|2018/12/19 9:30||Green Car Congress||
Audi’s Autonomous Intelligent Driving teams up with Luminar for advanced LiDAR
Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH, a a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG and the center of excellence for urban autonomous driving in the Volkswagen Group—announced a partnership with Luminar Technologies Inc. to deploy its LiDAR technology.
Since launching in March 2017, AID has been scouting the best complementary LiDAR solutions in the market that can support the depth sensing demands of the autonomous driving test fleet currently driving in the city of Munich.
Having started out just last year, our aim is to work with the best brands within the industry to accelerate our vision that will be realized across the entire VW Group. Perception remains a bottleneck today for autonomous mobility and we quickly worked to find the most powerful sensors to make the perception task easier. That’s where Luminar comes in—the technology is clearly above the pack in terms of range and density, which is important for solving the most challenging problems in autonomy.
—AID chief technology officer, Alexandre Haag
The LiDAR unit is a preeminent piece in AID’s Autonomous Driving stack, because of its ability to see any object, known or unknown, moving or not, at a far distance and in any lighting condition. Luminar LiDARs will be placed on the roof of the vehicle and used for forward-facing high fidelity and long-range perception.
They will be complemented with additional sensing LiDAR technologies for short range and side-looking visibility around the vehicles, as well as radars and cameras, ensuring a 360-degree field of view around the car with redundant sensing coverage to enable AID’s safe autonomous driving fleet.
AID uses proprietary software and deep learning-based approaches to process all the sensing modalities such as LiDAR point clouds, camera pixels, and radar echoes. This perception data models the vehicle’s environment, both near and far, by detecting objects, vehicles, pedestrians and other challenging obstacles.
AID is an ideal partner for Luminar with the backing and resources of the world’s largest OEM, while maintaining a fresh software-minded spirit of a high-growth startup. Together, our teams are able to achieve rapid development with an agile, hands-on approach—combining hardware and software expertise to enable autonomous mobility service by 2021.
—Luminar founder and chief executive officer, Austin Russell
Founded in 2012, Luminar today has a 400+ person team across three offices in Palo Alto, Colorado Springs, and a 125,000 square foot production and manufacturing facility in Orlando. Luminar is funded by Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Canvas Ventures, GVA Capital and 1517 Fund. Luminar is currently working with a growing number of the top OEMs and autonomous vehicle programs including Toyota Research Institute, Volvo Cars and Autonomous Intelligent Driving.
|2018/12/19 9:00||Green Car Congress||
Toyota develops “Total-care Service” for ride-hailing companies; rollout with Grab in Singapore
Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is introducing “total-care service,” a pioneering set of mobility services specially designed for ride-hailing companies. Working with ride-hailing companies, Total-care Service will enable Toyota to leverage onboard telematics data through a shared information platform and provide services such as fleet management, automotive insurance, and vehicle maintenance packages, aiming to expand the use of ride-hailing vehicles and enhance the driving experience for end users.
Through this Total-care Service, ride-hailing companies can provide their driver-partners with more cost-efficient and timely maintenance services.
Singapore will see the first service roll-out, with Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. (TMAP)—the sales & marketing regional headquarters of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in Asia—offering the Total-care Service for 1,500 Toyota vehicles owned by Grab Holdings, Inc. (Grab) through its subsidiary GrabRentals.
TMAP and Grab will sequentially offer this service to Grab-owned Toyota vehicles across Southeast Asia. In addition, both companies will work to increase the share of Toyota vehicles in Grab’s fleet in the region by 25% by 2020.
In the future, Grab will also seek to implement the Toyota Production System (TPS), a system based on a philosophy of eliminating waste, to improve Grab’s business operational efficiency.
Ride-hailing vehicles tend to accrue five times more mileage than privately-owned vehicles. To keep vehicles in safe, good working condition, it is essential to provide proper vehicle maintenance based on the vehicle’s condition. Driver-partner and passenger safety is a top priority for Grab, and by ensuring that driver-partners are driving vehicles that receive timely maintenance, Grab aims to provide the highest level of safety on its platform.
Through the Total-care Service, driving data is collected by Toyota’s in-vehicle data-transmission device, TransLog, and sent to the Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), an information infrastructure developed by Toyota for vehicle connectivity.
Grab, Toyota, and local dealers will use such vehicle data collaboratively to achieve a safer and more secure ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia. For example, using vehicle data, Grab will be able to provide its driver-partners with support and safety advice as needed. In addition, Toyota dealers will apply TPS to vehicle maintenance for Grab-owned vehicles.
Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, a Toyota affiliated insurance company, will offer telematics-based automotive insurance to GrabRentals, allowing for safer driving and lower-cost insurance premiums.
Maintenance schedules for each vehicle will be fully optimized, based on driving and vehicle condition data. Intensive Care Stall (ICS) has been implemented at Borneo Motors (Singapore) (BMS), the authorized Toyota dealer in Singapore. Making use of TPS know-how, ICS achieves ultra-efficient maintenance services, reducing vehicle downtime and maintenance costs.
