Weekly Brief: Delphi extends its autonomous reach

The leading supplier for automotive parts looks to become the top brand for autonomous software. Andrew Tolve reports.

Another month, another multi-million dollar pay out for a self-driving car start-up. Last week it was Boston-based nuTonomy that hit the jackpot, as it received a $450M (£342M) buyout from the world’s largest automotive parts supplier Delphi. Earlier this year Ford shelled out $1Bn for Argo AI, and a few months before that General Motors paid $1Bn for Cruise Automotive, to name just two of the recent high-profile acquisitions. This is actually Delphi’s second self-driving car start-up acquisition; the first was of a company called Ottomatika back in 2015. Delphi says that it plans to split off its self-driving car division into a new business called Aptiv, which will offer both Ottomatika and nuTonomy solutions side-by-side.

Sounds redundant right, especially for nearly half a billion? Delphi says that’s the point. Self-driving cars need redundancy, often in the form of a primary software platform and a backup, to ensure that they don’t make a fatal slip up. nuTonomy will continue to be based in Boston, where both Delphi and nuTonomy currently have pilots underway. With the nuTonomy fleet included, Delphi will have 60 autonomous cars on the road across three continents by the end of the year. It hopes to deploy a fully commercial software platform for self-driving cars by late 2019 or early 2020.

In other news, Volkswagen introduced a new ‘personalisation’ feature that allows different drivers to save personal preferences in the same vehicle, from the angle of exterior mirrors to temperature settings to seat positioning to the configuration of the instrument cluster and infotainment screen. The settings are saved on-board the vehicle and triggered by the key when the driver unlocks the door. The feature launches on the new T-Roc and Arteon and all versions of the current Golf, Touran, Tiguan and Passat.  

The city of Los Angeles plans to integrate on-demand rides into its public transportation system. The LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority posted a request for proposals from the private sector for a pilot programme called Metro MicroTransit, in which the city will offer commuters on-demand rides with no fixed routes. The idea is to have an algorithm (similar to that which powers uberPOOL) to help determine the fastest route for a group of commuters.

Waymo is about to catch a cold – the company announced the launch of self-driving pilots in Michigan, with the first scheduled to start in the greater Detroit area in November. The goal is to challenge Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica test vehicles against a spectrum of cold-weather conditions, from snow to sleet to black ice and salty slush. Waymo has a research centre in Novi, Michigan.

Didi Chuxing, China’s leading ridesharing company, announced a strategic partnership with National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the holding company of Saab, to ramp up the number of electric vehicles on the Didi platform. The two companies will co-develop an EV fully optimised for the mobility services that DiDi offers with plans to integrate self-driving technology over time. The first vehicle used in this cooperation will be the NEVS 9-3; Didi aims to have one million EVs on platform by 2020.

BlackBerry launched a new Automotive Cybersecurity Consulting Service to help carmakers navigate the challenges of securing connected cars. The BlackBerry service is targeted at the UK and Europe, where a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to go into effect May 2018 and will demand major changes to the ways organisations collect, use and store personal data about customers and employees.

Finally, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan gave a sneak peek of its ProPILOT autonomous driving platform, which it plans to deploy in market-ready vehicles come 2020. The platform is currently integrated in the 2018 Nissan Leaf and 2018 Nissan Rogue but in semi-autonomous form. In Tokyo Nissan had on hand an Infiniti Q50 Hybrid vehicle souped-up with enough sonars, cameras, radars, laser scanners and high-definition maps to transform it into a Level 4 autonomous vehicle.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *