Automotive Business Intelligence

From Autonomous Driving To Connected Cars – Automotive Review of 2015

Let’s summarise the Automotive Segment year in one word: impossible! You simply need more than one word to describe everything that has happened. Let’s take a little journey through this year’s milestones and highlights chronologically.

The year kicked off early with a big announcement from Altera stating that their SoC field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have been selected for use in Audi’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) targeted for mass production. Audi together with TTTech developed the central driver assistance control unit zFAS using the Altera® Cyclone® V SoC FPGA enabling the differentiated features Audi requires for piloted driving and parking.

Next up has been the CES in Las Vegas – the largest consumer electronics show in the world was dominated by autonomous driving concepts.
Just a few days later the Detroit Auto Show delivered interesting headlines with the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt and a 3D-printed car, the Local Motors Strati produced on the show floor.


Chevy Bolt (image: Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

February was a bright month for automotive as Audi introduced the laser spot light technology in the new R8 model, doubling the illuminated area in front of the car.

At the Gas Show 15 in Warsaw, Poland producers and distributors of car LPG, CNG and LNG installations, dealers, designers and suppliers of auto gas equipment demonstrated the valuable innovations which can be found in this market.


STAG police car at the Gas Show 15

Only a couple hundred kilometres further south in Geneva, Switzerland at the Geneva Autoshow manufacturers of supersports cars did show less efficient but highly appealing new models including the Bugatti Chiron, Koenigsegg Regera, Lotus Evora 400, Aston Martin Vulcan and Ferrari 488 GTB (the return of Ferrari to turbo-charged engines). In contrast to these pure fun vehicles there have been sophisticated concepts like the Rinspeed Budii, an efficient and autonomous driving car.


The Rinspeed Budii

With the launch of the ISO16505 we saw a major highlight regulating the substitution of mirrors in vehicles by camera-monitor-systems.

Next up has been the launch of the Atmel automotive-qualified ARM Cortex-M7 MCUs tailored to the needs of connected cars with unique memory architecture and advanced connectivity features.

Besides debuts of the Mercedes GLC and BMW 7 series, June saw the introduction of augmented reality in head-up-displays (HUD) by Continental. This adds real value to the system as the driver does no longer need to take his eyes of the road to receive all relevant information.
More HUD news came from OSRAM with the Oslon Compact CL LEDs which are tailored to the needs in such systems.

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First Look at Augmented Reality Head-Up Display for Improved Driver Information (image: Continental)

The most anticipated highlight of the year, the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany made one thing very clear: electric vehicles (EV) are far from a real breakthrough as the internal combustion engine (ICE) will still be the most important drive type in the next years.
This is also reflected in a study of the German Center of Automotive Management (CAM) which reports that China and the US are the main drivers for EV sales but the global numbers are still behind expectations. However the document also states that new concepts which are coming might change that.

Another September highlight has been the first ever “TQ on Tour” event series which we hosted together with Infineon. During one day work-shops in spectacular locations like the Veltins soccer arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany we provided deep insights on electronic trends and solutions for agricultural and commercial vehicles.

Before we get to what’s up next in 2016 let’s also take a look at the not-so-positive news from 2015. With the hacks of Tesla, BMW and Jeep models but also many other smaller successful hacker attacks on cars it became very clear that connected car applications need a big security update. In addition the “VW Dieselgate” meant a big hit for one of Europe’s largest car manufacturers.


BMW ConnectedDrive (image: BMW)

Next year will kick off with two highlights already coming up in January: The Polish company Arrinera will present the Hussarya 33 – a 1000hp hybrid supersports car made in Poland!
Faraday Future, a company which made headlines with plans to build a one billion dollar factory in the US and by hiring top personal from other vehicle manufacturers, will release a first prototype of an all-electric vehicle with autonomous driving capabilities during the CES 2016.

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Hussarya 33 – A supercar from Poland? Yes, please!!! (Image: Arrinera)

Despite a minor incident in which one of Google’s self-driving cars nearly received a ticket for driving to slow it looks like the autonomous driving market gained some real traction during this year and we expect to see a lot more developments in this area during next year. What we will definitely see is a lot of new connected car features – hopefully with improved security.

Drive home for Christmas safely and enjoy the holidays.
Let’s drive innovation in the Automotive Segment together again next year! So long, feel free to get inspired by our Automotive Segment Microsite.

Cover image: The Mercedes F015 self-driving car (image: Mercedes Benz Facebook)