Two part series on why you don't have a robocar yet


I've made a 2 part series, text and video on what the key blocking factors are in the way of getting robocars into production. You can watch on YouTube. Or read the text version at why don't you have a robocar yet


McKinsey: TCO of BEV in 2025 can exceed ICE over 3 years. AUGUST 2022
61 vs 58
McKinsey Center For Future Mobility

McKinsey Mobility Insight of the Week

Ford-VW driverless car venture folds in face of tech challenges.

Argo AI, once valued at $7bn, struggled to meet goal described as ‘harder than putting man on moon

Argo-AI, a self-driving vehicle group jointly backed by Ford and Volkswagen, is abruptly shutting down operations after six years of development.

Establishing fully driverless technology that is profitable and scalable would cost billions of dollars and take at least half a decade, John Lawler, chief financial officer at Ford, said as the company reported results on Wednesday.

“We’ve looked at this every way you can,” he said. “And we just see the profitability . . . a long way out.

The shutdown follows years of consolidation as Uber, Lyft and others have thrown in the towel upon realising that the dream of robotaxis is more distant than the industry had envisioned five years ago, when big sums of money flowed to small start-ups, and major automakers feared that their business model was at risk.

Tens of billions of dollars have been spent on driverless technology since Google launched its self-driving project in 2009, but no meaningful revenue has emerged and the vast majority of projects are in some stage of pilot mode overseen by engineers.

Doug Field, who left Apple Car to become Ford’s technology head, said that fully driverless autonomy — known as Level 4 — was “the hardest technical problem of our time”.

“It’s harder than putting a man on the moon, to create an L4 robotaxi that can operate in a dense urban environment,” he said.

Jim Farley, Ford chief executive, tweeted that the company would be refocusing its efforts from Level 4 to its BlueCruise project, a so-called Level 3 technology that assists drivers but does not displace them.

“The BlueCruise L3 system will be essential to the future of accessible, driverless vehicles in everyday life,” he said.

The dissolution of Argo leaves 2,000 employees in limbo. Ford and Volkswagen will hire some, particularly those with expertise in machine-learning and sensor technology, Ford executives said.

Ford reported a $2.7bn charge related to winding down Argo, which it said had been unable to find new investors. The Detroit automaker earned $1.8bn in net profit for the third quarter on $36bn in revenue, but said that operating income of $11.5bn for the year would be at the low end of the company’s guidance, partly because Ford’s UK operations expose it to the falling price of sterling.

www dot ft dot com/content/4afc571f-2dae-4f33-944a-c217397c3f91

Farley. “It’s mission-critical for Ford to develop great and differentiated L2+ and L3 applications that at the same time make transportation even safer.”

Farley also insinuated that Ford would be able to buy AV tech down the line, instead of developing it in house. “We’re optimistic about a future for L4 ADAS, but profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off and we won’t necessarily have to create that technology ourselves,” he added.

Ford also stated that the “development and customer enthusiasm for benefits of L2+ and L3 ADAS warrant dialing up the company’s near-term aspirations and commitment in those areas.”

Chief Executive Jim Farley on Wednesday said Ford will shift its development focus away from fully self-driving systems developed by Argo to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) created internally at Ford. Such systems are partially automated but still require humans to stay engaged when a vehicle is moving.

"Profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off and we won’t necessarily have to create that technology ourselves," Farley said in a statement.

"It's become very clear that profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are still a long way off," Ford CFO John Lawler said on Wednesday.

Ford said it wasn’t abandoning the idea of driverless cars. Specifically, the company said more than 83,000 vehicle owners have enrolled in services that allow hands-free driving and said it expects to have more than 30 million connected vehicles on the road by 2028.

Ford will Accelerate Development of L2+/L3 ADAS Technology

Ford will absorb several hundred of Argo’s roughly 2,000 employees, the auto maker said.

Ford earnings call transcript has much insight into the decision.

seekingalpha dor com/article/4549619-ford-motor-company-f-q3-2022-earnings-call-transcript

According to insiders, Volkswagen wants to expand its cooperation with Mobileye after withdrawing from the Argo AI startup for robot cars. It boils down to the subsidiary of the Intel group as a partner, said a person familiar with the plans from the Reuters news agency on Thursday.

Mobileye, which already cooperates with VW's software unit Cariad on autonomous driving, is likely to be the automaker's partner for a robotaxi service.

VW is in advanced negotiations with a partner that will provide the self-driving system for the ID Buzz vehicles, the spokesperson said. "We will announce that partner shortly," the spokesperson said.

The new partner is already testing ID Buzz prototypes on the road. "This is not something we just started, but we are already in the testing with this company and cooperating with them," the spokesperson said.

VW Commercial Vehicles will continue to be responsible within VW Group for introducing self-driving vehicles for mobility services with the new partner.

Cariad is developing partially and highly automated driving functions for VW Group's passenger car brands, partnering with Horizon Robotics in China and Robert Bosch in the rest of the world.

VW Group also has partnership with Qualcomm for high-performance chips for automated driving.

