Category Archives: connected car

Bosch rumoured to be discussing stake in HERE

HEREGerman engineering giant Bosch is reportedly in talks to take a stake in high-definition digital maps company HERE, according to multiple sources.

HERE, which has been in operations for more than 25 years, has been the focus of healthy media attention in recent weeks as numerous tech companies have been linked to stakes within the company. Last year a consortium of German car manufacturers, including Daimler and BMW, acquired the business from Nokia for €2.5 billion with the aim of sourcing an alternative digital mapping offering from Google, for autonomous car initiatives.

Aside from engineering companies such as Bosch, the consortium has also been rumoured to be negotiating with various cloud providers, including Amazon and Microsoft. While rumours have focused on the consortium attempting to reduce financial exposure, a partner such as Amazon or Microsoft who could provide access to vast computing power, could be useful addition in efforts to establish the realities of the connected car.

HERE has claimed that its mapping systems can be identified in four out of five in-car navigation systems in North America and Europe, and recently extended its technology to the third-party developers in the Samsung connected car ecosystem.

While the move takes Bosch away from its traditional base of automotive components, it does build on moves made by the company in recent months to diversify its business offering. Last month the company announced the launch of Bosch IoT Cloud entering the company into the IoT race. The IoT cloud initiative comprises technical infrastructure as well as platform and software offerings, and claims to cover the full IoT proposition, from the device to the cloud.

“As of today, we offer all the ace cards for the connected world from a single source,” said Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner at the time of the launch. “The Bosch IoT Cloud is the final piece of the puzzle that completes our software expertise. We are now a full service provider for connectivity and the Internet of Things.”

A stake in mapping company HERE could add further weight to Bosch’s ambitions to diversify its business offering and grow within the software market.

Toyota and Microsoft launch connected car initiative

ToyotaJapanese car brand Toyota has teamed up with Microsoft to launch Toyota Connected, a new joint venture to further the car manufacturer’s efforts towards autonomous vehicles.

Toyota Connected builds on a standing relationship with Microsoft to leverage Azure cloud technology to make the connected driving experience smarter. Based in Plano, Texas, Toyota Connected will expand the company’s capabilities in the fields of data management and data services development initiatives.

“Toyota Connected will help free our customers from the tyranny of technology. It will make lives easier and help us to return to our humanity,” said Zack Hicks, CEO of Toyota Connected.  “From telematics services that learn from your habits and preferences, to use-based insurance pricing models that respond to actual driving patterns, to connected vehicle networks that can share road condition and traffic information, our goal is to deliver services that make lives easier.”

The connected cars market has been growing healthily in recent years, but is not new to Microsoft or Toyota as the two companies have been collaborating in the area of telematics since 2011, working on services such as infotainment and real-time traffic updates. A 2015 report stated that connected car services will account for nearly $40 Billion in annual revenue by 2020, while big data and analytics technology investments will reach $5 billion across the industry in the same period.

The new company itself has been given two mandates; firstly to support product development for customers, dealers, distributors, and partners, through advanced data analytics solutions, and secondly to build on Toyota’s existing partnership with Microsoft to accelerate R&D efforts and deliver new connected car solutions. The company have stated that its vision is to “humanize the driving experience while pushing the technology into the background”.

The launch of Toyota Connected will able enable the organization to consolidate R&D programs into one business unit, which it claims will ensure that all initiatives remain customer centric. Initiatives will focus around a number of areas including in-car services and telematics, home/IoT connectivity, personalization and smart city integration.

As part of the launch, Toyota will also adopt Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, employing a hybrid solution globally, whilst also housing a number of Microsoft engineers in its offices in Plano.

“Toyota is taking a bold step creating a company dedicated to bringing cloud intelligence into the driving experience,” said Kurt Del Bene, EVP, Corporate Strategy and Planning at Microsoft. “We look forward to working with Toyota Connected to harness the power of data to make driving more personal, intuitive and safe.”

Wind River partners with Roland Berger and Ricardo to develop automatic driving systems

connected-car-normalIoT software company Wind River is to develop car automation software with civil engineering specialist Ricardo and consultancy Roland Berger.

In its car-making partnerships, Wind River will provide automotive software along with architectural and engineering support while Ricardo will integrate it with its physical vehicle systems. The projects will range in scope from advanced in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) to safe and secure advanced driver assist system (ADAS) technologies to autonomous driving.

Autonomous driving calls for advances in software, physical vehicle systems and intelligent connectivity within and outside of the car, according to Marques McCammon, general manager of connected vehicles at Wind River. These will only become a reality if Ricardo can integrate them, which means bringing together new vistas of algorithm development, sensor fusion and hardware integration, according to McCammon.

