Connected Car News: In connected car news are Ford, Nissan, Daimler, PSA, FCA, LG, Magna, VW, Daimler, Infosys & ROKit

In connected car news are Ford, Nissan, Daimler, PSA, FCA, LG, Magna, Volkswagen, Camping World, Daimler, Infosyss and ROKit.

UBI for Ford/Lincoln

Ford is teaming up with insurance carriers across the U.S. to help customers save money on premiums based on driver behavior, utilizing its built-in connectivity technology on eligible vehicles. In addition, Ford Insure and Lincoln Motor Company Insure, underwritten by Nationwide, offer a simple way to secure usage-based policies through Ford’s insurance agency subsidiary¹.

Already, Ford has secured agreements with State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Metromile and Verisk Data Exchange to support usage-based insurance policies, with more collaborations planned. Several more insurance carriers are under contract and will be announced in the future

Owners of eligible Ford vehicles who select usage-based insurance policies and choose to share connected vehicle data about how they drive may qualify for discounts based on that data. Telematics data is shared with insurance carriers through Ford’s embedded modem – now standard on all new vehicles – and enables the carrier to use that information to analyze driving habits and offer potential savings.

Nissan Launches Nissan@Home

Nissan is launching Nissan@Home, a complete online shopping program for customers who, if they choose, will never have to leave the comfort of their home to buy a vehicle from a Nissan dealership. The solution will be available through participating Nissan dealerships throughout the U.S. in the coming months.

Nissan@Home provides customers a seamless online experience. A customer will be able to schedule and complete a test drive, manage the purchase process, take delivery, and handle service needs from a computer, tablet or mobile phone. They can transition into a Nissan dealership at any time during the process, or complete the deal from a remote location of their choice – their home, a local coffee shop or anywhere they have online access.

“Nissan@Home gives customers what they’re asking for – the ability to purchase a vehicle on their terms,” said Dan Mohnke, vice president, ecommerce. “Through this new program, Nissan dealers can provide a better customer experience which can, in turn, help improve their own business performance. It’s an important first for Nissan, and a great value to our customers.”

A proven success
Seven Nissan dealerships participated in a test of the concept this past summer representing markets in Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Florida and Illinois. Each dealership in the pilot program recommended that Nissan proceed with a nationwide rollout.
“You see what’s happening now with holiday shopping. Online buying is massive and absolutely what today’s consumer is wanting. COVID-19 has only increased that demand,” said Dan Banister, owner of Banister Nissan of Chesapeake and Banister Nissan of Norfolk, both in Virginia. “It was remarkable what we found during the test this summer. Our sales close-rate nearly doubled with customers who used this online shopping solution.”

For now Nissan’s Digital Retailing Solution remains available to customers of the pilot dealerships.* Additional Nissan dealerships can now enroll which could enable availability to Nissan customers throughout the U.S. by this spring.

* Banister Nissan of Chesapeake; Banister Nissan of Norfolk; Coral Springs Nissan; Douglass Nissan of Waco; Jeffrey Nissan; Tamaroff Nissan; Uftring Nissan

MBUX Hyperscreen Debut Coming

For Mercedes-Benz, 2021 marks the beginning of the next chapter in interaction between vehicle and user: the MBUX Hyperscreen takes the operation and display of infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions to a new level thanks to artificial intelligence (AI). The large, curved screen unit lends the interior a unique aesthetic and extends along the entire width of the vehicle in front of the driver and front passenger – for whom the digital experience is as emotional as it is intuitive and effortless. The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Hyperscreen, which is for the first time optionally available in the fully electric luxury saloon EQS, is representative of the emotional intelligence of the entire vehicle and is highly capable of learning.

EC Approves PSA Merger with FCA

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed merger between the automotive companies Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (‘FCA’) and Peugeot S.A. (‘PSA’). The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by the companies

During its in-depth investigation, the Commission gathered extensive information and feedback from competitors and customers of the merging companies.

