This year kicked off where 2018 finished when a huge number of developments were announced in autonomous and connected vehicles. The biggest platform for these reveals, demonstrations, and announcements was the CES 2019 Show in Las Vegas, which saw an unprecedented amount of automotive applications being showcased and a glimpse given to a world that is fast becoming a reality. As such, future mobility and the general term of autonomy is resonating with more and more people all the time, and they are waking up to the fact that the way they move in personal transportation will be revolutionized.


Shuttle and virtual developments

ZF Friedrichshafen AG was one of the exhibitors at the show with plenty to talk about. One of the announcements from the German company was a partnership on shared mobility solutions with Transdev and e.GO. The trio revealed they will work together on a new product, the e.Go Mover shuttle, which will use a Transdev operating system and components from ZF. Prioritizing the French and German markets—and despite only starting work on the shuttle at the beginning of 2019—a fully functional solution will be offered by 2020.

The concept of a fully electric, connected, and automated shuttle might not be groundbreaking, but the involvement from ZF is big news. The Tier 1 supplier is equipping the e.Go Mover with electric-drive systems, steering systems, and brakes, as well as the ProAI central computer, which uses artificial intelligence and sensors to enable automated driving elements. Transdev will provide the supervision system, connected infrastructure, and client application.

“Automation, electrification, and networking are critical enablers as the transport of people and goods continually increase in urban centers,” said Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “With our extensive systems competence, ZF is enabling and shaping next-generation mobility. Urban mobility choices like ride-hailing are one of the biggest drivers behind the development of autonomous driving.”

More collaborations were revealed in Las Vegas. Continental and Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AAI) revealed their plans for virtual development of ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) and AD (automated driving) systems. The testing program—which will allow up to 5000 mi (3100 km) to be driven virtually in a single hour—is designed to engineer out risk and engineer in safety for people around and in the vehicle, whether those inside are fully in control of the vehicle or not.

“Our ultimate goal is always absolute safety, and this is especially true for automated driving,” said Karl Haupt, head of the ADAS business unit at Continental. “Resources in vehicle tests are limited, and virtual testing can provide fast feedback for developers. While a real vehicle can drive around 10,000 test km (6000 mi) in a physical test in one month, today up to 8000 km (5000 mi) an hour are possible with virtual simulation.”

Haupt says that the distance figure will increase in the future with the help of startup AAI, which comes to the automotive market at an optimum time to broaden its profile and appeal.

“For our young company, partnering with a technology corporation such as Continental is a seal of quality,” said Isabel Metz, head of business development at AAI. “Continental’s customers will also benefit because a faster test procedure guarantees safer, more robust, and more cost-effective products.”

The collaboration has been designed to establish a clear division between vehicle simulation and environment simulation. AAI will be responsible for the environment and provide software that enables vehicles to be driven in a virtual world. Individual parameters determine the weather, traffic infrastructure, road markings, and objects such as road signs and potholes.

In addition, AAI will integrate traffic elements into the virtual simulation environment using AI (artificial intelligence) as well as machine-learning algorithms to train the behavior of traffic participants, resulting in aggressive, moderate, and defensive driver profiles. The long-term goal is to create a “replica of the world” and realistically simulate all road users and environmental factors.


Building future careers

Away from product announcements and imminent developments, many organizations are keeping an eye on who—or what—will be developing future generations of autonomous vehicles. Those individuals looking to embark on a career in the automotive industry now or in the years ahead will be armed with a new set of skills, requirements, and expectations as the design and engineering challenges of future vehicles evolve.

“Transport needs to be—and, realistically, can be—remodeled around the potential of intelligent mobility technologies into a new ecosystem: a host of options for transportation made available as part of an integrated, managed system, and all founded on more use of autonomous vehicles and networks of sensors and information sharing,” said Dr. Daniel Auger from Cranfield University’s Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre. The university has recently launched a course focused on autonomous and connected vehicles.

“The nuts and bolts of the necessary technologies for intelligent and autonomous transport are already in place,” believes Auger. “Tesla already feels comfortable in claiming that all its models of cars contain the hardware needed to be fully self driving. But we’re also at a stage of uncertainty when it comes to which of the technologies and options are going to be the most commercially viable, those that will be seized upon by the public, and those that will be left standing. High-end cars have, of course, included elements of automation for some time—such as adaptive cruise control, collision braking, automatic parking, lane-keep assist, sign recognition—and these features will cascade eventually into most models, by choice and eventually possibly via legislation.”

Auger maintains that what needs to be done is to recruit more of the younger generation who have skills that are suited to developing future mobility solutions. Sounds straightforward given the growth in the industry within OEMs, Tier 1s, and those further down the supply chain, but there may be trouble ahead—in the UK at least.

“Research by the UK’s Transport Systems Catapult predicts a skills gap of 742,000 people by 2025, with a particular need for ‘high value’ digital skills,” he said—culminating in a big hit to GDP by not having the skills to exploit the opportunities. “At the same time, because of the level of future potential, jobs in the sector are going to be in high demand.”

One job site report in late 2018 that searches for autonomous vehicles’ roles had grown by 668% since 2015 in the U.S. “In other words, engineers are going to need to equip themselves with specialist expertise to be part of the boom,” said Auger. “Based on its data from recruiters, the job site suggests they want to see knowledge of image processing, AI, machine learning, and more specific skills like C and C++, Java, and Python programming.”


Education and the generation game

At the other end of the age spectrum, there is a school of thought that autonomous vehicles could revolutionize transportation for the elderly. Figures suggest that 20% of Americans over 65 years old do not drive, so the appeal of having access to a car that doesn’t need to be driven is likely to be high.

