Tag: BMW

BMW wants to sell 100,000 electric cars next year

BMW BMW wants to boost sales of electric cars by two thirds next year to 100,000 vehicles.

The luxury carmaker, popular with travelling salesmen and officer managers who believe that they own the road, is offering more battery-powered models.

Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger told the German press that BMW expects to increase its deliveries of fully electric and hybrid vehicles to around 60,000 units this year.

Sales of battery-powered BMW models have totalled about 100,000 cars since 2013, he noted.

“Electric mobility will come, but demand is not going through the roof,” the newspaper quoted Krueger as saying.

To help improve sales, BMW is also increasing the battery range of its i3 city vehicle by 50 percent this year. The i3, BMW’s only fully battery-powered car, sold only 25,000 units last year.

The company has fallen behind Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz in global luxury-car sales rankings lately and thinks that increasing its share of electric cars and hybrid models to between 15 percent and 25 percent of sales by 2025 will help.

Volo goes global in Armenian worldwide mission

intel_ireland_semiconductor_chip_fab_300mm_waferWe had a chance last week to chat to Volo – a 10 year old company based in the capital, Yerevan, which now appears to have become a global, rather than a local, company.

Volo’s in house motto is “razor sharp thinking” – so what exactly does the company do?

It claims that it is “out innovating” other outsourcing companies in the field worldwide,  and that’s largely down to its solid engineering base and the way it approaches the market.

The company said that for the first eight years it had 24 of the best developers in the world, but few people had heard of the company.

Now all that’s changed. Its customers include Spinnaker, BMW and Accelerance and they’re just the ones it’s talking about.

Volo executives told TechEye last week: “Prospects had never heard of Armenia and people thought there couldn’t be IT in Armenia. But Armenians throughout history have invented things.”

Armenian technologeers were responsible for the first satellite to be launched – Sputnik – and Armenians also invented colour TV.

As far as outsourcing is concerned, the burning matter of the day isn’t price, but talent.

The company specialises in developing enterprise, internet of things and mobile technology for its customers.

We were told: “We are now a global company. We have big brains but small egos.”

Volo has hired superior post Soviet engineers and works with a number of big players including Microsoft.

And the company claimed that both it and the country have a progressive approach to engineering.

“Armenia has the highest proportion of female engineers than anywhere else [in the world].”

Intel teams up with BMW for self-driving cars

B-M-WThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which suggests that chipmaker Intel is close to a deal with BMW and Israeli collision detection software maker Mobileeye.

The cunning plan is the three-some will build driverless cars together.

So far every chipmaker has had a go at trying to get their chips into cars as the PC market dries up. While some have had some success at getting their hardware into car entertainment systems, the actual take up for autonomous is still small.

The deal with BMW, which has already turned down Apple’s self-driving car is a bit of a breakthrough for Chipzilla.  Of course the deal is yet to be officially announced, but we should hear something on Friday when there is a press conference.

Mobileye has been an early leader in providing cameras, software and other components that allow vehicles to see the world around them. BMW has been a client of Mobileye, along with General Motors and Tesla. As automakers and their suppliers race to create systems to replace human drivers, most companies are betting on some form of artificial intelligence, which requires powerful processing.

Intel elbowed its way onto the car dashboard by producing the components inside entertainment and information systems in vehicles. However, it still lags behind companies such as NXP Semiconductors and Infineon Technologies in providing chips to the auto industry.


Google and Fiat Chrysler will build self driving vans

accidentcarinwashingtondcWhite van man might soon go the way of the dodo as Google and Fiat Chrysler build the first self-driving mini-vans.

The move is being touted as the most advanced collaboration to date between Silicon Valley and a traditional carmaker.

The deal marks the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker “to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle,” the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

Google and Fiat Chrysler engineers will fit Google’s autonomous driving technology into the Pacifica minivan. It will all be built in North America so we are not going to see them over the pond for some time.

Google also said it is not sharing proprietary self-driving vehicle technology with Fiat Chrysler, however, and the vehicles will not be offered for sale to the public. So it is hard to see what Fiat Chrysler will get out of it.

