Leading German energy company E.ON has partnered with Turkish sustainable technologies company, Vestel, to bring “ultra-convenient” EV charging to more drivers across Europe. The new partnership will see E.ON build upon its portfolio of EV chargers with the introduction of Vestel’s “sleek, and user-friendly models”.
A multi-sector pioneer of sustainable technology solutions and established in 1984, Vestel has become a driving force in electromobility, bringing an extra competitive advantage to the EV charging market with its award-winning range of EV home chargers and DC fast chargers.
Marking the first step in this partnership, the Vestel-made EV home chargers are being initially offered as part of a new E.ON cooperation with ADAC SE, Germany’s largest automobile club.
The Vestel-made range is claimed to be smart and networked, encompassing well-engineered entry level designs as well as powerful step-up models. The range’s compatibility with the E.ON Drive App means customers can charge en route at more than 30,000 charging points throughout Germany, and control their E.ON EV home chargers.
“We are pleased to have found a partner like Vestel who supports us in fulfilling the high customer demand for e-mobility solutions with well-engineered and attractively designed hardware,” says Mathias Wiecher, Vice President E-Mobility at E.ON.
Turan Erdoğan,Chief Executive Officer at Vestel adds, “Perfectly aligned with our commitment to drive sustainable innovation, this collaboration is another valuable opportunity for us to boost the mainstream roll-out of electric vehicle chargers. Our vast manufacturing scale and R&D expertise, as well as our flexibility and agility enable us to deliver exceptional value, high performance products. With our world-class manufacturing complex so close to Europe, we can also ensure greater speed-to-market, providing the fast product turnaround times required to stay ahead of the latest EV charger trends.”
Mercedes-Benz has developed its vehicle-to-infrastructure warning system to include the detection of potholes and speed bumps.
The newest generations of the C-Class and S-Class and the new EQS electric hatchback feature a suspension control unit that can detect and register a pothole on the Mercedes’ cloud with the information then available to other connected Mercedes vehicles.
Once the information is repeatedly detected beyond a threshold level, it will show up as an icon on the Mercedes navigation map and the vehicle will give an audible warning approximately ten seconds before the feature is reached. The alert will mention specific features such as “Look out, pothole” or “Attention, speed bump.” The warnings are available in 36 languages.
Mercedes says its cars built since 2016 are capable of receiving the warning information. Owners will need an active Mercedes Me account as well as the Car-to-X Communication feature.
Mercedes’ vehicle-to-infrastructure warning system also has the ability to detect and share information about slippery roads, cross winds, road works, accidents, breakdowns, reduced visibility, heavy rain and snow.
While this system is limited to Mercedes vehicles, other manufacturers are developing vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications, massively increasing the utility of vehicle generated data with huge potential to improve road safety and provide roads authorities with highly cost effective, real-time asset condition information.
US electric vehicle charging network operator ChargePoint has acquired Dutch eBus and commercial vehicle management provider ViriCiti for approximately €75 million. The deal is ChargePoint’s second major European acquisition within the last month; in July it announced a €250 million intended takeover of has-to-be, the Austrian e-mobility provider and charging software platform developer.
ViriCiti will enhance the ChargePoint fleet solution portfolio of hardware, software and services by integrating information sources to optimise electric fleet operations, including battery management, charging station monitoring, OEM-agnostic telematics, vehicle maintenance and vehicle operations data.
The combined solution will enable fleet operators to identify which of routes could be most effectively electrified, monitor and report on uptime, optimise fuelling to ensure operational readiness at low cost, and integrate vehicle and charging station management.
Pasquale Romano, President and CEO of ChargePoint, said, “The future of fleets is electric, and integrating charging solutions with the many business systems already in place in today’s depots is essential to successful electrification.
“Adding ViriCiti’s vehicle management capabilities to our fleet portfolio allows ChargePoint to deliver more functionality to eBus and commercial fleet operators, while remaining open to integration with existing telematics systems. The combined solution underscores the importance of software to EV charging and will ensure operational readiness at low cost as fleets of all types across North America and Europe continue to electrify.”
Founded in 2012, ViriCiti today has more than 50 employees in the Netherlands and United States, and established market share in North America and Europe with approximately 150 fleet operators, 3,500 connected vehicles and 2,500 networked ports under management.
