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Informing the decisions of automotive industry stakeholders since 1992.

Welcome... the Q3 2017 issue of Automotive Megatrends Magazine.

Autonomous cars will be ready to roll out onto our roads in 2021, according to a number of OEMs. Regulators, to date understandably cautious about greenlighting autonomous vehicles (AVs) on public roads, now appear increasingly interested - and there’s also slow but growing consumer acceptance of the technology’s imminence.

Yet whilst the public focus is on handsfree car commuting, autonomous driving offers some considerable commercial and safety benefits for the trucking industry, with a number of start-ups preparing to compete with the major OEMs.

For AVs to succeed, however, there’s a need for all stakeholders to play their part – not just the OEMs and suppliers, but smart cities, telcos, infrastructure providers, service providers…

Martin Kahl, Editor


Automotive Megatrends Magazine ISSN: 2053 776X Publisher: Automotive Megatrends Ltd 1-3 Washington Buildings Stanwell Road, Penarth CF64 2AD, UK T: +44 (0) 2920 707 021 Registered number: 08000516 VAT number: GB 171 5423 23 Managing Director: Gareth Davies Editor: Martin Kahl Contributors: Christoph Domke Dane Jaques Freddie Holmes Megan Lampinen Michael Nash Nikolaus S. Lang Xavier Boucherat Production: Anmol Mothy


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BMW's search for sheer driverless pleasure



From manufacturers to mayors, AV success requires multiparty buy-in


Autonomous trucking provides lucrative opportunities

Solve motion sickness to win at autonomous driving

The start-ups seeking success in autonomous trucking



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What AV developers can learn from the drone experience


From F1 to Route 1: 3D printing shows mainstream potential

AVs and cyber security inseparable, says software developer

AV propulsion: it’s all about ‘pinpoint levels of control’


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Automation, electrification, and regulation boost demand for AHSS

Data to displace drivers in a decade

Steel still relevant? More than ever, says supplier


In the pursuit of driverless cars, don’t forget the powertrain

Automation - it's so much clearer in HD

Multi-modal HMI essential to build trust in AVs

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Cities push for AVs

From manufacturers to mayors, AV success requires multiparty buy-in Thanks to maturing technology and a broad range of benefits, cities are speeding up the adoption of autonomous vehicles, writes the Boston Consulting Group’s Nikolaus S. Lang


he tide has turned. Big cities around the world are dropping their earlier wariness and beginning to embrace autonomous vehicles (AVs). Public opinion is similarly coming around as people grow frustrated with rising traffic and parking shortages. With the technical problems largely solved, cities and their industrial partners are now working at solving the remaining regulatory and commercial challenges. Those developments were in full view in Boston, where it took the municipal and state governments only four months to approve a series of AV trials. The World Economic Forum (WEF) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have been collaborating on the future of urban mobility for several years now, and have worked with Boston as the partner city for AV deployment since summer of 2016. The successes so far are further evidence that the future of urban mobility will be autonomous.

Consumers and cities pushing for AVs

In Asia, Singapore has advanced testing with Boston-based start-up nuTonomy and others, with a view to commercial activities from 2018. The testing includes the 2016 launch of nuTonomy’s self-driving taxi pilot programme in the city’s ‘one-north’ district 10

The past year has seen a flurry of activity around autonomous vehicles across the key stakeholders. Cities, consumers and automotive OEMs and suppliers are all making strides. In BCG interviews with 50 city policymakers worldwide back in 2015,

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Cities push for AVs

Exhibit 1: Findings from customer and city research Many consumers are very open to trying and buying a self-driving car (58%) The key reason for this is not having to park a self-driving car (44%)

Consumers want a traditional OEM to produce the self-driving car (46%) To consumers, a self-driving car is electric or hybrid (66%) Many are willing to pay more than $5K extra for a self-driving car They are slightly more reluctant to share a self-driving taxi, but will do it at a high discount

Cities expect self-driving vehicles to become a reality in the next 10 years Key impediments to them are public acceptance and technological readiness SDVs primarily seen as last mile solution complementing public transport Cities prefer having many private players offering self-driving taxis

88% already expected to have commercial AV operations by 2025. In a separate customer survey with 5,500 respondents from 30 large cities, 58% said they were willing to try out an autonomous car. They were most interested in avoiding the tedious search for a parking space. Only 37% were willing to share a robo-taxi, but the number jumped to 50% when the ride included a discount due to the economies involved (see exhibit 1 for detailed research findings).

Recent examples across the world show the push towards AVs. In the United States, the state of California has given out licenses for AV testing to dozens of commercial operators, while Ann Arbor officials worked with the University of Michigan to set up a 23acre mini-city for testing driverless cars. In Europe, Gothenburg sees considerable activity with the Drive Sweden initiative and Volvo’s Drive Me project. In Asia, Singapore has advanced testing with nuTonomy and others, and is planning for commercial applications from 2018. Japanese officials are encouraging AV trials in a variety of environments, from cities like Tokyo and Nagoya to small rural towns with growing elderly populations.

Copyright © 2017 by The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The tide has turned. Big cities around the world are dropping their earlier wariness and beginning to embrace autonomous vehicles

Activity has also increased among nearly all the automotive OEMs. GM has made big-play investments in ridesharing provider Lyft and automation start-up Cruise; Ford created a new company, Smart Mobility; VW founded its own mobility brand Moia, while Daimler launched several services for its ‘moovel’ ecosystem, to name a few.

Boston shows the way

Boston’s process is especially revealing. Back in 2015, the city government launched “Go Boston 2030: Imagining Our Transportation Future.” The

initiative generated a broad citywide plan for investments to improve mobility for underserved residents, reduce carbon emissions, and promote economic development. Early activity focused on expanding public transportation and bicycling. But AV technology soon came to the fore.

The WEF working group chose Boston for the trials because it is a good mix of car-centric American and public-transit-centric European city archetypes. Winter weather and the irregular city layout would help to test the limits of the technology. The


Cities push for AVs

Exhibit 2: How AVs Benefit Individuals and Society Improved road safety

More efficient public transport spending

— Substantial reduction in crashes by 87% feasible1

— Reduction in public transit losses in low density areas

Improved reliability & experience


Decrease in pollution — Decrease of emissions by up to 66%2

— More predictable, shorter travel times

Freed up space — Need for parking reduced by ~48%2

Increased traffic efficiency — Traffic time can be shortened by 30%2

Productivity boost


— Over 1.2B hrs of driving time savings1


Better affordability of transport — ~50% less cost for ride sharing vs. owning1

Equitable access to mobility

— Mobility for elderly, families and mobility impaired

1. Based on fleet modeling for model city with 5M inhabitants over 10 year horizon; 2. Based on simulation of Boston downtown core over 24 hour period

collaboration with local and state governments culminated in January 2017 when nuTonomy, a start-up based on research at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), began testing autonomous cars in the up-andcoming Seaport district next to downtown. From kick-off to having AVs on the road took just four months, a blueprint for other cities.

The cars in question were electric Renault Zoes, equipped with a range of sensors to feed the autonomous driving software. Among the autonomous hardware were three Velodyne LiDAR sensors, a Mobileye camera, two additional cameras and a host of radars. Safety drivers rode along to oversee the trials and take over if necessary. They initially limited activity by speed, time of day, and weather conditions. As the cars demonstrated “agile learning” and reached milestones around performance, they expanded the testing, including South Station downtown, one of the two busiest commuter hubs.

That agile learning included some issues for which researchers had not prepared. The Seaport district has numerous seagulls swooping low in


Copyright © 2017 by The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


As more cities embrace autonomous transport, conventional automotive companies will have to move away from pure manufacturing and toward mobility services

search of food. The ever-watchful AVs initially saw the looming seagulls as a hazard and took steps to avoid them, until the researchers adjusted the programming to ignore such small flying objects. Snow was a more predictable challenge, and the cars are learning to handle those obstacles as well. With 300 miles driven, the team has had no unanticipated system failures. The most common scenarios for the safety drivers to

take over control involved the unusual behaviour of other traffic participants, such as drivers going in the wrong direction on one-way streets, construction vehicles blocking the street, or emergency vehicles expecting everyone to pull over.

A key next step is having passengers in the vehicles and testing the AVs as a real transportation option. Recently, nuTonomy announced a partnership with ride-sharing

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Cities push for AVs

Municipal leaders worldwide are looking for new solutions to meet rising urban challenges, and AV-based mobility services are an essential building block

provider Lyft in Boston to define the on-demand AV user experience. In addition, Optimus Ride and Delphi were approved as the next two companies to test AVs in Boston.

The benefits of autonomy are outweighing concerns…

While the AVs were zipping around Boston’s downtown, a team from BCG’s advanced analytics group Gamma was conducting a complex traffic simulation. They were drawing on real traffic and road information from throughout the city to suggest how AVs would influence traffic flows in the city, especially along the key metrics of Go Boston 2030.

The team modelled out two different scenarios: first was “Private Car Evolution,” which presumed that a third of current personal car trips would convert to self-driving private cars or self-driving taxis. The second was “Robo-Transport Revolution,” where self-driving taxis and minibuses replaced personal car trips entirely as well as a portion of public transit ridership.

In both scenarios, Boston needed fewer vehicles and parking spaces, CO2 emissions fell dramatically, and people spent less time in travel. Not surprisingly, the robo-transport scenario had a more pronounced impact, as parking spaces were cut in half and emissions fell by two-thirds. These findings are just a few of the overall benefits from autonomous vehicles both for the city as a whole,

and for individual. Safety is another major benefit, and models have shown up to 90% reduction in crashes from AVs. Boston lost 22 people to traffic fatalities in 2016, so there is substantial margin for improvement over human drivers. And more people would have access to mobility services, including residents on the outskirts and elderly or disabled citizens.

As people recognise the benefits around safety, reliability and access, they overcome their lingering concerns about AVs (see exhibit 2 for holistic view of AV benefits).

…but some questions remain

Municipal leaders worldwide are looking for new solutions to meet rising urban challenges, and AV-based mobility services are an essential building block. Technologically, the AVs are ready, but commercial structures are still emerging, as entrepreneurs try out business models for managing robo transportation fleets. How should they coordinate the various transport modes? Should there be an open interface, with one unifying customerfacing app for everything? Helsinki is testing that with its recently launched Whim app.

The legal hurdles are also significant, especially around liability for road traffic incidents. Germany as a first mover on the global stage recently passed a law to broadly legalise the operation of AVs as long as a driver is ready to override the system. While the new law doesn’t yet include complete autonomy (SAE Level 5), it paves the way for Germany to take a pioneering role in the adoption of AVs.

A new future for the automotive industry

As more cities embrace autonomous transport, conventional automotive companies will likely have to go beyond technology investments and redesign their role. They’ll move away from pure manufacturing and toward mobility services. They will need not just new business models but also a new kind of product development, as the traditional seven-year product lifecycle of cars cannot keep up with the fastmoving technology.

Their target market will also change, as sales shift from private individuals and families and toward fleet operators, including potentially the municipalities themselves. Unit car sales will fall, but revenue could rise if the companies can capture a significant share of the value created by autonomy. That’s especially likely if they can help design an effective business model for mobility services.

The sooner they do this, the greater their likelihood of leading the way for autonomous car design. Otherwise, the non-car innovators in this space, from Google to Uber or Lyft, will gain customer loyalty and turn the manufacturers into commodity operators.

Ongoing trials in Boston and around the world are demonstrating the potential for autonomous cars to solve pressing urban problems around safety, reliability and access. Cities are now actively working to lay the groundwork for future mobility services. It’s time for the broader automotive ecosystem to catch up and support this emerging new industry.


Self-driving trucks

Autonomous trucking provides lucrative opportunities Christoph Domke, Director - Mobility 2030, Global Strategy Group at KPMG looks at the role of autonomous drive technology in commercial trucking


he trucking sector is currently undergoing significant changes. We are likely to see more developments and disruptions in the industry over the next ten years than in the last 50 years combined. New business models like digital freight brokerage, last mile delivery, fleet management systems, concepts such as vans and drones, combined with real time data, sensorisation and 3D printing will continue to transform the sector. One of the biggest disruptions in the market is autonomous truck and platooning technology. In terms of forecast revenue, it is currently in second place, lagging behind connectivity and telematics. While autonomous trucks have operated successfully for years in off-highway vehicle environments like corn fields in Iowa and mines in Australia, we now expect to also see the technology applied to on-highway vehicles.

While fully autonomous trucks are not expected to be seen on the roads before 2030, truck platooning will become a more common long-haul trucking application from 2023 14

Trends driving the future of autonomous trucks are manifold. The growth of populations in urban areas is stoking demand for hub-and spoke logistics, autonomous driving technologies, and greater connectivity. Moreover, high fuel expenditures and volatile fuel prices are forcing fleet operators to optimise total cost of ownership and operational efficiency. Furthermore, the convergence of connectivity networks and the leveraging of Big Data are resulting in the development of smart and connected cities, road networks and vehicles. In addition, as the average truck driver age (e.g. 49 in the US)

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Self-driving trucks

Autonomous driving technologies and vehicles will usher new value chain partners into the trucking landscape, and could include IT companies, cyber security companies, and algorithm-based developers

continues to increase, driver shortage remains a significant issue for the trucking market. Thus, OEMs have shifted their focus towards automated mobility as a solution to help older drivers and attract young drivers.

The benefits of autonomous drive technology are clear. It can improve safety and lead to better fuel consumption, heighten driver comfort and reduce stress levels as well as enhance fleet productivity and management. In the distant future, fully autonomous trucks (Level 4) could help operators save on drivers’ salaries, thus completely transforming cost structures. While fully autonomous trucks are not expected to be seen in the market before 2030, truck platooning will become a more common long-haul trucking application from 2023 onwards.

From a technology standpoint, problems such as adverse weather conditions or interactions with cars while exiting highways still pose challenges. Reliability on wireless communication, software, maps, and sensors must also be clearly addressed. Furthermore, in the years ahead, fleets will need to be able to use multi-brand platooning, rather than only being able to link trucks of a single brand.

The convergence and integration of sensors, connectivity, driveline technologies, and algorithm components will be necessary for a fully functional, Level 3 (limited selfdriving automation) autonomous truck. Sensors improve spatial awareness and obstacle detection up to 360°, enabling ADAS technology and active safety functions and reducing risk of accident. Connectivity will facilitate communication between

the truck, the driver, and the environment, ensuring that all are informed and functioning. Driveline will be relied upon to handle the operation of the truck in autonomous mode, enabling technology such as ACC that can control speed. Algorithms and the operating system (OS) will be the brain centre of the truck when driven in autonomous mode, requiring no driver input.

Driveline is expected to experience the largest decrease in cost over the forecast period due to its current maturity in the market. Amid its high level of complexity, the demand and cost for algorithms is projected to be the highest by 2025. Consolidation and partnership potential in the sensor, connectivity, driveline and algorithm market is high as many OEMs and Tier I suppliers venture into new technological areas, especially for algorithms that will require a new type of expertise.

With technology available today, the capability exists to produce a functional Level 3 autonomous truck. However, the industry is currently at a stage where technology has outpaced regulations, societal acceptance and business case considerations. The development of legislative guidelines in key regions like Europe and the US in areas such as safety and liability is crucial to the testing and potential of autonomous trucks. Society needs to be convinced as scepticism of autonomous driving on public roads remains high, even though the technology is available and has proven capable in on-road demonstrations. The business case for autonomous driving is still under development. OEMs and suppliers will need to persuade fleet managers to invest significantly in this technology

and still pay wages for drivers of vehicles in operation. This is certainly not an easy undertaking, with autonomous vehicle technology units (Level 3) costing between US$30,000 and US$50,000 (retail).

