Rising autonomous car start-up to partner with Hyundai and VW

5 Jan 2018

The Sedric autonomous car developed by Volkswagen. Image: Volkswagen

This week in IoT, Volkswagen and Hyundai share a similar vision for autonomous cars, and India’s dream for smart cities appears to be crumbling.

The internet of things (IoT) space has been left reeling by the exposure of massive vulnerabilities – Meltdown and Spectre – in chip hardware, affecting nearly every device.

Given that 90pc of all PCs contain an Intel chip, the company denied that these vulnerabilities, which allow a rogue program to access internet servers and other secrets of programs, represent bugs or flaws in its chips.

Apple has admitted that its devices are vulnerable and has released mitigations for macOS and iOS as well as Safari on the App Store.

Hyundai and Volkswagen team up with start-up

It seems that when it comes to getting autonomous cars on the road, manufacturers are realising that cooperation is key to their success, with news of yet another partnership being announced.

This time, according to The Verge, it is Hyundai and Volkswagen who have decided to work with a third partner, Aurora, which was founded in 2016 by Google’s former ‘self-driving car guru’, Chris Urmson.

The two motor giants will work independently with the start-up to build its technology into some of their vehicles, which will eventually be unleashed on the streets of major cities and can then be accessed on demand.

Volkswagen has already gotten a head-start with Aurora, having already spent the past year working with the company, six months of which the German group has spent putting some of the start-up’s technology into test cars.

Both Hyundai and Volkswagen have said that they want to have Aurora-integrated technology on the open road by 2021, and working prototypes by the end of this year.

Speaking to The Verge, Urmson said: “At Aurora, we’re building a driver. We’re not building a driver assistance system. We really have a deep understanding of what it will take to actually get to a truly driverless vehicle.”

India’s smart city plans not faring well

India’s ambition to create 90 smart cities in the years to come has not gone according to plan, with The Economic Times reporting that only a fraction of the allocated funds have been spent by various state governments.

The original plan was to allocate funds to end the urban sprawl seen in current Indian cities, build smarter homes in mixed-land-use areas and see a greater implementation of online democracy to give locals more of a say.

However, only 7pc of the funds have been spent, and this has raised concerns in the country’s government, with the housing and urban affairs ministry describing it as “unsatisfactory”.

The city of Ahmedabad was found to have used the most amount of funding, with 80.15 crore rupees, compared to Ranchi’s 35 lakh rupees.

China dominates IoT connections globally

Research into which countries are leading in terms of IoT cellular connections has revealed that China is not only dominant, but has almost half of all connections on the planet.

That’s according to a new report from Counterpoint Research, which analysed the market up until Q3 2017 and showed that global IoT connections grew 41pc annually by this point of the year, having already cross the half-a-billion mark earlier in the year.

Of those connections, 4G LTE now makes up more than half (55.3pc) of all connections, compared with 26.2pc at the same point in 2017.

Another noticeable new entry last year was narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), the low-power, low-data, battery-powered system that is being picked up at an increasing pace in the industrial IoT world.

“IoT cellular connectivity has been modest so far, but we expect the next half-billion IoT cellular connections to be added by 2020,” said the firm’s research director, Peter Richardson.

“China serves as a model, where Chinese operators such as China Mobile and China Telecom are ramping up the roll-out and deployments at a rapid pace. This is also having a knock-on impact of lowering the overall module, device and service costs.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic