Tesla readies ‘Full Self Driving’ for limited rollout, safety advocates ring alarm bells

The industry will be watching this Tesla Autopilot upgrade – and especially how it deals with the so-called 'edge cases' – very closely indeed

Tesla has informed owners that it intends to roll out its so-called 'Full Self Driving' features to a limited number of users over the next few weeks. Despite its billing as 'Full Self Driving', Tesla's software is more of an extensive upgrade of its existing SAE level 2 Autopilot autonomous features. However, safety groups are raising concerns over what is, in effect, a full-scale beta test of new autonomous software by untrained consumers on public roads.

The update is being offered to a small number of users in Tesla's beta tester program but, according to CEO Elon Musk, the plan is to roll it out to all customers who specified Full Self Driving by the end of 2020. New functionality brought by the update is mainly intended to allow the car to drive in city centres, representing a significant increase in the sophistication of Tesla's self-driving software which, previously, was limited to highway use. City streets are much more challenging to navigate than highways due to the sheer number of variables that have to be safely accounted for – pedestrians can leap out from behind cars, traffic signals can catch drivers out, and all road users behave in generally less predictable ways.

Tesla claims it can safely begin to roll out 'Full Self Driving' features thanks to its extensive self-driving R&D efforts. It mainly points to its network of nearly one million vehicles, each gathering driving data that can be fed back into its neural networks to train its self-driving software. The company highlights that, by capturing this real-world data rather than running millions of simulated miles, it is better able to train for 'edge cases' – unusual situations that require specific driving responses, which are hard to predict and simulate using software.

It is importan..

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Proton launches X50 small SUV

The X50 is Proton's second SUV model (follows the X70)

Malaysian national car company Proton Holdings this week officially began selling its new X50 small SUV, following a six-week publicity campaign which began when the first model rolled off the production line at the company's Tanjung Malim plant in mid-September.

The X50 is based on the Geely Binyue, which uses the BMA (B-segment Modular Architecture) platform developed by Proton's strategic shareholder Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and its European subsidiary Volvo Cars.

The X50 is fitted with a 3-cylinder 1.5L engine turbocharged engine, coupled with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and is available with an advanced driver-assistance system. It is priced at between MYR79,200 and MYR103,300 (US$19,040-US$24,830) depending on equipment levels. The new SUV slots beneath the existing X70, which is also based on a Geely model – the Boyue.

The company said it had received more than 20,000 orders for the new X50 since 16th September and has set an annual revenue target of at least MYR1.8bn (US$678m) starting next year.

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Geely’s Polestar recalls all EV (2) cars

Polestar has initiated a voluntary safety recall and a service campaign that contains a number of updates for Polestar 2 vehicles.

The Geely-owned brand said official communication will be sent to affected customers from Monday 2 November.

The recall involves the replacement of faulty inverters on 'most delivered customer vehicles'. The inverters transform the stored energy in the battery into the power required by the electric motors. The total number of affected vehicles delivered to customers is 4,586.

The service campaign relates to the High Voltage Coolant Heater (HVCH). The HVCH is responsible for both cabin and high voltage battery heating. Faulty parts fitted to early production cars need to be replaced. The total number of affected vehicles that are delivered to customers is 3,150.

These hardware updates can be performed in a single workshop visit, Polestar said. From Monday 2 November, affected customers will begin to be contacted by email and notified of the issues, the solutions and the next steps. Any undelivered vehicles will be updated before handover, and any vehicles already at workshops will also be updated according to the campaigns. There may be handover delays on new vehicles that need to be updated accordingly before they are handed over.

As part of the actions required by the recall and service campaign, all vehicles will also be upgraded to be compatible with forthcoming Over-The-Air (OTA) updates. This will allow Polestar to push new software directly to Polestar 2 vehicles when OTA updates are available.

Polestar said it recognises the importance of updating its customers. It said: 'In order to successfully address the issues, we have needed to ensure that appropriate investigations are made before customers are informed. We appreciate our customers' patience as we follow the necessary process. The communication does not apply to customers in the US, Canada or Switzerland as vehicles have not yet been delivered in ..

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Volvo Group and Isuzu ink strategic alliance

UD Trucks – sold by Volvo to Isuzu – is at the centre of the future strategic partnership

The Volvo Group (AB Volvo, the industrial group that includes heavy commercial vehicles) and Isuzu Motors today signed binding agreements to form a strategic alliance within commercial vehicles in order to capture 'opportunities in the ongoing industry transformation', in accordance with the MoU signed in December 2019.

The agreements include Isuzu Motor's acquisition of UD Trucks from the Volvo Group for an enterprise value of JPY 243 billion (approx. SEK 20 billion). The transaction is subject to certain conditions, including approval from regulatory authorities.

The Alliance between the Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors is set to a build long-term and robust relationship that will encompass but not be limited to:

Forming a technology partnership, intended to leverage the parties' complementary areas of expertise within both well-known and new technologies and creating a larger volume base to support investments for world-class technology. The technology partnership encompasses:

– Joint development by Isuzu Motors and UD Trucks of common platforms for medium heavy-duty truck models for the Japanese- and other Asian markets, utilizing amongst others Volvo Group technology.

– Intended cooperation regarding new technologies such as autonomous driving, connectivity and medium- and heavy-duty electrical vehicles.

Creating the best long-term conditions for a stronger heavy-duty truck business for UD Trucks and Isuzu Motors in Japan and across international markets by transferring ownership of the complete UD Trucks business from the Volvo Group to Isuzu Motors. This will accelerate growth by leveraging greater volumes and complementary capabilities, creating significant synergies for Isuzu Motors.

As a first step, Isuzu Motors and UD Trucks are discussing the conditions for supply of certain truck variants from UD Trucks to Isuzu Motors from 2022 onward..

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Continental CEO to step down

Continental CEO, Elmar Degenhart is to resign from his position effective 30 November, 2020 for reasons of immediately essential preventive health care.

Degenhart has asked the supervisory board to accept the early termination of his executive board directorship and his contract, which would have run until 11 August, 2024.

Supervisory board chairman, Wolfgang Reitzle will convene the supervisory board shortly to decide on the appointment of the successor to Degenhart.

“After a lot of effort invested for the benefit of our organisation, I was recently made aware of the importance of immediately giving precautionary measures for my health the utmost priority when it comes to planning my personal life,” said Degenhart.

“I would have clearly preferred to continue working on our structural realignment, our profitable growth and viability enhancement programme. And I would have loved to enjoy the future success this will bring, especially since we have just recently prepared for it by making the most difficult decisions and setting the decisive course.

“But in consideration of the health-related advice I received, I am now setting other priorities.”

Degenhart, who holds a doctorate in engineering, has been CEO of the company since August, 2009 and is currently in his third term. He is directly responsible for Group Communications, Group Strategy, Group Total Quality Management and the start-up programme, co-pace.

“I would like to thank our customers for the trust they have placed in me as well as our shareholders, the supervisory board, my fellow executive board members, my personal team and the global Continental team for their great support, utmost commitment and impressive performance over the past more than eleven years,” added Degenhart.

On behalf of all supervisory board members, chairman, Wolfgang Reitzle acknowledged Degenhart's achievements.

“We all deeply regret Dr Degenhart's decision and his resignation,” said Reitzle. “However, we respect h..

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