In addition, mismanagement, interpretation and storage of vehiclegenerated data can lead to cyber security issues, including hacking and/or identity theft. With autonomous driving technology development receiving widespread OEM focus, the future of the market is also highly dependent upon the support of government policies – such as market incentives such as toll and tax reductions – and early consumer adoption. The role of the driver in the autonomous truck of the future has also been under discussion in recent months, particularly amid significant driver shortages in countries such as the US and Japan. There is some way to go until we see fully autonomous trucks on our roads, so truck platooning still requires drivers to be present in the cab, even though not actively driving. Given that they still need paying, their responsibilities could involve office management duties or looking for freight via mobile apps.

In a future with fully autonomous long-haul truck-trailer combinations operating in certain highway corridors, the question arises as to whether trucks are needed at all. For instance, trailers could be fitted with engines or motors. This would make it possible to lengthen the trailers under current legislative restrictions in Europe and increase the revenue potential for fleet managers and individual drivers.


Self-driving trucks Level 3 autonomous trucks will become more widespread by the middle of the next decade, enabled by the convergence of advanced technologies including sensors, radar, connectivity systems, cameras, and safety systems. Key technology growth has impacted the following areas in particular:

• LiDAR: The market is showing signs

of moving towards solid-state LiDAR, but the first generation of commercialised LiDAR is likely to be fixed-beam laser scanners with two or three suppliers dominating the space.

• Sensor fusion: Stereo cameras and LiDAR are likely to emerge as strong enabling technologies backed by multiple layers of data stitching to create optimal mode transition.

• V2X

communication for connectivity: V2X will allow for a smart, connected, and safer world through communication between vehicles, devices, roads, and cities. Without improved communication between vehicles, traffic could worsen.

• Driver

information displays: Driver information displays that prioritise alerts and smart displays of vital information will be a future trend; the market will move towards digitisation of information about the truck and driver health.

The advent of autonomous driving technologies and vehicles will continue to usher new value chain partners into the trucking landscape, and could include IT companies such as Google and Facebook, cyber security

The business case for autonomous driving is still under development. OEMs and suppliers need to persuade fleet managers to invest technology and still pay wages for drivers of vehicles in operation • 48V power net: With a growing demand for power and the need to find a commercially viable power network able to complement autonomous driving, 48V architecture is likely to emerge as a go-to philosophy.

• Deep learning through algorithms:

Complex driving scenarios posed for highly automated driving would require high-precision, map-based data combined with a vehicle’s sensory vision technology to ensure safety in all conditions.

• HD mapping for algorithms and

connectivity: More complex driving scenarios thrown at high automation would require a new layer of data validation and redundancy that can be provided by HD maps capable of offering static data with high precision.


companies, and algorithm-based developers. Various leading nontraditional players have already made significant investments in the area in recent years or made announcements to do so in the future. These include Uber (via the acquisition of Otto), Google’s Waymo and China’s Baidu.

Given that the number of autonomous start-up companies working in the autonomous trucking sector is still very small compared to those in the car industry that offer such vehicle technology (over 100), the segment is expected to see further growth and competition over the coming years. While shifting from pure hardware to service providers, most OEMs will further develop in-house autonomous solutions while also looking towards potential synergistic partnerships or acquisitions of algorithm developers and Tier I and Tier II suppliers to assist in new technology expertise.

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

BMW on autonomous driving

BMW's search for sheer driverless pleasure No contradiction: sheer driving pleasure and autonomous driving are indeed compatible, says BMW’s Dr Ian Robertson. By Martin Kahl

Sheer driving pleasure’… ‘The ultimate driving machine’… BMW is a company bullish about the very act of driving. At the heart of everything BMW does, everything it develops, produces and promotes, is driving, and the driver. Yet BMW is also at the forefront of driverless car development.

BMW board member Dr Ian Robertson speaks openly about his love for driving – and for driving fast. He is also a keen proponent of the hands-free car. As the Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Brand BMW, Aftersales BMW Group, to give him his full title, told Megatrends, manual driving and automated driving are highly compatible. The OEM talks not of semiautonomous and fully-autonomous driving, but of highly and fully automated driving, and although the company’s long-term planning includes cars that require no driver, the focus is on developing technology that enables a driver in the driving seat to take time off when the going gets tedious.

According to the five levels of autonomy as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Level 3 is the first stage of hands off the wheel, and eyes off the road. Even at Level 4, fully automated driving, there needs to be a driver in the driver's seat. “At Level 5, the driver is not required,” notes Robertson. “We are pushing towards Level 4. We're in Level 3 at the moment, and the length of time during which you can take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road is extending, but we're very conscious of the limitations of the technology before we enable Level 4.”

The word driving is very much in our DNA. But congestion is more and more of a challenge, so when you can't have that sheer driving pleasure, you are able to do something else. So, yes, I think the two fit very easily together - Dr Ian Robertson, BMW Group


BMW on autonomous driving Indeed, he believes Level 3 is “probably not possible under all circumstances.” Some companies, he says, are aiming for Level 4, bypassing Level 3. “Our view is that you need to develop the technology through Level 3 to get to Level 4.”

Automated driving levels as defined in SAE International Standard J3016

Driver no driver

Level 5 technology, then, appears to sit rather awkwardly with BMW's whole ethos of driving pleasure. Robertson, however, sees no contradiction. Quite the opposite: “The two fit very easily together. We are renowned for Sheer Driving Pleasure, and the Ultimate Driving Machine. The word driving is very much in our DNA. And it's very much in the brand positioning that our customers enjoy. But, of course, we live in a world today where congestion is more and more of a challenge, particularly in the urban environment, but also on the highways. And there is more than enough opportunity to engage the technology so that when you can't have that sheer driving pleasure, you are able to do something else. So, yes, I think the two fit very easily together.”

Robertson cites the example of his own daily commute into Munich from 35 kilometres (21 miles) south of the city.




1 2 3 4


No Automation Driver Partial Conditional High Full Assistance Automation Automation Automation Automation

The first 25km, he says, involves Autobahn driving with unrestricted speed – some drivers frequently drive at around 250kph (155 mph). “But the last 10km or so involves driving on the Mittlerer Ring, the Munich arterial, and it's bumper to bumper traffic that

varies between zero and 30kph, and then back to standstill. It’s here that the semi-autonomous technology works really well. I can take my eyes off the road, my hands off the steering wheel, and I can check my email. At that time, I'm just effectively in a train of traffic.”

In 2017, BMW, Intel and Mobileye announced plans 'to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021’


Automotive Megatrends Magazine

BMW on autonomous driving

From the point of view of what you can do as a passenger in an autonomous car, the flexibility that many people were thinking about is not possible because motion sickness will prevent it

The transition from Level 3 to Level 4 will be two-fold, says Robertson. “The first is the technological development, the second is the legislative framework that will enable this type of technology in certain circumstances but not all circumstances.”

The most likely application of Level 4 technology is where traffic is controlled, such as on Autobahns and motorways, he notes. “You're effectively segregated from oncoming traffic by barriers, and you have lane discipline which makes it easier to control. If you move into highly urban environments where there are so many variables, the technology development has to be much stronger.” Robertson expects the technology for both of these applications to be developed in parallel.

The handover time is a crucial area of debate. “The conscious time that drivers are alert to the road condition is dependent on the amount of time they are allowed to take their hands off the

wheel and eyes off the road,” he says. “We are restricting that technology because we know that if you go beyond a minute, or a minute and a half, the distraction is much greater and therefore, the ability to take control of the vehicle, should you need to, is more challenging.” The question is how and when self-driving technology can and cannot be activated.

“The last 10 kilometres of my journey that I mentioned takes, depending on the traffic, between ten and 25 minutes. Because the Mittlerer Ring is well controlled with segregated traffic, it's quite easy for our technology right now to enable me to take my hands off the wheel and my eyes off the road for that stretch of the journey. It can be done, and we know how to do it. But we also know that if I do that, and something happens, then the ability to come quickly back into the driving position is not as easy.” For this reason, BMW, like several other vehicle manufacturers pursuing autonomous drive technology, prompts the driver to take back

control by, for example, putting their hands on the steering wheel. “It can be as little as a touch,” notes Robertson, “but it's definitely a conscious decision to acknowledge that you're still responsible for the vehicle.”

One man’s boring…

In 2014, BMW demonstrated its autonomous drive technology at CES in Las Vegas. There, the OEM emphasised the use of the technology not for slow speed local city driving, where bumper to bumper and start-stop traffic is the tedious, frustrating and increasingly common aspect of driving, but instead for what it said were long stretches of boring highway driving. The driving pleasure that a driver might get out of their vehicle discussed then would come from winding country lanes, mountain roads and picturesque landscape. Clearly, what some people enjoy, others do not – a conundrum for those developing autonomous drive technology. We put this to Robertson.


BMW on autonomous driving

One person's excitement is another person's tedious drive. I think the technology will suit different people in different circumstances

“I see different applications. I like to drive at 250 kilometres an hour on a highway. But the thrill - and this is one of the thrills of living in Germany - is that at that speed you are completely alert and you are very conscious of the excitement that the speed brings. For some people, that's not what they do. They get on the highway and they drive at 120 kph, and they don't overtake. For them, that could be the moment to switch on the autonomous drive technology.”

Robertson points out that BMW’s automatic cruise control system is activated after 210 kph, adding a level of security with automatic braking. “On the other hand, in the downtown

environment where it is bumper to bumper, there isn't much for you to enjoy. Of course you can enjoy the other features of your car, but you're not going to enjoy sheer driving excitement. So one person's excitement is another person's tedious drive. I think the technology applications will suit different people in different circumstances.”

From HERE to there

Bringing autonomous cars to market is about much more than developing the vehicle technology. A range of stakeholders are involved, from infrastructure to telecommunications, and many are non-automotive players.

HD mapping is crucial to BMW's autonomous drive programme. In 2015, BMW Group, Audi and Daimler acquired HERE from Nokia. Intel and other have since bought into what Dr Ian Robertson believes could become the industry standard


A cornerstone of BMW’s autonomous drive programme, says Robertson, was the acquisition of HERE from Nokia, in which BMW Group invested along with Daimler and Audi. The OEMs have since been joined by Intel and a number of other companies. “We realised very early that the digital map was the framework foundation for autonomous driving. This doesn’t mean we require a significant processing capability in the background. We will try to do most of this in-car, but we obviously need a big back-end, artificial intelligence tool.”

Robertson points to BMW’s partnerships with Mobileye, an Israeli start-up which was not originally an automotive supplier, and Intel. “Intel was not known in automotive either, and it has become a much more embracing supplier in this regard. Mobileye then was acquired by Intel, which tells you that the partnership selection was a good one.”

In December 2016, Tencent bought into HERE, followed a month later by Intel. Delphi is working closely with HERE, and at the time of writing, Continental and Ford are both thought to be preparing similar announcements about joining HERE. “And although I won’t name names, there are many others now saying they want to be part of this partnership, because they can see that this technology, and the way we're structuring it, is likely to be one of the industry standards, if not the industry standard.” Robertson emphasises that the partnership which is developing will not be unique to BMW - but this is its strength, he says: “We fundamentally believe that the standardisation of this technology will be one of the things that the regulators want. Because the regulators, of course, want to see vast amounts of testing before they allow or enable.”

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

BMW on autonomous driving

Level 3 is probably not possible under all circumstances. Our view is that you need to develop the technology through Level 3 to get to Level 4

Testing times

It is widely recognised that testing and validation are essential for the successful implementation of autonomous drive technology. Varying cumulative mile or kilometre distances are cited by different OEMs and technology companies as the minimum required for validating autonomous drive technology. At BMW, around 250 million kilometres of testing and analysis is seen as the required distance to prove and improve the technology. “The mistake some companies have made is to enable that technology straight away. And then, of course, things can go wrong. We will enable the technology as its robustness develops in the next three or four years.”

In 2017, BMW announced testing of adapted 7 Series vehicles in Silicon Valley, in partnership with Intel and Mobileye as part of a plan ‘to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021’. Regulators naturally want testing to prove the technology, but some authorities are

more open than others to autonomous vehicles being tested on their public roads. Is Robertson satisfied with the support the industry is receiving from municipalities and local or national governments on this technology?

“We're at a very early stage of the regulatory framework. Many governments, such as the UK, Germany, the US and China, are encouraging the pilot application of this type of technology with the very clear statement that there has to be a driver in control when needed. The piloting of the technology is enabled in several countries now. So, that's useful. And as I said, the ability to reach Level 4 and Level 5, where the driver can do other things, or even get in the back, is something that no regulator has fully accommodated.

“But they're enabling the pilot because the pilot has, in essence, limited risk. In such a situation, an engineer would be seated behind the wheel working on developing the technology but also on hand to be a driver should the need arise.”

In-flight entertainment

With no-one driving, the question arises as to how people might occupy themselves in their autonomous cars. The notion that people might sit in autonomous cars and work, or read, or watch movies projected onto the car’s windows is countered by the fact that a small but significant number of people suffer some degree of motion sickness.

The success of the fully autonomous car with a fully customisable interior will depend on understanding and overcoming the causes of motion sickness, an area of research that, due to the lack of conclusive findings, is in its relative infancy. How can vehicle manufacturers accommodate motion sickness and other passenger reactions into the type of use that might be envisaged for a fully automated vehicle when the driver is not driving and people are sitting in the back, maybe watching films on their windows instead of looking through those windows?


BMW on autonomous driving Robertson has spoken publicly about the strange sensations he experienced when participating in BMW autonomous vehicle research. “We have a very extensive programme and a very realistic simulator, which we've been running now for about three years. I sat in it for what was due to be a two to three hour session, but after 15 minutes I was feeling so ill I had to pull the plug on it, literally.” There are many ambitious suggestions as to how people might view images and movies or surf the web in their autonomous cars, he notes, “but one

thing that is probably now very clear is that if you try to view images when the side panorama is moving past you, it doesn't work too well.” Trains and planes offer something interesting to look at outside, including sight of the horizon; occupants also generally do not sit facing the window, they only face forwards or backwards, and travel with the direction or face in the opposite direction of travel. Furthermore, trains and planes rarely brake suddenly, and their long history as established means of transportation includes deep familiarity with their respective travelling sensations.

2021 – the year of autonomous driving? 2021 is an important year for the automotive industry. It's the year that’s being targeted by numerous OEMs for the commercial launch of autonomous drive technology. ❍ Audi claims the new A8, unveiled in July 2017, is ‘the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving’. In 2020-2021, Audi plans to introduce a Level 4 Highway Pilot feature enabling hands-free driving at highway speeds where permitted; the vehicle will be capable of lane changes and overtaking ❍ BMW Group, Intel, and Mobileye are ‘collaborating to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021’. In May 2017, Delphi joined the collaboration ❍ Daimler is working with Bosch to develop fully automated and driverless driving, targeting highly automated (SAE Level 4) and fully automated (SAE Level 5) driving ‘by the beginning of the next decade’ ❍ Ford plans to produce a high volume, fully-autonomous vehicle for ride-sharing purposes in 2021 ❍ Kia plans a staged launch of autonomous drive technology to 2030; by 2020, it will commercialise partially-autonomous drive technology; within a decade Kia expects to have fully-autonomous car technology ready for market ❍ Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to launching more than ten vehicles with autonomous capabilities by 2020


“From the point of view of what you can do as a passenger in an autonomous car, the idea of moving the seats so they face each other right to left isn't going to happen. Moving the seats so you can look at a screen that is on the side window probably isn't going to happen either. The direction of travel will therefore be the direction in which you can do other things, such as watch a movie or read a book, or use some other device. But the flexibility that many people were thinking about is not possible because motion sickness will prevent it.”

