Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 244

Posts Tagged ‘Mercedes Benz’

Google Will Not Remain the Only Non-Automotive Participant in the Market for Driverless Cars For Long

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 ottobre 2013

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen)

London The European legislation – and the various disparate versions from each member state – has not taken a call yet on what sort of automated vehicles can be permitted on public roads for personal use. Although the purpose of the automated driving initiative is supposed to take road safety to the next level, the current legislative vacuum is hindering automakers from launching their automated vehicles they have in store. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already developed production-ready automated vehicles, which are capable of commuting on a driverless mode. They have chosen however, to disable the functionality due to legislative and real-world imperatives, restricting it to merely assist in traffic jam situations and parking manoeuvres.At the same time Google is making an impressive step forward with its self-driving vehicle project. For a non-automotive participant, this creates sufficient attention for a participant such as Google moving outside its core competence. While traditional automakers such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and others are yet to make a firm statement on the confirmed launch of vehicles with highly- and fully-automated modes at a decided price, Google is going all out to create vehicles that do not need a driver inside. It remains to be seen, if consumers will trust the likes of a Google in any manoeuvre other than navigation, app-based POI information, etc.
Legislation and the efforts of traditional automakers aim at ensuring that potentially self-driving vehicles reduce the probability of road-crashes. Google, on the other hand, is looking at the same as a potential business opportunity to leverage technology to ensure that driver distraction does not result in dangerous situations, as the vehicle drives itself. “For Google, it is clearly about connecting the dots. Their solution portfolio covers a plethora of commuting-related services such as connected navigation, Location-based Services either through Google Now or using a pair of Google glasses,” Mr. Natarajan continues. “They have the ability to liaise with channel partners to put internet into the cars and ensure that the occupants spend more time using some sort of a Google application or the other; one potential application while outside of such a Google-vehicle is to bring you one, say, as an automated taxi, should you need help in case of a breakdown. So, all it takes for them is a vehicle that can drive itself so that people maximise their time using Google’s solutions.” In the United Kingdom however, wearing Google glasses while driving is a punishable offense. Google is, therefore, trying to shift the driving responsibility from the driver to an automated driving module, so that the human driver is downgraded to an occupant of the vehicle, free to use Google glasses, legally so.
A strategic action point for Google to consider would be to cooperate with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) which do not have an action plan to launch an automated driving vehicle in the near future; even more so, with OEMs that do not have the best of ADAS and connectivity systems in their portfolio. Google’s solution could be a packaged bundle that takes a two-pronged approach of both active safety and in-vehicle connectivity. A possible proposition is to fit an optional Google-X add-on to a capable vehicle model, on the condition that the OEM would avail of an infotainment package from Google. The much ado about Software-over-the-air and Firmware-over-the-air need not result in nothing, if this proposition is a reality. Thus, the idea would be one of Google making Android-like automated driving modules, compatible with a specific list of cars.Apple has also established an automated vehicle research arm. Google and Apple are the two big names that have revolutionised digital media: in your pocket as a phone, on your desk as a tablet or a computer, in the living room as a television; and now, both giants are likely to provide the customer with an infotaining environment on the move as you are seated in a vehicle. In the automated driving space, much like their electronic advent, one could expect Google to be hardware-agnostic, creating adaptable platforms (perhaps even opensource), whereas Apple could be looking to leverage its technical prowess in sleek hardware development and purpose-built software for the same.What one can expect in the next five years is a vehicle that is capable of driving itself but still holds the driver responsible for the driving task; some cars make driving decisions more often than others, which is referred to as the divide between semi- and highly-autonomous cars. Fully-autonomous cars do not require a human to be present inside to drive the vehicle. As a consequence, such a vehicle will not need the same architecture as a vehicle of the present day: steering wheel, brake-pedal, throttle, gear-shift, parking brake, etc., could all be removed and the vehicle would have more space for comfort, convenience, and infotainment features throughout. If such a vehicle would not need a driver inside, this is likely to pave way for a whole new business model, named driving-as-a-service, which – similar to software-as-a-service – works on a thin-client mode, whereby the hardware at the remote site needs to be compatible only with the interface rather than being capable of running the background codes, and vehicles of the future may only need to provide inputs to a driver seated outside of the vehicle.Such a scenario however, requires road-operators, infrastructure providers (smart-grid, V2X, among others), telecom operators, telematics service providers, insurance companies, and also fleet operators as stakeholders. “If these entities come together and help legislation formulate the most practical and most appropriate set of regulations, we then have cars that drive themselves, under someone’s monitoring,” Mr. Natarajan concludes. “Even in tunnels, such vehicles can follow non-automated manually driven vehicles, if concerns exist about connectivity losses. But whatever be the case, there need to be multiple redundancies such as duplicate telematics boxes, dual connectivity modules, V2X on top of telematics & ADAS, to name a few.”