ViriCiti customers include prominent fleet operators and OEMs, such as Arriva, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, Chicago Transit Authority, GILLIG, Keolis, King County Metro, Metropolitan Transit Authority (New York), PicNic, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and Toronto Transit Commission.
Freek Dielissen, CEO of ViriCiti, said, “Our mission over the last nine years has been to help fleet operators manage their electric operations. Today, zero-emission transportation is at a tipping point, and we are excited to join EV charging leader ChargePoint, integrate our complementary offerings and tap into the resources that will enable the electrification of fleets at a faster pace across North America and Europe.”
Dr Jose Serras-Pereira, Director – Advisory, Mobility Group, Frost & Sullivan, confirmed, “The need for efficient software tools to gather, analyse and recommend vehicle types, charging hardware, site energy requirements and other operational strategies has never been greater. Software, analytics and advisory are expected to be key portfolio components for any industry actor wishing to provide a holistic suite of electrification services in a B2B setting and help accelerate fleet electrification over the next decade. ChargePoint is now well positioned to offer fleet managers large and small a full range of tools required to start planning and executing their electrification journeys.”
The UK’s government backed innovation agency Innovate UK has launched its UK Transport Vision 2050.
The vision sets out what the UK transport system might look like in 2050 and outlines the likely steps along the way to achieving it.
The project is described as an attempt to gather the UK government and industry around a single vision of transport as “an interconnected system that delivers for people and places”.
It is also to provoke debate, and Innovate UK is seeking feedback to help refine and improve the vision.
Within the vision, Innovate UK has identified six key areas, namely:
travel and transport demand
The vision and pathways highlight major new opportunities for economic growth and societal benefit, showing how businesses need to adapt and evolve in order to secure market position and grow.
While developed for the UK, Innovate UK says the challenges and opportunities are largely the same across the globe. The major trends identified are:
powering of transport in the future will radically change, bringing significant opportunities and risk for UK design, production and supply chains
electricity, hydrogen, ammonia and sustainable fuel will replace petroleum and create new opportunities for generation, production and distribution
greater connectivity, autonomous systems, new business models and robotics will transform transport
The Transport Vision 2050 has grown out of extensive research into the future of transport and out of consultation with partners in both the public and private sectors. The document will be regularly updated and used to inform decisions on future investments.
Electric vehicle technology developer Arrival has announced a tie up with Microsoft to develop an open data platform for vehicles and fleets to improve the utility of vehicle generated shared data.
Arrival says an ever-increasing amount of data is produced and stored in the cloud by individual vehicles and fleets globally, but there is currently no standardised way of managing and using the data.
Arrival plans to develop models with Microsoft that simplify the sharing of data within the mobility and freight ecosystem. “Multi-tenant” data ownership models, says Arrival, will increase the utility of shared data and serve as a foundation for multiple different stakeholders – including OEMs, suppliers, cities, and freight and logistics companies – to securely and responsibly analyse the huge swathes of data generated and apply valuable insights to their business.
The approach, adds Arrival, will provide stakeholders full transparency and control over what data is shared and with whom – enabling them to benefit from their data in ways “never before possible”.
For example, it says, this approach could allow easier access for an insurance company to process claims or set premiums to better understand and manage risk while remaining competitive in the market, or for cities to benefit from understanding more about traffic flows and how to collectively optimise the performance of transportation and freight providers.
The resulting open data platform will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service and machine learning to extract insights from the data, and edge computing to minimise vehicle-to-cloud data flow. By implementing a unified data standard and transparent data sharing policy, the insights drawn will enable improved vehicle designs, advanced fleet logistics and help spur advancements in mobility ecosystems and business models.
“Arrival is bringing zero-emission mobility solutions to communities globally. Data management and analysis is crucial to bringing customised, affordable and equitable solutions to the world. With the rapid advances in technology across all areas, we need a standardised way of collecting, assimilating and sharing that data so all can share in the full benefits of what connected vehicles can bring,” said Avinash Rugoobur, President of Arrival.
“Working closely with Microsoft to develop and then demonstrate the huge advantages of having an open data platform for vehicles and fleets will be truly ground-breaking for companies and cities around the world,” he adds
Plus, a US-based developer of self-driving truck technology, has completed an autonomous Level 4 truck demonstration on a highway in China. Level 4 autonomy is essentially fully driverless, but within a geographically defined area.
