Connected Car News: TomTom, Maxar, Toyota, Mapbox, ZKW, Navistar, Audi, Sonatus, Hagerty, Seeing Machines & Magna

In connected car news are TomTom, Maxar, Toyota, Mapbox, ZKW, Navistar, Audi, Sonatus, Hagerty, Seeing Machines and Magna.

TomTom Partners with Maxar

TomTom, the geolocation technology specialist, announced that it has expanded its agreement with Maxar Technologies, a provider of comprehensive space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence, to integrate high-resolution, global satellite imagery into its product portfolio. TomTom will leverage Maxar’s Vivid imagery base maps to provide its customers with a more comprehensive visualization solution.

TomTom serves several industries with its maps, data analytics, navigation, traffic information and more. The partnership with Maxar gives TomTom the capability to offer its clients a photorealistic map that is representative of the world around them. In addition, TomTom’s Automotive and Enterprise software platform customers can offer their end users satellite imagery and give them more context of potential challenges on the ground.

Toyota & Lexus Deliver Next Gen Nav with Mapbox

In response to evolving customer demands for better in-car experiences, Toyota and Lexus are utilizing Mapbox’s technology to deliver next generation navigation features. According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study, the infotainment system is identified as most troublesome with smartphone connectivity identified as the second most disappointing feature in new vehicles. To delight customers with a valuable in-car experience, Mapbox launches in select Toyota and Lexus vehicles equipped with a next generation multimedia system developed by Toyota. It includes elevated navigation enhancements that are designed with meticulous attention to the end user experience and unlocks the ability to receive data and design updates over the air, enabling driver experiences to keep pace with the driver’s evolving needs.

Mapbox worked closely with Toyota Motor North America (“TMNA”) and its affiliates to bring to market a driving experience that will exceed customer expectations. The Mapbox Maps software development kit incorporates a map design that complements Toyota’s next-generation multimedia system, making turn-by-turn navigation intuitive for drivers. TMNA’s designers are able to modify the look and feel of the navigation experience via Mapbox Studio, enabling map design updates to be rolled out to all vehicles instantaneously.

Previously, in-vehicle maps were generally static when vehicles rolled off the production line, making the navigation experience feel dated over time. Now Toyota can push updates to the design to vehicles in real time so the driver’s experience continues to feel fresh and up to date. As more vehicles hit the road with the next generation multimedia system, drivers of those vehicles will have the advantage of utilizing more engaging and robust navigation software that can be updated in a manner similar to updates on their smartphone.

“We have developed our system in such a way that the look and feel of it can be updated almost instantaneously,” and “through working with Mapbox, we are able to make changes quickly to continue to elevate the user experience for our customers,” said Charan Lota, Vice President and Executive Chief Engineer in TMNA’s Connected Technologies group.

“We’re excited to be a foundational component in Toyota’s next generation infotainment system to enable a clean new look and feel of the map that sits front and center. Great software is created in an iterative process, so a critical piece of the collaboration was to put Toyota in full control of the map design and thus unlock their ability to incorporate continuous map improvements based on customer feedback. It is an important step in delivering an in-car experience that this generation of drivers expects and is built to grow alongside their personal preferences,” said Peter Sirota, CEO, Mapbox.

Digital Lights for Range Rover

With ZKW’s “Digital Light Processing” (DLP) technology, the new Range Rover brings intelligent lighting functions to the road for the first time – in the form of dynamic projections. This is made possible by innovative LED modules with 1.2 million pixels whose light is directed via microscopically tiny, electronically controlled mirrors. As standard, the slim headlights provide stepless, glare-free high beam, which is controlled via a front camera and further enhances road safety.

Audi & Navistar Partners for C-V2X

Audi and Navistar have partnered to further develop and demonstrate potential safety enhancing C-V2X technology in Navistar emergency vehicles and school buses. The partnership allows for both companies to develop use cases and safety enhancing demonstrations in close collaboration as members of the Volkswagen Group. First deployments are expected to begin this summer.

While the transportation sector as a whole has made great safety improvements over the years, C-V2X technology is one major step toward safer mobility for drivers, students, paramedics, patients and more. Audi and Navistar, working with Applied Information and Traffic Control Corporation, have partnered to research how to improve safety and driver information in school zones, school bus stops and emergency vehicle situations. Connected vehicle technology has the potential to prevent some of the roughly 25,000 school zone injuries and 100 fatalities reported annually.1 – A NHSTA study of ambulance crashes over a 20-year period estimate that 1,500 injuries and 29 fatalities are attributed to ambulance crashes on average per year.