Jidu launches limited edition of its robocar: Priced at $55,253, limited to 2,000 units - CnEV

Jidu Auto, the car-building arm of Baidu, today unveiled a limited edition of its first robocar, letting the core specs of the highly anticipated model be known.

The model, called ROBO-01 Lunar Edition, is a midsize SUV that Jidu has equipped with high-spec hardware to give it powerful performance and an attractive price tag.

Riding on Baidu's strong self-driving technology accumulation, Jidu also promises that the model will have point-to-point assisted driving capabilities by the time it is delivered in 2023, which will be the first local car company to do so.

The car is a co-branded model in cooperation with China's Lunar Exploration Project and is priced at RMB 399,800 ($55,253).

The ROBO-01 Lunar Edition was originally limited to 1,000 units and has already been pre-ordered. At today's launch event, Jidu CEO Xia Yiping announced an additional 1,000 units for the model.

Additional details -
cnevpost dot com/2022/10/27/jidu-launches-limited-edition-of-its-robot-car-robo-01/

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles further expands cooperation

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWN) is further expanding its cooperation to develop technology for its autonomous driving mobility fleets with a partner. This will be announced shortly. Correspondingly equipped ID. Buzz prototypes are already on the road with this partner in a test program.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles' goal for autonomous driving remains: In 2025, customers are expected to be able to use MOIA to book the autonomously driving ID. Buzz in Hamburg in 2025.

Christian Senger, member of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand board of management responsible for MaaS/TaaS and AD (Mobility and Transport as a Service; Autonomous Driving) explains, "In the course of the cooperation with another partner, the collaboration within the group to develop highly automated and autonomous driving will also be strengthened."

www dot volkswagenag dot com/en/news/2022/10/volkswagen-focuses-development-for-autonomous-driving.html

Shahua said, "I assume there will be more liquidity in the future. If Intel wants to sell (Mobileye) that's its business but it's a long process. For us an opportunity has now been created to be in the public eye and to build value and we already began to build value at the opening of trade today. There is very strong interest from investors, and we met hundreds of investors and they all told us how much this is a special company and there are not more companies like this."

What really drew us to the IPO was the desire to be in the public eye"

Shashua stresses the fact that Mobileye now has its own 'currency' (its own shares rather than Intel's). "It's good but it was not the main reason for the flotation. Mobileye has never had a problem attracting good employees that connect to the aims of the company. Now that we have our own currency it is better but what really drew us to the IPO was the desire to be in the public eye, and connect through the media, and through the analysts on everything that we have been doing under the radar over the past five years. Therefore, the state of the markets did not deter us. We will begin to build value."

Mobileye founder and CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua told journalists that in the future Intel will sell more shares (six months ?)

earnings call
- Ford has deployed BlueCruise on many vehicles across hundreds of thousands of Blue zone miles. We have strong technology partners working alongside us. And now, we’re going to bring in several hundred people from Argo, a brilliant collection of minds, who’ve done a great job, who have done wonderful work in the L4 space, but their job and mission now is to help us create a differentiated Level 3 BlueCruise system.

- strategic decision shift ... to internally develop L2+/L3 technology.

- But the biggest factor is our growing confidence in our talent, both the Argo talent and the team at Ford that Doug is building.

Doug Field
... this is going to be a really tough problem to solve. It’s the toughest problem of our generation. And I don’t think about it as capital constraints nearly as much as talent constraints. In the kind of projects that we are diving into at Ford and the kind of work that we’re doing, the constraint really becomes how many of the world’s best people can you get working on a problem. And that’s really the decision, in many ways, that is driving what we’re doing here at Argo is we are deeply passionate about the L3 mission. We have ideas of how it can work and how customers can interact with it that are really exciting, particularly when you add them to our next-generation EVs. So, this is the way we want to use that talent.

We are not going to ignore the capabilities of suppliers that can provide value in our L3 solution. They are great manufacturers of components of systems, such as imaging sensors and radar, and we’ll take advantage of that. But we will have a core team that can integrate a system, understand its performance at the system level, and we will own the software. It is really important that we also own the connection to these vehicles. L3 is a connected technology. So, the ability to have a pipeline that collects data and makes the system better and better, we must own that. Finally, the customer experience, how the customer moves in and out of autonomous operation, that’s a problem that actually doesn’t exist in L4 and is a huge opportunity for us to create a Ford experience that’s really unique. So, those are the areas that we will absolutely develop great capability in-house and focus on in the L3 development.

the advanced negotiations with 2 western oems is not hard to guess

www dot automobilwoche dot de/bc-online/vw-und-mobileye-machen-gemeinsame-sache

where be the spy shots out in the wild of this ID Buzz now that the world is in the know

"We're not just starting these things, but we're already testing and working with new partners"

VW is in advanced talks with a partner that will supply the ID Buzz car with autonomous driving systems and "will announce a partner shortly," the spokesman said. The new partner has begun road testing of the ID Buzz prototype. "We're not just starting these things, but we're already testing and working with new partners," the spokesman said.

www dot vvm-projekt dot de/midterm-event/videos

one done

explain post

John Berry on Twitter - aniccia

As Alphabet & GM have learned, AV table stakes are ~$10 Billion, may cost ~$20 B.

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