Wind River has also announced another partnership with global consultancy Roland Berger to help it confront the ‘slew of new challenges’ created by the jump in safety and security demands that all car makers now face. “Many in the industry are currently playing catch-up and looking to experts to fill in the gaps,” said Wolfgang Bernhart, senior partner and automotive expert at Roland Berger.

Car making clients of the two consultancies will receive software strategy direction from Wind River and Roland Berger. Wind River will provide software management, architectural and engineering support as each new car model’s development goes from the strategy exploration phase to the proof-of-concept and production phases. Roland Berger will deliver market insights, trend and business analysis will help design new innovative business models.

Meanwhile, Wind River’s autonomy within Intel looks set to end as plans have emerged to integrate it into the parent company by 2017. A statement outlining the plan was sent to Wind River employees earlier this week.

Intel bought Wind River for $884 million in 2009 and it has remained independent, but in early January president Barry Mainz left to be chief executive of MobileIron. An Intel spokeswoman told Fortune that incorporation of Wind River would be a logical next step. However, while the rationale is to align Wind River, it will retain its branding and continue to support non-Intel processors, the spokeswoman said.

Mercedes-Benz and Pivotal forge smart car apps on Cloud Foundry

connected-car-normalUsing your mobile phone while driving could become compulsory, thanks to a new connected car application being jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and Pivotal.

The Mercedes me app will give drivers real-time information about the status of their cars through their smartphones and smart watches.

Pivotal and Mercedes-Benz are working on the app on Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry and Spring in a bid to give Mercedes drivers information about their car’s vital signs (such as oil, water and petrol levels) and remote control of everything from heating and locks to navigation. The system will work with a navigation tool via iPhone and Apple Watch.

According to Mercedes-Benz by 2020 all vehicles will be emission-free and will feature autonomous driving and deep levels of Internet connectivity. To support these initiatives, it is using Pivotal Labs’ cloud native platform, Pivotal Cloud Foundry with the developer framework Spring Boot.

With Daimler and Mercedes-Benz both anxious to meet emissions targets, their developers were keen to explore all the possibilities of Pivotal’s modern agile software development methods, said Scott Yara, Co-President at Pivotal. “They are now also a great software company,” said Yara.

Daimler’s work with Pivotal’s cloud platform minimized its innovation cycle by helping it develop a system faster than ever, according to Christoph Hartung, Head of Connected Cars at Mercedes-Benz. “Our collaboration with Pivotal will define a new digital driving culture with state of the art information technologies, online communication systems and automotive services,” said Hartnung.

New IBM cloud service could help car makers to internet things and cut emissions


IBM has launched a cloud service that aims to harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) so that car makers can cut the costs of production, ownership and pollution.

The new IBM Cloud could help the likes of BMW and Mercedes to make better use of the mass of data created by all the intelligent sensors in a car and use this intelligence to make car drivers more efficient. The service aggregates data about the machines, the drivers and the passengers. IBM claims it could cut carbon emissions by helping cut fuel consumption through promoting better driving techniques, smarter route choices and sensible loading.

On the supplier side, the improved intelligence, says IBM, could help vehicle manufacturers to lower both the cost of production and ownership, through techniques such as predictive vehicle maintenance, real-time engine diagnostics and chassis stress analysis.

The IBM Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive system is available on IBM Cloud’s SoftLayer infrastructure. IBM says it will analyse primary and secondary sources of intelligence. In addition to primary sources, such as geolocation data collected in the car, it will use external sources such as the car maker’s customer data and vehicle history. It will also use data from parking providers.

Automotive supplier Continental uses IBM MessageSight and IBM InfoSphere Streams, components of the IBM IoT for Automotive solution, to help manage complex data streams and apply analytics to its eHorizon system. This allows vehicle electronics to anticipate road conditions using digital mapping and crowd sourced data.

According to Telefonica’s 2013 Connected Car Industry Report, nine in ten new cars will be equipped with extensive connectivity services by 2020. IBM’s mission is to make sense of all the masses of big data and put it to good use, said IBM’s general manager for global automotive industry Dirk Wollschlaeger. “We have the potential to change how we interact with our vehicles,” said Wollschlaeger.

Huawei’s details connected car partnerships with Audi, Volkswagen

Huawei is pushing forward with a number of connected car partnerships this week

Huawei is pushing forward with a number of connected car partnerships this week

Chinese networking giant Huawei is going big on the connected car market this week with the announcement of partnerships with German car makers Audi and Volkswagen, reports

This week’s news specifically concerns Volkswagen, with the demonstration at CES Asia of some MirrorLink-based technology that enables smartphones apps to be used on the vehicle-mounted systems. While this sort of thing has been around for a while, it seems that Huawei is facilitating the integration of MirrorLink technology in VW cars, all of which will feature it by next year.

