Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’
You might think that a wireless phone company would be well-equipped to create exciting new ways for customers to use their smartphones in cars, but that’s not the direction Verizon and its wholly owned subsidiary Hughes Telematics are taking.
“The smartphone has a place, but the driver will have a better, richer experience with systems embedded in the vehicle,” says Thom Russell, associate director, Telematics Marketing and Business Development for Verizon.
“The best driver experience is ‘hands on the wheel and eyes on the road,’” Russell says. “There are things that can be done with a smartphone but also a number of things that shouldn’t be done – that are better done by integrating with the head unit to provide a seamless connected experience with safe operation of the vehicle.”
Russell notes that texting while driving is a huge social issue for both the automotive and the wireless industry says it’s an issue that Verizon is addressing. “We are not going to create new solutions on smartphones to replace what should be done by the automaker with an embedded system – especially anything having to do with interacting with a mobile device. Hughes’ expertise puts us in a position to develop well-thought-out embedded apps.”
Hughes is the developer of Mercedes-Benz mbrace telematics system. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Verizon and Hughes touted mbrace 2, introduced at CES last year. The revised system features a new control module; 3G network connectivity; Internet apps such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp!; remote access capabilities including Route2Benz and Remote Horn & Lights; Family Driver Monitoring (Driving Journal, Travel Zones and Speed Alert), and over-the-air updating. It also leverages Delphi’s cloud-based Vehicle Diagnostics connectivity service, which lets consumers monitor their vehicles from a smartphone or browser.
To those telematics chops Verizon adds its own experience with GM’s OnStar and interaction with BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota in the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars it formed last summer, plus its global reach to more than 200 countries. “Hughes offers a generic telematics service that can be customized. Verizon adds device management, billing and other services that automakers can manage, or we can manage for them,” Russell says.
Tags: 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars, BMW, Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Delphi, Honda, Hughes Telematics, Hyundai, Kia, mbrace2, Mercedes-Benz, OnStar, telematics, Toyota, vehicle diagnostics connectivity service
It might seem as if it’s taken MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport), the automotive multimedia and infotainment standard, a long time to catch on, and there are some who suggest that it’s time has already passed, now that Ethernet is the Next Big Thing in automotive networking. But that’s relative if not downright wrong, according to Henry Muyshondt, Technical Liaison of the MOST Cooperation.
The MOST Cooperation, which is responsible for refining and standardizing the technology, includes 16 automakers and 65 suppliers. German automakers pioneered the technology, and the Volkswagen Group now plans to deploy MOST across all of its brands, but Muyshondt says MOST is becoming ubiquitous, currently deployed in more than 120 vehicle models. Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, and GM are among its supporters. Toyota was instrumental in developing the MOST50 (50 megabits/second) electrical physical layer, and GM is using MOST in the Cadillac ATS and XTS. “MOST is growing steadily, and relatively fast,” Muyshondt says, adding that hundreds of millions of MOST nodes are on the road, ranging from two or three in lower-end vehicles and 15 or more in luxury cars.
As cars gain more electronics content an efficient, cost-effective network becomes increasingly important for tying all of the vehicle’s electronic functions and devices together and MOST was designed from the ground up for just that purpose. It uses bandwidth efficiently and has low processing overhead.
The latest generation of MOST, MOST150 (150 megabits/second) , includes a dedicated Ethernet channel that operates like an IEEE 802.x network to support connected services and general Internet access.
Muyshondt notes that Internet protocol is in widespread use and says there are times when it’s beneficial for use in cars, but he adds, “It has no guaranteed form of delivery, isn’t deterministic, and is not acceptable for control applications. And latency can be high. That’s not a problem for email, or loading a web page, but for streaming audio or video – continuous flow between two points that are well-defined and in close proximity, it’s better to use a different mechanism.” Like MOST, which uses all of its bandwidth for data transfer. “Data just flows without addressing information in a defined timeframe, with short latency and high determinism.”
At Mentor Graphics IESF in Detroit last month Paul Hansen, editor and publisher of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics (hansenreport.com) told attendees that automotive cloud computing “will bring about an upheaval in automotive electronics” over the next decade or two.