Are we there yet? (No.)

It’s often said that autonomous drive technology is ready, with the mass rollout of autonomous cars being held back merely by the regulators. Robertson, however, disagrees. Asked whether the technology currently available is sufficient to bring autonomous vehicles successfully to market, his reply is short and sweet: “No, it's not.”

This explains why BMW has said it will take at least another four years to develop the earliest deployable technology. “And for Level 5, even longer.” Is Level 5 really a viable proposition in the foreseeable future? “It's basically the amount of data and the artificial intelligence to interpret it, and the systems to manage it securely, that require development,” explains Robertson. “And we know from the vision systems of 18 months ago to the vision systems of today, that we're making massive progress, but we're still not there. It's still not enough. Compared to flying a plane across the Atlantic, which has very few variables, driving a car, in most circumstances, has thousands and thousands of variables.”

Underlining the complexity of developing this technology, Robertson ends on a note of caution and reality: “At the end of the day, accidents happen because of human error. We will see many fewer accidents because human error will be avoided. What we don't have yet is the technology to simulate the capability of the human to make a decision that, in many instances, avoids an accident. And of course, that same decision-making in some instances unfortunately results in an accident.”

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

AVs and motion sickness

Solve motion sickness to win at autonomous driving Companies developing autonomous vehicle tech will ignore motion sickness at their peril. By Megan Lampinen


utonomous cars are coming, bringing with them a new definition of the daily commute. As the responsibility of driving passes to artificial intelligence (AI) systems, everybody becomes a passenger with time on their hands. The question then will be about how to spend that time – sleeping, catching up on work, watching a film or reading. Proponents suggest the possibilities are limitless – but are they really?

The elephant in the room

"When vehicles can start catering more to our needs, we will see commuting not as a grind but as part of entertainment or work. It's going to be part of our lives and not just this kind of weird twilight zone in between, which is what it is today," predicted Luis Cilimingras, Managing Director of design and innovation specialist IDEO London. However, already there's a problem – and it comes in the form of motion sickness. Cilimingras estimates that about one-third of people looking

at their phone in a car experience "a high degree" of motion sickness. With even more such activity expected to take place in self-driving vehicles – to which should be added the seemingly myriad possibilities being conjured up by interiors and electronics suppliers – Cilimingras was keen to offer up a large dose of reality: "These are things that need to be taken care of."

Most passengers who have tried to read in the back of a car for any length of time find out the entertainment value comes at the cost of motion sickness. That won't go away just because the car can drive itself. "It's probably the elephant in the room of the whole scenario," warned Phil Morse, Technical Liaison, Commercial Group at simulator provider Ansible Motion. "If you have ever endeavoured to read a book or engage in some visual task inside a car as a passenger, then you know what happens."

The problem was flagged by Dr Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW, Sales and

Your eyes, focused on a stationary object, tell you that you are not moving. But your vestibular system, or sense of balance, tells you that you are moving

- Janet Weisenberger, Ohio State University


AVs and motion sickness

The challenge is to make sure that the vehicle is behaving in a predictive way. Hard braking or rapid steering – we don’t often do this as humans. If a vehicle is doing this, it can cause motion sickness

Brand BMW, Aftersales BMW Group, at a recent future-proofing event hosted by the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). "When you start to do things rather than concentrate on the roads, other things happen to you. It's not very helpful to say to your children when they are unwell, 'Read a book. You'll feel better.' That doesn't generally help."

But it gets worse. Just sitting in a selfdriving car increases the chance of motion sickness. Robertson found this out firsthand during a session in an autonomous vehicle simulator. "It was to be a two-hour session at least but after a quarter of an hour I had to get out. I wasn't feeling too well," he commented.

The University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) predicts that up to 22% of adults are likely to experience motion sickness in self-driving cars, and that's not counting those who decide to read a book, text messages or check social media. For those engaging in activities that increase the severity and frequency of motion sickness, 37% will be affected.

The biological explanation

What specifically happens that makes someone feel nauseous when travelling in a moving vehicle? A quick search of the Internet reveals the multitude of conflicting views on the causes of motion sickness. Morse puts it down to "fundamental disruptions that are a result of visual and vestibular conflicts." Janet Weisenberger, Senior Associate Vice President for Research at Ohio State University (OSU) and Director of the Driving, describes it as a


- Chris Rockwell, Lextant "mismatch of sensory input" to the brain. As she told Megatrends: "If your eyes are fixated on your phone, or a book, or a map while driving, different sensory systems are sending different messages to the brain. Your eyes, focused on a stationary object, tell you that you are not moving. But your vestibular system, or sense of balance, tells you that you are moving."

UMTRI flagged three main factors behind motion sickness: conflict between vestibular and visual inputs, inability to anticipate the direction of motion, and lack of control over the direction of motion. A similar explanation came from Adrian Simms, Business Manager (Laboratory Test Systems) at simulator company AB Dynamics. He told Megatrends: "A driver has an expectation of what things will feel like. From a visual point of view, you expect things to come at you in a certain way. If suddenly it comes in to you in a completely alien way, it doesn't work. That's one part of motion sickness."

The other part involves an agreement between the senses – the vestibular conflict flagged by Morse and UMTRI. As Simms elaborated: "The accelerations of velocity that apply to the body are detected by your inner ear system, the vestibular system. You have your eyes telling your body you are doing something and you also have your inner ear telling you what you're doing. The two of them need to marry together very closely. If there's any disagreement between those senses, that can cause motion sickness."

Take action

There may be consensus on the causes, but the jury remains out on the solution. The problem poses a

significant obstacle to some of the biggest benefits promised by autonomy. Megatrends was told in confidence by one senior OEM engineer, "If you are in the autonomous car business but you're not looking at motion sickness, you might as well give up."

Nobody wants to give up such a promising field of development just yet. Lextant has been tackling the visual and vestibular conflicts specifically. The Columbus, Ohio-based supplier describes itself as 'a human experience company' that uses design research and insight translation to develop a deep understanding of people and their experiences, resulting in human-centred design. Chief Executive Chris Rockwell told this publication: "We are doing a ton of research with simulators in this area, and usually it has to do with predictability. The challenge is to make sure that the vehicle is behaving in a predictive way. Hard braking or rapid steering – we don’t often do this as humans. If a vehicle is doing this, it can cause motion sickness." He also suggested that there were potential steps to take to mitigate motion sickness "through lighting or with the air in the cabin, for example."

Visteon, too, is tackling the visual and vestibular conflicts. "In an autonomous car, you don’t know when it will decide to exit the road or change lanes. The technology we are building in the cockpit, like augmented reality, can prepare the occupants," explained Visteon's Upton Bowden, New Technology Planning Director. "Otherwise it's like a rollercoaster." Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is also on the case. "Motion sickness is a big issue for autonomous vehicles, and as far as I know no OEM has solved it," commented David Muyres, Executive Director, Global Research & Advanced

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

AVs and motion sickness Development at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. "We are doing considerable research to find out what we can do to mitigate it."

Design change

OSU's Weisenberger noted that some approaches look to the vehicle design, particularly the windows: "Suggestions to the problem included designing cars with large amounts of window space, so that even if someone is engaging in another activity, he would still receive motion cues from his peripheral vision. Other recommendations relate to the direction that seats in the vehicle face, because facing forward is likely to produce a better visual movement match than facing backward."

She suggests this approach makes good sense, having experienced something similar at the Ohio State University Driving Simulation Laboratory where two simulator setups are in use. One set-up features a surround screen and a vehicle cab

use a single front screen for the visual display, so that drivers get peripheral vision cues that tell them they are not moving. This helps to minimise simulator sickness to some degree."

For Yanfeng's Dominique Taffin, Senior Manager, Industrial Design, the key is in "the behaviour of the envelope - that is, the box in which you will be sitting. You want to make movement as smooth, as predictable and as linear as possible." He would not share any trade secrets, but emphasised that the supplier was working with many customers and there was "very big interest out there".

Give it time

Not everyone is affected, however, and for some of those that are, there's the chance that they will eventually overcome it. As Weisenberger observed: "People differ in their susceptibility to motion sickness, and for many people, repeated exposure to the environment allows them to adapt

You have your eyes telling your body you are doing something and you also have your inner ear telling you what you're doing. The two need to marry together very closely. Any disagreement between those senses can cause motion sickness - Adrian Simms, AB Dynamics

mounted on a motion platform. "This set-up is very immersive for the driver and the movement cues help to create a better match between the visual and vestibular signals to the brain," she explained.

The other set-up is a drive-on arrangement, with which researchers can test mass-production vehicles by mounting their front wheels onto turntables and instrumenting the pedals. Notably, in this set-up, no motion cue is available. "We have found that the incidence of simulator sickness is higher with this second set-up, and the best way to combat it is not to have a surround screen," explained Weisenberger. "Rather, we

and reduce the symptoms. A small percentage of people find it much harder to adapt and continue to experience symptoms."

Taffin echoed this sentiment, adding: "Humans evolve and adapt to situations. Maybe this will be something that disappears at some point." That said, he emphasised that motion sickness remains "a serious matter that has to be taken into consideration." After all, OEMs and suppliers can ill afford to develop products that exclude even a small percentage of their customer base – particularly if the thing that excludes those potential customers is an uncontrollable sensation of nausea.


Autonomous truck start-ups

The start-ups seeking success in autonomous trucking As the commercial vehicle industry prepares for the arrival of self-driving trucks, numerous start-ups are looking to get involved – but will they be able to keep pace? By Xavier Boucherat


hile most of the narrative about autonomous drive technology is focused on passenger cars, the likelihood is that it is in trucking, rather than in passenger cars, that self-drive technology will first be adopted.

Highways, where heavy trucks spend most their time, are far less complex environments than built-up urban areas, and the technology required to navigate them autonomously is, to some extent, already available in cars such as Tesla’s Model S. What’s more, autonomy has the potential to lower

a vehicle’s lifetime total cost of ownership (TCO), and is likely to prove a more economically attractive prospect for fleet operators than for passenger car buyers.

Autonomous driving technology is currently much more applicable to the truck sector than to cars for a variety of reasons, says Sandeep Kar, Chief Strategy Officer at Fleet Complete, a global commercial vehicle IoT solutions provider. Autonomous driving can not only increase fleet and vehicle safety, and reduce operating expenses such as fuel and maintenance, he notes,

but it can also create income generation possibilities for drivers and fleets through initiatives such as Uber for trucks.

Making headlines

Nonetheless, the technical challenges for truck manufacturers are considerable, and agile tech start-ups are now scrambling to bring solutions to OEMs. Several tech start-ups are currently the subject of considerable attention, with headlines being grabbed by companies such as Starsky Robotics, Peloton Technology, Nikola Motor, TuSimple, Embark and Uber Advanced Technologies Group (which acquired Otto).

There are several unique issues that will require resolution, explains Xiaodi Hou, Chief Technical Officer at selfdriving tech company TuSimple.

“In a highway scenario, for example, the focus is on long-range sensing,” he says. “LiDAR is being widely used as a primary sensor, but quite often the maximum range it can achieve is 100 metres. This is not enough for highway driving, particularly for trucks carrying cargo, which require far greater braking distances at any speed.” In addition, truck trailers run passively and do not steer themselves; this presents particular challenges when developing motion control systems which could allow trucks to swerve around obstacles and change lanes when necessary.

The first version of Peloton’s platooning technology should be on the road by the end of 2017


Smaller companies may find themselves better equipped to cope with the lightning-quick pace of

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Autonomous truck start-ups change in the tech industry, which remains at odds with the conservative nature of global, mass-volume OEMs. Several have tried to adapt, and the automotive industry’s presence in Silicon Valley is more noticeable than ever. But Hou believes the disconnect between Silicon Valley and the traditional automotive industry players creates opportunities for small, innovative tech start-ups.


In other words, autonomous is not a problem that can be solved by simply throwing manpower at it. The


Chief Executive

Trevor Milton


Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Established When

The complete solution

“Autonomous is a completely new problem,” says Hou. “If you want to solve a problem, you first have to identify it, and this requires collaboration between different groups. Our mapping team is in constant communication with our perception and localisation teams, and unlike the traditional corporate way of doing things, we can be flexible and efficient. Of course, there’s nothing to stop OEMs working the same way we do, but this can’t really involve more than a hundred people, meaning there’s little difference between them and ourselves.”

Chief Executive

Recent funding activity What


Nikola aims to launch the Nikola One in 2020

Nikola is yet to reveal its backers, but raised US$110m in a recent funding round, and is valued at over US$1bn, making it a ‘unicorn’ start-up

Nikola’s ground-up truck design will first come to market in the Nikola One. The hydrogenpowered semi has a range of up to 1,200 miles (1,931 km), and will have autonomous capabilities on the highway

challenge for start-ups will be to understand the high demands of the sector. That’s according to David Alexander, Managing Director of commercial vehicle consultancy Truck Technology. “There will be a need for new systems and components to bring automated driving to market,” he says,

Alex Rodrigues




Testing Level 2 autopilot system, with a permit for on-road testing in Nevada and closed-road trials in California


Recent funding activity What

San Francisco, CA, USA

N/A, but backed by Palo Alto, CA seed venture fund Maven Ventures, which also invested in Chariot and Cruise Automation

Self-driving tech that takes over control of the truck on highways, and hands back to the driver for local road driving

“but these will need to be fully integrated, tested and validated by OEMs before they’re offered on existing vehicles. Reputations are hard to build and easy to lose.”

The ones who succeed will be those who can extend the lives of vehicles, and help fleet owners get greater value. TuSimple is offering what it calls ‘the complete solution’, developing everything from HD maps and localisation to motion planning, which enables the truck to swerve around obstacles and change lanes when necessary. At present, suggests Hou, there is no single ‘black box’ that can enable autonomy. Instead, the solution will be more akin to a computer in the 1950s – “you have a crew of people each tending in their own way to a big, room-sized monster. The technology is just not mature enough that it can solve all the logistics of autonomous driving by itself.”

Turnkey solutions

Where TuSimple is taking an holistic approach, others are looking to make ground in the self-driving truck sector by appealing to specific needs of the industry. Starsky Robotics is one, a start-up based in the US where trucking distances mean that truck drivers can find themselves on the road for lengthy periods, sometimes weeks at a time. The company has built a robot which, along with enabling autonomous driving down highways, allows drivers to remotely


Autonomous truck start-ups perform the tight, precise driving done in the first and last mile of a journey, such as delivery yards and depots. This could allow drivers to spend more time with their families, and help reduce fatalities on the road – in the US in 2015, 745 drivers were killed on the job.

Another name is Peloton Technology, a start-up dedicated to enabling onhighway platooning, in which electronically connected self-driving trucks will be able to safely follow each other at small distances to reduce airdrag, and thus increase fuel efficiency. Peloton plans to roll out its initial technology in late 2017, which will handle acceleration and braking tasks, leaving drivers to steer. As autonomy increases, steering too could be made autonomous. This has the potential to help solve worldwide truck-driver shortages – one driver in a lead vehicle could plausibly lead a platoon of driverless trucks.

Some companies have even bigger goals. Nikola Motor plans to begin delivering its own Class 8 zeroemissions trucks at the end of the year, which not only feature a hydrogenelectric powertrain, but autonomous capabilities that will enable hands-free highway driving. This, says Chief Executive Trevor Milton, will free up drivers to plan routes, order food for collection at a particular truck stop, or even watch movies via the vehicle’s 21inch monitor.

