Connected Car News: Guidepont, Sellantis, Foxconn, NXP, BMW, Punch Powertrain & Renesas

In connected car news are Guidepont, Sellantis, Foxconn, NXP, BMW,Punch Powertrain and Renesas.

Guidepont for Free2Move from Sellantis

Guidepoint Systems, a global provider of vehicle telematics and Software as a Service (SaaS) for automotive OEMs, vehicle dealerships, rental agencies and fleet managers, announced it has partnered with Free2move, the global fleet, mobility and connected data brand of Stellantis.

The new Guidepoint Air data-monitoring service is the latest innovation from Guidepoint. It’s designed to easily manage vehicle fleets without the need to install additional hardware. The Free2move-Guidepoint Systems collaboration enables data from properly equipped and eligible MY2018 and newer Stellantis vehicles, including Ram, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep®, to be received within Guidepoint Air to provide inventory management services to dealers, fleet management services for commercial and government fleets, auditing services to floor plan lenders, and vehicle diagnostic reports to consumers.

“We are continuing our strategy aimed at facilitating the access to connected vehicle data and to provide insights to Stellantis fleet owners and operators by using Free2move solutions, such as Connect Fleet, which we plan to deploy soon, but also by enabling connectivity with platform partners for the benefit of the users of these platforms. This is the case, for example, with Guidepoint, whose users can now access data from their eligible Stellantis vehicles thanks to the connection established between the Free2move MultiBrand server and Guidepoint”, said Benjamin Maillard, general manager of North America at Free2move.

These advanced solutions give fleet owners the ability to drive increased operational efficiencies, reduce downtime and increase driver safety. Free2move takes these capabilities further and combines data insights with new methods of mobility that expand the reach and breadth of fleet operations tools.

In addition to Stellantis passenger vehicles, Guidepoint Air will be available for law enforcement fleets that include the Dodge Durango Pursuit, Charger Pursuit and Ram 1500 Special Service. Connectivity-capable Stellantis vehicles for government fleets, commercial trucks and commercial vans, including the ProMaster, can be managed via embedded telematics and our robust fleet management system.

This new partnership is the latest service line introduced by Guidepoint Systems to support fleet owners. Last November, Guidepoint launched FleetMovil, a new fleet management system optimized to reduce costs and capture all relevant fleet data. Guidepoint can monitor more than 300 vehicle data parameters, including speed, direction, location, engine warning indicators, maintenance reminders, carbon emissions, fuel efficiency, PTO monitoring, driving behavior and engine idling, just to name a few.

“As a Tier-1 supplier of telematics to the auto industry for more than 20 years, we understand how important vehicle data is to our customers,” said Samuel Spencer, president and CEO of Guidepoint. “This new partnership will allow us to deliver great value and service to fleet customers, dealerships and others looking to maximize their business performance.”

Foxconn & NXP Partner

Hon Hai Technology Group (“Foxconn”), the world’s largest technology manufacturer and service provider, has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NXP Semiconductors,  a global automotive semiconductor company, to jointly develop platforms for a new generation of smart connected vehicles. The virtual MoU signing ceremony was attended by Young Liu, Chairman of Hon Hai and Kurt Sievers, President and CEO of NXP from Taiwan and Germany, respectively.

The centerpiece of the new collaboration is Hon Hai’s new EV platform. It integrates NXP’s S32 family of processors, and its analog-front-end, drive, networking and power products. The collaboration will also include next-generation platforms such as Electrical/Electronic Architecture (EEA), Cybersecurity, connectivity solutions using the latest NXP S32 domain and zonal controller family for gateways and vehicle networking control, while also advancing secure car access with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ultra-wideband (UWB). Another pillar is safe automated driving augmented by NXP’s leading radar solutions.. Hon Hai and NXP have outlined more than 10 automotive products for the first stage, which will soon be in development.

NXP, as a world leader in secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications, has the leading position in the automotive market and has a strong market share in Microprocessors (MPU), Microcontroller (MCU), and Cybersecurity products. The new collaboration will boost Hon Hai’s ability to build competitive EV products at a rapid pace, reduce time to market as well as optimize the efficiency of its R&D resources.

“We are proud to join forces with Hon Hai today to support its ambitious leap into an automotive and to jointly address the challenges and opportunities of a new generation of smart, connected vehicles, especially Hon Hai’s new electric vehicle platform,” said Kurt Sievers, President and CEO of NXP Semiconductors. “The auto industry has to become faster and more efficient, and NXP is pleased to extend its technology portfolio to enable electrification, next-generation architectures, smart car access systems and more.”

