Weekly Brief: Magna to debut ‘invisible’ driverless tech for any car

North America’s largest automotive supplier, Magna, jumped into the self-driving car race last week with a new autonomous driving platform called MAX4. The platform includes a suite of cameras, radar, LiDAR and ultrasonic sensors along with a computer platform that delivers Level 4 Autonomy. It also includes a cruise-control-like user interface that is controlled through the press of a button. A lighted display indicates the vehicle is in autonomous mode and drivers can disengage that mode via brake pedal or an emergency button.

What’s impressive here is that MAX4 can be integrated into any vehicle, whether it be carmakers’ existing or future platforms, including hybrids and electric vehicles. It does not require carmakers to compromise the interior or exterior look or feel of their vehicles either, because the sensors and detection systems are all compact and can be completely hidden from view (e.g. no big LiDAR installation on the roof). This is a big deal because it offers the automotive industry the potential for a standardised platform for delivering full autonomy, as opposed to the fractured approach that prevails among carmakers today. Magna will demonstrate MAX4 at the upcoming 2017 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany next week.

In other news, Qualcomm debuted a new chipset that could become the poster child of the automotive vehicle-to-everything (V2X) revolution. The C-V2X chipset harnesses both 4G and 5G cellular standards to deliver messages between cars and other cars, infrastructure and pedestrians – all without the need for a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), cellular subscription or network assistance. Audi, Ford and PSA have all committed to taking the new chipset for a spin in their cars.

The US House of Representativesis set to vote this Wednesday on whether to adopt new federal legislation governing self-driving cars. The proposal would replace the jumble of state rules and restrictions currently regulating self-driving cars with a single federal policy. It also would allow more cars on the road that don’t meet existing auto safety standards, thus making it easier for carmakers to deploy experimental cars without brakes, gas pedals and even steering wheels. Total exempt vehicles would climb to 25,000 within one year and 100,000 within three. The proposal is expected to pass with strong bipartisan support.

Toyota and Mazda are jointly developing an infotainment system that the two carmakers will share moving forward. The platform will go by the name of Entune, which is Toyota's existing infotainment system but Mazda's software experts are helping beef up the platform for version 3.0. The platform will debut on the 2018 Camry and the Mazda3. This is the first output of Toyota's and Mazda's recently announced mobility partnership.

Digital keys are great, except when your car battery is dead that is, and you’re stuck clicking at a system that has no juice to respond. Enter Continental's new smart door, which uses a combination of near field communication and buffered energy from the door control unit to allow the door to be unlocked even when the battery is flat. Continental is so confident in its product that it’s auguring the end of all manual keys. The smart door also opens and closes automatically, no physical exertion required.

Sorry pizza delivery boys, self-driving cars are moving in on your turf. Domino’s and Ford announced a partnership to pilot self-driving pizza delivery cars in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Customers will have a choice if they want their pizza delivered by an automated car or not. When the self-driving cars arrive, customers will have to trek out to the curb to pick up their pies. No tip required.

Finally, Samsung received a permit to start testing self-driving cars in California. The electronics giant says that it has no interest in manufacturing self-driving cars but that it is interested in helping to deliver innovative platforms that can usher in the next era of mobility. No word yet on which carmaker Samsung will partner with for its trials or when they will begin.

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 *