Verizon-Cisco collaboration advances autonomous vehicle tech

BASKING RIDGE, N.J.— Cisco and Verizon collaborated on a successful proof of concept demo in Las Vegas, showing that cellular and mobile edge compute (MEC) technology can enable autonomous driving solutions without the use of costly physical Roadside Units to extend radio signals.

The result paves a simpler and more efficient route to powering applications such as autonomous/unmanned last-mile delivery bots and robotaxis in cities like Las Vegas, where public MEC technologies exist. Additionally, cities and roadway operators could create safer roads with C-V2X applications including pedestrian protection, emergency and transit vehicle pre-emption, on and off-ramp protection (e.g., when a loaded truck needs autonomous guidance to merge or brake safely), and potentially others that involve vehicles approaching intersections with traffic signals.

Proof of concept

Autonomous features in connected vehicles have always relied on roadside radios to extend the signals vehicles use for low-latency communication with each other and surrounding connected infrastructure. The Cisco and Verizon test proved that Verizon’s LTE network and public 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, together with Cisco Catalyst IR1101 routers in connected infrastructure, can meet the latency thresholds required for autonomous driving applications – replacing the costly roadside radios previously required to meet those needs.

By using LTE and edge compute to virtualize the role of the Roadside Units, C-V2X communications proved to be more streamlined – likely to result in improved efficiency and cost effectiveness for municipalities, infrastructure providers, and application developers working with autonomous vehicles. (C-V2X refers to a vehicle’s ability to communicate with other vehicles and connected infrastructure surrounding it.)

The result demonstrates that connected and autonomous vehicle applications can be deployed today using LTE networks, mobile edge compute, and in-vehicle interfaces deployed by OEMs. These capabilities could lead to safer, less congested roads with current connected and autonomous vehicles, with scalability for future applications hosted at the edge and using LTE and 5G connectivity.

Connected transportation – powered by cellular

Improving communication between vehicles and their surrounding infrastructure is essential for creating safer roadways and enabling the autonomous future of driving. Intersections must be securely connected and equipped with compute to allow applications at the edge to communicate and inform split-second decision making.

“This test is a huge milestone in proving that the future of connectivity for IoT applications can be powered by cellular,” said Krishna Iyer, Director of Systems Architecture, Verizon. “We’re marking the strength of mobile edge compute platforms for connected transportation innovation with much more streamlined architecture. Together with Cisco technologies, we’re setting the foundation potentially to realize a ubiquitous IoT in the connected and autonomous future of driving.”

“The future of autonomous vehicles cannot progress without reliable communication between vehicles and their surrounding environments,” said Mark Knellinger, Lead Transportation Solutions Architect, Cisco. “This is huge for roadway operators in that it relieves them of the massive expense of deploying and operating a dedicated V2X environment.”

— by Matt Conte, Verizon

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GM executive Telva McGruder promoted as automotive giant’s tech-inclusion missions rapidly evolve

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DETROIT, MI (BDPA Detroit) ― General Motors Company (GM), welcomes Telva McGruder as their new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In a recent statement, the global automotive corporation looks forward to Telva’s leadership as she expands on their current Diversity team’s efforts to bring GM closer to their aspiration of being the most inclusive company in the world.

Telva recently served as GM’s Director of Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions in the Sustainable Workplaces organization at General Motors. Named to her last position in August of 2016, Telva supported the global footprint as she leads facility engineering, technologies, energy strategy and multiple facility management strategies. Her team designs and implements sustainable technical solutions, ensuring environments for successful enterprise operations. Her team also focused on comprehensive facility management operations through key business partnerships. Global process leadership in the areas of facility maintenance, energy procurement, contract management and material handling ensure coordination across the operating regions.

telva-mcgruder_gm_headPreviously, Telva was Tool and Die Commodity Engineering Manager in Global Body Manufacturing Engineering. In this role, she led the engineers responsible for closure panel engineering and launch deliverables on all North American vehicle programs.  Prior to that assignment, Telva was the Engineering Group Manager of Die Center Program Management, where she led the team responsible for tool and die strategy, planning, quality and launch for global vehicle programs.