Following its investigation, the Commission had concerns that the transaction, as initially notified, would have harmed competition in the market for small light commercial vehicles in nine EEA Member States (Belgium, Czechia, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia), where the companies have high or very high combined market shares and are particularly close competitors. The acquisition would therefore have likely led to higher prices for customers.

The proposed remedies

To address the Commission’s concerns, FCA and PSA offered the following commitments aimed at enabling entry and expansion:

  • An extension of the cooperation agreement currently in force between PSA and Toyota Motor Europe (‘Toyota’) for small light commercial vehicles under which PSA produces the vehicles for sale by Toyota under the Toyota brand mainly in the European Union. This will be done by way of an increased available capacity for Toyota and reduced transfer prices for the vehicles and associated spare parts/accessories. This commitment reflects the pervasive nature of platform sharing in the automotive sector; and
  • An amendment of the “repair and maintenance” agreements for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in force between PSA, FCA and their repairer networks, to facilitate access for competitors to PSA and FCA’s repair and maintenance networks for light commercial vehicles. For example, no brand specific reception, waiting area or entrance will be required for FCA/PSA light commercial vehicles clients, and any prohibition on repairers to use PSA/FCA tools and equipment to service competitors’ light commercial vehicles will be lifted.

The Commission found that the first remedy will enable Toyota to compete effectively with the merged entity in the relevant markets in the future. Additionally, the second remedy will help new entrants expand and compete in the markets for light commercial vehicles. The combination of these commitments allow the maintenance of effective competition in the market after the transaction and therefore fully addresses all of the Commission’s competition concerns.

The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. This decision is conditional upon the full compliance with the commitments.

LG Partners with Magna

LG Electronics (“LG”) and Magna International Inc. (“Magna”) announced a joint venture (JV) to manufacture e-motors, inverters and on board chargers and, for certain automakers, related e-drive systems to support the growing global shift toward vehicle electrification. The new company, tentatively called LG Magna e-Powertrain, marries Magna’s strength in electric powertrain systems and world class automotive manufacturing with LG’s expertise in component development for e-motors and inverters, accelerating both partners’ growth in the electric powertrain market.

The JV enables the two companies to continue to grow their electric powertrain product offerings by leveraging existing technologies, engineering capabilities and global footprints. The market for e-motors, inverters and electric drive systems is expected to have significant growth between now and 2030, and the JV will target this fast-growing global market with a world-class portfolio.

LG has established experience in the development of electric vehicle components most notably for the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Jaguar I-PACE. LG will help accelerate Magna’s time to market and scale of manufacturing for electrification components, while software and systems integration are competencies that Magna brings to this venture. This JV will allow customers to select from a portfolio of reliable components through to integration of an entire electrified powertrain.

ROKit Made Buys Spinlister–Bike

ROKiT Made, a ROKiT Group company, has acquired Spinlister, the world’s largest peer-to-peer bike rental company. ROKiT Made will now own 100% of the business, including its user database, software platforms and Velolet, the company’s retail-specific service. Spinlister will continue to operate under its current management and support peer-to-peer rentals for bikes, e-bikes, and water sports and snow sports equipment.

In addition to driving innovation on its rental platforms, ROKiT Made will invest in Spinlister’s new online appointments platform which enables retailers across industries to offer advanced bookings for in-store or virtual appointments. Retail customers can reserve time with a specific employee in-store or connect remotely via Zoom for a virtual consultation.

Camping World Raises .5 Million in Food Relief

Camping World Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CWH) (“Camping World”), the nation’s largest network of RV and outdoor lifestyle – centric retail locations, announced today that it has raised over $500,000 to provide relief to local restaurants and meals to food insecure communities, through donations to the Plating Change program. With the assistance of associates, customers and corporate sponsors, this effort is being executed at over 170 Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors retail locations and support continues to grow.

The Plating Change program falls under the newly launched The Lemon-Aid Foundation where Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of Camping World, pledged $50M to champion his charitable mission of supporting and investing in countless underserved communities and small businesses while creating awareness. Since the inception, close to $2 million dollars has been deployed.

