This month in automotive innovation: atlatec news

News from Mercedes-Benz/smart, Geely, Waymo, GM/Cruise and Argo.AI: January 2020 in Automotive

Tom Dahlström
January 30, 2020 0 Comment

A happy belated new year to you! 2020 has certainly seen a very dynamic start, with a number of impactful news – so much so, that you might have missed a few recent developments in the automotive space.

If so, here’s your chance to catch up with the industry – click any headline to get to the article:


“Mercedes-Benz relaunches smart cars as electric brand with Geely” – via electrec

Daimler has been planning on going all electric with smart for a while now – what’s new is that they’re bringing Chinese OEM Geely into the mix. smart will thus become a joint venture in a move that Daimler hopes will boost Chinese sales and streamline production.

“Waymo’s autonomous cars have driven 20 million miles on public roads” – via Venturebeat

Last year, it was announced that Waymo had hit the 10 million milestone (literally) with their real-world AV operations – after ten years. Now, just one year later, they’ve doubled that number and reached 20 million miles. While the number of miles is not a catch-all KPI without context, that’s still an impressive feat in scalability and once again puts Waymo at the top of the field, ahead of Zoox, Cruise, Baidu and others.

“GM unveils Cruise Origin driverless shuttle” – via CNBC

GM’s “Super Cruise” was arguably the first production vehicle to feature some actual autonomous driving capabilities – in fact the Cadillac is about to get a brand-new feature: bonus press release. So it seems worth listening when GM’s AV subsidiary, Cruise announce what might otherwise be “just” another autonomous shuttle concept. The company goes straight for Level 5, with no room (or even controls) for a safety driver and CEO Dan Ammann has made it clear that Cruise is aiming for the Origin to be a production vehicle.

“A Decade after DARPA: Our View on the State of the Art in Self-Driving Cars” – via Argo.AI

I rarely include company blogs in these reviews, but I felt this warrants an exception: Argo.AI has seen massive investments both from Ford and Volkswagen and is arguably one of the frontrunners regarding self-driving capabilities. In this piece, CEO Bryan Salesky reflects broadly on the state of autonomous driving – and tries to take some of the AV hype out of the discussion: “For those of us who have been working on the technology for a long time, we’re going to tell you the issue is still really hard, as the systems are as complex as ever.”



As always, if you feel I missed something major this month (or if your company has some exciting news coming up that should be included in the months ahead), please let me know – I appreciate any and all feedback!

And if you would like to have a chat in person, check out the updated overview of expos attended by atlatec. See you out there!