“Hon Hai sees the disruptive challenges and the potential for innovation in today’s automotive industry. This is a prime opportunity given our particular electronics expertise,” said Young Liu, Chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group. “NXP’s longstanding expertise and leadership in the automotive area, its innovative products and its laser focus on safety, security and quality provide the foundation for the collaboration we are activating today.”

The collaboration will lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. The products developed by Hon Hai and NXP can jointly explore new businesses in more fields. NXP will also be a preferred supplier for Hon Hai’s automotive business development. Hon Hai will integrate NXP solutions to produce module products that better meet customer needs, while NXP can be closer to the end customer, providing more customer-oriented designs.

BMW Quantum Computing

Announcement of promising and innovative collaborations as follow-ups of the BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge. BMW Group brings Quantum Computing Community together to bridge the gap between foundational and applied research. BMW Group strengthens Munich Quantum Valley.

With the event “Quantum Computing for Automotive Challenges”, the BMW Group is once again underscoring its leading role in the development of a quantum ecosystem. The BMW Group sees its role not only as one member of the quantum computing community but wants to actively network, collaborate and thereby bridge the gap between foundational and applied research.

“With the BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge, we provided well-described industry reference problems representing the automotive industry. We are confident that this inspires the community to make industry application of quantum computing a reality.” says Dr. Andre Luckow, Head of Innovations & Emerging Technologies at BMW Group IT.

At this year’s event, from 20. – 21. July 2022, hosted by the BMW Group, all 15 finalists of the Quantum Computing for Automotive Challenge had the opportunity to present their ideas and solutions. All 15 finalists provided remarkable submissions to the challenge that deserve to be acknowledged by the larger ecosystem. The BMW Group and the main sponsor Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) invite the global quantum computing community to join this event.

Quantum Computing is one of the most promising future technologies in the automotive sector. It has enormous potential for material sciences, complex optimization, and AI problems. Information can be handled through laws of quantum mechanics in a quantum computer. Thereby computational operations on information stored in different registers can be performed at the same time.

In 2021, the BMW Group, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), conducted a Crowd Innovation Initiative. We asked the global quantum computing community to develop innovative quantum algorithms for four specific industrial challenges and test them on real quantum computing hardware. More than 70 teams from all over the world participated. We identified and announced a winning team for each of the four challenges last year. This event serves to honor all 15 finalists of the challenge and to maintain the momentum of the vibrant community.

Automotive Software Costs Will Double Says Report

As electrification, connectivity and automated driving functionality increase, the automotive industry will need to invest ever greater sums in software. By 2030, spending could rise from USD 26 billion in 2021 to USD 59 billion. The way to tackle this is with new design concepts in which the vehicle is built around a software platform from the outset. Starting in 2030, this can help avoid almost USD 16 billion of cost per year. These are some of the key findings of the latest publication in the Roland Berger study series “Computer on Wheels (4): The future of the automotive software industry: Spend, trends and how to transform.”

“The automotive industry can only afford the software it will need in the future if it cuts costs elsewhere,” says Falk Meissner, Partner at Roland Berger. “Key to this is to move away from the current design approach where software and technical functions are integrated in an existing vehicle concept and to transition to a new, software-defined vehicle. The car of the future is a computer on wheels – and that must be reflected in the very first steps of vehicle design.”

Making this switch is of existential importance for the industry. The study authors put the growth rate for software costs at 6% per year. This will more than double today’s spend to USD 59 billion by 2030. With the software-defined vehicle (SDV) concept, by contrast, costs will increase by just 70% to USD 43 billion.

Looking at the costs for each step in the development cycle, it is clear that SDV necessitates the design of more complex software architectures, which will lead to higher R&D spending of around USD 7 billion. However, this increase is more than offset by the significantly lower costs of more agile software production: USD 11 billion can be saved in testing, USD 8 billion in integration and USD 3 billion in software maintenance. This will also free up resources for the development of new software content.

Building software-defined vehicles offers many advantages; ideally, however, the transition to this new design concept will require industry-wide cooperation. OEMs and suppliers will have to rethink their software value chain and business model. The industry will first need to agree on common standards for vehicle architectures and the use of open-source software. Companies that offer proven software content as a product will be able to recycle software, achieve economies of scale and refinance investments.