Telva earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and began her career as a Test Operations Engineer for Sverdrup Technology, working at the NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, OH.  She moved on to start her career with General Motors as a manufacturing engineer in 1994 while completing her Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University.  Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility and influence within manufacturing and manufacturing engineering, including manufacturing maintenance, operations and project management for major Press Center projects. Her career path has led her through Ohio, Indiana, Ontario, and she is now making contributions in Michigan.

GM Orion Assembly - Bolt EV and Sonic

Telva contributes to development of the talent pipeline for General Motors. She is the president of the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) and also serves as the GM executive liaison for the Women of Color STEM Conference and the BEYA STEM Conference, which GM proudly sponsors.  With her focus on personal and professional growth, Telva is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development for the Oakland University School of Health Sciences. She also serves as a dedicated member of the Advisory Board for the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.

Along with her professional accomplishments, Telva is dedicated to teaching and leading others inside and outside of General Motors. She enjoys mentoring professionals as well as motivating young students to pursue STEM fields and leadership opportunities. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and committed to building girls of courage, confidence and character. Among her volunteer activities, Telva has served as a mentor for FIRST FRC high school robotics teams and is a volunteer for A World in Motion, an SAE program.

Telva enjoys wonderful life experiences with her husband, son and two daughters.  Telva is a positive, driven individual with a keen sense of what is important.  She looks forward to continued opportunities to contribute in both local and professional communities.

Source and photo credits:
GM  (Assemble line Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet)

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Amazon is acquiring Zoox for $1.2 billion to help bring their vision of autonomous ride-hailing to reality

FOSTER CITY, CAAmazon has signed an agreement to acquire Zoox, a California-based company working to design autonomous ride-hailing vehicles from the ground up. Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead the team as they innovate and drive towards their mission.

Zoox is a forward-thinking team that is pioneering the future of ride-hailing by designing autonomous technology from the ground up with passengers front-of-mind. Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead Zoox as a standalone business as they innovate and drive towards their mission.

“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we’re excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead.”

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. “We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”

zoox-tech

“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” said Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”

Zoox started in 2014 with the vision of purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack. Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer, with tightly integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience. Zoox’s approach to invention provides flexibility and the means to iterate rapidly to continuously deliver a superior experience for customers.

Completion of this transaction is subject to review and customary closing conditions.

― Source and courtesy photos: Zoox/The SiliconReview

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Elon Musk’s ‘Master Plan’ for Tesla: Solar power, fully autonomous car-sharing and heavy vehicles

Tesla chief executive lays out plan for combination of Tesla and SolarCity

MarketWatch‘s Jeremy Owens reports Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk doesn’t want to stop with electric cars: “He sees a future with heavy electric trucks and buses, as well as autonomous electric car-sharing networks, all powered by solar energy.”

That is the vision Musk laid out, part of a push by the car maker’s leader for the acquisition of SolarCity, a residential solar-power company in which Musk is heavily invested. In a recent blog post, which Musk had been teasing for more than a week on Twitter, he said that solar-power generation captured by Tesla’s Powerwall batteries is key to his vision for the future of Tesla.

Musk summed up his original “Master Plan” listed below  verbatim:

• Build sports car.
• Use that money to build an affordable car.
• Use that money to build an even more affordable car.
• While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options.

Select here to read more

Source: MarketWatch.com
Photo: Tesla Motors

 

Interested in a $20-an-hour job ‘driving’ a Google self-driving car?

PHOENIX, AZ—If you are looking for a job and you live in or around Phoenix, Arizona, your ship may have just come in. Or rather, your driverless car. Google is hiring $20-per-hour “vehicle safety specialists” for its self-driving car testing in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler,  as reported in The Arizona Republic.

google-cartekTesters will work in teams of two per vehicle, one behind the wheel to take over if necessary. The other tester will sit in the passenger seat with a laptop documenting the testing and submitting reports. The “passenger” needs to focus constantly on a range of software systems and give Google engineers concise written and oral feedback.