“No longer do carmakers have to rely only on the computing power and memory they can afford to embed in the vehicle; they can go to the Web to get whatever they need, as long as the vehicle has a reliable broadband connection to the Internet,” Hansen said. “A connection to the cloud puts the vehicle in touch not only with enormously powerful off-board computers but also with everything else in the world that is connected to the Internet—other devices, other vehicles, other machines. The potential is vast.”
Hansen noted that BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota are joining Verizon as initial members of the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars to accelerate the pace of innovation across the telematics 4G LTE ecosystem.
Multiple frequencies (700 MHz, and the Advanced Wireless Service bands, 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz) must be accommodated in order to improve the functionality of LTE in North America and multiple-in multiple-out functionality is needed for the LTE bands to enhance efficiency.
“That means that both the base station and the car will have multiple cell phone antennas, whereas before we had just one.” Hansen reported that Laird Technologies is already working on LTE antennas, and added, “Carmakers are looking to put this into production in the 2015 model year.”
Hansen told IESF attendees, “Ideally, LTE will provide cars with super-fast, always-on, Internet Protocol data communications equal to what many people have in their home. Verizon Wireless expects LTE’s average data rates will be five to 12 megabits per second on the downlink and two to five megabits on the uplink in real-world, loaded-network environments. That’s about five-times faster than 3G. The air latency of LTE will be roughly half that of 3G; 27 milliseconds compared with 55 to 60 milliseconds.
“Not only will the auto industry be able to advance its traditional safety, security and diagnostics services, but LTE connectivity will help to enrich infotainment, convenience and even driver assistance systems.”
This is a trend well worth watching.
Tags: 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars, automotive cloud computing, BMW, driver assistance systems, Honda, Hyundai, IESF, infotainment, Kia, Laird Technologies, LTE, Mentor Graphics, telematics 4G LTE ecosystem, The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics, Toyota, Verizon Wireless
That question about the difficulties involved in integrating development tools from different suppliers was asked rhetorically during a presentation at IESF Detroit by Paul Hansen, editor and publisher of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics (hansenreport.com).
“Why the lack of integrated tool solutions?” Hansen asked Mentor Graphics VP Serge Leef. It’s because there are no standards, Serge replied. Mentor could produce different tools for different automakers, but that’s not a good direction for a tools vendor.
Customers have to embrace AUTOSAR
“The flows and methodologies in the automotive design world are based on a patchwork of disintegrated solutions from a variety of smallish, service-oriented vendors, and home grown solutions,” Serge Leef told Hansen. “Step one, customers have to embrace AUTOSAR.”
A prerequisite for creating a comprehensive and integrated set of tools is a solid foundation of standards that have broad acceptance by customers, and that has only recently become plausible with AUTOSAR.
AUTOSAR momentum is building, slowly
Hansen told IESF attendees that since rollouts of AUTOSAR began in 2008, only a very small fraction of ECUs made worldwide – 2% in 2011 – have AUTOSAR software inside. Many of those ECUs are not fully compliant but only contain elements of AUTOSAR.
“By 2016, I am told, roughly 20% to 25% of all the ECUs produced worldwide will have AUTOSAR. That is only counting implementation by the core AUTOSAR partners – BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, PSA, Toyota, and Volkswagen. But other carmakers including Hyundai, Fiat and SAIC have begun AUTOSAR projects. AUTOSAR momentum is building, slowly.”
Hansen said tier one companies can spend as much as €20 million per-year on engineers whose job it is to keep software development tools interoperable, and suppliers use as many as 80 different tools. Engineers benefit from having a smooth transition from one tool to the next. Also, there is a need to simplify the exchange of data between tools. This is an essential requirement of the functional safety standard ISO 26262.
“Ralph Mueller, a director for the Eclipse Foundation, told me, ‘The data must be exchanged from the requirements tools to the development tools, to the testing tools. You need to prove that yes, all requirements have test cases. You can only do this properly, in an automated way, if you have appropriate connections between the tools for different artifacts.’”
Hansen told the IESF audience that ISO 26262 is already being taken seriously by carmakers worldwide. “Not only is ISO 26262 stimulating interest in software tools integration around Eclipse, it is also pushing the adoption of standard procedures to implement the interconnection of tools, such as those defined by the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration. OSLC is a community of software developers and organizations working to standardize the way software lifecycle tools can share data with one another.”