STARSKy ROBOTICS Chief Executive

Stefan Seltz-Axmacher


San Francisco, CA, USA




Launch targeted for end-2017


Along with developing a self-driving truck tech system, the company has built a robot which can be retrofitted to vehicles to handle the physical controls, allowing for remote control in built-up urban environments. The goal: to allow drivers to spend less time away from home

Recent funding activity

March 2017 - US$3.75m seed funding, with investors including Abstract Ventures, Hydrazine Capital and Trucks Venture Capital

Wanted: start-ups, not upstarts

Nikola Motor’s ambitions are clear, but underline one challenge that all companies moving in on the segment will face - the trust which the world’s largest fleets have built with industry giants like Daimler and Volvo. Large fleet-owners will be wary of companies without an established financial position, says Alexander, and

PELOTON TECHNOLOGy Chief Executive Established Where


Recent funding activity What


Josh Switkes 2011

Mountain View, CA, USA

The first version of the tech, which automates acceleration and braking, should be on the road by end-2017, with steering tech to follow later

April 2017 - US$60m Series B funding, led by Omnitracs with other backers including Intel Capital, Denso International America and BP Ventures

Peloton’s platooning technology allows trucks to safely follow each other at close distances. Cutting air-drag improves efficiency, which could mean big savings for fleets

will be reluctant to take on technology that doesn’t come with the OEM’s signature of approval.

“There will definitely be opportunities for technology companies,” he suggests, “but probably only in partnership with major truck OEMs to implement specific systems. Unlike consumer vehicles, commercial vehicles are expected to give reliable service for a decade or more, covering hundreds of thousands of miles. Fleet managers want to be sure they can count on the OEM being around to provide support and spare parts. There will be a small number of purchases of advanced vehicles from new OEMs by large fleets for evaluation, but these tests will run for years before significant orders are placed.”

Nikola’s Milton is all too aware of the setbacks a smaller outfit like his is likely to face, and the company is exploring alternative ways it could potentially profit from its technology. “Many other countries have reached out and asked how we do what we do,” he previously told Automotive World, “and so we’re beginning to share this technology with other groups in other countries.” Details on distribution deals are unavailable, but Milton is resigned to the fact that Nikola won’t be pushing thousands of units any time soon: “There is no way our company could go and serve a global footprint in the next ten years. It will take five years to market here in the US. We do not want to make the

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Autonomous truck start-ups whole world wait 20 years for this technology.”

The future of start-ups in any sector is, by definition, unclear, and whether TuSimple, Starsky or Peloton will master the market is an impossible call to make. Some industry giants have made their intentions clear with acquisitions – in August 2016, Uber acquired the company previously known as Otto for US$680m. The selfdriving truck company, headed up by former Google star Anthony Levandowski and since absorbed into Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, developed its own technology which was introduced to the world in October 2016. A high publicity demo saw a truck hauling a trailer of Budweiser beer drive itself through Colorado. Since then, Waymo has revealed that it too is testing trucks, and a lawsuit filed by the company against Levandowski over stolen trade secrets continues.


Ultimately, says Alexander, everyone involved has plenty of work to do to help realise any sort of autonomous vision for trucks. “The key challenge will be dealing with a customer base of professional drivers,” he concludes, “some of whom are literally offended by the idea of needing assistance. First, the fleet




San Francisco, CA, USA



Recent funding activity What


Commercial launch TBC. The tech was demo’d in 2016, when a beer delivery truck drove itself 120 miles along a highway in Colorado

Otto was acquired by Uber for US$680m in August 2016

Otto has developed retrofitted self-driving technology for long haul trucks. However, its future remains uncertain following accusations from Waymo that former Chief Executive Anthony Levandowski stole trade secrets before resigning from Waymo to establish Otto in January 2016

managers must be convinced of the benefits of investing in automated driving at Levels 1 and 2, before moving higher. Then the drivers must be trained on how to get the best out of that new technology. It will be important to get all participants on board for maximum results.”

TuSIMPLE Chief Executive

Mo Chen


HQ in Beijing, China and research lab in San Diego, California. TuSimple plans to serve both markets


When Recent funding activity What


The company has a license to test self-driving vehicles in California, as well as Hebei province in China, with trials scheduled for late 2017

Yuan 50m in angel investment since December 2016, with another round of funding currently in progress

TuSimple hopes to offer a complete portfolio of autonomous truck solutions, and is developing numerous components including mapping, perception, localisation, motion planning and control systems

As self-driving technology gains traction, and proliferation of this technology increases in commercial vehicles, notes Fleet Complete’s Kar, advanced sensing, computing, analytics, and machine learning areas will require ground-breaking and fastmoving technology development and evolution. “This will attract several early stage companies and also established companies,” he says, adding, “The potential for upside improvements in efficiencies, effectiveness, safety, security, TCO reduction, and driver workload reduction in trucking is attractive and substantial. This will lead start-up and emerging company activities in trucking to increase in the next several years, ultimately benefiting trucking globally.” And over those next several years, as the specialist tech start-ups advance their technology offerings and move through their funding rounds, it’s reasonable to expect a wave of M&A activity with truck OEMs and service providers seeking to secure technology for future fleets. Just as small AI start-ups and mobility service providers are proving to be of considerable interest to the big suppliers and the light vehicle OEMs, so the self-driving truck technology start-ups are likely to be ever more desirable for the major truck manufacturers.


Autonomy & cyber security

AVs and cyber security inseparable, says software developer

Autonomous vehicles may present more risks than benefits if developed without cyber security in mind. As Green Hills Software’s Dan Mender tells Freddie Holmes, what use is there in an autonomous vehicle that can be hacked?


very year, groups of skilled hackers pick apart the cyber vulnerabilities of various products on the market, from smartphones and connected cars to domestic appliances and online streaming services. The idea is to find weaknesses in design and flaunt them to the manufacturer, occasionally for reward, before ultimately presenting the findings to audiences at dedicated conferences such as DEF CON and Black Hat in Las Vegas. Incidentally, the city is also home to CES, the world’s largest annual consumer electronics conference.

Automated vehicles remain a popular target, with the potential to control how – and where – a vehicle moves of much interest to hackers around the world. Tesla, given its capabilities both in terms of connectivity and autonomous driving, has fallen prey to trophy hunting over the last few years, first with the Model S, and more recently with the Model X. Other OEMs such as Mitsubishi and Nissan – the former now owned by the latter – have also been targeted, with steering, braking and private vehicle data being compromised.

While all of these activities have been carried out as research scenarios, it raises the question of whether the industry is up to the challenge of keeping hackers at bay. The relationship between cyber security and automated driving continues to


There is a core tenet tied to autonomous vehicles where you can’t have safety without security

strengthen as a result, with vehicle manufacturers scrambling to ensure their vehicles are not subject to a malicious attack in future.

As Dan Mender, Vice President of Business Development at Green Hills Software, tells Megatrends, cyber security is a core aspect of making an autonomous vehicle viable. “There is a core tenet tied to autonomous vehicles where you can’t have safety without security,” he explains. “This is really what an autonomous vehicle needs – you can’t have one without the other, you need to have both.”

In essence, Mender points to the fact that while a vehicle’s software may be extremely effective at detecting potentially dangerous scenarios on the road and avoiding them, this means nothing if the vehicle can then be hacked and controlled remotely. “One of the major challenges is going

to be stopping people from being able to hack in and take over control of the vehicle,” he elaborates. “That is something we have been discussing for the last five to seven years, and now it is becoming a more commonplace topic in many different circles.”

If not now, when?

Megatrends spoke to Mender back in April 2015 at a time when in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems were being targeted by hackers. For OEMs, he said then, it was not a case of ‘if’ the connected and autonomous car will get hacked, but ‘when’ it will get hacked, and how severe the consequences will be. More than two years later, the automotive cyber security landscape has unfolded just as Mender expected it would: more hacks, and of increasing complexity. “Just recently, there was another Tesla hack where researchers

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Autonomy & cyber security

One of the major challenges is going to be stopping people from being able to hack in and take over control of the vehicle. That is something we have been discussing for the last five to seven years, and now it is becoming a more commonplace topic

were able to take over the brakes, open doors, and do certain other things to the car,” he observes.

Mender refers to the second round of attacks presented by a Chinese research group in July 2017, which exposed gaps in the on-board Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity systems of a Model S. The team had previously exploited cyber security vulnerabilities in this car a year earlier, and managed to gain remote access while the driver searched for nearby charging stations. The touchscreen was disabled, brakes controlled remotely and windscreen wipers disabled whilst driving through heavy rainfall.

“If we don’t get the cyber security aspect right, and built in from the beginning, there will be chaos when it comes to autonomous vehicles,” affirms Mender. As the autonomous fleet grows in future, he suggests there will be two main forms of cyber attacks on vehicles: those that are dangerous, and those that are inconvenient. While both are motivated by monetary gain, the former will have malicious intent to cause harm.

“Somebody may want to cause harm by taking over a fleet of vehicles, and people’s lives will be at risk,” he says. “They are doing it for financial gain, to contact a company and ask for a ransom, and we are already seeing more of that happen in other industries.” For example, the recent ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack that began in June 2017 held various global organisations – including national medical and transport services – to a reported US$300 (€254) ransom per targeted user.

“We are going to start seeing that kind of thing with the automotive industry,” suggests Mender. “Once there is a larger target base, you will start to see things that are very malicious, and these people will be looking for a ransom – be it for financial gain, or even political gain.”

“I believe there is a false impression about how far the technology for autonomous vehicles has progressed. These vehicles have been tested in a very managed and contained way with people in the car as a fall-back,” he observes. “The current systems on the road today are not built for

If we don’t get the cyber security aspect right, and built in from the beginning, there will be chaos when it comes to autonomous vehicles

No room to cut corners

In various languages, there is often a single term for both safety and security. For the autonomous car, however, there are distinct differences between the two terms and the industry needs to ensure that both needs are met.

There have been calls for the industry to slow the rollout of autonomous vehicles until cyber security standards have caught up with advances in autonomous driving capabilities. However, Mender suggests that this is likely to occur without regulatory intervention, and instead will occur naturally.

production, they are proof of concept vehicles, and many companies have not thought about the necessary approach for security.”

Creating an autonomous vehicle that works is completely different to developing a driverless car that cannot be hacked, and in the pursuit of launching the first mass-produced fully autonomous vehicle, Mender warns that some companies are likely to cut corners. “They will do so because they can, due to gaps in regulation,” he concludes. “In order to be first, people will work to ‘best practices’ and everyone will feel better - until the system gets hacked, vehicles crash, and people die.”


AVs and drones

What AV developers can learn from the drone experience Dane Jaques, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP, and a member of Steptoe's Energy and Transportation Groups, outlines ways in which autonomous vehicle developers and regulators can learn from unmanned aircraft systems


here are striking similarities between the nascent autonomous vehicle industry and the development of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. Understanding the development of drones can help guide regulators and the autonomous vehicle industry as they navigate the political, legal and business landscape on the way to acceptance and implementation of autonomous vehicles. There are several attributes that autonomous vehicles share with drones, including:

• Both require a modified regulatory

scheme before they can operate fully


• Both rely on similar technologies • Both must demonstrate their safety in order to be accepted • Both must prove an economic case to be accepted • Both technologies are highly disruptive • Both face challenges posed by a patchwork of state and local regulation • Both have challenges relating to sharing of data, privacy and cyber security

While all of these common attributes make the drone experience relevant to autonomous vehicles, it is the regulatory aspects that are the most urgent and potentially the most important. The successful implementation of autonomous vehicles requires a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and allows the development and implementation of key technologies. The successes and failures of the drone regulatory experience in the US present many lessons for the developers and regulators of autonomous vehicles.

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AVs and drones

The successful implementation of autonomous vehicles requires a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and allows the development and implementation of key technologies

Regulatory framework

In the US FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (‘the Act’), Congress tasked the US Secretary of Transportation to work with government and industry to develop a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system. The existing FAA regulatory scheme did not allow the operation of unmanned aircraft, since operation would violate several regulations that were created with manned aircraft in mind. These regulations applied to drones in ways that ranged from critical to downright trivial, and include ‘seeing and avoiding’ other aircraft, formal certification of aircraft, mandating aircraft registration numbers at least 6” (15.25cm) high and having the flight manual onboard the aircraft, among others.

The Act also called for the Secretary of Transportation to determine whether certain drone operations could be safely conducted in the national airspace system before completion of the required plan and formal rulemaking. This addition to the Act was critical to the timely integration of drones. Rather than following the traditional, time consuming regulatory process, the FAA was able to ‘pick the low hanging fruit’ and allow some commercial drone operations before formal regulations were adopted or even proposed. This also allowed the FAA to gain real-world experience with drone operations before it tackled the formal rulemaking process. At first, the FAA offered regulatory exemptions pursuant to the Act to individual persons and companies and allowed for very limited

commercial use of drones as the FAA and the industry gained more experience, and as the rapidlyadvancing technology became more mature and better accepted. These ‘Section 333 Exemptions’ provided relief from regulations with which drones could not reasonably comply, but placed rather significant restrictions on the operation of drones such as limiting operating altitude, establishing maximum

of ‘waivable’ restrictions, such as daylight-only operation, inclement weather limitations, altitude restrictions and visual line-of-sight requirements. This resulted in the current system where regulations allow basic commercial drone operations without any exemptions or waivers from the FAA, but also allow more advanced commercial operations where the operator applies for one or more of the designated

The primary criticisms of drone regulation have been the slow pace of regulations and extremely conservative acceptance of new technologies

vehicle weights, imposing airspace restrictions and limiting operations to daytime, not over people and within direct line-of-sight of the operator. This also had the benefit of allowing (requiring) the applicants to propose their own operations and restrictions, and make their own unique case that the proposed operations could be conducted safely.

Restrictions and exemptions

After the FAA approved certain drone operations through exemptions, it developed a new set of regulations, FAR Part 107, which essentially codified the terms of private exemptions the FAA had already been granting. Part 107 also includes a list

waivers and can demonstrate that it meets performance-based standards and can ensure operational safety. Based on its experience with these waivers, the FAA is already considering updated regulations for Part 107. It is also still possible to obtain regulatory exemptions for larger drones and operations that would violate regulations not listed as ‘waivable’, again provided that the applicant can establish an equivalent level of safety for the operations.

The primary criticisms of drone regulation have been the slow pace of regulations and extremely conservative acceptance of new technologies. Drone technology has far outpaced the FAA’s regulatory framework and highly-useful technologies remained sidelined for many years.


AVs and drones

In charting the path forward for autonomous vehicles, governments should consider lessons learned from unmanned aircraft systems

Lessons for AV regulation

Autonomous vehicle regulators and industry members can learn valuable lessons from the drone experience. The first is that industry should be free to determine the direction and explore the limits of autonomous vehicles, subject to appropriate safety oversight. The Act and subsequent FAA regulation of drones provides a model for autonomous vehicle legislation and regulation because it encouraged innovation and allowed manufacturers and operators to develop key technology and propose their own methods of ensuring safe operation. Under a similar statutory and regulatory scheme, autonomous vehicle manufacturers and operators could propose exemptions and limitations consistent with available technology. The government’s role would be to decide whether the industry proposals ensure safety and, if so, grant the appropriate exemptions. As the government gains experience and knowledge from the exemption process, it can then contemplate formal regulations based on that experience.


