Openstreetmap Founder Steve Coast Left TeleNav, to Advise Navmii on Maps

Steve Coast, the founder of mapping community Openstreetmap (OSM), has left TeleNav and just joined Navmii as a strategic board advisor.

Coast served two years and half at TeleNav where he was in charge of Openstreetmap related projects and successfully transitioned Telenav mobile navigation app Scout from a commercial map provider to OSM.

Coast is currently advising several other companies, including big data parking startup Parknav.

At Navmii Steve Coast will “further enhance its B2B mapping products and services,“ the company said.

“Navmii has created enhanced, automotive grade OSM maps using its map enhancement platform and billions of points of mapping data collected from its users. Navmii will offer this enhanced data for license to B2B customers both as pure map data and mapping tile services to power web and mobile solutions.“

In targeting the map data business Navmii is entering a very competitive field under the shadow of three giants: Google, HERE and TomTom.

Renault & CloudMade: Self-Learning Cars for Smoother Driving

Silicon Valley-based CloudMade has been working with Renault for a couple of years and now the two companies are going public with their partnership.

CloudMade had been know some years ago or its technology solutions around Openstreetmap data. But now its core business is in the automotive industry where they develop solutions for connected, self-learning vehicles.

My Driving Partner is a new type of driving aid developed by Renault in collaboration with CloudMade.

The technology is designed to learn the individual driving habits and to follow up with customized advice to promote driving that is smoother and more relaxing. By signalling driver earlier than aids such as ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) or AEBS (Active Emergency Braking System), My Driving Partner offers a personalized way to help the driver control the vehicle in a more optimal manner. The system is currently being evaluated on a fleet of Renault vehicles (ZOE, Clio and Captur) equipped with the R-Link 1 multimedia tablet.

Making sense of car data

The system first records parameters such as acceleration, braking and steering wheel angle as well as environmental information such as traffic and weather, based on these it learns a driver’s habits and keep track of notable occurrences.

My Driving Partner can be used in either “Companionâ€? or “Challengeâ€? mode. In each, the system provides feedback to the driver about his or her driving style. When the driver embarks on a journey that he or she has previously completed, My Driving Partner’s algorithm is able to predict situations to warn of potential risks. In Challenge mode, the system rewards the ‘best’ driver with points for their overall driving style and the smooth handling of various situations and provides a total at the end of the trip.

Accidents happen on regular routes

By learning a driver’s habits and storing dangerous spots along the user’s most frequently used routes, My Driving Partner can warn the driver of a risky situation and provide advice as he or she approaches the potential hazard.

Statistics demonstrate that a large part of accidents happen on regular journeys. According to Renault, in France more than half of all accidents resulting in bodily injury happen on journeys of a distance of less than 20 kilometers.

Ford Introduces FordPass, (Smart) Mobility Platform

Ford has introduced this week FordPass, a platform designed to help members – Ford owners or not – with mobility services.

FordPass, which is launching this spring, allows members to reserve and pay for parking (via Parkopedia and Parkwhiz), access to guides (free online assistance) to help resolve their mobility challenges and member-exclusive perks from a range of affinity partners such as Southwest Airlines, McDonald’s and 7-Eleven.

FordPass also includes the opening of FordHubs, i.e. urban stores, where consumers will be able to explore the company’s “latest innovations,“ learn about its mobility services and experience “exclusive events.“ FordHubs are set to open in New York City, London, Shanghai and San Francisco; the first will start later this year at New York’s Westfield World Trade Center.

FordPass launches this spring in the United States and Canada, followed by other markets including Europe, China and Brazil later this year.

Our analysis

Every car maker is dreaming itself as a smart mobility provider and there are many ways to get there. But FordPass does not seem to bring any breakthrough neither from a concept nor from a services standpoint. This seems very much car centric and the connection between mobility services and an urban car retail experience such as FordHubs seems very tiny.

Let be honest, we are much more impressed by what Daimler is doing with their Moovel platform, connecting various means of transportation in a single app with a unique point of payment.

Watch below the Ford announcement from the Detroit Motor Show:

Cellepathy, Motosmarty & OOCAR Finalists of Auto App Challenge

GPS Business News has announced today the finalists of the Auto App Challenge: Cellepathy (Israel), Motosmarty (Belgium), and OOCAR (France). The three startup companies have been selected by a jury of professionals gathered by GPS Business News.