Tags: AUTOSAR, BMW, Daimler, Eclipse Foundation, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, IESF, ISO 26262, Mentor Graphics, Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration, Paul Hansen, PSA, SAIC, The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics, Toyota, Volkswagen
The big news at Telematics Update Detroit, if it were being held this week, might have been Apple’s aside that nine automakers plan to implement Siri in their vehicles within a year. Instead, since the conference was last week, the big news was Verizon’s acquisition of Hughes Telematics.
Little has been said publicly about Apple’s Siri and “eyes free” telematics but we should hear more relatively soon from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, or Toyota, if not all of them, as well as from Apple. It makes sense, since we hear so much about consumers wanting to use their personal electronic devices in their cars.
Little was also said about Verizon’s agreement to acquire Hughes, the developer of Mercedes’ mbrace telematics system, for approximately $612 million. The firms said the deal will expand Verizon’s capabilities in automotive and fleet telematics, but also in healthcare, home automation, and other markets with potential for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
Verizon said Hughes will play a key role in Verizon’s plan to offer platform-based solutions tailored to specific industries. Verizon recently launched a new practice focused on developing telematics solutions that leverage the company’s cloud and information technology, security, global IP network and communications, and mobility and M2M technology platforms.
Most automakers offer a telematics platform or have one in development, but plenty of opportunities remain for the dozens of vendors exhibiting at or attending Telematics Update. Applications and systems will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future.
Conference sponsors announced telematics industry award winners on the eve of the event’s opening. OnStar’s FMV was chosen as the best aftermarket device or solution, Airbiquity took the award for best automotive application, and the best navigation solution or product award went to Telenav Inc.
Tunein Radio was honored as the best telematics content aggregator, Mobileye and OnStar shared the best telematics safety & security award, and Networkfleet was selected as the best telematics service or solution for commercial vehicles.
Hughes Telematics was selected as the best telematics service provider, Audi of America won the global OEM infotainment solution award, and UIEvolution was named the industry newcomer for 2011-2012.
Tags: Airbiquity, Apple, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, eyes free telematics, General Motors, Honda, Hughes Telematics, Jaguar, Land Rover, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, Mercedes, Mobileye, Networkfleet, OnStar FMV, Siri, Telematics Update Detroit, TeleNav, Toyota, Tunein Radio, UIEvolution, Verizon
Intel recently announced a $100 million Intel Capital Connected Car Investment Fund, an Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center, and the expansion of Intel Labs Interaction and Experience Research (IXR) in automotive, an academic outreach program. All three announcements have to do with in-vehicle infotainment, which has been Intel’s automotive electronics focus for the past five years or so.
Intel is promoting the Atom processor for IVI applications to good effect. Chinese automaker HawTai has an Atom-based IVI system in production. China-based infotainment systems supplier TSP and automaker GAIG are working on a system that should be ready later this year for GAIG’s Trumpchi model.
Intel signed a memorandum of understanding for IVI platform development with DENSO. It has a strategic cooperation agreement for IVI with China-based infotainment systems developer Huizhou ForYou General Electronics, and last fall it announced a collaborative effort with Hyundai, Kia, and C&S Technology and an IVI partnership with Toyota.
Intel’s variety of development pair-ups provide perspective on where technology is headed. “We’re studying what works and what doesn’t,” says Natalie Nielsen, director of marketing for Intel’s Automotive Solutions Division. “There are more screens in cars, including those that drivers and passengers bring in with their smart phones, tablets, and other devices, and screens that automakers place in their vehicles for information and entertainment. The industry is progressing from simply displaying what’s on a phone’s screen to context-aware applications, such as suggesting a detour when there is traffic congestion ahead as opposed to the driver having to ask for a detour.” Neilsen adds that Atom processors have the performance needed to address evolving IVI system requirements.
Intel’s Capital Connected Car Fund will invest in hardware, software and services companies developing technologies for compelling new IVI and connected car applications. According to Strategy Analytics, silicon solutions for infotainment and telematics market are expected to rise from $5.6 billion in 2010 to $8.7 billion in 2018.
