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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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Project Bloodhound saved

The British project to break the world landspeed record at a site in the Northern Cape has been saved by a new backer, after it went into bankruptcy proceedings in October.

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Two weeks ago,  and two months after entering voluntary administration, the Bloodhound Programme Limited announced it was shutting down. This week it announced that its assets, including the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC), had been acquired by an enthusiastic – and wealthy – supporter.

“We are absolutely delighted that on Monday 17th December, the business and assets were bought, allowing the Project to continue,” the team said in a statement.

“The acquisition was made by Yorkshire-based entrepreneur Ian Warhurst. Ian is a mechanical engineer by training, with a strong background in managing a highly successful business in the automotive engineering sector, so he will bring a lot of expertise to the Project.”

Warhurst and his family, says the team, have been enthusiastic Bloodhound supporters for many years, and this inspired his new involvement with the Project.

“I am delighted to have been able to safeguard the business and assets preventing the project breakup,” he said. “I know how important it is to inspire young people about science, technology, engineering and maths, and I want to ensure Bloodhound can continue doing that into the future.

“It’s clear how much this unique British project means to people and I have been overwhelmed by the messages of thanks I have received in the last few days.”

The record attempt was due to be made late next year at Hakskeen Pan in the Kalahari Desert, where retired pilot Andy Green planned to beat the 1228km/h land-speed record he set in the United States in 1997. The target is for Bloodhound to become the first car to reach 1000mph (1610km/h). A track 19km long and 500 metres wide has been prepared, with members of the local community hired to clear 16 000 tons of rock and stone to smooth the surface.

The team said in its announcement this week: “Although it has been a frustrating few months for Bloodhound, we are thrilled that Ian has saved Bloodhound SSC from closure for the country and the many supporters around the world who have been inspired by the Project. We now have a lot of planning to do for 2019 and beyond.”

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Motor Racing meets Machine Learning

The futuristic car technology of tomorrow is being built today in both racing cars and
toys, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The car of tomorrow, most of us imagine, is being built by the great automobile manufacturers of the world. More and more, however, we are seeing information technology companies joining the race to power the autonomous vehicle future.

Last year, chip-maker Intel paid $15.3-billion to acquire Israeli company Mobileye, a leader in computer vision for autonomous driving technology. Google’s autonomous taxi division, Waymo, has been valued at $45-billion.

Now there’s a new name to add to the roster of technology giants driving the future.

DeepRacer on the inside

Amazon Web Services, the world’s biggest cloud computing service and a subsidiary of Amazon.com,  last month unveiled a scale model autonomous racing car for developers to build new artificial intelligence applications. Almost in the same breath, at its annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, it showcased the work being done with machine learning in Formula 1 racing.

AWS DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale fully autonomous race car, designed to incorporate the features and behaviour of a full-sized vehicle. It boasts all-wheel drive, monster truck tires, an HD video camera, and on-board computing power. In short, everything a kid would want of a self-driving toy car.

But then, it also adds everything a developer would need to make the car autonomous in ways that, for now, can only be imagined. It uses a new form of machine learning (ML), the technology that allows computer systems to improve their functions progressively as they receive feedback from their activities. ML is at the heart of artificial intelligence (AI), and will be core to autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

AWS has taken ML a step further, with an approach called reinforcement learning. This allows for quicker development of ML models and applications, and DeepRacer is designed to allow developers to experiment with and hone their skill in this area. It is built on top of another AWS platform, called Amazon SageMaker, which enables developers and data scientists to build, train, and deploy machine learning quickly and easily.

Along with DeepRacer, AWS also announced the DeepRacer League, the world’s first global autonomous racing league, open to anyone who orders the scale model from AWS.

DeepRacer on the outside

As if to prove that DeepRacer is not just a quirky entry into the world of motor racing, AWS also showcased the work it is doing with the Formula One Group. Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director of Motor Sports, joined AWS CEO Andy Jassy during the keynote address at the re:Invent conference, to demonstrate how motor racing meets machine learning.

“More than a million data points a second are transmitted between car and team during a Formula 1 race,” he said. “From this data, we can make predictions about what we expect to happen in a wheel-to-wheel situation, overtaking advantage, and pit stop advantage. ML can help us apply a proper analysis of a situation, and also bring it to fans.

“Formula 1 is a complete team contest. If you look at a video of tyre-changing in a pit stop – it takes 1.6 seconds to change four wheels and tyres – blink and you will miss it. Imagine the training that goes into it? It’s also a contest of innovative minds.”

AWS CEO Andy Jassy unveils DeepRacer

Formula 1 racing has more than 500 million global fans and generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2017. As a result, there are massive demands on performance, analysis and information. 

During a race, up to 120 sensors on each car generate up to 3GB of data and 1 500 data points – every second. It is impossible to analyse this data on the fly without an ML platform like Amazon SageMaker. It has a further advantage: the data scientists are able to incorporate 65 years of historical race data to compare performance, make predictions, and provide insights into the teams’ and drivers’ split-second decisions and strategies.

This means Formula 1 can pinpoint how a driver is performing and whether or not drivers have pushed themselves over the limit.

“By leveraging Amazon SageMaker and AWS’s machine-learning services, we are able to deliver these powerful insights and predictions to fans in real time,” said Pete Samara, director of innovation and digital technology at Formula 1.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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