The finalists will compete to win the Challenge at the ConnecteDriver conference –

www.connectedriver.events – where they will present their solution on January 27th, 2016 in front of 150 business professionals coming from 20 countries and representing the whole ecosystem of the connected car industry.

Cellepathy

Cellepathy develops solutions that collect and interpret smartphone sensor data to enable telematics services without the in-vehicle hardware required today. It’s technology is applicable to many fields including Distracted Driving Crash Prevention, Smartphone-Based UBI, and Turn-by-Turn Navigation.

Motosmarty

Road Vikings is a community of young drivers which goal is to promote good an safe driving in an engaging and rewarding way. Road Vikings connect good drivers and creative businesses who want to offer the community profitable telematics-based services including usage-based insurance, valet services, remote breakdown assistance or car sharing.

OOCAR

OOCAR is a connected car smart data company that helps drivers improve their driving experience, take better car of their car and save time and money along the way with personalized services and tools. At the same time, OOCAR helps service providers to be more competitive by offering them direct access to drivers and real-time car data.

International Jury

The finalists of the challenge have been selected among six criterias (Functionality, Usability, Design, Uniqueness, Commercial potential and Business model) by a jury made of seven experienced professionals in the business of the auto/mobile convergence:

Barbara Belvisi, Co-founder, Hardware Club

Benedict Jochem, Strategic Marketing Manager, Bosch SoftTec

Anders Lykke, Head of Sales, Priori Data

Ludovic Privat, Editor & co-Founder, GPS Business News

Gredy Raffin, Section Editor, Le Journal de l’Automobile

Jean-Marc Van Laethem, Chief Innovation Officer & co-founder, Coyote Systems

Garmin Acquires LiDAR Tech Company

Garmin announced today the acquisition of PulsedLight, Inc., a privately-held company founded in 2012 and designing optical distance measurement technology (LiDAR) located in Bend, Oregon.

PulsedLight’s product, LiDAR-lite, offers up to 40-meter range capability with 1cm resolution and operates at measurement speeds of up to 500 readings per second. It currently sells for around $115 online.

“Optical distance measurement technology fits in nicely with Garmin’s core competencies of location and positioning,” said Garmin CEO Cliff Pemble.

“We are excited to have the support of a technology leader like Garmin. They are able to provide the resources and manufacturing expertise to integrate our technology into incredibly useful new devices that serve a multitude of markets,” added Dennis Corey, president and co-founder of PulsedLight.

Quanergy: Solid-State LiDAR for Driverless Cars under $250

LiDAR – the technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light – was until recently very costly.

Systems used in mapping vans and self-driving vehicles – such as these of Google – were costing from $5,000 to $50,000, therefore limiting the penetration of this technology in common cars and making automated driving very pricy.

LiDAR are indeed a key component of the situational awareness of future driverless cars, creating a live 3D view around a vehicle – up to 150 m distance – detecting, classifying, and tracking objects in the scene.

Now a company is set to transform the LiDAR market in offering a system that costs around $250 in volume sales (100,000 pieces).

Based in Sunnyvale, California, Quanergy was founded in 2012 and is bringing to the market a new technology called solid-state LiDAR. Instead of relying on a spinning, mechanical system, Quanergy uses an integrated circuit capable of gathering a point cloud of one million pixel per second with an accuracy of 5 cm at 100 meters.

Louay Eldada, the CEO of the company spoke yesterday at a press conference in Las Vegas where the company publicly launched S3, their first solid state LiDAR.

He explained there are many advantages to solid state LiDAR, in addition to its much lower cost. One is robustness because with no spinning part inside there is no risk of mechanical failure. Lower power consumption is also an advantage.

The technology is also able to scan a particular area on demand on a micro second request. Louay Eldada pointed out that it offers for example the ability to concentrate the vision on the left and right sides when the car is stopping at an intersection, then switching back the beam to 150 meters in front when the car is driving at full speed on an highway.

Continued…

Ford Adds Android Auto and CarPlay

Ford was until now one of the very few big global automakers to have resisted to the strong appeal of Android Auto and CarPlay. The company had been pushing so far its SYNC system that was initially launched in 2007 and is nowadays embedded in more than 15 million vehicles.

But yesterday the company announced the upcoming availability of CarPlay and Android Auto In North America. The U.S. car maker will make Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available on all 2017 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3, starting with the new Ford Escape.

Owners of 2016 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 will have an opportunity to upgrade later in the year.