“Reselling intellectual property is already part of the core business for suppliers and specialized software providers, but it is still largely uncharted territory for vehicle manufacturers,” so Meissner. “To exploit the commercial potential of marketing intellectual property, automotive companies will need to partner with suppliers to an increasing extent and take advantage of emerging software marketplaces.”

Punch Powertrain Hybrid Testing

Testing transmissions can be a complicated business. Transmissions need to align with every other component of a car, while some parts are still in development and not available for testing. Which is where hybrid test beds come in. Here Punch Powertrain tests its transmissions in a partly physical, partly virtual set-up, where software simulates certain components. A state-of-the-art technology that allows for quick turn-around and flexibility.

One area where this comes in handy is acoustic testing. Engineers here test the shifting noise a transmission makes. Which they can start doing even when they don’t have key components, like the engine, yet. Virtually simulating the engine also offers the advantage that there’s less noise from a combustion engine, allowing for better assessment of the transmission noise.

Punch Powertrain can simulate a range of conditions using its software. “We can for example give the car more slope or load, and we can play with the speed and forces”, says Ilyas Barrou, test rig software developer. “It’s like we have a real car on the test bed.”

There’s two big ways to do hybrid testing. One in which a real engine is present in the test bed, the other in which a virtual engine is simulated. But simulation is of course not just limited to the engine. “Before you can test a transmission, you also need to simulate components like the ABS”, says Pepijn Peeters, test rig engineer. “We also simulate the load on the wheels, so the transmission experiences conditions similar to an actual vehicle. We even go so far that if you suddenly accelerate, the test bed will simulate the car pushing, which has a small effect on the transmission.”

This testing capacity has made Punch Powertrain into a global technology leader. “It’s pretty unique”, says Peeters. “There are for example only 12 acoustic NDTS test beds like ours in the world, and most of them are in China.”

So why is this combination of virtual and physical testing so useful? It’s, of course, faster, since engineers don’t need to wait for components that are still under development. But there’s more to hybrid testing than just speed. “You also don’t have fuel lines lying around, which makes it safer”, says Peeters. “Virtual testing is more accurate than using older, non-representative models of certain components. And we can switch easily, allowing us to for example test a transmission with different types of engines.”

“To validate a transmission we need to do many tests”, adds Barrou. “Now we can do that partly using software. We can see how the transmission performs on the highway or in the city. Anything you can do in a real car we can simulate on our test bench.”

One of Punch Powertrain’s next engineering challenges is simulating a hybrid car, which is more difficult compared to one with just an internal combustion engine. “A hybrid transmission adds another layer of complexity”, says Peeters. “It’s not just the engine with the ICU and the transmission with a TCU, you also have the e-machine with an MCU and a battery, with an associated management system. On top of that there’s a powertrain control unit, or PCU. So there’s a much larger amount of components that need to be simulated.”

Designing a hybrid test bed that can handle this was complicated, but Punch Powertrain’s new technology should be ready for production in a few months. Which is a step on the way to making the company ready for the future. “Testing hybrid transmissions is the most complicated testing you can do”, says Peeters. “An EV on the other hand is simpler. So if you know how to simulate a hybrid, you’re ready for EV’s.”

Renesas Completes Purchase of Reality AI

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the completion of the acquisition of Reality Analytics, Inc. (Reality AI), a leading provider of embedded AI solutions, as of July 19, 2022, following Reality AI shareholders’ and required regulatory approval.

Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, U.S., Reality AI offers a wide range of embedded AI and Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) solutions for advanced non-visual sensing in automotive, industrial and commercial products. Combining Reality AI’s best-in-class AI inference technologies with Renesas’ extensive MCU and MPU product portfolios will enable seamless implementation of machine learning and signal processing. The acquisition will allow Renesas to expand its tool suite and software offerings for AI applications and increase its in-house capability to provide highly optimized endpoint solutions that combine both hardware and software.    

Renesas will continue to accelerate the delivery of end-point intelligence in a vast array of IIoT (Industrial IoT), consumer and automotive applications. Renesas’ MCU/MPU platforms with machine-learning algorithms will significantly enhance system development, providing customers with unmatched developer experience to make their applications AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) ready and help them get to market faster.

With the completion of the acquisition, Reality AI has become an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas. Renesas now possesses Reality AI’s team of AI experts and an AIoT R&D center-of-excellence in Maryland, U.S. As a leading provider of AIoT solutions, Renesas will continue to meet the needs of customers seeking to implement AI solutions with the expanded global talent network of software engineers.