While Audi and Applied Information have already demonstrated the potential uses of school zone technologies, the partnership, in close collaboration with Navistar, will allow IC Bus school bus drivers to receive a visual and audible warning signal of a vehicle approaching a school bus stop – in a situation that the vehicle may not be able to stop. The warning is designed to enable the school bus driver to intervene and advise the passengers exiting the bus to not enter the roadway, or get on or off the bus only when it is safe to do so.

Studies show that stop-arm violations—when a car drives past a stopped school bus illegally—continue to be one of the most significant dangers to children and other vulnerable road users around school buses with an estimated 17 million stop-arm violations reported in the U.S. in 20192.

In one Sacramento school district, over 300 vehicles drove past school bus stops while in the process of loading or unloading kids3. The additional warning provided via C-V2X technology would warn bus drivers and allow them to potentially avert every parent’s worst nightmare. The driver in the approaching car would also receive a warning signaling that a school bus is stopped ahead. These benefits demonstrate the strength of C-V2X communications and foreshadow the level of connectivity required for automated driving in the future.

Each year, 100 firefighters die and another 100,000 are injured in approximately 30,000 crashes4. In order to help improve safety for emergency vehicle operators and drivers as a whole, Audi and International Truck, a subsidiary of Navistar, as well as our technology partners Applied Information and Commsignia, will demonstrate a whole new C-V2X application. When an emergency vehicle is on call, Audi vehicles equipped with the new software can receive an audible and visual warning from the direction from which an ambulance or other emergency vehicle is approaching. When every second counts, this warning is expected to allow ambulances and other emergency vehicles to navigate their way to a patient in need or a hospital for treatment faster. The directional warning is designed to help direct drivers to get out of the way sooner than in usual scenarios where the emergency vehicle is only visible when the emergency vehicle is in their direct line of sight.

Audi and Navistar are both companies at the forefront of developing technological advancements to improve mobility in their respective vehicle segments, as well as leaders in the transition toward electrification and utilizing connectivity as we move toward an automated driving future that will provide greater mobility and safety for all.

Sonatus Joins SOAFEE

Sonatus, a global leader in software-defined vehicle technology, announced it has joined The Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (SOAFEE), a collaboration defined by automakers, semiconductor suppliers, open source and independent software vendors, and cloud technology leaders. The goal of the project is to deliver a cloud-native architecture enhanced for mixed-criticality automotive applications, with corresponding open-source reference implementations to enable commercial and non-commercial offerings.

The power and potential of SOAFEE lies in the diverse perspectives and expertise of its members, which include ARM, AWS, Bosch, Cariad, and Woven Planet. Sonatus brings a unique approach to software-defined vehicle development to the group, underpinned by its team’s experience across both the IT and automotive industries.

“Our mission at Sonatus is to empower automakers with complete control over the architecture needed to build and operate software-defined vehicles, which aligns closely with SOAFEE’s objective,” said Jeffrey Chou, Co-founder and CEO of Sonatus. “We’re proud to join SOAFEE and bring our expertise in software-defined technologies to the community to help accelerate the digital transformation of the automotive industry.”

Sonatus and SOAFEE have shared beliefs in the value of open source software and the potential of service-oriented architectures to transform how automakers approach software development.

“Perhaps the biggest benefit of software-defined vehicles is the ability to enhance their functionality and add new features post-production; service-oriented architectures built for seamless integration will allow OEMs to do that much faster,” said Yu Fang, Co-founder and CTO of Sonatus. “We’re excited to lend our software-defined technologies expertise to SOAFEE and champion the next era of automotive software innovation.”

Hagerty Digital Labs

Hagerty, Inc. (HGTY) has launched Digital Labs, a strategic initiative that allows the company to quickly pivot to new products and adopt new business models while fostering a mindset of innovation.

“As a growth company focusing on many dimensions of the automotive world, innovation and digital product thinking are critical for our future,” said Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty. “Digital labs will allow us to innovate faster, attract more talented team members and do more for our members and partners.”