Car makers are falling over themselves to develop self-driving cars.  General Motors bought  San Francisco self-driving car startup Cruise Automation . German automakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen bought digital mapping company HERE to accelerate their autonomous driving development.

Google’s self-driving car engineers had previously purchased Lexus sport utility vehicles made by Toyota and retrofitted sensors and other hardware into the cars on their own.

Google has said that it does not want to build self-driving vehicles on its own and has explored alliances with auto companies, but none have been finalized. Working more closely with Fiat Chrysler could help Google refine its systems as a step toward offering them in regular production cars.

John Krafcik, chief executive of the Google Self-Driving Car Project said that working closely with FCA engineers will accelerate its efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive.


Samsung joins the push to autos

tv-carSamsung is one of the late arrivals trying to push its technology into cars.

Data compiled by Thomson Reuters IP & Science suggests that Samsung and its partners are ramping up research and development for auto technology. Two-thirds of their combined 1,804 US patent filings related to electric vehicles and electric components for cars coming since 2010.

The reason that no-one has heard about it is because Samsung has not yet landed significant business.

LG recently announced a major supply agreement with General Motors and Nvidia claims its chips will be in more than 30 million cars in the next three to four years.

IHS analyst Danny Kim said Samsung does not yet have a unified, group-wide approach to building its supplier presence in the industry.

“Samsung needs a serious commitment to drive the synergies between all competent organisations within Samsung Group,” he said.

Oddly Samsung has some history in the industry, but its experience has been bad. Ten years ago it flogged its debt-laden carmaking unit to Renault.  But in 2010 it had another crack at the auto industry, identifying car batteries as one of its five growth businesses.

To be fair, Samsung SDI C is the world’s number 6 electric car battery maker and can count BMW, Chrysler and Volkswagen among its chums.

The Samsung patent filings show a wide range of technologies including a drowsy-driving detection system, an alert system for break-in attempts and a transparent display for directions and traffic information.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics created a dedicated team to sell components such as camera modules to new auto clients and says it would consider acquisitions to boost car-related businesses.

Samsung Display has cited the auto industry as a potential growth area and has been testing its OLED displays with BMW and auto parts maker Continental.

Samsung Electronics could catch up by taking the one-stop-shop approach, similar to that of LG Electronics, by working with sister companies to combine offerings such as batteries, chips, sensors and software such as the Tizen operating system into a single package, analysts say.

Analysts suggest it could speed things up by acquiring established players such as Japan’s Renesas Electronics. This would allow Samsung to provide an entire platform and not just a single component.

Google will not make cars

accidentcarinwashingtondcSearch engine outfit Google has ruled out becoming a vehicle manufacturer.

The company’s managing director for central and eastern Europe Philipp Justus told the Frankfurt auto show that the company was working on cars in partnership with the auto industry, but was not planning to become a car manufacturer.

Google has named auto industry veteran John Krafcik, a former CEO of Hyundai Motors America, as chief executive of its self-driving car project. The hiring of Krafcik is seen as a sign the tech giant is starting to look at the project as a potential and relevant business in the future.

Google’s pet project of driverless cars started in 2009 with an intention to revolutionise the car industry. However Justus said that it was not something Google could do alone. Google’s partners included automotive suppliers Bosch and zf friedrichshafen.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are snapping up software experts as tech firms such as Google threaten to outflank them in the race to develop a self-driving car.

Software expertise has become a new battleground for automakers and tech firms as cars need lines of code to connect electric car motors to batteries, talk to smartphones or activate brakes when a radar system detects an obstacle ahead.

LG sells in-car displays to Porsche and Honda

tv-carIn a move to save its perky bottom line, LG Electronics is to supply Honda and Porsche with in-car displays.

The company has been looking to auto business sales to counter weak sales at its mainstay television and smartphone units.

LG Electronics has started mass production of the Honda’s centre information displays, which will be placed in the console. It will start doing the same for Porsche in the first half of 2016.

