News from Volvo, Voyage, FCA, GM, Cruise, Aurora, Uber and Lyft: your monthly automotive briefing
Another month has come and gone – and as usual, there’s been a lot going on in automotive over the last weeks. Here’s some key items that stuck out to me during May:
“The challenges of developing autonomous vehicles during a pandemic” – via VentureBeat
This piece is actually from April 28 – I missed it last month but I absolutely wanted to include it in this newsletter: The article is a bit on the long side but well worth it for the insights into the role of simulation in the development of AVs, using examples from Waymo, Cruise, Aurora, Uber and Lyft.
“Volvo bucks the industry, will sell LIDAR-equipped self-driving cars to customers by 2022” – via The Verge
The question seems to be as old as time: When will autonomous vehicles actually appear on public roads? It’s a question that’s notoriously hard to get right and many in the industry have been far too optimistic in their past guesses, so it’s probably good advice to be skeptic of specific answers. Volvo, however, didn’t hold back this month: The company announced that starting 2022, using LiDAR technology by Luminar, their production vehicles will be able to do just that – at least on (some) highways.
It seems that AV startups are starting to embrace the expertise of traditional car makers: After Waymo recently announced a massive investment by Tier1 giant Magna, this month it was Voyage’s turn: CEO Oliver Cameron made public that his company is partnering with FCA who will be supplying them with purpose-built Chrysler Pacificas and the support to deeply integrate Voyage’s AV stack with vehicle technology such as braking and steering systems.
“GM working on semi-autonomous Ultra Cruise to operate on all roads” – via The Detroit News
Did I just say that Volvo aims for autonomous driving on a set of highways? GM is aiming even higher, looking to develop a successor to its Super Cruise system – internally named “Ultra Cruise” – that would allow cars to travel autonomously on all kinds of roads: highway, urban and rural. Unlike Volvo, however, GM has yet to give any information on when this technology is going to be available and which models are likely to be outfitted with Ultra Cruise.
That’s it for this month – enjoy your read! And if you would like to receive these monthly updates via newsletter, you can sign up for that here.