The demonstration was completed on the Wufengshan highway in China’s Yangtze Delta. The driverless semi-trailer truck was operated without a safety driver, teleoperator, or any other form of human intervention. The demonstration was conducted with a special permit on the newly built highway, with Plus being the first company to be granted this permit in China.
During the demonstration, the driverless truck is reported to have driven safely and smoothly in typical highway traffic.
Shawn Kerrigan, COO and Co-founder of Plus, says, “The driverless demo highlights the ability of our Level 4 autonomous driving technology to enable driverless highway operations in a semi truck. The demo shows the safety, maturity, and functionality of our technology, and we are excited to continue to work closely with our suppliers, fleet customers, and OEM partners to further develop, test, and refine a driverless product for commercial deployment.”
France’s Renault is looking to revive its business in China by forming a hybrid vehicle joint venture with Geely Holding Group, a year after it ended its previous operation in the world’s largest car market.
The two companies have signed a framework agreement to set up the joint venture, which would make and sell Renault-branded petrol-electric hybrid cars in China using Geely’s technologies, supply chains and manufacturing facilities while Renault would focus on sales and marketing.
As part of the partnership, the two car makers also agreed to explore a joint localisation of Geely’s Lynk & Co-brand hybrid vehicles in South Korea where Renault has been manufacturing and selling cars for more than two decades.
The venture would focus on China and South Korea initially but would likely to be expanded to cover fast-growing Asian markets.
Geely and Renault are also looking at co-developing fully electric battery cars.
The new venture is modeled on an EV-focused venture Geely set up in 2019 with Daimler, which plans to manufacture in China and sell Smart-brand EVs based on Geely technology using Daimler’s global sales network.
For Geely, China’s biggest local automaker by sales, the new joint venture would strengthen its strategy to use partnerships with other automakers to share technologies, supply chains and manufacturing, which reduces development costs of EV and other future mobility technology.
For Renault, the partnership would help the French carmaker rebuild its presence in China after it ended a joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group in 2020.
The proposed Renault-Geely joint venture will be controlled by Geely, with manufacturing in Geely’s existing factories.
Volkswagen (VW) has confirmed it is to buy French car rental company Europcar. VW is interested in gaining access to Europcar’s infrastructure and technology as the basis for developing future mobility services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing.
In a news release, VW said, “The Volkswagen Group is taking a major step forward in its new auto strategy to become a leading provider of individual mobility in the electric and fully connected age. In a consortium with London-based asset manager Attestor Limited and Dutch mobility provider Pon Holdings BV, Volkswagen agreed to launch a recommended takeover offer for Europcar Mobility Group…”
Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said, “The mobility market is changing rapidly as customers increasingly demand new and innovative on-demand mobility solutions, such as subscription and sharing models to complement car ownership.”
“Europcar provides advanced fleet management capabilities as well as a broad network of stations at major airports, railway stations and city locations and will help accelerate Volkswagen’s delivery of its ambitious mobility services targets.”
Europcar has more than 3,500 rental stations across more than 140 countries and a fleet of over 350,000 vehicles in 2019, serving over 5 million customers per year.
The announcement also said that the minimum acceptance threshold for the takeover offer is 67%, and existing shareholders holding 68% in Europcar have committed to accept the takeover offer. The offer price represents a 27% premium to the closing price as of June 22 — the last day before the consortium’s approach became public and implies an enterprise value of 2.9 billion euros.
VW says the transaction provides a compelling opportunity to create a leading mobility platform and deliver new solutions to meet growing customer demand for services complementing car ownership.
Volkswagen has previously owned Europcar, and in June said it was considering buying a majority stake in the company to tap into the trend for consumers to rent rather than own a vehicle, according to a Reuters report. Volkswagen sold the company in 2006.
Though Volkswagen will have a majority shareholding in the joint holding company, it will neither control the consortium nor Europcar, the release added.
Driverless technology developer Motional has selected Ottopia, the Israeli developer of technologies to control vehicles remotely, to support the deployment of its robotaxi fleets. Motional, a joint venture of Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, will use Ottopia’s teleoperation technology to provide remote vehicle assistance for its planned driverless Level 4 autonomous vehicle ride-hail service.
