The long, winding road for driverless cars (TheEconomist)

"To put matters in perspective, most cars on the road today require the driver to do practically everything—signaling, steering, accelerating, braking, watching the traffic ahead, to the sides and the rear. This is Level 0 motoring on the scale of autonomous vehicles devised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in America. Vehicles equipped with rudimentary forms of driver-assistance, such as cruise control or reversing sensors, are classed as Level 1.
Fitted with wide-angle cameras, GPS sensors and short-range radars, Level 2 vehicles can automatically adapt their speed to the surrounding traffic, maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, keep within their own lane, and even park themselves occasionally. For short stretches of time, the driver’s hands can be removed from the steering wheel and feet from the pedals. But the driver must be ready to take full control of the vehicle at any instant. Tesla’s Autopilot system is classed as Level 2 technology—or was prior to being rolled back recently to Level 1 for safety reasons."

25/05/2017

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Software tool debunks defeat devices from VW, Fiat (Smart2Zero)

"Scientists in Germany and the US have developed a software tool that identifies defeat functions in the engine control software of cars. Their analysis unveiled the methods used by several carmakers to obfuscate illegal pollutant concentrations in their exhaust gases.
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The results are presented by the Bochum researchers, including PhD students Moritz Contag and Andre Pawlowski from RUB's Chair of System Safety, together with their US partners at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, May 2017 in San Jose, California. The corresponding publication can be viewed online."

18/05/2017

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Tesla to complete Model S brake fix before regaining top safety rating (VentureBeat)

"Tesla Inc needs to complete fixing its Model S sedan emergency braking system to regain Consumer Reports’ top safety rating, the magazine said on Friday, noting that a recent update by the luxury electric car maker was not enough. The magazine, which provides an annual rating of vehicles sold in the United States, said on Wednesday the sedan had lost its top ranking in the ultra-luxury car category for failing to install the feature that it had promised to owners as standard equipment.
The Model S fell to third place in Consumer Reports’ ratings behind the Lexus LS made by Toyota Motor Corp and the BMW 7 Series.Consumer Reports said both Tesla models previously came with standard automatic emergency braking (AEB), a feature that helps reduce accidents. The software issue affects more recent vehicles built since late October 2016. The magazine said Friday that the Model S sedan it owns had received an automatic emergency braking software update Thursday, but the new version only operates up to 28 miles per hour (45 km).
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The California automaker last week recalled 53,000 Model S and Model X vehicles to fix an unrelated parking brake issue.”

28/04/2017

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The state of the car computer: Forget horsepower, we want megahertz! (ArsTechnica)

"The other problem with car computers is age. Designing a car computer is much more complex than building a desktop, laptop, or smartphone. The biggest problem—one that you'll need to consider over and over again when you see the choices that car manufacturers make—is that designing and releasing a car takes about three to five years. This means that every computing component is going to be a bit old, and no one has figured out how to put cutting-edge computing parts into a car. Meanwhile, the need to comply with safety regulations from government groups all around the world is a lengthy process that contributes to the pokey rollout of technology.
Keep in mind that, while history shows the original iPhone kicking off the modern touchscreen smartphone revolution 10 years ago, it was initially met with lots of skepticism. So in addition to the three- to five-year turnaround time, you also have to factor in when each individual car manufacturer realized iPhone-style smartphones were the future. As a result, most car companies are only on their second-generation interface.”

17/05/2017

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Taiwan Eyes Automotive Market (EETimes)

"Taiwan already has a sizable business in automotive parts and components. But Taiwan has only one carmaker developing, designing and building a complete car. That car OEM is Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center Co., known as Haitec. Taiwan makes only 440,000 cars a year, all consumed in Taiwan.
As the global automotive industry anticipates a sharp rise in the electronic content in vehicles, Chou foresees Taiwan boosting its share of this business. Besides the electrification of vehicles, everything from in-vehicle infotainment systems to vehicle intelligence (ADAS) and connectivity are contributing to this trend. Chou estimates the proportion of electronics output could easily reach 40 to 50 percent per vehicle.
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Asked about the biggest hurdle for Taiwan to becoming a major force in automotive systems, auto industry analysts agreed on one point: Taiwan needs to nail down safety critical components. Strategy Analytics’ Riches said, “Especially when it comes to safety-related automated driving features, the quality and reliability of solutions is paramount.”
Magney added that Taiwan needs to build “the integration of safety critical components and strict functional safety practices.” He added, “Sure, Taiwanese companies may move up the value chain and have the capacity to handle safety elements out of context (SEooC), but a complete system is another matter.rt”

21/04/2017

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