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CES: Harman and Samsung to lead in future mobility

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Announced at this year’s CES, Harman and Samsung unveiled a range of connected car solutions in an effort to position the companies as leaders in the field.

It hasn’t been a year since Harman International became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets and the two companies have already leveraged their combined teams and resources to drive future mobility forward. Unveiled at CES 2018 are a range of unique connected car solutions that support Harman and Samsung’s joint mission to become the leader in connectivity and autonomous driving: connecting the lives of people, whether at home, on the go, or together in the car.

These key innovations showcase an integrated approach to a rich digital car experience, including:

·         A reinvented digital cockpit platform for all vehicle segments that has given the interior of the car a makeover;

·         A new telematics solution along with the industry first automotive-grade 5G-ready connectivity solution; and

·         An ecosystem of partners and solutions to further build out the Samsung open autonomous platform, along with a showcase of our first implementation of this together with TTTech Computertechnik AG.

Each new solution was made possible through the Harman-Samsung alliance that leverages Samsung’s global scale, R&D capabilities, dominance in mobile/TV/semiconductors and distribution channels and Harman’s leading connected car heritage, relationships, market knowledge and growing community of innovation partners. Both companies are also making global investments in start-ups to help Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) meet growing consumer demand for in-vehicle technology through scalable solutions that enhance the user experience for every vehicle segment.

“Together with Samsung, we have increased innovation speed through scale, resources and competencies to help automakers focus on the car’s evolution from device-centric to experience centric,” said Dinesh Paliwal, Harman President and CEO. “Harman has the heritage and expertise in automotive and collectively Harman and Samsung harness our best technologies and global scale to accelerate how we better serve the needs of automakers in this rapidly evolving automotive market.”

New Harman Digital Cockpit Platform 

The new Digital Cockpit platform includes a suite of flexible and scalable premium experiences that support today’s connected lifestyles without compromising safety or performance. It’s available in standard and advanced system configurations and can seamlessly integrate the instrument cluster with centre console via voice, haptic feedback, and physical knobs and steering wheel controls in a single, centre screen for all vital vehicle information and features. This also supports a multi-modal approach for interactions with different human-machine interfaces to allow customisation in terms of HVAC, media and user settings.

The Digital Cockpit platform brings an entirely new generation of communication and ergonomics inside vehicles, allowing drivers to focus on the road ahead while intuitively and safely interacting with their in-car technology. This is made possible through a projection mode for services and apps via a user’s smartphone, allowing for increased personalisation. A greater IoT ecosystem via cloud technology in the entry-level segment, as well as mid/high-level configurations, not only improves connectivity, but helps lower costs and overall vehicle weight.

In a premium configuration, the Digital Cockpit weaves together a driver’s entire connected lifestyle across the Internet of Things. Through a multi-display layout that leverages Harman’s Ignite Platform, the in-car user experience can be personalised for the driver and passenger via services such as virtual personal assistants, portable profiles, augmented reality and more. This also allows for the Android OS to be integrated on four displays – a first for the industry.

Focused on a future generation of shared mobility, the premium Digital Cockpit personalises occupant experiences, so drivers and passengers feel like the car is theirs even if they don’t own it. By leveraging the phone as a key service, the system can automatically access subscription services associated with user profiles while Bixby offers intelligent personal assistance to help occupants complete tasks by voice, touch, gesture and context-based triggers.

The Digital Cockpit is scalable and made available for every automotive segment, offering future proof and safety-focused features within a developer-friendly open ecosystem.

