Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

15 July, 2014

The EV (Electric Vehicle) Roadmap 7 conference is coming up next Thursday and Friday (July 24-25) at the World Trade Center in Portland, Oregon.

If you’re in the area, or can get there, visit http://evroadmapconference.com/ to register. Mentor Graphics is an enthusiastic supporter of the conference, so use the promotional code MENTOR0214 and get $50 off the regular registration price.

EV Roadmap 7 is organized by Drive Oregon (driveoregon.org) in collaboration with Portland General Electric and Portland State University. It’s billed as the premier electric vehicle gathering in the Pacific Northwest and one of the leading electric vehicle conferences in the U.S.

Drive Oregon describes the conference as a “graduate course” in electric vehicle deployment that brings Oregon-based early adopters together with industry, government, and utility representatives share best practices and emerging trends. Ford, General Motors, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mitsubishi, ITS America, the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society, and Mentor Graphics are among those representing the auto industry.

The theme for this year’s conference, “Making Connections,” refers to both the collaboration necessary to make electric vehicles succeed and to the increasing connections between those vehicles, the infrastructure, the power grid, and all else.

At 1:00p.m. on Thursday I’ll moderate a panel session, “Operating Systems for Cars.” Panel members scheduled to participate are:

• Toshiro Muramatsu, Director, Vehicle Information Technology Division Silicon Valley, Nissan Motor Company
• Walton Fehr, Transportation Specialist, US Department of Transportation
• Matt Jones, Senior Technical Specialist – Infotainment, Jaguar Land Rover
• Pat Shelly, Solutions Architect, Embedded Systems Division – Mentor Graphics

Cars are increasingly coming to resemble computers with wheels. The panel will discuss emerging trends and products, infotainment systems, the driving experience, and new apps we’re likely to see in the relatively near future.

A preview event on Wednesday morning will feature some of those same panel members. The session, “Vehicle Operating Systems,” will focus on the business opportunities created by increased demand for vehicle connectivity.

I hope to see you at the conference.

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4 March, 2014

Good news from Apple this week for those with Lightning-enabled iPhones (iPhone 5s, 5c and 5) who are planning to buy a new car later this year.

The company says its CarPlay in-vehicle infotainment alternative “gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch.”

Automakers expected to offer CarPlay include BMW Group, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volvo.

Apple says users can control CarPlay from their car’s native interface, or push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri.® Once the phone is connected,  Siri can help a driver  access contacts, make calls, return missed calls, listen to voicemails, and record and send messages.

“iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction,” says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing.

Frost & Sullivan analyst Krishna Jayaraman notes that Apple’s new offering competes directly with MirrorLink-type phone integration solution, though it’s focused on iPhones.

Earlier this year Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA formed the Open Automotive Alliance, a coalition dedicated to bringing the Android platform to cars. Apparently GM, Honda, and Hyundai see no conflict between Apple and Android and will make both interfaces available to their customers. Volvo says its own Volvo Cars content and Apple content will co-exist simultaneously on a Volvo’s portrait screen, thus eliminating the need to switch between a dedicated car screen and an iPhone screen.

I understand the automakers’ thinking: Prospective buyers want to be able to use their smartphones in their cars, so the automakers can either make it easy for owners to do so or drivers will use their phones anyway, potentially putting themselves and their passengers in danger. Most will be careful; some won’t. Dictating text messages requires some attention, but so does driving.

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20 August, 2013

Last month AT&T announced an agreement with SiriusXM Radio to provide mobile connectivity for a suite of security and additional services for Nissan automobiles in North America.

SiriusXM referred to its in-vehicle telematics solution, which will provide Nissan owners 24/7 emergency support for accidents, stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance, along with a host of additional services.

“As a Connected Vehicle services provider for Nissan, we are excited to work with AT&T to deliver a world-class telematics service to Nissan vehicles,” said Enrique Rodriguez, SiriusXM Executive Vice President, Operations and Products, at last month’s announcement.

“By adding fast, reliable and built-in mobile internet for SiriusXM’s forthcoming in-car experience, we are powering a connected experience inside Nissan automobiles for both drivers and passengers,” added Glenn Lurie, president of AT&T Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships Organization.

We didn’t heretofore think of SiriusXM as a telematics service provider (TSP) although they were in fact providing weather and traffic as well as entertainment. The AT&T agreement was a good-sized step toward TSP status – and now there’s more.

SiriusXM said this week that it will acquire Agero, Inc.’s connected vehicle services division for $530 million in cash. That leaves Agero to focus on its roadside assistance business, which is significant.

But with the Agero acquisition, SiriusXM will provide connected vehicle services to automotive manufacturers including Acura, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan and Toyota – more manufacturers, it said, than any other telematics provider. Its services are available in more than 50 million vehicles.

“The transaction accelerates SiriusXM’s development in architecture supporting connected vehicle services, as well as the ability to provide services over both satellite and cellular networks,” said SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer.

“Connected vehicle services have become increasingly focused on integration and infotainment, and we believe that SiriusXM is perfectly positioned to take these capabilities forward in this changing market,” added Agero CEO Dave Ferrick.

So SiriusXM gives us something to look for – more telematics developments – as well as listen to.

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20 February, 2013


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.

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7 November, 2012

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.”

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10 July, 2012


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.

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19 June, 2012


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.”

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12 June, 2012

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.

Winners

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.

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8 March, 2012

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.

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13 December, 2011

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.

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