Watch the video from Ford below:

Toyota to Demo Map Crowdsourcing from Cars at CES

Toyota is developing a high-precision map generation system that will use data from on-board cameras and GPS devices installed in production vehicles. The new system will go on display at CES 2016 in Las Vegas early January.

The system uses camera-equipped production vehicles to gather road images and vehicle positional information. This information is sent to data centers, where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area.

Mitigating errors

While a system relying on cameras and GPS in this manner has a higher probability of error than a system using three-dimensional laser scanners, positional errors can be mitigated using image matching technologies that integrate and correct road image data collected from multiple vehicles, as well as high precision trajectory estimation technologies.

“This restricts the system’s margin error to a maximum of 5 cm on straight roads“ Toyota wrote.

By utilizing production vehicles and existing infrastructure to collect information, this data can be updated in real time and the system can be scaled up at a relatively low cost.

To support the spread of automated driving technologies, Toyota plans to include this system as a core element in automated driving vehicles that will be made available in production vehicles by around 2020.

“While initial use of the system is expected to be limited to expressways, future development goals include expanding functionality to cover ordinary roads and assist in hazard avoidance,“ Toyota indicated.

Our analysis

It is interesting to see Toyota entering the automotive map space. Most recently that was Continental (read here) which demonstrated their interest for this market segment and our discussion with Continental at the ITS World congress in Bordeaux clearly showed they are not afraid to compete with TomTom and HERE.

At this stage it is not clear however if and how Toyota want to partner with map makers.

The Japanese carmaker wrote that “Toyota will also seek to collaborate with mapmakers, with the goal of encouraging the use of high precision map data in services offered by both the public and private sectors.“

We will probably learn more on the CES show floor.

Spireon Targets Used Car Dealers with Connected Device

Last week U.S. based, car tracking vendor Spireon launched a new product called Kahu that is offered to consumers exclusively from used car dealers.

A significant part of Spireon activity is offering Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) car dealers their Goldstar GPS service that allows vendors to track vehicles and repossess them if credit is not paid.

Now the company wants to offer connected services to the end users (drivers). With Kahu, car dealers partner with Spireon for a one-time install of the GPS tracking device to use for their collateral and inventory management, and once the car is purchased the dealers can add-on the Kahu mobile app service for the car buyer, connecting them to the already-installed GPS tracking device. The GPS tracking solution cost is more than covered once the Kahu service add-on is sold.

In addition to a new revenue stream in selling Kahu as an add-on service, it allows car dealers to deliver a more modern car buying and owning experience for their customers.

“With over 2.5 million connected vehicles on the road today, Spireon offers the broadest open Connected Vehicle service available today,â€? said Shawn Hansen, Spireon’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Kahu is the first aftermarket connected vehicle service available exclusively from car dealers. The thousands of car dealers that use GoldStar GPS for collateral and lot management can easily add Kahu to increase profits, as well as help any car buyer connect their car to the Internet.â€?

For drivers Kahu provides:

– 24/7 Vehicle Location — The Kahu service is always-on, providing quick access to vehicle location through the mobile app so that you know where your car and family is at all times.

– Theft Recovery — Kahu helps immediately locate your vehicle in the event that it is stolen and can even alert local police authorities. With this feature the average recovery time of a stolen vehicle is 26 minutes.

– Smart Alerts — Kahu provides notifications for several driving features, including a geofencing feature, allowing users to enter a location, indicate a geographic boundary around it and then receive an alert if the car crosses that boundary. Alerts can also be set for specific speed limits or issues such as low battery.

– Insurance Discounts — Users can save up to 25% on insurance premiums that offer discounts for cars with theft recovery devices installed.

Audi, BMW & Daimler Completed HERE Acquisition

AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG concluded the acquisition of HERE from Nokia on 4 December, 2015 after receiving approvals from antitrust authorities. Each company owns one third of the new entity, but they are open to welcome additional investors.

The car makers said that “a new governance structure, safeguarded by a supervisory board that will consist of representatives of the new owners and independent, recognized industry figures. AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG do not acquire joint control of HERE and there is a clear separation between their roles as customers, suppliers and investors. In addition, HERE will remain open to all customers, and be open to other investors who would create an even broader shareholder structure.“

On the operational level the car companies see an immediate opportunity in providing anonymous probes data from their connected cars. “In that context the currently more than 2 million connected vehicles from AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG which are capable of collecting advanced high quality location based data already today offer enormous potential to accelerate the development of HERE’s location platform,“ they wrote in their joint press release.