First 5G Automotive Telematics Solution and Customer

Harman and Samsung are jointly developing modular approaches for advanced telematics, capable of 1 Gb/s bandwidth. Harman and Samsung will deliver the industry’s first 5G-ready automotive solution and multi-band conformal antenna to enable secure, fast and reliable data communications. The solution consists of a telematics control unit with a modular design accommodating a network access device (NAD) supporting LTE CAT 16 connectivity today and 5G in the future leveraging the same hardware design. 5G represents a paradigm shift in the future of mobility. In the automotive sector, 5G delivers safety-enhancing C-V2X capability that is an essential enabler for autonomous transportation. 5G boosts speeds up to 100X faster than current 4G LTE standards to provide incredibly fast high-resolution streaming, immersive virtual and augmented reality features and seamless cloud-based applications in fast-moving cars. Ultra-reliable and with low-latency response times of just 1ms, 5G enables C-V2X and cloud-based compute and storage for the next generation autonomous vehicles. Harman announced that a leading European automaker will be the first customer for this solution. At CES 2018, Harman and Samsung will demonstrate high speed connectivity in a future mobility concept vehicle powered by the Samsung Networks 5G infrastructure.

Advanced Driving Solutions Today for an Autonomous Tomorrow

Developed in close collaboration with Harman, Samsung announced its new DRVLINE platform, an open and modular platform for autonomous driving designed to scale from Level 3 automation up to Levels 4 and 5. The two companies will continue to focus on engineering, high-performance computing, sensor technologies, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and cloud and connectivity solutions that are scalable and capable of lower-level autonomy through to Level 5. The first Harman/Samsung-developed ADAS product will be a forward-facing camera featuring lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, collision warning and pedestrian warning algorithms. The new system combines Samsung’s heritage in camera technology with Harman’s ADAS 360 solution that blends machine learning and data science with augmented reality to create a self-learning virtual co-passenger to ensure the connected driving experience is personalised and safe. The new system will begin shipping in 2018.

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Meet Aston Martin F1’s incredible moving data centre

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team faces a great deal more IT challenges than your average enterprise as not many IT teams have to rebuild their data center 21 times each year and get it running it up in a matter of hours. Not many data centers are packed up and transported around the world by air and sea along with 45 tonnes of equipment. Not many IT technicians also have to perform a dual role as pit stop mechanic.

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The trackside garage at an F1 race is a tight working environment and a team of only two IT technicians face pressure from both the factory and trackside staff to get the trackside IT up and running very fast. Yet, despite all these pressures, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing do not have a cloud-led strategy. Instead they have chosen to keep all IT in house.

The reason for this is performance. F1 is arguably the ultimate performance sport. A walk round the team’s factory in Milton Keynes, England, makes it abundantly clear that the whole organization is hell bent on maximizing performance. 700 staff at the factory are all essentially dedicated to the creation of just two cars. The level of detail that is demanded in reaching peak performance is truly mind blowing. For example, one machine with a robotic arm that checks the dimensions of the components built at the factory is able to measure accuracy to a scale 10 times thinner than a human hair.

This quest for maximum performance, however, is hampered at every turn by the stringent rules from the F1 governing body – the FIA. Teams face restrictions on testing and technology usage in order to prevent the sport becoming an arms race. So, for example, pre-season track testing is limited to only 8 days. Furthermore, wind tunnel testing is only allowed with 60% scale models and wind tunnel-usage is balanced with the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, essentially a virtual wind tunnel. Teams that overuse one, lose time with the other.

In order to maximize performance within uniquely difficult logistical and regulatory conditions, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team has had to deploy a very powerful and agile IT estate.

According to Neil Bailey, Head of IT Infrastructure, Enterprise Architecture and Innovation, their legacy trackside infrastructure was “creaking”. Before choosing hyperconverged infrastructure, their “traditional IT had reached its limits”, says Bailey. “When things reach their limits they break, just like a car,” adds Bailey.

The team’s biggest emphasis for switching to HPE’s hyperconverged infrastructure, SimpliVity, was performance. Now, with “the extra performance of SimpliVity, it means it doesn’t get to its limits,” says Bailey. HPE SimpliVity has helped reduce space, has optimized processing power and brought more agility.