Intel’s Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center in Karlsruhe, Germany will serve as the company’s global center of competence for the development of products and technologies for in-vehicle infotainment and telematics solutions for the connected car.
“The car is the ultimate mobile device,” notes Staci Palmer, general manager of Intel’s Automotive Solutions Division. “By 2014, according to Gartner, automobiles will be among the top three fastest-growing areas for connected devices and Internet content.
Tags: Atom processor, Automotive Innovation and Product Development Center, C&S Technology, connected car, DENSO, GAIG Trumpchi, Gartner, HawTai, Huizhou ForYou General Electronics, Hyundai, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), Intel, Intel Labs Interaction and Experience Research (IXR) for automotive, Kia, Strategy Analytics, Toyota
Nearing the end of its first year in operation, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced four new research projects and three new partnerships related to vehicle safety. The new projects are focused on advanced crash modeling technologies and better protecting vulnerable populations, particularly seniors.
The projects and partners include:
- a detailed computer model of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) THOR-NT crash test dummy (Virginia Tech and George Washington University);
- confirming the biofidelity and injury prediction capability of Toyota’s Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) virtual human model in additional crash scenarios (University of Virginia);
- researching pre-drive behavior, such as where feet are placed prior to beginning the drive to determine the influence on driver-vehicle interactions (University of Iowa), and
- studying the relationship between the injuries and age, which could lead to improved safety restraints for older drivers (Virginia Tech).
CSRC director Chuck Gulash says the research “promises to advance our understanding significantly in the areas of active safety, driver distraction and protecting the most at-risk drivers.” He adds that the CSRC goal is “to act as a catalyst for the advancement of automotive safety for the entire industry.”
Though there is no current relationship between advanced CSRC research and Toyota safety application development it nevertheless occurred to me to see what Toyota is currently offering.
Starting with the 2011 model year, all Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles have the Star Safety system as standard equipment. That includes vehicle stability control, anti-lock brake system, brake assist, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, and smart stop, which reduces engine power when the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously. Toyota Sienna and Prius vehicles, as well as many Lexus models are also equipped with a Pre-Collision System (PCS); a feature that Toyota says will become more prevalent in the future. The PCS pulls seatbelts tight and applies the brakes if a front-impact accident is unavoidable.
The NHTSA site Safercar.gov (http://www.safercar.gov) gives the 2012 Toyota Prius five out of five stars overall, including four stars in front crash and rollover tests and five stars in side crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2012 Prius yet, but the 2011 model was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, earning a top score of “good” in front, rear, side and roof strength tests.
Let’s hope all automakers continue to make safer vehicles.
Tags: advanced crash modeling technologies, Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC), George Washington University, IIHS, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Lexus, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Pre-collision system, Prius, Scion, Sienna, Star Safety system, THOR-NT crash test dummy, Toyota, Toyota's Human Model for Safety (THUMS), University of Iowa, University of Virginia, vehicle safety, vehicle stability control, Virginia Tech
Chuck Gulash, the engineer who heads Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC), was asked this week about the connection between the Center, which was formed in January, and the furor over unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The CSRC, he said, is a direct result of the promise Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda made to Congress and the American people.
The CSRC initiative is operating on an initial funding budget of $50 million over five years. As its name implies, it’s engaged in collaborative research with universities and research institutions for development, testing and implementation of new automotive safety innovations.
The research is focused on (1) reducing driver distraction and (2) protecting vulnerable populations including children, teens, seniors, and pedestrians. Research projects range from driver education and collision mitigation to accident reconstruction and enhanced crash data analysis. During a two-day safety seminar Toyota engineers showed journalists how they test and analyze the impact of a vehicle striking a six-year-old child.
The CSRC has already established partnerships with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). At the safety seminar, Gulash announced ten new research initiatives (for a total of 13) and six new partnerships. The CSRC will collaborate with the MIT AgeLab, The Transportation Active Safety Institute (TASI) at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Virginia Tech, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, and Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Gulash says the CSRC intends to publish as much of the research from its partnerships as possible to make it available to federal agencies, the industry and academia. “This model of sharing the CSRC’s Toyota talent, technology, and data with a broad range of institutions, represents a fundamental change for Toyota, moving away from a traditional focus on proprietary research towards more openly sharing innovations that benefit the automotive industry and society as a whole.”