A slight twist when it comes to autonomous vehicles is that the US federal government has exclusive control over the national airspace and certification of aircraft, but limited control over autonomous vehicle technology. In fact, if an autonomous vehicle is compliant within the existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and thus maintains a conventional vehicle design, there is no federal legal barrier to manufacturing and selling an autonomous vehicle. The FMVSS would, however, prohibit certain vehicle design characteristics such as cars without driver operated controls and cars that lack mandated warning systems, visibility and control force limitations.

Unfortunately, this lack of a comprehensive federal standard could allow a patchwork of harmful state and local regulations. While state regulation of autonomous vehicle licensing, insurance, traffic laws and terms for testing autonomous vehicles would be appropriate and unlikely to harm the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies, state or local regulation of autonomous vehicle performance (e.g. design, construction, mechanical systems, software systems and

communications systems) could create inconsistent standards that would make the manufacture and operation of autonomous vehicles unnecessarily difficult, stunt innovation and delay the implementation of autonomous vehicle technologies.

In charting the path forward for autonomous vehicles, governments should consider lessons learned from unmanned aircraft systems. The first is ‘do no harm’. Many states in the US and governments in other countries already allow autonomous vehicle testing on public roadways. This system is working and should not be disturbed. Federal legislation should, however, grant the US Department of Transportation exclusive authority to regulate the performance of autonomous vehicle technology and expressly preempt state and local laws in that area. In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should be allowed to grant all exemptions necessary to allow deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies and collect data needed to establish formal regulations. This type of regulatory scheme would allow the rapid development and implementation of beneficial autonomous vehicle technologies.

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Ride-handling for AVs

AV propulsion: it’s all about ‘pinpoint levels of control’ What are the potential challenges and opportunities for propulsion systems in autonomous vehicles? Michael Nash investigates


hile human drivers in conventional cars seek responsiveness and driving pleasure, users of autonomous vehicles (AVs) expect to be able to sit back, relax and access entertainment. To enable this, however, the ride must be smooth and the interior of an AV must be comfortable and quiet. Much of this can be influenced by the powertrain. As such, powertrain engineers are faced with a long list of challenges, from mimicking a natural but smooth driving style to dramatically reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Heightened senses

A 2015 study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) listed some of the activities that people could do while travelling in a fully self-driving vehicle. These included reading, texting, watching movies or television, playing games and working. Any one of these activities may result in either a moderate or a severe level of motion sickness, argued Sivak in the report: “Motion sickness is expected to be more of an issue in self-driving

vehicles than in conventional vehicles. The reason is that the three main factors contributing to motion sickness – conflict between vestibular (balance) and visual inputs, inability to anticipate the direction of motion and lack of control over the direction of motion – are elevated in self-driving vehicles.”

Speaking to Megatrends, Gerard DeVito, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Eaton’s Vehicle Group, suggested that this issue could be addressed with the development of intelligent powertrain systems. “As soon as somebody is on a computer


Ride-handling for AVs

When an AV goes over a pothole it can be very startling for the vehicle occupants. We’re working on technology that can detect potholes and adjust the shock absorption on the required side of the vehicle so that the occupants don’t feel it at all - Gerard DeVito, Eaton

and not driving, they will have a heightened sense of what the vehicle is doing,” he said. “To combat this, the acceleration and deceleration will have to be smoother and dampened.”

Limiters can be installed to ensure the AV can only accelerate at a certain pace, while sensors on the vehicle can be linked to the powertrain to make sure the AV keeps sufficient distance between itself and the vehicle in front. If the car ahead brakes suddenly, the greater the distance, the smoother the AV’s braking process. Linking the powertrain to various sensors and using artificial intelligence (AI) could also enable AVs to produce a 'natural' driving style, similar to that of a human driver. This, DeVito claimed, could also reduce motion sickness.

“You'd be surprised how hard it is to emulate what a driver is doing and ensure the ride is smooth so the vehicle occupants don't feel like the AV is doing something it shouldn’t,” he mused. “There will be considerable interaction with camera systems, radar and LiDAR. We will have to use the information from these to provide data that will be fed through very sophisticated algorithms, allowing the system to act accordingly.”

Motion sickness may only be a cause for concern in Level 4 and Level 5 highly


automated cars, and not in AVs that require a significant contribution to the driving task from a human, like Level 2 and Level 3 autonomous cars. That’s the view of Mark Buchanan, Senior Manager of Advanced Engineering at BorgWarner, who told Megatrends that drivers of Level 2 and Level 3 AVs will likely “expect and require a more traditional performance and response from the propulsion systems in these vehicles.”

Enhanced levels of control

Another issue that could be challenging when considering propulsion systems in AVs is manoeuvrability. “Consider moving an autonomous 80,000lb truck in close proximity, just by a few inches,” DeVito said. “This is often the case when loading or unloading heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), or even when squeezing a passenger car into a tight spot at a busy urban car lot. How do we do this? There are some unique algorithms that Eaton holds as intellectual property giving us the ability to manoeuvre with pinpoint levels of control.”

The development of electrified powertrain architectures can have an impact on this level of control. Like many experts, DeVito thinks that there will be some form of electrification

present in the majority of new vehicles in the near future, which could mean mild hybrids using 48-volt (48v) systems, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Joel Maguire, BorgWarner’s Director of Electrification, agrees with this view. “The future we see is that all vehicles will have some form of electrification,” he explained to Megatrends. And this, he added, includes AVs.

The marriage of electrification and selfdriving technology is one that DeVito described as mutually beneficial. “We see this trend happening in both the passenger car and commercial vehicle space,” he predicted. “Once these vehicles include a reasonably-sized electric motor, it becomes much easier to control the propulsion of the vehicle. This is because they are inherently less complex than internal combustion engines (ICEs).”

DeVito believes the level of control AVs have when it comes to propulsion must be greater than the level of control that a human driver would have over a conventional, nonautonomous vehicle. He provides an example to justify this, describing a scenario whereby a person can see that he or she is about to drive over a pothole: “The driver

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Ride-handling for AVs acknowledges the pothole and knows exactly when the car will ride over it, and when to expect it. One company came to us for help with this, because they found that when an AV goes over a pothole it can be very startling to the vehicle occupants. We’re working on technology that can detect potholes and adjust the shock absorption on the required side of the vehicle so that the occupants don’t feel it at all.”

unusual silence

This type of technology can also be beneficial when considering NVH. When coupled with electrification, DeVito thinks that this will allow AVs to operate in a smooth and quiet manner.

For Christopher Robinson, Analyst at Lux Research, the rollout of AVs will change the characteristics that OEMs look for when designing new models. “Although chassis, suspension and engine design varies between vehicle segments and OEMs, most consider driving feel as an important quality, making sure the vehicle is responsive and fun to drive,” he told Megatrends.

He also highlighted the fact that some first-time EV drivers are highly conscious of the ‘whine’ that comes from the electric motor. This, he added, will be a difficult challenge to overcome, but one that is being mitigated with sound dampening techniques.

Saving or consuming energy

Some AV demonstrations to date have highlighted numerous advantages of using self-driving technology, one of which is a potential reduction in fuel consumption. “We’ve already seen this with some semi-autonomous driving features, like platooning,” DeVito observed. “Taking that human element of unpredictability out of the equation leads to fuel savings, and I think we can get much more out of highly automated vehicles.”

The autonomous car or truck could be linked to street furniture, such as traffic lights, with vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology. On-board computers that link to the powertrain would then

amounts of electrical energy. With autonomous cars, the energy demands increase significantly due to the huge volume of data that is being processed and all the assistance systems needed to allow secure autonomous driving.”

Kyle Landry, another analyst at Lux Research, thinks an intelligent link between the powertrain and autonomous driving systems could make the powertrain more efficient. “It’s definitely possible through the clever usage of power and fleet connectivity,” he said. “For example, the US SuperTruck programme is investigating the use of 3D mapping to better decide how to modulate the throttle up and down hills for optimum efficiency. But only minor improvements can realistically be expected from these types of systems.”

With bumps, jerks, sudden acceleration and sharp braking accounted for in the earliest stages of an autonomous vehicle’s development cycle, and the development of an appropriate – and clean – propulsion system seen as no larger challenge, some of the major hurdles to delivering the perfect

Most OEMs consider driving feel as an important quality, making sure the vehicle is responsive and fun to drive. This is true even for hybrid vehicles, but without someone behind the wheel, the design focus can move towards comfort and smoothness - Christopher Robinson, Lux Research

“This is true even for hybrid vehicles, as the fourth-generation Prius moved to a double wishbone rear suspension to improve handling. But without someone behind the wheel, the design focus can move towards comfort and smoothness.”

While it greatly reduces NVH, electrification also causes issues as the noise of the electric motor fails to mask other noises in the vehicle that would otherwise be drowned out by the ICE. DeVito described the autonomous EV as a “much quieter environment,” and thinks that occupants may be more aware of moving parts such as windscreen wipers.

adjust the speed of the vehicle to make sure that it does not need to stop at any traffic lights on its intended route.

Buchanan, however, has reservations about AV efficiency; he believes the number of electrical systems used in an autonomous vehicle will mean they are less efficient than those that are not autonomous. “Efficiency of AV powertrains will be a major concern,” he stated. “As the trend towards hybrid and EVs continues to pick up pace, efficiency regarding high batterypowered driving range will be key for those vehicles to be successful. Already today, cars do feature plenty of technology that consumes large

autonomous vehicle can quickly be overcome. However, a “greater level of control” will be required for an AV powertrain than for a manually-driven car, as AVs require precise and accurate regulation of throttle and deceleration.

As the automotive industry moves into into an era in which manually-driven cars share the roads with AVs, powertrain development will become polarised. Human drivers will continue to expect responsiveness and driving pleasure; those in the AVs they drive alongside, though, will expect to derive their pleasure from comfort, blissfully ignorant of the vehicle’s propulsion system.


3D printing

From F1 to Route 1: 3D printing shows mainstream potential 3D printing has earned its place in the high-pressure world of motor racing. Can that same technology and know-how be scaled up for the mainstream auto industry? Michael Nash investigates


ar factories have changed drastically since Henry Ford decided to adopt the beltdriven assembly line approach for the Model T. From what was once something of a dirty, labour-intensive and hectic scramble, modern assembly lines are now typically pristinely clean, automated and highly efficient. A handful of advanced manufacturing technologies is becoming increasingly commonplace on the most modern production lines, and one much talked


about, but still very much in its infancy, is additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

The value of 3D printing to motorsport is undeniable; where it sits in mainstream vehicle manufacturing will become clear in the coming years. What is already certain is that 3D printing will have a role to play, and as with many other technologies, motorsport is the perfect test-bed. Here, Megatrends looks at the potential trickle-down from race track to production line.

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3D printing

Getting from the production of low-volume, niche parts to medium- or high-volume is definitely a bridge that is possible to cross - Jeff Schipper, Proto Labs

Ford is one of the few vehicle manufacturers speaking openly about its work in 3D printing. “Automotive has really embraced trying to have a more flexible manufacturing environment,” Ellen Lee, the OEM’s Technical Leader of Additive Manufacturing Research was quoted as saying in a recent Automotive World special report on 3D printing. “For an industry that has these cycles of upturns and downturns, being able to very quickly modify the manufacturing floor to change the product in a very quick and easy way lends itself well to some additive manufacturing processes.”

To date, however, while 3D printing has been used to great success in vehicle development and in motorsport, its application has remained limited as a manufacturing option in the mainstream automotive industry. It is an increasingly common technique used by OEMs for prototyping or in low-volume production runs, but a variety of factors have prevented it from being used to build components used in mass-market vehicles. These include the quality of the finished part when using some existing 3D printing techniques, the cost of the processes and the materials, and the time it takes to print a single part. “However, getting from the production of low-volume, niche parts to medium- or high-volume is definitely

a bridge that is possible to cross,” Jeff Schipper, Director of Special Operations, Proto Labs, tells Megatrends. “I don’t think it’s realistic for us to dream of making millions of parts a year for vehicle manufacturers, but a figure in the tens of thousands is realistic.” One of the developments that could help bridge this gap is the use of new 3D printing processes – several of which are already showing benefits over existing techniques.

Promising techniques

“When considering automotive, I think most of our technology will initially be adopted in low-volume, high-value products,” says Andy Middleton, President of Stratasys EMEA. “Our work with McLaren is a great example – the volume is relatively low but the value is high, which makes it economically viable to use additive manufacturing. Today, the cost structure of using additive manufacturing as opposed to conventional techniques in highvolume applications doesn't quite stack up.”

In January 2017, McLaren Racing and Stratasys announced a new four-year partnership that would see the expansion of the Formula 1 team’s rapid manufacturing capacity at the McLaren Technology Centre at Woking in the UK. The facility now

houses the latest fused deposition modelling (FDM) and PolyJet-based 3D printing solutions, which are used to create a variety of race-ready parts – from hydraulic line brackets to rearwing flap extensions and carbon fibre brake cooling ducts. Shortly after the expansion, McLaren Racing said that it would use the solutions to produce components for its 2017 MCL32 race car with the goal of accelerating design modifications and reducing weight.

Scott Crump, Founder of Stratasys, invented FDM Technology over 20 years ago. It works by heating thermoplastics to a semi-liquid state before depositing layers in small doses along the extrusion path.

PolyJet 3D printing works in a similar way to inkjet printing, but instead of applying ink on paper, it layers UVcured droplets of liquid photopolymer onto a build tray. These accumulate and harden to form the 3D printed part straight out of the machine, with no post-curing needed.

Various 3D printing solutions are in use by a number of other companies. Proto Labs, for example, uses stereolithography (SL), which involves focusing an ultraviolet laser to draw on the surface of liquid thermoset resin, turning it solid. The process is repeated thousands of times, layer upon layer, until the final part is formed.


3D printing

We’ve got about 20 jobs that we are doing for McLaren Automotive, using 3D printing to make parts for their next-generation road cars. We can make these in just a few hours, whereas before, the road car team would have to wait days for injection moulding and other such techniques - Neil Oatley, McLaren Racing

“This is a very accurate process,” Schipper confirms. “However, it’s not really viable for production parts because the end result isn’t engineering grade. So we use it for marketing trials.”

Other processes used by Proto Labs include selective laser sintering (SLS), whereby a CO2 laser fuses layers of nylon powder into a solid, and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) which involves a fibre laser system to draw on atomised metal powder, welding it into a solid. Like SL, both of these processes involve building up the material layer upon layer.

“SLF results in very high quality parts that are functional, but it’s expensive,” Schipper reveals. “DMLS is probably the most exciting and the most production-friendly. It also opens up new design freedoms, although it’s still quite expensive at the moment.”

Another process that holds significant potential, adds Schipper, is multi-jet fusion. At Rapid + TCT – a 3D printing exhibition held in April 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas – Proto Labs and HP announced that they were collaborating on developing the multijet fusion technology. “It’s a much faster and more economical process,


and represents a huge step forward in making 3D printing productionfriendly in mid-volume applications,” he affirms.

Taking low-volume motorsport applications…

Neil Oatley has over 25 years’ experience working with McLaren, and many more as an engineer in F1. As the Design and Development Director at McLaren Racing, he is tasked with identifying new methods of manufacturing that enhance the company’s race cars.

“At the moment, we’re using 3D printing to create some smaller components like the blanking panels for cooling outlets,” Oatley explains to Megatrends. “Before we had 3D printing, these would take a couple of days to make with the proper tooling techniques. But now we can make them in about three to four hours.”

When it comes to F1, this time advantage is hugely beneficial because the rate of component development is so quick. He describes

a scenario in which the McLaren Racing team demands a small change to a certain part just days, or even hours, before an event. “This is by no means uncommon in the F1 space,” he affirms. “We take feedback from the track and use it to modify parts before they are fitted to the cars again. 3D printing allows us to make these small but vitally important changes in very short spaces of time, giving us a type of flexibility that we never had before.”