Remote vehicle assistance refers to a human operator providing remote assistance to autonomous vehicles when they’re navigating unusual scenarios or edge cases. The operator has the ability to direct the vehicle to a new path or provide other assistance to the vehicle, all while located remotely in a fleet control centre. Edge cases include hazards such as road works and unexpected road user behaviour.
Motional is one of the first companies in the world to operate fully driverless vehicles on public roads and its public robotaxi service has already conducted over 100,000 rides. Starting in 2023, Motional will be launching a fully driverless ride-hail service with Lyft in multiple US markets. That service has the potential to introduce driverless technology to millions of Lyft riders.
“While there are rapid advances in autonomous technology, there are always going to be certain edge cases that can benefit from remote support.” said Amit Rosenzweig, founder and CEO, Ottopia. “This requires the ability to offer robust, real-time human intervention – at any time, anywhere. Ottopia is leading the teleoperation industry and we’re proud to work with Motional as it begins scaling its technology.”
“As we prepare for mass deployments of Motional robotaxis, an RVA solution provides an added layer of support for when our vehicles encounter unique and challenging road scenarios. Effective remote vehicle assistance is an important part of our commitment to delivering a seamless end-to-end passenger experience,” said Guillaume Binet, Vice President of Software Infrastructure, Motional.
Connected vehicle and drone insurance tech startup Flock has received $17 million in its series A funding round.
Flock provides exposure-based insurance for fleets of commercial vehicles, including drones, cars, and vans. Its proprietary “risk engine” uses real-time data such as vehicle sensor and location data, local weather, traffic conditions, and accident data, to accurately quantify risks on a per-second basis. The policies can be bought and adjusted for price in minutes.
Ed Leon Klinger, CEO of Flock said, “Transportation is changing faster than ever, but the traditional insurance industry can’t keep up! The proliferation of electric cars, new business models such as ridesharing, and the emergence of autonomous vehicles pose huge challenges that traditional insurers just aren’t equipped for.”
He added, “Modern fleets need an equally modern insurance company that moves as fast as they do. Commercial motor insurance is a $160Bn market, crying out for disruption. The opportunity ahead of us is enormous.”
The funding round was led by Social Capital, the investment vehicle run by Chamath Palihapitiya, a SPAC investor and Chairman of Virgin Galactic.
In a statement Palihapitiya said, “Flock is bridging the gap between today’s insurance industry and tomorrow’s transportation realities. By using real-time data to truly understand vehicle risk, Flock is meeting the demands of our rapidly evolving, hyper-connected world. Flock has the potential to help unlock and enable a truly autonomous world, and even save lives. We’re excited to be a part of their journey.”
Argo AI, Lyft and Ford have announced they are working together to commercialise autonomous ride hailing at scale in the US. Ford’s self-driving cars, with safety drivers, will be rolled-out on the Lyft network, as part of a network access agreement, with passenger rides beginning in Miami in 2021 and in Austin, Texas, starting in 2022.
This initial phase will lay the groundwork for scaling operations, as the parties are now working to finalise agreements aiming to deploy at least 1,000 autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network, across multiple markets over the next five years.
In order to support self-driving vehicle at scale, Ford has established a robust presence in Miami, Austin and Washington, DC. This includes operations to support commercial fleets, including fuelling, servicing and cleaning.
Lyft will receive 2.5% of the common equity of Argo AI as part of the licensing and data access agreements to collaborate on the safe commercialisation of autonomous vehicles.
Lyft co-founder and CEO, Logan Green, says, “This collaboration marks the first time all the pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle have come together this way. Each company brings the scale, knowledge and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality.”
Scott Griffith, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses, says, “These three companies share a belief that autonomous vehicles will be a key enabler for a cleaner, safer and more efficient urban mobility landscape. This is the beginning of an important relationship between three dynamic companies ultimately aiming to deliver a trusted, high-quality experience for riders in a multi-city large scale operation over time.”
Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI, adds, “This collaboration is special because we’re executing on a shared vision for improving the safety, access to and affordability of transportation in our cities. Beyond the link that Lyft provides to the customer, we’ll be able to work together to define where an autonomous service will benefit communities the most and ensure we’re deploying the technology safely.”
