patented 3D Thermal Ranging™ camera, the world’s only solid-state camera delivering HD thermal video with high precision ranging for safe autonomous vehicle operation.

The current de-facto ADAS sensor suites typically comprise mutually dependent visible-light cameras and radar, but when one of these sensors becomes ineffective, so too does the entire sensor suite. This scenario happens often, especially when it comes to pedestrians, cyclists, and animals at night or in inclement weather. Owl has created a new modality known as monocular 3D thermal ranging that dramatically improves pedestrian safety.  The system is based on specialty HD thermal imaging and innovative computer vision algorithms.  Operating in the thermal spectrum these algorithms exploit angular, temporal and intensity data to produce ultra-dense point clouds and highly refined object classification.

Owl recently completed field trials in conjunction with VSI Labs on the streets of Las Vegas, NV during #CES2022.  Owl will be showcasing its field trial results along with live demonstrations at this week’s Photonics West Conference in San Francisco. Owl a recent winner of the Luminate Challenge will be showcasing their solution in the Luminate booth #3010.

May Mobility Series C Funding

– May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, today announced the initial closing of its Series C round of funding with an investment of $83 million led by Mirai Creation Fund II – a SPARX Group Co., Ltd. managed fund that is renowned for supporting high-growth, high-tech companies and has made 76 investments to date. New investors include Tokio Marine and Toyota Tsusho, along with returning investors Toyota VenturesMillennium Technology Value PartnersCyrus Capital Partners1843 CapitalBMW i Ventures and Bay Lake Ventures. Final closing of the financing is expected to take place near the end of Q1 2022.

Charting Towards a Fully Autonomous Future
May Mobility, driven by its class-leading proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) autonomous driving technology, has provided more than 300,000 revenue-generating rides and launched services in nine cities, including their first international deployment in Higashihiroshima, Japan. The initial investment in this round of funding brings the total amount raised by May Mobility to $166 million to date and is set to help the company increase its engineering headcount, expand its global customer pool, enhance rider experiences and further invest in technology advancements, including driver-out operations in 2023.

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