Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

23 October, 2015

TU automotive logo
TU-Automotive has published a Connected Car Report available here that draws on presentations made at the TU-Detroit conference this past June.

In the report, Volvo, Subaru, TomTom, Mercedes, Toyota and others comment on the current state of the connected car market and detail how to place the consumer at the core of an automaker’s strategy. “Keep the consumer at the center” was reiterated over and over by speakers; but there is no clarity on what this means.

The report asserts that the connected car is ready to hit the mass market, but customer adoption has been slow, and it suggests some of the reasons why.

According to the report, many industry leaders think it’s a matter of educating the customer correctly in order for them to trust technology. Following the recent diesel scandal, this might prove to be harder than expected.
Automakers have made progress in rolling out connected-car services, but consumer awareness, acceptance and enthusiasm are still not strong. Navigation remains the most desired and used service.

The day when someone can sleep or watch videos on the way to work is far in the future. Meanwhile, there are challenges with no known solutions to the problem of keeping the driver alert and in the loop when autonomous systems are operating, so that he or she is prepared and skilled enough to take over in an emergency.

There is no agreement on whether car ownership and/or car sales will decline. Some see personal vehicles replaced by taxi alternatives, ride sharing or better-planned public transportation, but analysts noted that car sales are still strong and that outside of urban centers, individuals will still need to have a car available.

There is big opportunity in the data generated by connected cars, as well by combining that data with other sources such as elements of the internet of things. Vendors have begun to offer solutions to help automakers make use of their big data, but organizational and business model barriers remain.

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19 June, 2015
paul hansen

Paul Hansen

A highlight of Mentor Graphics’ annual IESF event in Detroit is an industry overview by Paul Hansen, editor and publisher of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics.

At this year’s event Hansen stressed the importance of software (“Of all the ingredients that comprise the vehicle’s automotive electronics, software is by far the most important”), innovation in Silicon Valley (“…where carmakers are going to find the app developers who will come up with the next great innovations in entertainment and the mobile experience”), over-the-air software updates (“carmakers can’t defend against cyberattacks without the ability to frequently update their vehicles with the latest cybersecurity software. Plus, the economic benefits are substantial”), and much more.

“A number of the world’s major carmakers, including BMW, Mercedes, Renault-Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and GM, are developing highly-automated driving features that will let drivers turn their attention to things other than driving when they are on expressways,” Hansen told IESF attendees. “Highly automated driving is slated for 2020, but it must be accompanied by the ability to do over-the-air updates. Control algorithms will need to be frequently updated once the vehicles are on the road and carmakers begin to collect and analyze real-world performance data.”

According to Egil Juliussen, automotive technology senior director and analyst at IHS, by 2020 one-fifth of new production, or some 26 million vehicles produced globally, will have the ability to accept software updates over the air, either by embedded modems or brought-in devices.

The Most Confounding Challenge

“Among all of the challenges facing carmakers, none are more confounding than the challenge of building defenses against cybersecurity attacks,” Hansen said. “The auto industry is very aware that today’s vehicles are not well defended against cyberattacks. Tomorrow’s vehicles, with multiple wireless connections to the cloud and the world outside the vehicle, will be even more vulnerable.” He added that the industry is currently scrambling to understand the threat and find solutions.

“Carmakers worldwide are considering how automotive hardware and software must change to look for and protect against intrusion and harden connected vehicles against cyberattacks. Those changes are likely to impact many parts of the electrical and electronic system starting with vehicle architecture,” Hansen said. “Still, there will be no cybersecurity without the ability to provide over-the-air software updates to vehicle control system ECUs.”

Hansen concluded, “Companies who are looking for big problems to solve should consider investing in automotive cybersecurity, a fast-growing market segment that will be around for a long time.

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27 February, 2015

mentor flicharge Power discfliCharge International Ltd. (pronounced fly-charge), which developed the wireless smartphone charging technology used in vehicles from Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota, has introduced a USB Auto-Detect PowerDisc for charging iPads, tablets, smartphones and a wide variety of other devices.

Its patented fliCharge wire-free conductive charging technology has charging efficiencies of over 95%, according to the company.

The technology can charge multiple devices on the same charging pad simultaneously, regardless of their power requirements or position on the pad.

According to fliCharge, its technology is the only interoperable wire-free charging solution that can simultaneously charge multiple devices on the same charging pad regardless of their power requirement or position on the pad.

An Auto-Detect feature of the 2.4 AMP, 5 Volt PowerDisc monitors the USB data specification of the device and automatically provides the correct electrical signature to ensure that each device charges to its full capacity.
Customers can use the power cables that come with their devices.

The USB PowerDisc is ideal for a number of products, including all iPads, iPad Minis and Android tablets, as well as all models of iPhones, iPods, Samsung Galaxy phone models, Android phones, GPS devices, Kindles, Google Glasses and Apple iWatches, among many others.

Office and educational products using the fliCharge technology are currently being developed, and through its technology integration program, fliCharge provides its partners with the ability to integrate highly efficient, wire-free technology into their products quickly and cost effectively.

“We are particularly excited to offer a highly efficient wire-free charging solution for all iPads and Android tablets charged at home, at school, and the office, as well as in vehicles,” said fliCharge CEO Randall P. Marx. “The product enables users to easily charge and work, or charge and play, at the same time, which is something that available research says consumers want from their wire-free charging.”

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13 February, 2015

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D Mass.)