Mercedes-Benz has pledged to go all electric by the end of the decade, where market conditions allow. Shifting from electric-first to electric-only, the luxury car company says it is accelerating toward an emissions-free and software-driven future.
By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have battery electric vehicles (BEV) in all segments the company serves. From 2025 onwards, all newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only and customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes.
“The EV shift is picking up speed – especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs. The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade,” said Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.
And in what Källenius decribes as “a profound reallocation of capital”, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a comprehensive plan which includes significantly accelerating R&D. In total, investments into battery electric vehicles between 2022 and 2030 will amount to over €40 billion.
Plans include eight battery Gigafactories and the company says it intends to team up with new European partners to develop and efficiently produce future cells and modules. including solid-state technology which offers higher energy density and safety.
“Our main duty in this transformation is to convince customers to make the switch with compelling products. For Mercedes-Benz, the trailblazing EQS flagship is only the beginning of this new era,” Källenius said.
Tesla is to make its North American high capacity EV charging network available to other EVs. The intention was “officially” announced by company’s CEO Elon Musk in a recent tweet: “we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”
Musk reminded followers that Tesla developed it proprietary charging connector because at the time “there was no other solution for fast charging”.
“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then & Tesla was only maker of long range electric cars,” the tweet continues. “It’s one fairly slim connector for both low & high power charging.”
Observers predict Tesla will now switch to a new connector compatible with the CCS Combo 1 to allow other EVs with CCS1 inlets to use the Tesla chargers. Tesla’s European Superchargers are already retrofitted with CCS Combo 2-compatible plugs. Other EV manufacturers are not willing to leave the CCS standard so this appears the most practical solution and might just sow the seeds for everything to switch to the CCS Combo 2 globally – a move considered highly desirable in the switch to EVs.
US Energy company and utility Exelon has joined the Electric Highway Coalition, a partnership of 14 US utilities established to create a seamless network of rapid electric vehicle charging stations connecting major highway systems, stretching from the Atlantic Coast through the Midwest, South and into the Gulf and Central Plains regions.
“Protecting our future means ensuring electric vehicles are an affordable, accessible, and reliable transportation option for customers in the communities we serve,” said Calvin Butler, CEO of Exelon Utilities. “Our customers and communities want cleaner air and action on climate change – just one reason why we want to make sure rapid charging is as easily available along major highways as traditional gas stations. Our partnership with the Electric Highway Coalition will help alleviate range anxiety by creating convenient, rapid charging stations that will give travellers in our communities the confidence to know they can rely on electric vehicles for long distance travel wherever they need to go.”
The members of the EHC have agreed to work together to ensure efficient and effective fast charging deployment plans that enable long distance EV travel, avoid duplication and complement existing corridor fast charging sites. Sites initially will be located less than 100 miles apart on major roadways. Additionally, each site will have at least two charging stations with universal vehicle compatibility and at least 100 kilowatts of output per station. This will enable drivers to get back on the road in 20-30 minutes. Each member company will determine its own execution methods, specific pricing models and charging equipment providers for their service territory.
The Edison Electric Institute estimates 18 million EVs will be on US roads by 2030, and the progress made by the Electric Highway Coalition demonstrates to customers that industry leaders are united in a commitment to ensuring accessibility and convenience for rapid charging stations across an expanded network of major highways.
Exelon has already committed to electrifying half of its utility vehicle fleet by 2030 and will continue to find new ways to partner with leaders across the industry to provide equitable, safe and sustainable energy and transportation solutions for customers.
In addition, Exelon’s utilities continue to actively work with stakeholders to promote the expansion of EV infrastructure and remove barriers to adoption. Through approved programs at each of its utilities, Exelon will enable the installation of more than 7,000 residential, commercial and/or utility-owned charging ports across Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and New Jersey.
The installations will help jurisdictions achieve climate and zero-emission vehicle goals, improve air quality in their regions and prepare for the economic opportunities connected to the growing EV market.
VinFast – a member of Vingroup – Vietnam’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles and the first Vietnamese automotive brand to launch in global markets, has appointed former VW and Opel executive Michael Lohscheller as its new CEO.
Lohscheller will be responsible for scaling up VinFast’s operations and presence around the globe. His role will include implementing strategic initiatives to turn VinFast into a global smart electric car company.