Grab is one of the most frequently used online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platforms in Southeast Asia, providing the everyday services that matter most to consumers. Commute, eat, deliver shopping―and pay with one e-wallet. Grab believes that every Southeast Asian should benefit from the digital economy, and the company provides access to safe and affordable transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments and financial services. Grab currently offers services in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
|2018/12/19 8:30||Green Car Congress||
SEAT joins Alastria for the development of blockchain technology-based solutions
SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group, has joined Alastria, the first semi-public multi-sectorial consortium which aims to provide a venue for digital cooperation in an independent, neutral network in which blockchain technology-based products and services are developed. SEAT is the first car manufacturer to join this network of more than 70 major businesses and institutions.
The Alastria consortium, announced in 2017, is open to any organization that wishes to have available a fundamental tool for the development of its own Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) strategy with the aim of distributing and organizing products and services for the Spanish market.
The Alastria network will provide a shared platform on which the various participants, and in particular large companies, will be able to create digital representations of the assets with which they work in their usual economic activity (tokens). With these tokens it is possible to develop new products and innovative cutting services, in addition to being able to develop current processes faster, safer and more efficiently. In this way, the network accelerates the digital transformation of current processes and enables a new paradigm of collaborative and multisectoral innovation.
With this new move, SEAT aims to test and further to progress the development of blockchain technology and encourage synergies with other participating companies.
Blockchain technology has been around since 2009 and represents an evolution with respect to current networked communications. Easy accessibility to information, which is increasingly instantaneous, sometimes leads to unreliable data, diminished security and insufficient verification of those involved in the communication processes with external suppliers. In this sense, the aim of this technology is to transform industries by generating an exchange of goods and services without the need to include third parties, and therefore enhance procedural security.
We are convinced of the importance that blockchain technology will have in the future, and for this reason we want to be involved from the outset.
—SEAT President Luca de Meo
SEAT intends to enable several company divisions to have a first contact with blockchain technology and to learn about the possible benefits that this knowledge can bring to different areas.
More specifically, production will be the first department to reinforce the development of this technology, with the main goal of studying the potential advances of Industry 4.0. Another area where SEAT wants to put blockchain solutions to work is finance, beginning with testing new initiatives to improve standard procedures.
SEAT is already working in collaboration with Telefónica on a blockchain-based proof of concept to improve the traceability of parts in the Martorell factory’s supply chain.
As the company that invests the most in R&D in Spain, SEAT is adapting its processes to the ongoing digital transformation of the automotive industry. The company is developing and implementing digital solutions aimed at car production that will enable it to be more efficient, flexible, agile and digital.
|2018/12/18 10:30||Green Car Congress||
Researchers find product-specific active sites on copper catalysts for CO2 reduction
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) have shown that recycling carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals and fuels can be economical and efficient using a single copper catalyst. The work appears in the journal Nature Catalysis.
… by reducing mixtures of 13CO and 12CO2, we show that oxide-derived Cu catalysts have three different types of active sites for C–C coupled products, one that produces ethanol and acetate, another that produces ethylene and yet another that produces 1-propanol.
—Lum & Ager
Researchers at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) have demonstrated that recycling carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals such as ethylene and propanol, and fuels such as ethanol, can be economical and efficient through product-specific “active sites” on a single copper catalyst. (Credit: Ager and Lum/Berkeley Lab)
These active sites are where electrocatalysis takes place: electrons from the copper surface interact with carbon dioxide and water in a sequence of steps that transform them into products such as ethanol, ethylene, and propanol, an alcohol commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Ever since the 1980s, when copper’s talent for converting carbon into various useful products was discovered, it was always assumed that its active sites weren’t product-specific—in other words, one could use copper as a catalyst for making ethanol, ethylene, propanol, or some other carbon-based chemical, but one would also have to go through a lot of steps to separate unwanted, residual chemicals formed during the intermediate stages of a chemical reaction before arriving at the chemical end-product.
The goal of ‘green’ or sustainable chemistry is getting the product that you want during chemical synthesis. You don’t want to separate things you don’t want from the desirable products, because that’s expensive and environmentally undesirable. And that expense and waste reduces the economic viability of carbon-based solar fuels.
—Joel Ager, a researcher at JCAP who led the study
Previous studies had shown that “oxidized” or rusted copper is an excellent catalyst for making ethanol, ethylene, and propanol. The researchers theorized that if active sites in copper were actually product-specific, they could trace the chemicals’ origins through carbon isotopes, “much like a passport with stamps telling us what countries they visited,” Ager said.
The team ran a series of experiments using two isotopes of carbon—carbon-12 and carbon-13—as “passport stamps.” Carbon dioxide was labeled with carbon-12, and carbon monoxide—a key intermediate in the formation of carbon-carbon bonds—was labeled with carbon-13. According to their methodology, the researchers reasoned that the ratio of carbon-13 versus carbon-12—the “isotopic signature”—found in a product would determine from which active sites the chemical product originated.