“Our cooperation with Huawei will seamlessly blend the capabilities of users’ smartphones with the systems in their cars,” said Sven Patuschka, executive vice president for R&D of Volkswagen Group China. “All content on the phone will be shown in real time on the car’s infotainment touch screen. The result is smart and convenient interaction between phone and car.”

Earlier this week at the same show Huawei unveiled an R&D partnership with Audi, but this time focused on “interconnected car technology”, which seems to mean embedded modems.

“We see the unlimited opportunities available in the interconnected car market and we are excited about our partnership with Audi Group,” said Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “By partnering with industry-leading automobile companies like Audi, Huawei aims to bring the best interconnection services and solutions to the next generation of cars, while actively promoting interaction between cars, smartphones, wearables and people, creating a seamless communication experience and driving environment.”

The connected car has long been viewed as the next major opportunity for the tech industry, but it has been slow to develop. One of the main reasons is the relatively long lead times in the automotive industry, which means bets have to be made on embedded technology standards that may be obsolete by the time the car comes to market. The answer, of course, is open standards, but as ever we have to wait for the proprietary land-grab to exhaust itself first.

Visit Connected Cars 15 to find out all about connected car business models and technologies.

Ericsson, Eindhoven University drive connected car partnership

Ericsson has been pushing its connected car platform the past couple of years

Ericsson has been pushing its connected car platform the past couple of years

Swedish infrastructure giant Ericsson has announced a new partnership with Eindhoven University of Technology focused on advancing the intelligent capabilities of automotive vehicles, starting with a solar-powered connected car, reports

The car, which will compete in a 3,000km race from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia as part of Solar Team Eindhoven, will be fully solar-powered, and Ericsson will be looking to drive intelligence in the vehicle based on the Connected Traffic Cloud platform it announced at Mobile World Congress in March.

Connected Traffic Cloud is a managed service capable of sharing two-way data between connected cars and road traffic authorities. In the context of the World Solar Challenge, Ericsson will be looking to aggregate car, traffic and weather data, conduct in-depth analytics and maximise the energy and power consumption efficiency of the vehicle.

Announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Ericsson at the time said connected cars and road authorities utilising the platform will benefit from enhanced road safety, improved traffic flow and vehicle performance. The company has previously partnered on similar initiatives with Volvo, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen).

Orvar Hurtig, head of industry and society at Ericsson said real-time data analysis is the key to driving more intelligent road networks.

“Mobile connectivity is increasingly a must-have feature in cars, thanks to both consumer demand for infotainment and a wide range of regulatory initiatives that aim to increase road safety,” he said. “As a result, vehicles are becoming a major source of data that could be used to improve road traffic authorities’ ability to manage traffic and prevent avoidable accidents. Connected Traffic Cloud is the means by which that data could be shared.”

Visit Connected Cars 2015 at the RAI Amsterdam between the 24th & 25th June. Automakers are eligible for free passes.

Ford deploys connected car platform on Microsoft’s cloud

Ford plans to roll out the Azure-based service later this year

Ford plans to roll out the Azure-based service later this year

Ford Motor Company and Microsoft have teamed up to create the Ford Service Delivery Network, a cloud-based connected car platform for Ford vehicles the companies said would make it easier and faster to add more in-car digital services.

Microsoft said the service will provide Ford a global platform to enable over-the-air software updates and expand availability of MyFord and MyLincoln Mobile connected services, which ships with features like scheduled remote start, vehicle finder, and vehicle status (fuel or charge level, tire pressure).

The connected car platform will be hosted on Azure-based technology in a combination of Azure and Ford datacentres.

“As consumers shift toward more cloud-based services, the Ford Service Delivery Network architecture is a strategic approach to keep vehicles up-to-date and relevant throughout the vehicle ownership period by making it easy to add or evolve services. Microsoft Azure provides a global common cloud platform that allows Ford to deliver services worldwide and scale quickly to reach its broad customer base,” explained Sanjay Ravi, senior director of worldwide manufacturing at Microsoft.

“This means that Ford can send updates as they become available, ensuring customers will have the latest technology as it becomes available,” Ravi said.

Customer deployment will begin later this year, the companies said.

Microsoft is among a growing fleet of technology firms looking to capitalise on growth of the connected car market. According to global telecoms association the GSMA the size of the market will nearly triple over the next four years to $53bn.