Lohscheller is a former Volkswagen Group of America Executive Vice President. From VW, he moved to Opel where he became the CEO for the past four years and spearheaded Opel’s plans to transform into an electric vehicle brand.
VinFast currently produces several models of electric scooters and buses in Vietnam, and will launch three new electric SUVs – VF e34, VF e35 and VF e36 respectively of C, D and E classes – in Vietnam, North America and Europe in 2021 and 2022.
Thuy Le, Vingroup’s Vice Chairwoman, says, “Vingroup warmly welcomes Michael Lohscheller to our leadership team. We strongly believe that his appearance will accelerate VinFast’s up and running global expansion. Michael Lohscheller’s participation in VinFast’s senior management team reaffirms Vingroup’s long-term plan in attracting outstanding talents and acquiring management expertise from elite circles of the global automotive industry.”
Lohscheller adds, “During my career, I have always been attracted by new challenges. When the opportunity came to join VinFast, I was immediately attracted because of the growth opportunities. I look forward to working with the leadership team to grow the company and establish it as a global smart electric car company.”
British energy and environment consultancy Ricardo is leading an international consortium to support the Mexican Government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the freight sector.
Over the next 12 months, specialists in sustainable transport will work with organisations, including Mexico-based Centro Mario Molina and Urbanistica, to provide advice to the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) as part of the Sustainable Transport Programme.
The country’s commitment to reducing GHGs by 22% by 2030 depends on the successful decarbonisation of its transport sector, which contributes to 25% of total CO2 emissions nationally. Road activity is responsible for 97% of all transport emissions and freight transport plays a key role by moving nearly 75% of land-based cargo across the country while railways serve the remaining transport flows.
Lorenzo Casullo, Associate Director, said: “Initiatives addressing greenhouse gas emissions will also improve urban air pollution and noise levels that negatively affect Mexican cities.
“This project demonstrates our growing influence in Central and Latin American countries as we continue to win more work across the region. Being able to deliver the entire project in Spanish, thanks to the multi-lingual capabilities of our team, is a bonus for us and shows the global support Ricardo is able to offer.”
Ricardo’s focus will be on green freight, helping national and local policy makers, as well as freight operators based in Mexico, to reduce the climate change and air pollution impacts of the transport of goods through a series of practical actions.
The team will provide regulatory advice to the Mexican Ministry of Environment on how to implement the regulations on air pollution standards for trucks. Ricardo and partners will also engage in capacity building efforts, looking at training courses and case studies covering telematic applications for fleet management and eco-driving.
Further support will come from pilot projects at the sub-national level, helping regions and cities test new business models for more effective vehicle scrapping policies, fleet renewal schemes and urban logistics approaches.
The project will support the cooperation between Mexico and Germany, which aims to promote climate mitigation efforts in Mexico’s road freight sector by supporting ministries, authorities and companies.
Electric Assisted Vehicles Limited (EAV), the Oxford, England-based sustainable zero-emissions vehicle manufacturer, has released renderings of its new LINCS model, a modular multipurpose lightweight vehicle designed to provide urban light commercial van capability.
LINCS has been designed in association with Saietta Group, whose new in-hub electric motors will power a lightweight skateboard platform. The LINCS platform will contain enclosed Li-ion batteries and become the basis of the new modular vehicle.
“The operational requirements for LINCS are both complex but also required a simple solution,” says Adam Barmby, CEO and Founder of EAV. “We wanted to produce a multipurpose light commercial vehicle as a logistics platform to transform the way we move people and goods around our urban environment.
“Positive disruption is needed right now”, he adds. “The electrification of current fleets simply isn’t any kind of real solution. We’ve comprehensively analysed the inefficiencies in the current transportation of goods and people.”
LINCS, in its logistics role, acts as a fully dynamic ‘hub-and-spoke’ mobile depot vehicle, delivering EAVRoRo boxes to EAV eCargo fleets in various different dynamic optimised locations such as forecourts or car parks. This significantly reduces stem distances and increases operational efficiency within the last mile. LINCS will also be able to operate as a simple covered urban van or open pick-up or drop side. The uniqueness of the design and engineering is in its versatility, packaging, light weight, strength and in the understanding of current and future urban cargo operations which we’ve already been successfully developing with our current EAV models.”