After dozens of experiments and state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy at JCAP to analyze the results, the researchers found that three of the products—ethylene, ethanol, and propanol—had different isotopic signatures showing that they came from different sites on the catalyst.
This discovery motivates future work to isolate and identify these different sites. Putting these product-specific sites into a single catalyst could one day result in a very efficient and selective generation of chemical products.
—co-author Yanwei Lum
The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub. The work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.
|2018/12/18 9:00||Green Car Congress||
NIO launches ES6 electric SUV starting at $52K and 317-mile range
NIO Inc. officially launched the NIO ES6 on December 15, 2018 during the annual NIO Day celebration in Shanghai. The electric SUV starts at a pre-subsidy price of 358,000 RMB (US$52,000), and is available now for public pre-order via the NIO app, with delivery to start in June 2019.
The NIO ES6 features dual motors in conjunction with an intelligent electric all-wheel-drive system delivering output power of up to 400 kW (544 hp), peak torque of 725 N·m and 0-100 km/h acceleration in as little as 4.7 seconds for the top model. The ES6 also features excellent braking performance, decelerating from 100-0 km/h in just 33.9 meters.
High-performance independent suspension, Continuous Damping Control (CDC), intelligent electric all-wheel drive come standard, and users also have the option of equipping vehicle with next-gen active air suspension. Drivers can also switch between multiple driving modes, bringing a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
The ES6 sports the only body design with a hybrid structure of aluminum alloy and carbon fiber in its class. It is composed of 91% aluminum throughout the vehicle, with innovative use of aircraft-grade 7 Series aluminum. Structural elements made of high-strength carbon fiber make the ES6 lighter and more solid.
An overall torsional stiffness of 44,930 Nm/degree is the highest among production SUVs globally.
PM and IM motors and a 510-km range. The ES6 is the world’s first SUV equipped with a combination of permanent magnet and induction motors (in the Performance and Premier Editions), which allows for power and endurance alike. The front permanent magnet motor delivers power of up to 160 kW, peak torque of 305 N·m and an energy conversion rate of 97%; the rear induction motor delivers 240 kW and 420 N·m and contributes to fast acceleration. The Standard Edition features dual PM motors.)
The 84-kWh liquid-cooled thermostatic battery pack, optional across the range, features world-class NCM 811 cathode material and energy density of up to 170 Wh/kg.
The ES6 features a lightweight design and drag coefficient Cd of 0.28 which both contribute to a combined range of up to 510 km (317 miles).
The NIO digital cockpit built on the NOMI in-car artificial intelligence (AI) system is integrated with a speech-based interactive system. An upgraded HUD, digital instrument cluster and 11.3 inch second-generation multitouch screen put all vehicle information at the users’ fingertips.
ES6 features pre-installed NIO Pilot hardware, including a Mobileye EyeQ4 chip and 23 sensors. NIO Pilot supports more than 20 functions covering typical scenarios of car use in China. Functions can be upgraded over time via firmware-over-the-air (FOTA).
An intelligent fragrancing system offers four different fragrances for a more pleasant occupant experience. This optional system interacts with the vehicle’s other systems for automatic paring with different user accounts and situations.
The ES6 is equipped with Lion, a high-performance intelligent gateway enabling data exchange and remote upgrading via FOTA. Additionally, the Dragon security architecture offers a matrix-like firewall to enhance data security and protect user privacy.
The ES6 has a length of 4,850 mm, a width of 1,965 mm, a height of 1,768 mm and a wheelbase of 2,900 mm, bringing a comfortably large space.
This newest model continues the NIO family design language. The X-bar across the front end is in the same color as that of the body, integrating with the sweeping turning lights and smoky daytime running lights. This, plus the low-drag grille, tilted D pillars, sharp and straight window lines, more streamlined heartbeat taillights and rear shark fin style reflector design, highlights stylishness and sportiness.
Service upgrades. In 2019, NIO plans to fully upgrade three service systems: NIO House, NIO Service and NIO Power. It also plans to open 70 NIO Houses and pop-up NIO Houses by the end of the same year. Depending on user needs, NIO will also set up more battery swap stations for expressways.
In addition to the G4 Expressway battery swap network, NIO has partly finished building the battery swap network for the G2 Beijing-Shanghai Expressway and the G15 Shenyang-Haikou Expressway, which are both soon to be completed.
NIO has built a nationwide support network. By 2019, it plans to open more than 300 service outlets to further enhance its ability to offer services.
Pricing and Pre-order. The ES6 is available in two versions: the Standard Version and the Performance Version. NIO users can now choose from the battery plan and receive a 100,000 RMB (US$14,500) discount off of the price of the vehicle. The price of the battery plan is 1,660 RMB (US$241) per month. In addition, NIO also released a ES6 Premier Edition with a limited quantity of 6,000. Priority deliveries are targeted to begin in June 2019. Every ES6 is customized and made to order. Starting today, ES6 is available on the NIO app.