In a report issued last week Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward J. Markey says wireless technologies leave vehicles exposed to hackers, and new standards are needed to plug security and privacy gaps in cars and trucks.

Hacking is a serious concern, and the thought of some nefarious thing happening as we drive is scary, to say the least.

Senator Markey’s report, “Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk,” is based on responses from 16 automakers to questions Senator Markey posed last year regarding vehicles’ vulnerability to hackers and how driver information is collected and protected. The report is available here.

Responses were received from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen (with Audi), and Volvo.

According to Senator Markey, the responses show a vehicle fleet that has fully adopted wireless technologies, including wireless Internet access, but has not addressed the real possibilities of hacker infiltration into vehicle systems.

“Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyber-attacks or privacy invasions. Even as we are more connected than ever in our cars and trucks, our technology systems and data security remain largely unprotected,” Senator Markey said. “We need to work with the industry and cyber-security experts to establish clear rules of the road to ensure the safety and privacy of 21st-century American drivers.”

The report found that
–Nearly 100 percent of vehicles on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.
–Most automobile manufacturers were unaware of or unable to report on past hacking incidents.
–Security measures to prevent remote access to vehicle electronics are inconsistent and haphazard across the different manufacturers.
–Only two automobile manufacturers were able to describe any capabilities to diagnose or meaningfully respond to an infiltration in real-time, and most said they rely on technologies that cannot be used for this purpose at all.

Should we worry? And what should be done? Are automakers taking adequate steps to provide security, or should government take action. The topic deserves a closer look.

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23 December, 2014

1418404932209.jpgFord says SYNC® 3, its new communications and entertainment system, features faster performance; more conversational voice recognition; a more intuitive, smartphone-like touch screen and an easier-to-understand graphical interface.

It promises seamless integration of AppLink™ to control smartphone apps, Siri Eyes-Free for iPhone users, over-the-air software updates and subscription-free emergency calling with 911 Assist®.

Then there’s more conversational voice recognition, a more smartphone-like touch screen and easy-to-read graphics.

SYNC 3 will debut on model year 2016 vehicles in 2015 and be fully deployed in North America by the end of calendar year 2016.

“SYNC 3 is another step forward in delivering connectivity features customers most want, and they tell us this kind of technology is an important part of their decision to buy our vehicles,” said Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development.

The new system should benefit from some 22,000 customer comments and suggestions, plus insights from research clinics, market surveys and tech industry benchmarking.

Ford says a new touch screen for SYNC 3 provides an experience similar to a smartphone or tablet, though the system has been optimized for hands-free use. It’s said to respond more quickly to touch as well as to voice commands; also to gestures like pinch-to-zoom and swipe.

“We considered all the modern smartphones and mobile operating systems and created something familiar but unique,” said Parrish Hanna, Ford global director of Human Machine Interface.

Wow Factors
“While it carries with it some new features over its predecessor, SYNC 3 is not going to become a new benchmark for flashy wow-factors,” said Mark Boyadjis, Senior Analyst & Manager, Infotainment & HMI, IHS Automotive.

“This might not win over an Audi owner, but then again, Ford is most interested in taking share from Toyota, Honda, and Chevrolet. Those buyers are less impressed with glitzy name-brand chipsets and find more value in something they can understand the minute they take the keys from the dealer.”

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29 September, 2014

Shortly after I began to write about automotive electronics, a decade or so ago, I attended the SAE Convergence conference. I had been to many electronics industry events in the course of my career but this was my first in-depth exposure to chips, circuits and software for cars.

The industry has changed dramatically between then and now and I’m looking forward to seeing the latest in Detroit (Cobo Center) October 21-22.

Among the sessions that look especially interesting is an Executive Visionaries Panel at 8am on Wednesday. It was organized by Tim Callard from Chrysler and will be moderated by John McElroy from Blue Sky Productions. The panelists include Alan Amici, Chrysler; James Buczkowski, Ford; Harald Kroeger, Daimler; Wayne Powell, Toyota, and Matthew Schroeder, General Motors. You may recognize some or all of those names.

At 10am on Tuesday, Dr. Steve Underwood, University of Michigan – Dearborn, will present a “Roadmap to Vehicle Automation” that includes findings from an ongoing forecast on connected, automated, and electric vehicles. Can technology spur creative uses of the legacy infrastructure in ways that strengthen communities, increase worker productivity, improve safety, and ensure sustainable mobility in the United States?

Another good session starts at 10am on Wednesday and will focus on the “Future of Technology Delivery” Organized by Anthony Cooprider, Ford, and moderated by Philip Ross, IEEE, the panel will address pervasive development problems and how engineers can be prepared to address them. Panel members include Bret Greenstein, IBM; Stefan Jockusch, Siemens PLM Software; Sharafat Khan, Deloitte Consulting, and Janaki Kumar, SAP America.

At 3:30pm on Wednesday Bill Mattingly, ESG Automotive, will speak on the challenge of automotive electronics in the U.S.A. His presentation will be followed by a panel ready to forecast the next 40 years. Panel members include Hans Adlkofer, Infineon; Nigel J. Francis, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Partha P. Goswami, General Motors; Norimasa Kishi, Nissan; Monika Minarcin; Marc Rosenmayr, Hella, and James R. Sayer, UMTRI. Scott Craig from Infineon will serve as moderator.

There’s much more, as you might imagine, including exhibits and manifold networking opportunities. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

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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 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 ( 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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