LINCS is built on an aluminium skateboard chassis platform utilising two linked in-hub motors from Saietta Group. The chassis itself contains EAV’s standard removable interchangeable Li-ion battery pack providing a range of up to 100 miles within an urban or intra-urban environment. The driver’s cab is located either on the left or righthand side of the LINCS, depending on the market, and is equipped with ‘EAVAdvanced’ driving controls and in-cab systems. LINCS has been designed and future-proofed for fully autonomous operations. Uniquely, LINCS also features a ‘Road train’ capability where, on inter-urban or urban deployments, multiple LINCS can be linked together into a single autonomous vehicle.
“EAV is much more than an eCargo bike company. We’re a transport technology solutions business.” commented Nigel Gordon-Stewart, Executive Chairman at EAV. “We developed and launched the EAV2Cubed and its predecessor the EAVan as the foundation of a complete urban Future Transport vision conceived from a blank sheet of paper. In a new, environment and resource conservation-focused world, legacy automotive design and engineering solutions simply don’t work. They’re too heavy, too big and, from a resource and environmental point of view, are just wasteful. LINCS is the next step in our programme which sees a complete replacement of legacy urban road transport with new, sustainable, zero-emissions, environmentally-friendly, safe – but extremely efficient – solutions for cargo and passengers.”
Mobileye, the intel owned company that specialises in vision-based autonomous vehicles, is now testing its AVs in New York City. The company says the trial in New York – the largest city in North America and one of the world’s most challenging driving environments – “proves how its unique approach is enabling rapid geographic and economic scalability”.
The aim is to test Mobileye’s camera-only autonomous vision system on NYC’s highly congested and often unpredictable streets. The company will initially run two cars, increasing to seven in the near future. Under New York rules the cars must have a safety driver with hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Mobileye’s True Redundancy approach first ‘doubles down’ on the computer-vision subsystem before adding a lidar/radar subsystem for redundancy.
Of particular interest will be to evaluate how the car’s vision and automated control system copes with pedestrians, bicyclists, aggressive drivers, double-parked vehicles, construction zones, emergency vehicles, tunnels and bridges.
Professor Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and president and CEO of Mobileye, says, “Driving in complex urban areas such as New York City is a crucial step in vetting the capabilities of an autonomous system and moving the industry closer to commercial readiness.”
Mobileye plans to begin operating an autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel in early 2022.
Swedish automotive technology company Veoneer has signed an agreement with Australian LiDAR company Baraja to industrialise its Spectrum-Scan LiDAR technology as a means of reaching Level 4 autonomy.
Veoneer says it chose to partner with Baraja after extensive testing, as Baraja offers “robust technology and a roadmap that lends itself to be amongst the smallest size lidars to enable vehicle integration”.
Sydney-based Baraja was founded in 2016 by telecommunications engineers Federico Collarte and Cibby Pulikkaseril who developed a way to use the proven optical fibre and photonics technology to solve legacy LiDAR problems.
Instead of relying on fragile moving parts and oscillating mirrors, it uses dispersive optics to scan the environment, significantly improving reliability and robustness compared to traditional Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) or spinning LiDAR.
Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan LiDAR creates high-resolution “pointclouds” to accurately detect objects at more than 250 meters away at speed, while remaining immune to interference from other sensors or light sources. The technology is also more tolerant to factors that have hindered traditional LiDAR systems such as heat, shock and vibration. Baraja has tested its LiDAR in the harshest conditions, from the Australian outback to arctic tundra, to ensure it works in any condition.
This technology will be complimented with Veoneer’s industry experience in developing automotive grade sensing solutions for driver assistance and autonomy applications.
Jan Carlson, Chairman, President and CEO of Veoneer, says, “Veoneer is committed to offering safe, robust, high-quality sensor solutions to vehicle manufacturers globally. We have performed extensive research among 70 LiDAR technology companies globally, and have come to the conclusion that by partnering with Baraja, Veoneer will be able to offer and integrate scalable automotive-grade LiDAR-sensors in future cars, at competitive prices.”
Federico Collarte, Founder & CEO of Baraja, adds, “Veoneer is a natural partner for us.We built our technology to enable autonomous driving that is safer, more accessible and ready today for the next generation of vehicles. By combining our technology with Veoneer’s vast experience in automotive design and platform integration, this partnership helps ensure the world’s leading automotive brands can bring that autonomous reality to more people.”