One of the first and most important use cases they switched to hyperconverged infrastructure was post-processing trackside data. During a race weekend each car is typically fitted with over 100 sensors providing key data on things like tyre temperature and downforce multiple times per second. Processing this data and acting on the insights is key to driving performance improvements. With their legacy infrastructure, Bailey says they were “losing valuable track time during free practice waiting for data processing to take place.” Since switching to HPE SimpliVity, data processing has dropped from being more than 15 minutes to less than 5 minutes. Overall, the team has seen a 79% performance boost compared to the legacy architecture. This has allowed for real time race strategy analysis and has improved race strategy decision making.

Data insights helps the team stay one step ahead, as race strategy decisions are data driven. For example, real time tyre temperature data helps the team judge tyre wear and make pit stop decisions. Real time access to tyre data helped the team to victory at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix as the Aston Martin Red Bull cars pitted ahead of the rest of the field and Daniel Ricciardo swept to a memorable victory.

Hyperconverged infrastructure is also well suited to the “hostile” trackside environment, according to Bailey. With hyperconverged infrastructure, only two racks are needed at each race of which SimpliVity only takes up about 20% of the space, thus freeing up key space in very restricted trackside garages. Furthermore, with the team limited to 60 staff at each race, only two of Bailey’s team can travel. The reduction in equipment and closer integration of HPE SimpliVity means engineers can get the trackside data center up and running quickly and allow trackside staff to start work as soon as they arrive.

Since seeing the notable performance gains from using hyperconverged infrastructure for trackside data processing, the team has also transitioned some of the factory’s IT estate over to HPE SimpliVity. This includes: Aerodynamic metrics, ERP system, SQL server, exchange server and the team’s software house, the Team Foundation Server.

As well as seeing huge performance benefits, HPE SimpliVity has significantly impacted the work patterns of Bailey’s team of just ten. According to Bailey, the biggest operational win from hyperconverged infrastructure is “freeing up engineers’ time from focusing on ‘business as usual’ to innovation.” Traditional IT took up too much of the engineers’ time monitoring systems and just keeping things running. Now with HPE SimpliVity, Bailey’s team can “give the business more and quicker” and “be more creative with how they use technology.”

Hyperconverged infrastructure has given Aston Martin Red Bull Racing the speed, scalability and agility they require without any need to turn to the cloud. It allows them to deliver more and more resources to trackside staff in an increasingly responsive manner. However, even with all these performance gains, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has been able to reduce IT costs. So, the users are happy, the finance director is happy and the IT team are happy because their jobs are easier. Hyperconvergence is clearly the right choice for the unique challenges of Formula 1 racing.

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Body-tracking tech moves to assembly line

Technology typically used by the world’s top sport stars to raise their game, or ensure their signature skills are accurately replicated in leading video games, is now being used on an auto assembly line.

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Employees at Ford’s Valencia Engine Assembly Plant, in Spain, are using a special suit equipped with advanced body tracking technology. The pilot system, created by Ford and the Instituto Biomecánica de Valencia, has involved 70 employees in 21 work areas. 

Player motion technology usually records how athletes sprint or turn, enabling sport coaches or game developers to unlock the potential of sport stars in the real world or on screen. Ford is using it to design less physically stressful workstations for enhanced manufacturing quality.

“It’s been proven on the sports field that with motion tracking technology, tiny adjustments to the way you move can have a huge benefit,” said Javier Gisbert, production area manager, Ford Valencia Engine Assembly Plant. “For our employees, changes made to work areas using similar technology can ultimately ensure that, even on a long day, they are able to work comfortably.”

Engineers took inspiration from a suit they saw at a trade fair that demonstrated how robots could replicate human movement and then applied it to their workplace, where production of the  new Ford Transit Connect and 2.0-litre EcoBoost Duratec engines began this month.

The skin-tight suit consists of 15 tiny movement tracking light sensors connected to a wireless detection unit. The system tracks how the person moves at work, highlighting head, neck, shoulder and limb movements. Movement is recorded by four specialised motion-tracking cameras – similar to those usually paired with computer game consoles – placed near the worker and captured as a 3D skeletal character animation of the user.

Specially trained ergonomists then use the data to help employees align their posture correctly. Measurements captured by the system, such as an employee’s height or arm length, are used to design workstations, so they better fit employees. 

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