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Apple ‘I’ – Too Late and Too Limited for the Automotive Market, Says Frost & Sullivan

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 23 luglio 2013

London, UK – 22nd July, 2013 – Consumer electronics giant Apple has unveiled the new IOS 7 for the automotive industry with notable changes to the interface and improved voice capabilities of personal assistant SIRI. Auto OEMs however, with their respective partners have moved many a mile without the need for Apple’s involvement. The announcement may be seen as a phased approach after last year’s announcement of SIRI EyesFree by Apple at WWDC.“If compared to other players, such as Google and Microsoft, Apple’s intention for the automotive industry seems ambiguous at large and the announcements regarding EyesFree and iOS integration is, at best, a predictable reflex reaction to being left out of the automotive OS game,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst, Krishna Jayaraman ( “Even if exciting, the ‘iOS for cars’ comes way too late into the market.”In 2012 Apple voiced its EyesFree partnership with nine Automotive OEMs and there were talks that this would be the next big thing for the connected car and that Apple would topple the traditional Tier Is for a much larger role in the connected car ecosystem. To date only GM, Honda, and Mercedes Benz have implemented this. Other OEMs are still focusing on the prioritisation between SIRI and the natively developed embedded voice recognition supplied by the likes of Nuance – developed for the car as primary and secondary speech recognition – and the limits of its functionality. So far only GM succeeded by creating Spark and Sonic, which includes the SIRI as a feature, while BMW is expected to follow suit with all its 2014 models.“The announcement from Apple will not make it a big threat for the traditional automotive infotainment ecosystem,” believes Mr. Jayaraman. “While OEMs – for instance, BMW – have categorically declined to use this new solution, it will be ideal for a few niche OEMs which can benefit greatly from a readymade solution such as this.” The advantage is that it is a proven platform in smartphones; there is no need to create proprietary solutions for personalisation and connectivity. Dedicated app development process and apps store for automotive are available but are limited to music, phone, navigation, and do not offer app support. In addition, the availability of Siri to control smartphone and native vehicle features could be a great boon.Apple says iOS in the Car will be adopted by a wide range of car brands, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo, Vauxhall/Opel, and Jaguar. BMW does not feature in this list, while Hyundai and Kia do. “For OEMs which have already established their infotainment systems, specifically smartphone integration with apps and content however, changing the entire architecture and implementing a completely new system becomes difficult,” cautions Mr. Jayaraman. The biggest challenge is balancing iOS with current OEM developments. OEMs’ attitude toward iOS device integration technology and their tendency to not really scout for proprietary development at all might help Apple establish its niche.OEMs are finding it hard to balance out an offering which provides the latest and greatest features but also assures safety; the recent example being Ford’s announcement of going back to buttons and switches, in addition to touch screens, clearly proving that full touch experience is not yet automotive ready. There have been major mishaps with the proprietary maps and issues with the interface in the iOS 6 release which hints at unreliability. Even though Apple has no real automotive experience, iOS7 with SIRI can be a sweet niche.OEMs, such as Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Chrysler, and Audi, have invested in their own smartphone integration and app development efforts, while others have opted to tap into integrated ecosystems; for instance, Aha by Harman. This leaves very little room for Apple to play, but could result in the cleanest and tightest iOS device and content integration.

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Daimler to Invest Heavily in production in China and US

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 3 febbraio 2012

London.By Vishwas Shankar, Benny Daniel and Pietro Boggia, Frost & Sullivan“The investment of the Mercedes Benz car division of German carmaker Daimler AG of more than 5 billion US-Dollars in production facilities clearly illustrates Daimler’s preparedness to invest outside of Europe where its share of production and sales over other regions is expected to go down at least 10 per cent and 7 per cent respectively by 2018.Daimler AG moves towards just three key platforms to produce more than 2.7 million cars by 2018, and with a 2.6 billion US-Dollars investment in production capacities additionally in China and another 2.4 billion US-Dollar additionally in its North American business, makes it a complete business case for retooling (so that all plants realign to Europe) which could make vehicles built from common platforms at will from any of the plants.From a micro-level analysis a plant expansion is definitely on the cards for Daimler in North America and also likely by 2014. An entirely new plant where both production and sales is expected to go up only to the tune of 130-140K units by 2018 from 2010 levels means a weak business case, being 150-200k units the optimum break-even point for an investment in a new plant. This could reflect however, the fact that Daimler is expected to become more aggressive than previously forecast and starting in 2013 itself, as part of the German automaker’s long-term plan to be the leader in the global luxury-car segment by 2020.Another reason for the investment could be the fact that specific parts sourced out of Europe to North America could have been impacted by the currency fluctuation when 1Euro was 1.4$ at the end of 2011 and volumes in North America would have to be increased. Closing the gap between place of production and point of sale is crucial for European automakers to reduce local currency fluctuation risk.The focus of investment however, is clearly on Asia with a 10 per cent and 7 per cent increase in production and sales respectively volumes by 2018 over 2010.Of this, China alone is expected to contribute nearly 95 per cent in both production and sales respectively by 2018 over 2010, which means in all certainty that there is a highly profitable business case to invest.An increased production could be attributed by increased penetration of localised high volume components. China is after all the fastest growing luxury vehicle market globally, and Chinese customers demand vehicles flavoured with local styling efforts.For Daimler the proximity to Asian markets supports the decision to invest in China, where its immediate competitors like BMW and VW Group are also increasing volumes to build their brands. Lowering logistics costs for such luxury vehicles it’s another strong profit booster for OEMs which leads to localise production.
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