While he is predominantly focused on F1, Oatley adds that a select few of the components printed at the facility in Woking are now being used by McLaren Automotive in its high-end performance vehicles: “We’ve got about 20 jobs that we are doing for the McLaren Automotive team at the moment, using 3D printing to make parts for their next-generation road cars. And just like for the F1 team, we can make these in just a few hours, whereas before, the road car team would have to wait days for injection moulding and other such techniques.” As well as cost, time is an important factor for 3D printing, says Middleton. Stratasys, he says, is busy examining

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3D printing new 3D printing techniques to reduce both: “Cost and speed have a huge impact on the use of additive manufacturing for higher volume parts in automotive. It's not going to fly if we're printing 50 components an hour, so we need new technologies, and these will come through the forming of partnerships.” the mainstream

In November 2016, Stratasys began working with Siemens to integrate the tech company’s digital factory solutions with Stratasys’ additive manufacturing solutions. “With a seven-axis robotic arm, which is theoretically unlimited in size, we can start moving multiple printing heads,” Middleton notes. “This potentially means we can produce higher volumes of components in a shorter space of time, but we still have to address the cost issue.”

Fabian Krauss, Business Development Manager at Electro Optical Systems (EOS) also thinks that the on-going R&D in materials will be essential to the success of 3D printing in massmarket vehicles. Looking ahead, he thinks this will open up a variety of different benefits. “We’ll be able to replace parts traditionally made out of metal with high-temperature plastics,” he says. “We’ll also be able to introduce new materials with metal-like properties, but with much less weight.” EOS also works in F1, as the official Technology Partner of Williams F1, and it too sees its motorsport work benefiting its mainstream customers. Speaking in November 2015 when EOS entered a three-year technical partnership with Williams F1, Stuart Jackson, the supplier’s Regional Manager for the UK, said the company’s Advanced Engineering business enables Williams to pursue technical

we have to take on a consulting role to help them find parts that can be redesigned for the process.”

From F1 to Route 1 with complements

Ford’s Lee welcomes the idea of closer collaboration between OEMs and providers of 3D printing technology. While this could help to make 3D printing more viable for use in mainstream production, she firmly believes that the technology will remain just one of many options in the vehicle manufacturing process.

“We won’t replace all of the conventional manufacturing that we have today,” the Automotive World 3D printing report quoted her as saying. “It will likely act as an add-on. There are some cases where it makes sense, and others where it does not. Just because

Today, the cost structure of using additive manufacturing as opposed to conventional techniques in high-volume applications doesn't quite stack up

Aside from new 3D printing techniques, Middleton thinks the development of materials could go a long way in making 3D printing more viable for use in the production of mainstream vehicles. “They need to have the relevant properties for each application, which could be thermal resistance for use under the hood, or strength and durability for chassis parts,” he says. “Continued research and development in materials is absolutely vital, and we’ve made quantum strides in this area over the last seven years or so. In the future, I think it will definitely facilitate further adoption of additive manufacturing in automotive.” Indeed, at the time of the Stratasys-McLaren Racing announcement, Ilan Levin, Chief Executive of Stratasys, said, “Stratasys will also gain invaluable feedback and insights from working with ultra-high performance automotive applications, which we can then apply to our mainstream automotive and aerospace customers.”

- Andy Middleton, Stratasys innovation “that transfers Formula One technology solutions focusing on sustainability and energy efficiency to mainstream industries such as automotive, motorsport, transport, energy and other sectors.”

However, the problem with using new materials, says Phil DeSimone, Vice President of Business Development and Co-Founder at Redwood City, California-headquartered 3D printing specialist Carbon, is that they will need to be tried and tested before adoption. This, he thinks, requires closer co-operation between 3D printing technology providers and vehicle manufacturers.

“The automation validation cycle is our biggest restriction,” says DeSimone. “OEMs have been using the same materials for the last 40 years. Once they find a material they like, they stick to it… We know the process better than anyone else, and if we want to see further adoption within automotive,

you can print something, doesn’t mean that you should.” Based on existing and anticipated technologies, OEMs need smart decision-making to decide upon which applications to focus.

Middleton shares a similar view. “We can print everything really, but it doesn’t necessarily make commercial sense for everything. I think 3D printing will remain a complementary technology alongside existing manufacturing processes for the next ten years or so.”

McLaren Racing now has around five years of experience in using 3D printing to make parts for its race cars. Looking ahead, Oatley expects this experience to be leveraged by McLaren Automotive as it starts to introduce 3D printed parts into its road cars. “We’ve already learnt a lot from using 3D printing,” he says, “but we’re still learning every single day.” As the technology and materials evolve, he concludes, 3D printing is likely to play a greater role in all types of vehicle manufacturing.


AVs, EVs and AHSS

Automation, electrification, and regulation boost demand for AHSS Without adequate protection, EV collisions could be disastrous. AHSS can solve this, and meet the tougher demands of automation and emerging market regulation. By Xavier Boucherat


Fundamentally, EVs require the same crash performance as cars with internal combustion engines, but with essential additional requirements to protect the battery


he material mix used in automotive manufacturing is diversifying for several reasons, including cost-effective lightweighting and improved vehicle performance. But as autonomous driving technology and electrification continue to transform the industry, so too will the way vehicles are designed and assembled change. Some of the challenges around how best to build tomorrow’s vehicles are clear; for example, how best to safely house large, heavy batteries? Past incidents have already highlighted the importance of this, particularly as electric vehicles (EVs) penetrate the market further. Despite adding shielding to the vehicle’s undercarriage in 2014, Tesla’s Model S made headlines more than once in 2016 with reports of vehicles catching fire. In one incident, a fatal crash in Indianapolis, Indiana, set the lithiumion battery on fire, leaving firefighters to dodge exploding battery cells. Kenneth Olsson, Business Development Specialist as SSAB, argues that the Swedish company’s brand of advanced high strength steel (AHSS) is a compelling solution. An alternative chemical composition used in the production process produces a steel called DOCOL which, whilst not suitable for exposed panels, can be used for shock-absorbing components in door beams and chassis components, as well as for lightweighting purposes across other components such as seat frames and bumpers.

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

AVs, EVs and AHSS

Steel is already the most cost-effective material, and here we see two competing technologies – cold-formed steel and hot-stamping technology. And cold-formed gives a clear cost advantage

Electrification opens up what he believes could be a major new application, particularly as governments adjust to the reality of more EVs on the road. “Fundamentally, EVs require the same crash performance as cars with internalcombustion engines, but with essential additional requirements to protect the battery,” Olsson says. Legislation on the matter is already incoming in North America, and the rest of the world will almost certainly follow. This will require electric vehicle manufacturers to ensure that cars involved in a crash that punctures the battery, whether from the front, rear or side, leak as little harmful, flammable battery fluids as possible.

Different OEMs will doubtlessly pursue different options, and optimisation of the vehicle as a whole, Olsson admits, will definitely require OEMs to adopt multi-material strategies. But for force-absorbing components, AHSS makes the most

sense. The major benefit over competing materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre is cost Olsson argues that AHSS can produce crash-resistant components with the same weight as aluminium at a lower cost. What’s more, all OEMs and Tier 1s are completely familiar with forming and welding steel, making it ideal for insertion into a complicated, multi-material mix. Furthermore, no equipment overhaul is necessary.

Self-driving steel

The materials industry will also be paying close attention to the rise of autonomous driving, but how this might affect the material mix is less certain. As Olsson points out, one of the main goals behind development of self-driving technology is to greatly reduce the number of collisions, injuries and deaths on the road, and the potential is clear. But could this change the way safety is approached by OEMs?

Speculation continues, says Olsson: “It’s not yet clear how the future of autonomous cars will pan out. One school of thought suggests that in the future, it will be impossible for cars to crash, and as such there will be little need for advanced high strength steels.”

Great news for safety, but not so great for SSAB. Luckily, says Olsson, this is an unlikely outcome which in any case would take several decades to materialise. For all the hype around the self-driving revolution, the evidence, he argues, suggests that any change will happen very slowly.

“We should expect a certain number of autonomous cars by 2030,” he says, “but at that stage, the transition will be far from complete. We also believe that a combination of legislation and customer demand will mean that crash performance will remain high like it is today, regardless of autonomous functions. Ultimately, people want to feel safe in the car they’re sitting in.”


AVs, EVs and AHSS

Customer expectation alone means a decreased risk of collisions is unlikely to dampen the necessity for quality crash performance. Of course, Olsson adds, the hope is that deaths and injuries on the road can be reduced, but moving forward, the company’s offering will remain as important to customers as ever.

Indeed, says Olsson, the general demand for AHSS is only increasing as OEMs seek to toughen vehicles without adding weight, and earn the highest safety and efficiency ratings they can. Car production is increasing worldwide, and there is currently no firm indication of autonomous cars meaning less traffic on the roads, and thus less demand for materials, says Olsson.

front, side and rear impact testing. This, says Olsson, will be the beginning of the end for manufacturers appearing to build the same vehicles in different markets, but working to different safety standards.

“If you consider a conventional car which is built in several locations around the world, the exteriors match regardless of where it was made,” he says, “but up until recently, the interiors are completely different. In many cases, you find mild steel being used, which is the cheapest material available.”

New regulations will require higherstrength steels, and Olsson believes SSAB can provide this whilst

We should expect a certain number of autonomous cars by 2030, but at that stage, the transition will be far from complete. We also believe that a combination of legislation and customer demand will mean that crash performance will remain high like it is today, regardless of autonomous functions Emerging markets catch up

But while material suppliers consider how best to navigate the autonomous, electrified landscape, so too will they need to pay attention to the needs of emerging markets such as India, which in terms of safety and crash performance has traditionally lagged behind European and North American markets. In 2013, road-related fatalities in India came to 16.6 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to Germany’s score of 4.3.

This will change in India from October 2017 onwards, with the introduction of the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program, the world’s tenth NCAP programme which will standardise components such as airbags, ABS and seat-belts, as well as


respecting the extreme costsensitivity of a market like India. “Steel is already the most costeffective material, and here we see two competing technologies – coldformed steel and hot-stamping technology,” he explains. “And coldformed gives a clear cost advantage.” Therefore, says Olsson, SSAB’s focus will be on cold-forming, whereas other competitors are leaning towards hot-stamping.

This, he concludes, will give the company a clear advantage moving forward. This, combined with a larger role in designing vehicles, can help OEMs to produce safer cars in markets like India. The earlier SSAB can become involved, he says, the bigger a benefit an OEM can reap, particularly in emerging markets where education around the material may still be required.

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Driven by data

Data to displace drivers in a decade Within a decade, a quarter of all cars will be capable of Level 4 or 5 autonomy, believes Mindtree. Megan Lampinen talked to the company to learn more about an auto industry driven not by drivers, but by data


n terms of technology, much can happen in a decade. Consider, for example, the changes in consumer electronics in the decade since the introduction of the iPhone. Across the automotive industry, an unprecedented rate of change is revolutionising mobility concepts, and automated driving in some form or other is generally expected to pervade the global transport industry within the next ten years. While this should entail massive safety and emissions improvements, the road towards that goal is riddled with potholes.

The vision

"Our vision is that all cars will have some level of automation, from Level 1 to Level 5, by 2026. About 25-30% of cars will have full autonomy at Level 4 and 5, meaning in some cases there is no driver, no steering wheel." That’s the view of Murali JP, Senior Director and Automotive Business Leader at Mindtree.

The company, headquartered in Bangalore and New Jersey, operates in five key connected vehicle areas – infotainment, telematics, navigation, safety systems and diagnostics – and collaborates with global OEMs and suppliers on technology to support autonomous vehicles. Notably, its client list also includes aftermarket system manufacturers, and it believes these will play an important role in autonomous mobility. "In the next ten years, every car will be connected, including aftermarket cars," said JP. "The entire ecosystem will transform into the connected and autonomous space."

Predicting monetisation aspects in this autonomous ecosystem is a guessing game at the moment, but Mindtree expects the traditional OEMs to continue playing a starring role in the set-up. After all, the industry may transition to an autonomous carsharing scenario but someone still has to provide the cars. "Asset ownership will still lie with automotive OEMs," JP suggested. "There is a revenue stream that they will tap into."

That said, he also expects the technology players, including some of the Tier 1s, to grab a larger slice of the pie moving forward. This is due to the rising software content in vehicles as well as the system integration which will be required by the many vehicle variants. "System integration is a huge task, and some of the Tier 1s will be active in that," noted JP.

Filling the gaps

This transition to a fully connected, highly autonomous future will come in phases, albeit quickly moving ones. The industry is already off and running, but there are some substantial holes that need to be plugged before such a transition can be completed. "The transition is imminent," said JP. "With the shift towards connected cars, we see major challenges in terms of the explosion of data that is going


Driven by data

Vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1s are putting safety ratings and standards compliance first and foremost. Many of those things continue to evolve. That is the journey that our customers are taking

to happen. Handling this data will be a major issue. Who will support the data transfer between the car and the back-end for the analytics and insights into customer behaviour? Then there is the information that needs to be pushed in as part of the content into the car. Connectivity will be a big issue from the use case perspective and even from the safety angle."

One significant concern stems from interruptions in connectivity. At present, in many markets, connectivity is not necessarily guaranteed everywhere a car may travel. "That means some of

Connected Vehicle Segments, legal issues are a big grey area. "The most hotly debated topic at the moment is where responsibility lies when a selfdriving car has an accident. That is a legal point where governments will need to come forward and work with the industry," he told Megatrends. Then there are the regulation aspects and the official standards, many of which are yet to be finalised. "The industry is going ahead with the implementation of autonomous technology, but there are open items in many areas that still need to be standardised," cautioned Gopal.

Our vision is that all cars will have some level of automation, from Level 1 to Level 5, by 2026. About 25-30% of cars will have full autonomy at Level 4 and 5, meaning in some cases there is no driver, no steering wheel

the things for safety could be done with edge computing, but not all," he warned. "There will be numerous safety cases that need to be addressed." Along with these technology holes come cyber security and privacy concerns.

For Prasanna Gopal, Senior Director in Mindtree’s Solutions in Networking & Communications, Semicon and


The execution of the connected car itself will play an important role in realising a successful autonomous future, and this includes pricing strategies for automated features. "When these automated features come to market, they will carry a price premium. As things move forward, people will want to see lower costs for wider adoption. Once you have this

wider adoption, then you will see the benefits of the autonomous car," Gopal explained. This, he noted, is particularly true for vehicle-toeverything technology.

Evaluating the technology

When it comes to evaluating autonomous technology, OEMs and suppliers will need to pursue a mix of simulation and real world testing. The number of vehicle manufacturers and technology companies granted road testing permits is steadily growing, with new regions passing legislation to support on-road pilots on an almost regular basis. At the time of writing, California alone has issued autonomous vehicle testing permits to 36 companies. However, this approach is much more expensive than simulated evaluations. The key will be in achieving the right balance.

"For verification, companies need to simulate scenarios as much as possible during the development and integration phases," recommended Gopal. "It is very expensive to do multiple rounds of road testing.” As much as possible, he said, they try to complete those rounds of testing through simulation. “That is currently happening and it will continue to happen." At a later stage, real world testing is essential and, Gopal added, unavoidable.

JP shared a similar view. "When we speak to industry players, we keep hearing that simulation is good for all the base use cases. Simulation can realistically create the scenarios to gauge the car's response for around 65% to 70% of the time. The remaining 30% has to be done in a real world scenario."

