Toyota, Ford, Aptiv, Baidu Lead Crowd Pushing Mobility at CES
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rise of self-driving tech. Earlier this year, Xconomy Boston’s Jeff Engel reported, Delphi spun out its powertrain business into a new company called Delphi Technologies. Aptiv houses the remainder of the company, including its efforts in autonomous vehicles, vehicle software, and electronic components. In October, Aptiv spent $400 million to buy nuTonomy, a Boston autonomous vehicle software startup.
Aptiv and partner Lyft brought eight self-driving taxis to Las Vegas and allowed CES attendees to travel to 20 local destinations by hailing them through Lyft’s app. A human driver was present in the car, Time reports, but took his hands off the wheel at the beginning of the trip and let the car drive itself. Riders could confirm their destination on a tablet mounted in the backseat. According to Time, the trip was uneventful, just as one would hope.
This marked only the second time Aptiv has allowed the public to ride in its vehicles. TechCrunch reports that the car Aptiv is using is based on a BMW 5-series with a Velodyne LiDAR unit mounted beneath the front grill instead of on the car’s roof, and other sensors that retract when the car is not in use.
Aptiv told TechCrunch to expect more public testing of its cars in 2018; time and location TBD.
—China is also racing to the self-driving finish line: At this year’s show, Chinese mobility companies made it clear they’re not ceding the development of autonomous and smart vehicles to North American or European entities. The Telegraph reports that more than a quarter of the companies showing at CES this year hailed from China.
Byton, an electric vehicle startup founded by former BMW and Apple employees, debuted a car with a cutting-edge dashboard, facial recognition software, and a battery so powerful, the company said, that one charge provides enough power to drive on urban roads for a week. The company that owns Byton, Future Mobility, plans to release the car in China next year.
Baidu, essentially China’s Google, also made a couple of key announcements at CES. It debuted Apollo 2.0, its open self-driving platform that gives vehicles using Apollo the ability to go driverless on some city streets. Baidu launched a new Singapore-based $200 million mobility venture fund in partnership with Asia Mobility Services to help commercialize its self-driving platform.
Finally, Baidu will also team up with edtech company Udacity to build online courses for English-speaking and Chinese students that teach people the skills needed to build driverless technologies.