— Source: DigitalTrends.com
Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/google-driverless-car-driver-job/#ixzz48aB15mqm

DOT Secretary Foxx Announces Smart City Challenge Finalists @ SXSW

AUSTIN, TX —Urban Land Institute (ULI) reports seven (7) cities—Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California—have been named finalists for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Smart City Challenge by DOT.

The department has pledged up to $40 million (subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “smart city” and “become the first U.S. city to fully integrate innovative technologies—self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors—into their transportation network.” Up to $10 million likely will be added by Industry partners.

DOTSecFoxx.jpgThe finalists were announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, president and chief operating officer of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., and Rick Clemmer, chief executive officer of NXP Semiconductors. Also present were mayors of five of the finalist cities—Steve Adler of Austin, Andrew Ginther of Columbus, Sly James of Kansas City, Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, and Charlie Hales of Portland. The announcement was made at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase being held at the South by Southwest conference (SXSW). Read more

photo credits: DOT/AP

Ford Announces SMART Mobility Plan at CES

Photo: bdpatoday

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 5, 2016 – Ford is exploring linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to its vehicles to allow consumers to control lights, thermostats, security systems and other features of their homes from their car, and to stop, start, lock, unlock and check their vehicle’s fuel range from the comforts of their couch.

Ford is working to link the home automation devices with its vehicles through industry-leading Ford SYNC®. This comes as half of consumers say they will buy at least one smart home product in the next year, according to Icontrol Networks.

“Consumers increasingly want to stay connected to their homes while on the move,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services. “Linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to vehicles via SYNC would fulfill that desire, and allow consumers to connect with their vehicles even when they aren’t behind the wheel.”

With more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020, Ford’s industry-leading communications and entertainment technology is offering customers even more connectivity. Amazon Echo and Wink connectivity innovations are part of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

SYNC Connect and Amazon Echo
Ford is looking to use new SYNC Connect technology to link vehicles with the Amazon cloud-based voice service Alexa, which would allow customers to access their vehicle from inside their home. Using Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker and voice command device that interfaces with Alexa, Ford owners could request assistance with various functions of their car including:

  • Start/stop the vehicle
  • Lock/unlock
  • State range and charge status of their electric vehicle
  • Check fuel level/miles-to-empty
  • State vehicle mileage summary
  • Provide vehicle location with street name and driving time/mileage home

While at home, a Ford owner would experience an interaction such as this:

Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my scheduled car start time.”
Alexa: “Here is the list of your current go times. You have a start time set for Monday at 7 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday at 5:45 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my car’s driving range.”
Alexa: “You have an available range of 56 miles.”

Alexa also provides a link to a variety of Internet-enabled smart devices, such as lights, home security systems, automatic garage doors and more.

From inside the vehicle, a driver would access Alexa through the steering wheel-mounted voice recognition button, allowing the driver to make requests of connected smart devices or functions of Alexa, including weather reports, music, shopping lists and more.

On the move, a driver could ask and receive answers to the following:

“Alexa, is my garage door closed?”
“Alexa, turn my porch lights on.”
“Alexa, when is my next appointment?”

SYNC AppLink and Wink
Ford also is working with Wink, the smart home platform that brings together smart home devices from many different companies. Compatibility with SYNC AppLink enables Wink users to easily control and automate their smart home device on the dashboard of their car or through voice control.

For example, a driver nearing home could have the option to either press a button or say a command that opens the garage door, turns on the lights, and unlocks the front door.

“Connecting homes and cars is all about making life easier and convenient for our customers,” said Butler. “As smart homes and smart cars continue to evolve, SYNC technology makes it easy to implement features that will make life better and more convenient for our customers.”

— Source: Ford Motor Company

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