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Driven by data

With the shift towards connected cars, we see major challenges in terms of the explosion of data that is going to happen. Handling this data will be a major issue. Who will support the data transfer between the car and the back-end for the analytics and insights into customer behaviour?

Notably, gathering all the necessary data for these vehicles cannot be done by one party alone. JP predicts that consortia will be required, and already the announcements are flooding in. BMW is working on autonomous technology with a group consisting of Intel, Mobileye and Delphi. The UK Autodrive project, which kicked off in late 2015, is conducting on-road trials using cars provided by project partners Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre. In fact, almost all major interested parties are partnering up.

Giving it the green light

After all the simulations and the road testing, at some point an autonomous vehicle will need to be deemed safe enough for public use. "It is very hard to quantify what constitutes ‘safe enough’," observed JP. "It is very subjective to the end customer and the early adopters to begin with."

Some industry players have suggested various ways of measuring safety, such as the number of disengagements per

When we speak to industry players, we keep hearing that simulation is good for all the base use cases. Simulation can realistically create the scenarios to gauge the car's response for around 65% to 70% of the time. The remaining 30% has to be done in a real world scenario

number of miles. But the questions keep coming, observed JP: "Is it disengaging once every 50,000 miles? If so, what is the driving condition - is it in an urban environment or on the highway? There could be a measure, although there is no number attached to it at this point in time."

In general, Mindtree backs this approach as a feasible one from a customer acceptance perspective. "In any given geographical area, driving the car around with a fewer number of disengagements per so many miles could be a good measure to quantify that this is safe enough to go. In the end, though, the person who will decide is the user," JP commented. This, he suggested, would entail more user surveys to fully understand consumers' views.

"Vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1s are putting safety ratings and standards compliance first and foremost," said Gopal. "Many of those things continue to evolve. That is the journey that our customers are taking."

Concluding, JP confirmed that Mindtree's Connected Car Center of Excellence is working with "all the leading Tier 1s, global vehicle manufacturers and semiconductor suppliers." Again, the partnership aspect was flagged as pivotal to the industry's future development, with JP adding: "There is a confluence in terms of partnerships as the players work together to solve some of the critical challenges that connected and autonomous cars face through this disruption."


Steel unlimited

Steel still relevant? More than ever, says supplier Michael Nash discusses innovations in steel with Brad Davey of ArcelorMittal, who outlines the role that new material products can play in forward-looking mobility concepts


he list is long and growing of OEMs, suppliers and technology companies with licenses to test autonomous driving technology on public roads in various parts of the world. And the pressure’s on – several have announced plans to bring their first

autonomous passenger cars market within a few short years.


2021 is proving to be a key date; Ford, for example, has said it will produce a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride-sharing purposes in 2021, the same year that

Right now, we don’t see any limits to what we can do with steel. We are working on grades beyond what we have currently announced, and we think steel will remain the dominant material of choice in vehicle design

BMW, Intel, and Mobileye plan to ‘bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production’. Others, too, are looking at 2021 as the start of commercial autonomous drive programmes.

The rise of autonomous driving technology will see active safety and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) play an increasingly important role. These technologies are already becoming more widespread in all vehicle segments, and are no longer confined to high-end luxury models.

While they often take the limelight, active safety features can only do so much in the event of a crash, and many experts believe that crashes will still occur despite the potential mass rollout of autonomous vehicle technology. Blake Zuidema, ArcelorMittal’s Director Automotive Product Application, has said, “While vehicle autonomy and connectivity will improve safety and reduce injuries due to vehicle crashes, no technology is perfectly reliable. There is no reason to believe that vehicle autonomy will prevent all crashes. When they do occur, even in those much more infrequent occasions, occupants will still need the strength and safety of steel to protect them.” Furthermore, he said, the scenarios that cannot be anticipated are the scenarios for which there remains a need for a strong steel safety cage in autonomous vehicles.

As such, the continued development of passive safety features is just as important as ADAS technology, and will continue to be even as highly autonomous vehicles hit the market. That’s the view of Brad Davey, Chief Marketing Officer for the steel


Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Steel unlimited

Today, vehicle occupants sit in distinct locations in the vehicle, which allows OEMs to design accordingly and identify areas that need crash absorbent or high-strength steels. But if people are strapped in differently, safety becomes much more challenging

supplier’s global automotive business, who believes that vehicle safety starts with choosing the right materials in design.

“Autonomous vehicles are going to change the world as they start to roll out,” Davey predicted. “The timeframe for it is quite uncertain, but it will certainly bring issues that may not have been foretold. For example, there is likely to be an increase in the number of miles that vehicles travel, because it makes driving so convenient.”

A recent report by the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suggests that the miles travelled by light-duty passenger cars is projected

to grow at an annual rate of 1.01% between 2015 and 2035. With this increase in miles comes the increased likelihood of a crash occurring. Furthermore, increased mileage means that consumers will spend more money on fuel. As a result, reducing fuel consumption through vehicle lightweighting is likely to remain a crucial strategy for OEMs, alongside the use of crash-absorbent materials in certain areas. According to Zuidema, “Autonomous vehicles will be subject to the same fuel economy regulations as non-autonomous vehicles and the weight reduction and fuel economy improvement afforded by today’s advanced steel solutions will still be needed. Steel still provides the safety

and lightweighting needed for autonomous vehicles at a lower cost than any other lightweight material.”

Four pillars for futureproofing

With these trends in mind, Davey outlined a number of approaches that ArcelorMittal is taking to prepare for the future of the automotive industry and the rollout of autonomous vehicles.

“There are four pillars that drive our innovations,” he explained, “the first of which covers new products and solutions.”


Steel unlimited

S-in motion is ArcelorMittal’s steel demonstrator to promote its capabilities in automotive structural BIW applications, including mild steels, press hardened steels (PHS) and advanced high strength steels (AHSS)

When it comes to autonomous cars, the hot topic right now is safety. I don’t see the automotive industry reaching zero collisions, so there will always be a role for safety solutions

ArcelorMittal is preparing to roll out the next generation of its core steel grades, Usibor and Ductibor. An aluminiumsilicon coated press hardened steel, Usibor 2000 boasts greater strength than its predecessor Usibor 1500. It is designed for use in strength-critical passenger compartment parts, such as rockers, pillars, roof rails and cross members. Ductibor 1000 is also a highstrength press hardenable steel, but it offers enhanced energy absorption in localised areas of the vehicle. This makes it suitable for use in front and rear rails as well as lower B-pillars.

Both of these grades of steel are available for qualification testing in Europe, and Ductibor 1000 is also available for testing in North America.


Commercial production commences in 2017.

“The second pillar is our work on downstream technologies with various different partners,” Davey continued. “Here we have solutions like laser welded blanks for cold formed steels and press hardened steels.”

Also known as tailored blanks, laserwelded blanks (LWBs) are sheets of metal that combine several grades of steel, each of which can vary in thickness and have different coatings. This is often done in vehicle design in order to cater to highly specific requirements in localised areas.

The third pillar sees the company focus on quality and service leadership on a global basis for its customers, said Davey, “and then finally we are always working on expanding our geographical footprint.”

The safety challenge

Looking ahead, Davey stressed the uncertainty that comes with the rise of self-driving vehicles. “It will likely lead to some level of increased automotive production, but we don’t think that in and of itself will have a measurable impact on ArcelorMittal,” he admitted. “When it comes to autonomous cars, the hot topic right now is safety. I don’t see the automotive industry reaching

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Steel unlimited

Autonomous vehicles are going to change the world as they start to roll out. The timeframe for it is quite uncertain, but it will certainly bring issues that we may not have foretold

zero collisions, so there will always be a role for safety solutions.”

Among the companies considered as forerunners in self-driving vehicle technology is Tesla. However, amidst the enthusiasm for its Autopilot system, which enables semiautonomous vehicle operation, the company has been the subject of a series of negative headlines.

In May 2016, a Tesla driver was killed when his vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer in central Florida. This prompted an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which concluded that it had not found a “safety-related defect trend” with the Autopilot system. The crash was preceded by a fatality in January 2016, when a 23-year old Chinese driver was killed when his Tesla Model S collided with a street-sweeper truck at highway speed. Other Autopilotrelated crashes have also been reported.

Such incidents aside, Davey thinks that self-driving technology could struggle in certain conditions. “When there is black ice on the road and the tyres lose grip, it doesn’t really matter what sensors or computers you have on board,” he stated. “Therefore, the inherent safety of the vehicle through its use of crash absorbent and strong materials will remain. This is where steel will continue to play a key role.”

OEMs and suppliers are currently exploring how autonomous driving could also allow for occupants – no longer tasked with driving the vehicle – to adjust their positions; this includes not only seat location but also switching from upright seating to a bed-like configuration, for

example. Several forward-looking concepts and prototypes, such as Volkswagen’s Sedric, the MercedesBenz F 015 and the Yanfeng Automotive Interiors XiM17 concept include highly flexible and adaptable seating platforms.

“Today, passengers sit in distinct locations in the vehicle, which allows the OEM to design accordingly and identify areas that need crash absorbent or high-strength steels,” Davey observed. “But if people are strapped in differently, then the typical crumple zone areas may change, for example. Safety becomes much more challenging.”

grades beyond what we have currently announced, and we think that steel will remain the dominant material of choice in vehicle design.”

In Zuidema’s words, “Autonomous vehicles will continue to need the safety, affordability, light weight, and environmental friendliness of advanced steel body structure solutions well into the future.”

Clearly, any proponent of a particular material would favour theirs over another, but many of a material’s properties are best exploited when used for specific applications, rather than for an entire vehicle. It often

The inherent safety of the vehicle through its use of crash absorbent and strong materials will remain. This is where steel will continue to play a key role

No limits?

Despite the challenges presented by autonomous driving and future mobility, Davey remains confident in steel’s ability to outperform the variety of other materials vying for a place in vehicle design: “Right now, we don’t see any limits to what we can do with steel. We are working on

goes unmentioned, for example, that the aluminium-bodied Ford F-150 sits on a high-strength steel frame. And it is in the direction of a multimaterial mix that the automotive industry appears to be heading. Steel may be one of the oldest automotive materials, but the efforts of its suppliers have ensured that it remains highly relevant.


Powertrains of the future

In the pursuit of driverless cars, don’t forget the powertrain Automation will play a significant role in future vehicle propulsion development, learns Freddie Holmes


hile much attention is placed on the autonomous car in terms of safety and driving comfort, rarely does the discussion turn to its effect on powertrain architecture. With all aspects of driving taken out of the hands of a human operator, what will be required of the engine and its associated drivetrain and transmission? The answer, says Dean Tomazic, Chief Technology Officer at FEV North America, will depend on


whether the vehicle drives on an autonomous-only basis, or whether the driver can swap between conventional and automated driving.

Going fully autonomous

According to the scale of automation devised by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), a Level 5 vehicle has no requirement for a human operator to drive the vehicle manually, and will

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Powertrains of the future

Robo-cabs will have a completely different set of requirements to a vehicle that you and I currently drive. With an autonomous-only EV, for example, why would you need a 300kWh motor when 150kWh would be fine?

typically be used in a ride-share environment, or as a personal shuttle. In this case, the would-be driver will most likely use travel time as an opportunity to catch up on work, browse the web or simply relax. This means that harsh acceleration and braking is completely unnecessary in practically all scenarios, and here, the aim of the game is comfort.

“With respect to the powertrain, the requirements for an autonomousonly vehicle will be simplified,” explains Tomazic. “Robo-cabs will have a completely different set of requirements to a vehicle that you and I currently drive. With an autonomous-only EV, for example, why would you need a 300kWh motor when 150kWh would be fine?”

But the same can also be said for an automated vehicle of Level 4 and below, which will be able to transfer between human and computerdriven control. In most cases, these vehicles will be privately-owned by those who still want to drive in certain situations, and do not want to relinquish their travel needs to a computer.

“Think about a vehicle that in the morning can drive you to work while you drink a coffee and check email, but then on the weekend allows you to go for a drive in the countryside and have some fun,” continues Tomazic. “The requirements are completely different in terms of driving dynamics; in the morning, you want a mellow experience so you don’t spill your coffee, but then the power and torque requirements are vastly different if you want to drive sportily.”

Smooth operation

Automation will also have an impact on the lifecycle of a powertrain, and engineers will face something of a Catch-22 situation. In many cases, autonomous cars will be far better utilised than a traditional vehicle through the rise of on-demand mobility services. The powertrain will be subject to less aggressive driving – a plus point in terms of maintenance – but it will also clock up far more mileage.

Autonomous ride-share services will have hundreds of vehicles in operation within a city, which may run 24 hours

and many drivers said to be ‘driving drowsy’. In July 2017, one Uber driver in Utah reportedly worked a 20-hour shift behind the wheel to maximise profits, and according to the European Transport Safety Council, no professional driver should drive continuously for more than two hours without “at least a 15-minute break”, although it says this is a “rule of thumb.”

Driverless vehicles will suffer no such issues, and will ultimately be able to operate continuously, pending mechanical failure. “With autonomous city driving through a ride-share or

We are looking at a wide variation of powertrain technologies that we will see in the field. It depends on who we are talking about, where people live and what they want to do with the vehicle

a day, seven days a week – a stark contrast to human working conditions today.

In May 2016, New York City authorities announced proposals to cut cab driver shifts to no longer than 12 hours, due to road safety concerns,

robo-cab model, the stress on components in the vehicle will not be as high as it is now,” agrees Tomazic. “From an acceleration perspective, the time-to-torque will also look different because it has to be a smooth ride. Passengers may be talking or reading email, and they


Powertrains of the future don’t want to be jerked around. The requirements of the powertrain there are not as aggressive,” he affirms.

Indeed, demand in terms of acceleration and braking will not be as high as a privately-owned vehicle outside of the city, and this is likely to extend the lifetime of the engine, drivetrain and its associated components. However, that is not to say that these vehicles will run constantly for a duration of ten years before being replaced or repaired, points out Tomazic.

that automation could spell the end for diesel and gasoline cars.

“ICEs will be part of the mix,” he says. “It is not only battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that will see autonomous driving capability.” For example, rural dwellers may want to commute into the city, and would be likely to do so in autonomous mode. However, the same consumer may wish to travel out of town – from Detroit to Chicago for instance. “These drivers might be limited from a range perspective with an EV, so an ICE may be required here,” suggests Tomazic.

With autonomous city driving through a rideshare or robo-cab model, the stress on components will be reduced. From an acceleration perspective, the time-to-torque will also look different because it has to be a smooth ride Uber, for example, requires that its vehicles were manufactured no earlier than 2010 in order to operate in New York City, and future vehicles may well be refreshed even more frequently. In future, Tomazic suggests that ride-share vehicles may operate for a maximum period of four-years before simply having the powertrain replaced or updated. “There is an inherent benefit [of autonomous driving] from a powertrain perspective as we know it,” he affirms.

Don’t forget the ICE

Writing for Automotive World in July 2017, Lisa Jerram, Principal Research Analyst at Navigant Research, noted a likely “shift to electric vehicles in these automated shared mobility services”. But despite this, Tomazic points out that it is “definitely possible” for vehicles of Level 4 and below to use traditional ICE propulsion, and debunks the myth


As for automated fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), don’t hold your breath. Today, a lack of infrastructure to support these vehicles outside of well-invested regions such as California will prove a particular sticking point. “An FCV with autonomous drive capability is probably not so high on the list of the OEMs right now,” he remarks. “FCVs are really the minority now, and even by 2035 could still only account for just 1% of all sales. Within the next ten years, I do not see them playing a major role.”

