Weekly Brief: Toyota brings first V2I and V2V tech to mass market

In this week’s Brief: Toyota, GM, Tesla, Audi, Ford, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Lexus, INRIX, PSA Peugeot Citroën, ITS World Congress and Boston Consulting Group.
It’s about time. For years analysts and experts have extolled the potential of cars communicating with other cars (V2V) and infrastructure (V2I) to learn important information and make society safer. Toyota’s finally taking the technology mainstream and will be represented at next week's Active Safety: ADAS to Autonomous.
By the end of 2015, the carmaker will debut ITS Connect, a new intelligent transportation system safety package, on three models in Japan. The system will harness Japan's standardised ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles. That’s a first for a carmaker.
In other news, add GM to the list of carmakers embracing the ride-sharing revolution. The carmaker created a new executive position specifically devoted to urban mobility, car-sharing and self-driving cars. First matter of business: a small pilot project in New York City called “Let’s Drive NYC,” which provides residents of a luxury apartment building near Times Square with on-demand access to a fleet of Chevy SUVs. Residents get a three-hour credit each month; it’s $10 (£6.58) per hour or $75 per 24 hours thereafter.
Toyota expanded its ridesharing pilot in Tokyo. That means more pick-up and drop-off locations and more of those funky looking low-carbon transport vehicles (the Toyota i-Road and, as of this month, the COMS, a super-compact electric vehicle). Phrase II of the pilot runs from mid-October to March 2016.
After a series of delays, Tesla’s cross-over electric SUV, the Model X, is finally arriving … in late 2016. It will come equipped with lots of connected tech, including a whopping 17-inch infotainment screen, parking sensors, blind spot and side collision warnings and automatic emergency braking.  As Tesla admit, it boats a “ludicrous” acceleration to 60mph in just 3.2 seconds and gullwing doors front and back. This means game on given Audi’s recent unveiling of a similar electric sport utility concept, the E-tron Quattro, due out in 2018.  
Ford is going galactic. Through a partnership with Russia’s St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, the carmaker has harnessed the latest in space robot communications to fill in dead zones and wireless network overloads. For example, a car in a tunnel encounters black ice but can’t alert other cars via cellular or WiFi. Ford’s prototype instructs the car to send a message to another car leaving the tunnel via a v2v channel, and that car informs the cloud. Cool stuff. Ford is filing patents. 
Lexus wants a full suite of real-time updates in its cars. To that end, the carmaker extended its partnership with INRIX to provide real-time weather and the ability to search for the lowest fuel prices nearby. These will be available on all new Lexus cars, alongside real-time traffic and off-street parking info.
Another month, another autonomous vehicle completing a long-distance trek. This time it was PSA Peugeot Citroën grabbing the spotlight en route from Paris to this week’s ITS World Congress in Bordeaux. That’s 580km completed with zero accidents and zero human intervention. PSA has four self-driving cars authorised to drive on French roads.
Finally, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are great but uptake is glacially slow. That’s the gist of a new report from Boston Consulting Group. Market penetration is growing at only 2% to 5% annually, partly because consumers are unwilling to pay as much for ADAS as they cost carmakers to make, partly because consumer awareness is low and partly because most of these features aren’t that widely available yet.
The solution? Education and marketing campaigns, the inclusion of ADAS features in the criteria for five-star safety ratings, incentives for ADAS purchases and time-limited industry mandates, says BCG.
The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.

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