Daimler Partners with Infosys

Daimler AG and Infosys  announced a long-term strategic partnership for a technology-driven IT infrastructure transformation. After the receipt of all regulatory approvals, Daimler AG will transform its IT operating model and infrastructure landscape across workplace services, service desk, data center, networks and SAP Basis together with Infosys. The partnership will enable the company to deepen its focus on software engineering and to establish a fully scalable on-demand digital IT infrastructure and anytime-anywhere workplace. The collaboration will empower Daimler to strengthen its IT capabilities, and Infosys, its automotive expertise.

As software becomes modular, digital infrastructure continues to play an important role in defragmentation. Daimler will work towards a model that ensures a robust IT infrastructure across its plants and regions, and supports consolidation of its data centers, scaling its IT operations, and bringing innovations to the fore. Some of the key deliverables from this partnership include:

  • A smart hybrid cloud, leveraging Infosys Cobalt and leading cloud providers, accelerating the multi-cloud journey with a focus on open source adoption
  • A carbon neutral solution, by consolidating and rationalizing  data centers across all regions
  • Standardized technology stack by bringing in an ecosystem of best of breed partners
  • Creation of a state of the art Zero Trust network with seamless technology upgrades
  • Persona-driven and cognitive, AI powered anytime-anywhere workplace solution that empowers the end-users

As a part of this partnership, automotive IT infrastructure experts based out of Germany, wider Europe, the U.S. and the APAC region will transition from Daimler AG to Infosys. Infosys is well placed to realize this transition as an expert having integrated more than 16,000 employees through other partnerships in recent years with a high acceptance, retention and satisfaction rate. The transfer will also enable Infosys to bolster and grow its automotive business, while offering Daimler employees strong prospects for long-term career growth and development.

AR HUD 4 VW ID.3 & ID.4

With the new augmented reality head-up display, Volkswagen is merging the virtual and real worlds. The innovative system superimposes selected symbols onto the outside world and displays them dynamically. Volkswagen is the first car manufacturer in the world to introduce this technology in the compact segment, and is therefore making it affordable for many customers. The new convenience function will be introduced first in the all-electric ID.3 and ID.4 models.

With the augmented reality head-up display, Volkswagen is opening a new chapter in driver information displays. Although the new technology is a genuine global innovation, Volkswagen has decided to launch it in a volume model. The brand is therefore continuing its strategy of offering high-tech features at affordable prices. “We have introduced a genuine innovation in series production,” says Frank Welsch, member of the Board of Management for Development. “And we have done this not in a premium vehicle, but in the compact models of the all-electric ID. family. Making pioneering technologies available to a large number of customers is a core competency of Volkswagen.”

Two fields, two levels. The augmented reality head-up display projects important information onto the windscreen – separated into two fields and levels. The large window for the dynamic displays is located in the driver’s field of view at a virtual distance of around 10 metres and has a diagonal measuring around 1.8 metres. Information from the assist systems as well as the turn arrows and starting points and destinations of the navigation system are displayed in this far-range window.

The close-range window is located as a flat band under the large far-range window. This shows the driving speed, road signs, and assist and navigation symbols as static displays. They appear to float around three metres in front of the driver.

All displays are positioned perfectly in line with the real world outside the vehicle and are shown dynamically. When the vehicle approaches a junction where it should turn off according to the navigation route, the driver sees two indications: in the first step, an advance notification on the road level, and then three arrows located at the junction. The closer the driver gets to the junction, the larger the arrows become. At the same time, their textures fade in order to ensure a clear view of the road. When developing all displays, Volkswagen followed the basic concept of “Less is more”. This ensures that the driver is not overwhelmed with distracting information.
The images are generated by an AR creator located in one of the two central computers in the ID. models. The AR creator calculates the positioning of the symbols corresponding to the surroundings. To make these calculations, it receives information from the raw data of the front camera, radar sensor and navigation map. The displays that appear in the large window are stabilised with respect to the vehicle’s movements and adapted to the geometry of the optical projection system.

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