Safety core to Volvo-Autoliv autonomous driving joint venture
By setting up a joint venture, Volvo and Autoliv aim to become world leaders in autonomous driving software solutions for OEMs.
Premium car manufacturer Volvo and car safety systems specialist Autoliv announced on Tuesday both companies are teaming up to develop and distribute autonomous driving software solutions to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world. Car safety will be at the heart of the new autonomous driving joint venture, which is to help Volvo and Autoliv scale and accelerate autonomous driving software development.
Located in Swedish Gothenburg, the 50-50 joint venture company will formally start operations in early 2017, with an initial workforce of 200. In the medium term, the workforce will grow to 600. The company will combine Volvo’s expertise within car-decision software and Autoliv’s know-how within components, object identification and computer vision. The new company, which has yet to get a name, plans to start selling its first advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) products by 2019 with autonomous driving (AD) technologies for SAE level 4/5 available by 2021. Volvo will be sourcing these co-developed software solutions directly from the joint company, while Autoliv will exclusively distribute them to other OEMs. Volvo and Autoliv will share revenues. Dennis Nobelius, managing director of Volvo Switzerland, and formerly vice president Vehicle line 90 at Volvo, will be CEO of the new company.
Safety as a unique selling point
Presenting the new joint company at a press conference in Stockholm, Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car Group, said: “We have a solid position within active safety, both of us, and we will create a world leader in autonomous driving.” Many OEMs, competitors to Volvo including Ford and BMW, are already working on an autonomous driving software of their own, but both Volvo’s CEO Håkan Samuelsson and Jan Carlson, chairman, CEO and president of Autoliv, said they were confident they would be able to sell their software solutions to OEMs.
Besides OEMs, a number of software companies, all of them potential competitors to the Volvo-Autoliv joint venture, are also developing autonomous driving software. These include Google, Uber and Baidu. Asked how he saw competition from software companies, Volvo’s Håkan Samuelsson said: “Volvo will focus on safety. This will be one of the main features of the system.” As a matter of fact, not all OEMs will be developing their own autonomous driving software. The question is whether these will be more inclined to collaborate with a competitor or with an independent software vendor.
Volvo’s ongoing joint venture with Uber around the development of a base car for autonomous driving, is to continue. In addition, learnings from the Volvo-Autoliv joint venture will be fed into Volvo’s global autonomous driving pilot program DriveMe.
Automotive supplier Autoliv is also under pressure as competitor Delphi announced at the end of August it was teaming up with computer vision specialist Mobileye to develop a complete SAE Level 4/5 autonomous driving solution with the aim of starting distributing it to OEMs in 2019.
Acquisitions on the cards
Given freedom to act as an independent company means the Volvo-Autoliv joint venture could also be looking at potential acquisitions in the future, Autoliv’s CEO Jan Carlson said.
Volvo and Autoliv have signed a non-binding letter of intent, which is subject to further negotiations before a final definitive agreement is reached.
IIoT News Recap: Convenience retailer Peregrine Corporation deploys sensor network with Microsoft; Nokia to help operators transform 5G vision into 5G plan; iHealth acquires eDevice for $106million; Bosch completes ProSyst merger
Sensors: Convenience retailer Peregrine Corporation deploys sensor network with Microsoft
Peregrine Corporation, south Australia’s leading convenience retailer, deployed a new Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics solution with Microsoft and Empired. Sensors at Peregrine’s OTR Hillbank stores across Australia will now automatically log the temperature of appliances and their operating specification. Sensor-collected data will then be aggregated into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite. “When we started the project, we had two clear goals in mind. We wanted to make operational site processes simpler for our team. We pride ourselves on being a place where our great people get to do great things. Already, our staff are able to spend their time being analytical, rather than being data entry operators,” said Peregrine’s CIO Brendon Hore. “The second goal of the project was to ensure that compliance to food safety standards was optimised with the most efficient use of resources. Again, it’s early days but the reduction in manual labour is already resulting in decreased human error.”
Road to 5G: Nokia to help operators transform 5G vision into 5G plan
Nokia wants to help operators “capitalize on opportunities and realize business goals on the path to 5G”. To that aim, the Finland-based networking vendor has launched a set of transformation services, Nokia 5G Acceleration Services, leveraging Nokia and Bell Labs’ technology and expertise, Nokia announced.
5G Acceleration Services offer assistance with building a business case, including a 5G spectrum assessment, as well as help with planning a staged architecture and operational evolution, including a goal-driven 5G radio access network design. “Operators can already begin to plan their path to 5G, building the foundation of the programmable world with cloud-based technologies. Working in a consultative mode Nokia 5G Acceleration Services can minimize the complexity of this transformation, creating a plan that will allow operators to migrate optimally to 5G to capitalize on new business opportunities. We are already working with our customers on 5G co-development agreements, and by leveraging our transformation services and Bell Labs Consulting expertise we can help operators build a solid business case for their 5G transformation,” said Igor Leprince, head of Global Services at Nokia.
Connected health: iHealth acquires eDevice for $106million
Mountain View-based connected care vendor iHealth has acquired French telehealth connectivity specialist eDevices for $106 milllion. IHealth is a subsidiary of Chinese OEM manufacturer Andon Group. For the past fifteen years, eDevice has been providing solutions to securely transmit medical data between patients and medical systems. “eDevice is an amazing company and together, we will make a difference in the healthcare world. The Andon Group (through iHealth) already has a strong presence in Europe, in the US and in China. We are now in a position to take the market leadership globally,” said Mr. Liu, founder of iHealth and chairman of Andon Group.
M&A: Bosch completes ProSyst merger
Bosch completed the merger of Bosch Software Innovations and ProSyst in July 2016, Bosch announced. Bosh Software Innovations announced its intention to acquire the Internet of Things (IoT) middleware vendor in February 2015. “Nothing will change for any of the companies’ customers or partners, except that the merger will open up additional opportunities and offers. We will continue to be fully committed to further developing the existing ProSyst products, while ProSyst technology will round out our Bosch IoT Suite. Overall, this move serves to strengthen the portfolio of our comprehensive IoT platform,” Bosch Software Innovations said.