The underlying trend is that there will be no single answer to the powertrain as vehicles approach full automation. Powertrain architecture will vary depending on a range of factors, and will include both traditional combustion engines and electrified variants. “We are looking at a wide variation of powertrain technologies that we will see in the field,” Tomazic concludes. “It depends on who we are talking about, where people live and what they want to do with the vehicle.”

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

HD maps for AVs

Automation - it's so much clearer in HD High-deďŹ nition mapping is essential for the transition from driving automation to autonomous driving, believes TomTom. By Megan Lampinen


rom the traditional road atlas to the Waze app, maps today are an essential part of a trip. Specifically, they help drivers plan - or simply follow - a visual route from A to B. But take away that driver from the equation, as autonomous technology promises to do, and maps suddenly need to play a different role. It is a role contingent upon smart and connected technology, and without it, autonomous vehicles will never find their way to market. TomTom specialises in maps and increasingly in maps for automated vehicles, but it knows that maps alone won't build an autonomous fleet. "We see three core building blocks to a driverless future," said Tomaso Grossi, Senior Product Marketer at TomTom Automotive. To start with, the vehicle needs sensing capability, consisting of what it can see through the sensors, such as cameras, radar and LiDAR. A second pillar is what Grossi refers to as 'driving policy', the instructions to the vehicle regarding how to behave in

different driving situations. The third is mapping, but the maps are far from average.

"With automated driving, the map has a different function. You are no longer looking for a map to get you from A to B; it's more of a map that helps you with localisation, perception and path planning," he told Megatrends.


Individuals tend to take it for granted that they know exactly where they are, i.e. in the middle of the road, in a specific position within the lane, at roughly a specific latitude and longitude. An autonomous vehicle does not necessarily know where it is located on the road. GPS positioning, with an accuracy level of about 5 metres, won't cut it for autonomous driving. "A high definition map allows you to enable accurate positioning at decimetre level, whereby the vehicle can see where it is in the lane," said Grossi.


HD maps for AVs

With automated driving, the map has a different function. You are no longer looking for a map to get you from A to B; it's more of a map that helps you with localisation, perception and path planning

A handful of different techniques exists on the market for localisation, some of which involve using sensors to correct GPS measurements. TomTom tried and tested this approach but found it very expensive and not necessarily scalable. "While it might be scalable for a small track or a quick demonstration, these technologies are difficult to scale for global implementation in vehicles on the road. We strongly believe that providing an HD map and localisation layers represents a much more scalable approach," he explained.

This is a question that OEMs will need to address for many different technologies. As Grossi added: "Sure, some technologies might be feasible, and might even be the right technology for short-term implementation, but when you are looking at global implementation, your mind needs to be focused on the scalability of the technology."

Perception and path planning

Perception is the second key role maps will play in autonomous

vehicles, as highlighted by recent white hat hacks. Researchers at the University of Washington, University of Michigan, Stony Brook University, and UC Berkeley figured out a way to trick the vision systems used by an autonomous car by putting stickers on street signs. The stickers disrupted the way in which the machines read and classified signs. For example, a stop sign could be misinterpreted as a 45mph sign, leading to disastrous safety consequences.

"As a human, if you see a stop sign with stickers on it, you still know that

While it might be scalable for a small track or a quick demonstration, these technologies are difficult to scale for global implementation in vehicles on the road. We strongly believe that providing an HD map and localisation layers represents a much more scalable approach


Automotive Megatrends Magazine

HD maps for AVs

As a human, if you see a stop sign with stickers on it, you still know that it's a stop sign and that you should stop there. A vehicle could interpret it as something different. If those stop signs were also represented in a high-definition map, it would help address that issue

it's a stop sign and that you should stop there. A vehicle could interpret it as something different," Grossi observed. "If those stop signs were also represented in a high-definition (HD) map, it would help address that issue. It aids perception by also providing redundancy to the car sensors." Essentially, explains Grossi, the vehicle thought-process would run as follows: This looks like a stop sign but it’s not clear – what does the HD map say? The map confirms that it is indeed a stop sign, and so this vehicle must stop.

Path planning is the third main role for maps of the future. This tackles the question of how the vehicle knows exactly in which lane it needs to be in order to travel from one point to another. "This is not just navigation as in, 'take a right at the next exit'. It is also recognising that the vehicle needs to turn into the right lane now if it wants to be able to turn right off the highway, for example," said Grossi. "This is the difference between the use of maps for navigation and the use of HD maps for autonomous or automated driving. This is the pillar where TomTom is specifically active."

Future vision

If these are the building blocks of autonomy, what does the navigation experience of the future look like with such maps supporting it? TomTom recently conducted a user experience exercise to examine ways of bridging normal navigation and autonomous driving.

In general, as automation increases, so will the navigation options. Drivers already have the choice of the shortest route, the fastest route and the most economical route, but there could be more. Specifically, TomTom envisions an 'effortless route', which is a route that includes the most automated driving time possible. "The route might take longer but the occupant would be able to be more productive during that time," Grossi explained.

This sort of experience will require a leap of faith from vehicle occupants - faith that the vehicle knows what it should do and that it will do exactly that. Drivers have already been building that trust through the automated features available at the moment. "When we introduced the portable SatNavs, the key there was to build trust in a small box, a small piece of hardware that was telling people to go left or right," said Grossi. "We were building trust in innovation in this little machine."

Trust in the machine

The next step involved building other services like traffic, parking or weather for automotive clients. "Drivers have begun to trust a system that tells them to go in a different direction than usual because there might be traffic or there might not be parking available. That was another level of trust. Now with our autonomous driving products, we need to build trust into this new technology," he said. "You could see it as a path towards building trust in

innovation at different stages - every time there's a bigger gap."

One way to build trust is to share the information that the car has with its occupants. "When an automated vehicle changes lanes, slows down or accelerates, occupants are not always aware of why it is doing this. We thought of having different screens that show what the vehicle is seeing," he said. Notably, what the vehicle is seeing doesn't necessarily mean only what the sensors are telling the vehicle, but also what the on-board map is telling the vehicle. This includes such information as the number of lanes and the road geometry of these lanes. "We thought of it as overlaying the TomTom HD map onto the road or, at the same time, overlaying what the sensors are seeing onto a screen, for example," he added.

This technology has not yet been implemented, but TomTom is conducting such user experience exercises with an eye towards the future. "It was more of an exercise of understanding how we would want to portray our technology to make the passenger feel safer and more informed," Grossi clarified.

While his team is specifically focused on product marketing for TomTom's unit on autonomous driving, the realisation of Level 5 autonomy won't come any time soon. As Grossi cautioned: "What we have now is more driving automation than autonomous driving. The very end goal of driverless autonomy, of robo-taxis, is still very far away in the future."


Multi-modal HMI

Multi-modal HMI essential to build trust in AVs The human-machine interface is evolving to incorporate artificial intelligence, allowing for the safe operation of self-driving technology. By Michael Nash


he rollout of highly automated vehicles is by no means just around the corner, but several OEMs are currently testing self-driving technology on public roads and some have plans to bring their efforts to market before 2025. Aside from developing the technology and ironing out any glitches to ensure it operates safely and efficiently, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are faced with a great number of issues before the widespread rollout of highly autonomous vehicles is realised.

One of the primary challenges is establishing trust between car and driver, something which could be

achieved with a multi-modal humanmachine interface (HMI) incorporating artificial intelligence (AI). This is a relatively new area, but one that could be critical to market acceptance of self-driving technology.

Next-gen evolution

Most HMI systems on the market today are relatively simplistic in comparison to advanced, multimodal concepts that use AI, but several companies are eager to push the boundaries. Volvo Cars, for example, has a team of experts dedicated to HMI research and design. The team is presently

working on technology that bridges the gap between non-autonomous and autonomous driving.

The OEM has plans for a specific manoeuvre for the human driver to transfer control responsibility to the car. Speaking to Automotive World in his previous capacity as Senior Technical Leader – Safety and Driver Support Technologies at Volvo Cars, Erik Coelingh said, “It's about pushing two pedals. It has to be very clear when it's on or off. We do not want it to be able to activate or deactivate by mistake.” Coelingh, who is now at the Autoliv-Volvo driver assistance systems joint venture Zenuity, added

The system needs to be intuitive but also needs to make sure that it only adds to the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users


- Malin Ekholm, Volvo Cars Safety Centre

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Multi-modal HMI

The use of multi-modal HMI allows drivers to access controls and functions much faster than with conventional control concepts involving buttons and switching

at the time, “Once the car is driving autonomously, we also have to provide trust to the driver. If you want to sit relaxed, read a book, do something else, then you need to trust the vehicle you are in.”

Crucially, the HMI must be developed with safety at its core, said Malin Ekholm, Senior Director at Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “The system needs to be intuitive but also needs to make sure that it only adds to the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users,” she said. It cannot, she added for clarity, be detrimental.

As such, techniques like voice command and gesture control could play a greater role in minimising driver distraction. This, added Ekholm, will continue to be important regardless of autonomous driving technology rollout, as vehicle occupants are likely to need to remain vigilant and aware behind the wheel for a long time.

A recent paper published by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that distracted driving leads to over 420,000 injuries and 3,100 fatalities every year

- Thomas Vöhringer-Kuhnt, Continental

in the US alone, and that nearly onethird of all US drivers between 18 and 64 years old read or send text or email messages while driving.

Continental is one of many suppliers currently developing HMI technology with two goals in mind – reducing driver distraction and enabling autonomous driving. It recently announced that it was researching and testing a range of display and control concepts that are designed to maximise the relationship between car and driver.

“On the road towards fully automated driving, our biggest challenge will be the new role of drivers and the resulting new needs and requirements,” explained Karsten Michels, Head of System and Advanced Development in Continental’s Interior division. “Up to now, drivers have been solely occupied with the task of driving; in the future, however, they will become critical users and monitors in the cockpit. To meet this challenge, they have to know at all times how the vehicle is behaving and the vehicle’s current driving mode. Transparency and an awareness of

the current situation are our watchwords when it comes to developing new concepts for a holistic human-machine dialogue. Only in this way can drivers place their trust in fully automated driving systems.”

A suite of multi-modal functions will be necessary to provide relevant information to vehicle occupants, making sure they know how the car is behaving and why. Thomas VöhringerKuhnt, Head of HMI User Experience & Design at Continental, told Megatrends that the use of multimodal HMI also “allows drivers to access controls and functions much faster than with conventional control concepts involving buttons and switches."

Raising questions

This view was echoed by Arnd Weil, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Nuance Automotive. “If the driver wants to listen to music, for example, it’s tedious to go through various apps and select it with buttons on the steering wheel,” he explained to Megatrends. “It’s so much easier if we use natural language voice


Multi-modal HMI recognition technology. The same idea goes for inputting a destination into the navigation system, accessing the phone book and writing emails.”

Weil is confident that multi-modal HMI will play an increasingly important role as consumers demand greater levels of connectivity, convenience and a more personalised driving experience. However, the most benefits will be seen when combining these different modes with AI.

“AI is a big field and probably needs a narrower definition,” he says. “If we’re talking about deep learning, which many people consider as AI, it is dependent on the data obtained to actually do that learning. This raises the question of data privacy, data ownership, and who has access to what data and can leverage it.”

With the use of AI, the HMI can become a personal on-board assistant that learns about driver and vehicle occupant preferences. It can access data stored in the Cloud on previous driving scenarios and identify patterns. “When connected cars become autonomous, these assistants must leverage AI to keep their passengers connected, informed and engaged in the event they need to take the wheel,” Weil noted. “But what happens if somebody hacks that history and knows the car? This person could basically control it remotely, which is a huge issue and a bottleneck for rolling out the technology.”

Bold expectations

Investment in AI across the automotive industry has been growing. In January 2017, Nissan’s Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn confirmed the launch of Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) – a system that marries cameras, radars and LiDAR with AI, allowing cars to become smart enough to know when they should or should not attempt to negotiate difficult driving tasks. If deemed necessary, the car can request help via a command centre, and a person can access the situation before taking action over the wireless network.

A month later, Ford announced that it would spend US$1bn over the course of five years on developing a virtual driver system for autonomous vehicles with Pittsburgh-based start-up Argo AI. At the time, the then Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said that this would help to strengthen the company’s “leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term.”


Autonomous cars – What passengers want to do instead of driving

Nuance research from 400 drivers in the UK and US sheds light on what drivers plan to get up to behind the wheel while their cars drive themselves

Touch or talk?

Hey car! Could you please…

How do passengers prefer to interact with a self-driving car?

66 %


56 %


31 %

Knobs, buttons or physical controls




Eye movement

70 % … set destination and manage my route

68 %

60 %


My car, your car, our car? Car ownership vs. shared mobility




... would like to use an autonomous car though a mobility service for most trips, but would still like to own one and use it every now and then

... would like to own an autonomous car, but may occasionally use a mobility service

... would rely on a mobility service when necessary



All by themselves? Drivers expect to spend most time alone, when in an autonomous car

Top 5 activities to do while driving in a self-driving car ... with a co-passenger ... alone 63 % Relax, look out the window 64 % Listen to radio 42 % Talk on the phone 42 % Browse the internet 36 % Messaging

71 % Having conversations 58 % Listen to radio 56 % Relax, look out the window 23 % Messaging 24 % Look up places

Online survey conducted by Nuance through SurveyMonkey amongst 400 drivers in UK and US, April 2017

Automotive Megatrends Magazine

Multi-modal HMI

The system needs to be intuitive but also needs to make sure that it only adds to the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users - Malin Ekholm, Volvo Cars Safety Centre

At CES in 2017, Mercedes-Benz declared that it was working with Nvidia to launch an AI-powered car “within 12 months”. This is just part of an on-going collaboration between the two companies that is focused on deep learning and AI. “The hottest trend in developing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) seems to be deep learning

technology, which is used for image recognition and understanding the car’s surroundings,” Alex Mankowsky, a Futurist at Daimler’s Futures Studies & Ideation unit, recently told Automotive World. “Advancements in this field have exceeded our boldest expectations from a few years back.” Weil thinks that on-going investments in AI from both OEMs and suppliers

Transparency and awareness are our watchwords when developing new concepts for a holistic human-machine dialogue. Only in this way can drivers place their trust in fully automated driving systems - Karsten Michels, Continental

will be extremely important for the safe rollout of self-driving technology. “If we look five or ten years out, the HMI must be trustworthy, intelligent and users must be able to interact with it just as they would with another human,” he suggested. “Think about movies where intelligent car systems talk to drivers and can provide a long list of helpful services, from taking over the driving task to paying for fuel. This is the direction the industry is heading in.”

In the autonomous car of the future, occupants could give the vehicle a variety of commands through a range of media, from voice and gesture to haptic control. A concept car recently showcased by ZF at its 2017 Global Press Event was able to navigate around a track without input from the driver, but the passenger could take control by using a round haptic controller positioned on the centre console. While only a prototype, it provided a glimpse into the future and the evolving interaction between vehicle occupants and their cars. With a variety of new, smart HMIs on the cusp of entering the market, the possibilities seem limited only by the rate at which consumers are ready to accept innovative technologies.


Automotive Megatrends Magazine - Q3 2017  

Free quarterly online publication featuring executive insight from BMW Group, BorgWarner, Continental, Eaton, McLaren Racing, Stratasys, Vol...

Automotive Megatrends Magazine - Q3 2017  

Free quarterly online publication featuring executive insight from BMW Group, BorgWarner, Continental, Eaton, McLaren Racing, Stratasys, Vol...