Among the first products launched by Digital Labs is the insurance-cost-saving Mileage Verification App. The lab also reimagined the collector favorite Hagerty Valuation Tools®, which includes more than 15 years of pricing for 40,000 enthusiast cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles from the post-war era to present, and the enthusiast carsharing platform DriveShareTM.

“Hagerty Digital Labs is about business acceleration,” said Kelly Smith, Chief Strategy Officer of Hagerty. “We are developing a one-stop shop focused on creating value from innovative ideas in the shortest possible time. We are car lovers and innovators who are intent on advancing the industry through revolutionary technology.”

A key component of Digital Labs is a significant recruiting initiative to hire dozens of engineers, product managers and designers with product-thinking mindsets. To learn more, please visit

“Digital Labs represents a turning point in our recruiting strategy,” said Shoba Menon, Senior Vice President of Talent at Hagerty. “Hagerty is already a culture- and people-first organization so the introduction of Digital Labs means doubling down on our search for creative, nimble change-makers and problem-solvers.”

— TRUCE Software, the leading provider of Contextual Mobility Management solutions for businesses, will host a panel of safety experts for a discussion on the unique role employers play in ensuring employee and community safety on the roads.

“Going the Extra Mile for Driver Safety” will feature Terminix, Jenkins Restorations and more in a conversation moderated by the National Safety Council. The event is tied to Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is recognized annually in April.

“To deliver the best service to our customers, we must also take the best care of our employees,” said Jonathan Jenkins, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Jenkins Restorations. “Ensuring our teams are focused at all times is paramount for us. We’ve found a way to implement smarter mobility that advances worker safety, and we’re eager to share it with our counterparts.”

The past few years have seen significant commitments to employee safety across the enterprise, and momentum continues to build inside organizations that realize employee safety and community wellbeing are critical to recruitment, retention and economic recovery. Yet, there’s been an unexpected spike in traffic related crashes, leading to what Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, referred to as a national crisis this past January.

The panel discussion will hit on topics including what the speakers view as the biggest threat to driver safety over the next 12 months, their take on the main differences between executives and employees on issues related to driver safety, and successful engagement strategies for creating a safe driving culture.

“A Distracted Driving Awareness Month poll by TRUCE found that 72% of people who drive as part or all of their job feel pressured to respond to work communications while driving,” said Joe Boyle, CEO of TRUCE Software. “With the rise in mobility comes a rise in risk, and business leaders need to be accountable for it. A line must be walked strategically to balance both productivity and safety.”

Seeing Mahcines & Magna DMS

Seeing Machines Limited (LSE: SEE), the advanced computer vision technology company that designs AI-powered operator monitoring systems to improve transport safety, has collaborated with Magna on a demonstrator that features a fully integrated Driver Monitoring System (DMS) combining camera, electronics, and interior mirror technology.

The demonstrator combines Magna’s industry leading mirror technology, camera design, integration, and packaging know-how, with Seeing Machines approach to optimized and co-designed optical path, embedded processing, and enhanced AI vision algorithms for DMS. This technology addresses the critical OEM challenge associated with managing vehicle electronics integration and cost, with the need for seamless camera packaging across a diverse line of vehicle models.

Seeing Machines’ enhanced FOVIO eDME (embedded Driver Monitoring Engine) algorithms and processor optimized and accelerated software, which solves for the optimized processing footprint, low thermal dissipation, and small overall mechanical size and weight needed for a viable all-in-one Mirror based DMS solution. Seeing Machines has further addressed the difficulties associated with a movable mirror/camera combination through innovative vision based dynamic real-time detection and calibration techniques.

While providing an effective and simplified DMS solution, the integrated mirror location also offers an effective cabin camera position and field of view, for both driver and occupant monitoring for many passenger vehicles; with the camera not too high in the vehicle cabin to obtain information critical for NCAP and regulatory standards associated with driver distraction and impairment, and not too low for an expanded interior occupant view, enabling a range of safety and convenience features inside the cabin.

Paul McGlone, CEO at Seeing Machines commented: “Building a solution that brings a fully integrated DMS into the rear-view mirror responds directly to the increasingly difficult packaging environment for carmakers with expanding infotainment and advanced driver assistance electronics complexity and ever larger cockpit displays. Working with Magna, a mobility technology company and leading supplier in mirrors and vision systems to the auto market, has brought two leading technologies together and we are looking forward to progressing opportunities to deliver this innovation to the industry more broadly.”