“[Autonomous vehicles] are a critical part of livable communities as we talk to mayors and other officials around the country,” said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Association of Retired Persons (AARP). “To be successful, people of all ages will need to trust the machine to do the driving, and right now there is a very significant trust gap. A full three-quarters of U.S. drivers of all ages report feeling afraid to ride in a self-driving car.”

Elizabeth Macnab, Executive Director, Ontario Society of Senior Citizens’ Organizations, agrees, highlighting some considerations that should be made to ensure driverless cars are appealing to elderly people: “The vehicles should be affordable to senior citizens on a fixed income and accessible to senior citizens who need to use mobility aids and walking devices to get around. The manufacturers of autonomous vehicles should commit to providing training to elderly people about how to correctly use a driverless car.”

In the UK, thoughts on the matter have seen the country’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, also claim that self-driving cars will transform the lives of the elderly and the disabled. “The potential benefits of these new technologies for human mobility—and for wider society—are tremendously exciting,” he stated. “Many who can’t currently drive will be able to take to the road. Elderly people or people with disabilities which prevent them from travelling today will discover a new sense of freedom and independence.”


Global ADAS and autonomous driving component market to reach nearly $57 billion by 2028

- by Linda Trego

The global advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) and autonomous driving component market was valued at $4.83 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $56.59 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 22.31%. According to a new market intelligence report by BIS Research, “Global ADAS and Autonomous Driving Component Market - Analysis and Forecast, 2018-2028,” this growth can be attributed to factors including the increasing demand for active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and automatic parking system.

Furthermore, factors such as increasing government focus on streamlining traffic infrastructure, growing demand for highly autonomous vehicles (L4 and L5), and the increasing impetus from the government to develop connected and autonomous infrastructure are expected to drive the global market for ADAS and autonomous driving components during the forecast period.

The rising number of road accidents has resulted in an increase in regulations by authorities about the safety of both passengers and pedestrians. These guidelines have led to a rise in the demand for driver-assistance features for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. In addition, constantly evolving consumer preferences toward better driving experience and driver-assist applications has succeeded in boosting the overall demand for ADAS and autonomous vehicles.

A surge is expected to occur in the number of vehicles with automated features such as adaptive cruise control, parking assistance, lane departure warning, traffic jam assist, automated emergency braking, and blind spot detection. These automated features, when combined with telematics and connected car features, is expected to lead to the development of fully autonomous or human independent vehicles.

BIS Research Analyst Eshan Hira said, “Electronic control unit (ECU) is currently dominating the ADAS and autonomous driving component market and is anticipated to maintain its dominance throughout the forecast period. This is mainly due to the higher cost of ECU as compared to other components such as cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar. Additionally, the growing number of sensors and electronic components is anticipated to boost the demand for ECU. Moreover, due to the efficient performance and mandatory usage of LiDAR in Level 3 or higher autonomous vehicles, the LiDAR market is expected to grow at the highest pace when compared with other components. Geographically, the region of North America is currently dominating the market for ADAS and autonomous driving components. However, the APAC region is expected to witness the highest growth rate during the forecast period (2018-2028) as compared to North America and Europe, owing to various factors such as growth in the demand for high-end passenger cars, stringent government rules, and regulations regarding driver safety.”

The report is a compilation of research on approximately 150 players in the ADAS and autonomous driving component market. It draws upon insights from in-depth interviews of key opinion leaders of more than 25 leading companies, market participants, and vendors. The report also profiles 18 companies who are key contributors in the market, including Analog Device, Inc., Infineon Technologies AG, Intel Corporation, NXP Semiconductors, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Continental AG, Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, Denso Corporation, LeddarTech, Quanergy Systems, Velodyne LiDAR, Aptiv, Autoliv, Inc., Magna International Inc., Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd, Valeo, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.



Most auto OEMs expect emergence of islands of autonomy

- by Linda Trego

Eighty-four percent of global respondents and 83% in the U.S. expect autonomous vehicles to be introduced in “islands of autonomy,” metropolitan markets with unique mixes of consumer living, working, and travel patterns which will drive requirements for locally tailored delivery services, according to the 2019 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey.

The KPMG Research, which polled nearly 1000 executives (including 110 in the U.S.) from leading automotive companies, found that 64% of global OEMs and 63% in the U.S. expect self-driving cars to be fully functional in mature markets by 2030. The research also revealed that 73% of global OEMs and 84% of U.S. respondents say that traditional public transport will be replaced by new on-demand autonomous services within the next decade.

“For OEMs, the question has gone from if autonomous vehicles will revolutionize the automotive and transportation sectors to where and how,” said Gary Silberg, KPMG’s Automotive Sector Leader. “A trillion dollar-plus market is emerging around driverless vehicles coupled with mobility services—and for OEMs, the race is on. Those who innovate successfully, combined with the emergence of smart cities, will be the powerhouse players in this new automotive ecosystem.”

In conjunction with the executive survey, KPMG also surveyed 2000 consumers from 40 countries (178 from the U.S.) to compare their perspectives. When it comes to consumer expectations for the roll out of autonomous vehicles, there were significant differences between global consumers and those based in the U.S.

Eighty three percent of global consumers believe in the islands of autonomy, which closely mirrors global OEMs; however, only 58% of U.S. respondents agree, compared to 83% of U.S. OEMs.

When asked if delivery services and online shopping have changed their mobility patterns and needs over the last few years, 85% of global respondents said it had a little bit or completely, compared to just 64% of U.S. respondents.  

“Autonomous delivery vehicles will take trends begun by e-commerce and drive them forward at an unprecedented rate,” said Tom Mayor, KPMG’s Strategy Lead for Industrial Manufacturing. “Consumers will reduce their personal miles traveled for shopping as the delivery of goods will be requested with the push of a button and executed as quickly as the same hour. The result will be a monumental change in consumer behavior—and a global transformation for the retail, automobile, and transportation industries.”