LG Display is supplying the liquid crystal display panels. In the April-June quarter, LG’s new auto business, which involves various products including in-car displays and camera systems, accounted for 11.5 percent of overall sales in the April-June quarter.

LG Electronics is also working with BMW, General Motors and Mercedes Benz for research and development of centre information displays, but so far no products have arrived yet.

Google Alphabet infuriates German carmaker

Old cars Google’s sudden move to create an umbrella company called Alphabet has annoyed a German car maker.

BMW, for it is she, appears to think that it owns the name Alphabet. It claims that the Alphabet was not invented by the Ancient Greeks, based on a Phoenician interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphs but was originally German.

BMW has a subsidiary called Alphabet.

A spokeswoman said there were currently no plans to take legal steps against Google but it was examining if there were any trademark implications.

BMW’s Alphabet provides services to companies with vehicle fleets, operates in 18 countries and supplies 530,000 vehicles to corporate customers.

Apparently there are fears that people who hire a fleet of Bemas might have been confused and were actually searching for news on their Android phone.

A legal dispute is unlikely since Google made clear in its announcement on Monday that in creating a parent company called Alphabet, it was not intending to build products and brands under that name. Besides there is a fair bit of prior art around the name Alphabet including books written in Greek, Latin and European languages.

Alphabet is fairly common brand among American businesses. There are currently 103 trademark registrations in the United States that include the word “alphabet” or some close variation, according to a database search of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

To prove a trademark infringement, a trademark owner would have to show that the new Alphabet created a “likelihood of confusion” among consumers between the two brands. This could occur if both brands offered similar goods and services.

Car makers read the riot act to tech companies

Old carsWhile tech companies are rushing to make deals with car makers for high tech autos, a spat is developing over all that data the cars generate.

The technology companies want from the car makers –  besides stonking profits and mark-ups – is the data they collect on car users.

Apple and Google have been particularly clear that they want that data to do whatever they do with it — advertising, spamming and spying. However car makers are limiting the data they share with technology partners and are defending access to information about what drivers do in their cars.

It is not out of a desire to protect users’ privacy. The car makers are aware the vehicle data will one day generate billions of dollars in e-commerce, though they are just beginning to form strategies for monetising the information.

According to Reuters , which is always ready to defend Apple’s side of the story, some auto companies have specifically said they will not provide Apple and Google with data from the vehicle’s functional systems – steering, brakes and throttle, for instance – as well as information about range, a measure of how far the car can travel before it runs out of gas.

Don Butler, Ford Motor executive director of connected vehicle and services said the company needed to control access to that data to protect our ability to create value from new digital services built on vehicle data.

Ford is installing a proprietary system, Sync 3, in its cars that is designed to work with and supplement CarPlay and Android Auto.

General Motors has told investors earlier this year that it expects to realize an additional $350 million in revenue over three years from the high-speed data connections it is building into its cars.

Still to be answered, however, are questions concerning how comfortable consumers will be with sharing their personal information from the vehicle. In addition, state and federal regulators could impose limits on data-gathering and sharing.

In this case the carmakers have an answer – users have been giving this data to Apple and Google for years and don’t give a monkeys. At least now they are giving to people who are actually interested in their driving habits. I blame Microsoft, actually.

BMW wants to build cars for tech companies.

Old carsThe German car maker BMW said it is all up to make self driving cars for technology companies if they want to have a crack at it.

The automaker’s production chief said there are currently no such talks between tech companies and BMW but they have his number if they want to call.

Oliver Zipse said in response to a question put to him during a panel discussion about whether BMW could imagine building a car for a software or computer company such as Apple.

“We live in a world of partnerships. We hold regular talks with companies from the telecommunications and IT industry, including Apple, about vehicle connectivity topics, BMW Connected Drive,”

Zipse added that so far car development and production was not the subject of these talks.

The story actually appears to have been manufactured by Reuters acting as Apple’s unpaid press office.  Its hacks only asked Zipse about Apple’s plans.

Jobs’ Mob is a long way behind Google when it comes to making self-driving cars, that of course did not stop Reuters talking to BMW as if Apple was the only one who was doing it.