Tags: Akio Toyoda, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC), Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis, MIT AgeLab, Toyota, Transportation Active Safety Institute (TASI), University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Washtenaw Area Trasnsportation Study, Wayne State University School of Medicine
It’s not that I was suspicious. I have no axe to grind against Toyota and was pleased to read that after a 10-month study, NASA and NHTSA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of causing unintended acceleration.
But I was curious to know how they did it – how they examined and tested mechanical and electronic components and what tools they used to analyze some 280,000 lines of electronic throttle control code.
When they released the findings, NHTSA said NASA hardware and systems engineers examined and tested mechanical components at the Goddard Space Flight Center, NHTSA and NASA engineers bombarded Toyota vehicles with electromagnetic radiation at a facility in Michigan, and NHTSA engineers looked for additional mechanical causes at NHTSA’s research and test center in Ohio. They also worked to determine whether any of the test scenarios developed during the investigation could actually occur in real-world conditions.
Details are available in reports from NHTSA http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/NHTSA-UA_report.pdf and NASA http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/NASA-UA_report.pdf. An executive summary is available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nvs/pdf/NASA_report_execsum.pdf
NASA used three tools for static analysis of the software code – Coverity (http://coverity.com), Grammatech’s CodeSonar (http://grammatech.com/products/codesonar/overview.html) and Uno (http://spinroot.com/uno/). NASA used the open source verifier Spin, and a preprocessing system, Swarm, for logic model checking, and it used MathWorks’ MATLAB, Simulink, Stateflow, and SystemTest, and Absint’s aiT, for software algorithm design analysis. Should they also have used a dynamic analysis tool? If you take the time to read the full report, let me know your thoughts.
Exonerating electronics leaves sticking accelerator pedals and accelerator pedals trapped by floor mats as the primary causes of unintended acceleration, at least for now. NHTSA and NASA plan to brief members of a National Academy of Sciences panel that is also studying unintended acceleration and electronic throttle control.
And based on their findings, NHTSA may propose rules to require brake override systems, standardize operation of keyless ignition systems, and require the installation of event data recorders. The agency is also planning additional research on the reliability and security of automotive electronic control systems.
Suppose you’re the person responsible for managing an automaker’s infotainment strategy. Let’s say you currently offer SiriusXM satellite radio, AM/FM, and HD. When and how do you add Internet radio?
Ford is offering Pandora and Stitcher (music and news programming respectively), Toyota recently announced a partnership with Clear Channel’s iheartradio (750+ stations). Is now the time to make a move, or does it make sense to wait and see what happens with the content providers? Keep in mind that there is no easy (well-accepted industry standard) way to integrate an Internet radio service into a vehicle, so decisions cannot be made lightly.
“The listening experience that customers expect in the car is different from what they may expect on other devices,” suggests Jim Cady, CEO of Slacker Radio. “They may spend upwards of 80% of their time listening to music, but still want access to news or sports scores without having to shift to AM or FM.”
Slacker offers personalized music from a 2.5 million-song library but also offers ABC News Radio and lets users skip from one news story to the next as easily as they can move from one music selection to another. “You will see us bring on brand name content providers in sports and other areas,” Cady promises.
Slacker lets smart phone users cache the stations they like so they can listen to music whether or not they have a clear signals. “Station caching gets more interesting when you connect that mobile device with an automobile that has mass storage,” Cady says. “We can tie the memory to the mobile phone to offload a lot of content.”
“Automakers are moving to one of two approaches,” Cady continues. “One is to let customers connect a mobile phone and use the data pipe they are already paying for. We’re working with a number of car companies and head unit manufacturers to integrate the functionality we have in the mobile phone and transfer the appropriate bits to the car, which could mean upsizing the artwork to fit the dashboard screen or controlling the experience from the steering wheel. Virtually every automaker is going down that path. The other option is syncing content to the car from a home system, and Wi-Fi is a better way of doing that. We can take advantage of that, as well.”
Cady says Slacker is planning for demos in early 2011 with deployment to follow shortly thereafter. Do you include them in your infotainment strategy – or pass?
About John Day
News and commentary on automotive EE trends and topics
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