Weekly Brief: All the news from the Frankfurt Motor Show

In this week’s Brief: Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche, Tesla, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Bentley, VW, Continental, Vinli, BlaBlaCar, Intel, OnStar, MiX Telematics and Iridium Communications.


The pressure was on at last week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, where the world’s top carmakers were on hand to duke it out with lasers, drones, high-octane music and hordes of scantily clad women at the year’s final major auto show.


Beyond the glitz and glam (aren’t we all a bit tired of the trope at this point?), there were some interesting announcements and debuts for the connected car.


Porsche issued a warning shot to Tesla with a new electric vehicle concept car called the Mission E. The four-seater reaches 80% charge in just 15 minutes, and blasts from 0 to 60mph in less than 3.5 seconds. Cool website here. Granted, the car likely won’t hit the market until 2019 so Tesla’s got time on its side.


Audi took aim at Tesla as well with a sport utility concept due out in 2018. The E-tron Quattro has a healthy range of 310 miles thanks to a 95kWh lithium-ion battery pack and gets a little extra juice from solar panels on its roof. Pick-up is 0 to 62mph in 4.6 seconds. Not shabby for a crossover. We’ll have to wait and see how Tesla’s Model X compares.


BMW rebounded from a shaky start — when CEO Harald Krueger collapsed during his keynote — with a big unveil on the automated parking front: The new BMW 7 Series can manoeuvre into and out of forward-parking spaces or garages without a driver at the wheel. It’s called Remote Controlled Parking and will initially be available as on option on select 7 Series vehicles from November 2015.


On the infotainment front:


Jaguar launched the new F-PACE with InControl Touch Pro, which is basically a tablet in the dashboard — no physical keys or dials. Pinch and grab control for maps and navigation. Easy integration of Apple and Android apps. A WiFi hotspot. Automatic collision notification.


Bentley debuted its Bentayga with the Bentley Entertainment Tablet – a removable 10.2” Android device with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth for high-speed on-board connectivity.


VW showed off the updated Tiguan with App-Connect, a new feature in its MIB II infotainment system that integrates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. VW is launching this celebrity-packed ad campaign in the U.S. around the infotainment system this week.


Continental and Vinli launched Carport, a cloud-based dashboard system that allows carmakers to connect their vehicles to smart home features. Drivers can control home connected devices remotely, track where all the connected cars in a household are, summon roadside assistance and get insights into each car’s diagnostics. More info here.


Outside of Frankfurt, long distance ridesharing service BlaBlaCar raised $200 million in a fourth round of venture funding. The Paris-based company is already active in 19 countries, including most of Europe, and plans to use the funding to expand its presence in Asia, Brazil and Latin America.


Intel announced a new Automotive Security Review Board (ASRB) to help carmakers get proactive about cyber hacking. The board will perform ongoing security tests and audits intended to codify best practices and design tips for advanced cybersecurity solutions. Board members will comprise top security industry talent across the globe.


Count OnStar in for mobile couponing. The company announced that users of its mobile app, RemoteLink, will soon have access to AtYourService — a cornucopia of location-based coupons from sponsored locations for dining, retail, fuel and hospitality.


It was a bad week for VW in the U.S., where federal authorities alleged that VW inserted software into nearly 500,000 diesel cars to produce false readings to meet EPA emission standards. If true, fines could reach $35k a car — or a crippling $18 billion in total.


Finally, in fleet news, MiX Telematics took its fleet management solution extraterrestrial. Thanks to a new partnership with mobile satellite specialist Iridium Communications, MiX will harness 66 low-earth satellites to ensure that fleet managers have an eye on their fleets even when they enter mobile dead zones.


The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.


Andrew Tolve is a regular TU contributor.


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