Louis Bedigian

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking. Louis also collected experience in the fields of video production, video editing and photography working as a director of short films and music videos.

Hyundai’s Connected Car Evolution Continues With In-Car Payments

Hyundai Motor America recently partnered with Xevo to demonstrate an in-car payment concept that would allow drivers to pay for gas, coffee, food and parking without leaving the vehicle. Chevron, Texaco, ParkWhiz and Applebee’s have already signed on as merchants for the potential payment solution.
“The dining case is particularly interesting because those fast casual restaurants are a place where the infrastructure is there already,” said Cason Grover, senior group manager of vehicle technology planning for Hyundai Motor America. “You see those carryout-only lanes, so in a sense they’re kind of ahead.”
Grover said that parking places are exploring options for dedicated lanes, and speculated that chip-equipped license plates could allow for faster service via Bluetooth or DSRC. If, for example, a gas station could identify a vehicle the moment a driver pulls up to the pump, payment could be facilitated automatically.
“It adds convenience today,” he said. “As that infrastructure builds, we’re ready, so the value grows even more as the merchants do more and more.”

Payment Options

Hyundai and Xevo are developing the Hyundai Digital Wallet payment platform that will allow customers to store their payment information. The system goes beyond credit and debit, allowing other options (such as gift cards) to be incorporated.
“Being able to allocate which payment solutions that you would want to add to this Hyundai Wallet is really what we’re talking about being able to do,” said Paul Galle, VP of automotive programs in business development at Xevo.
The specific details are still being worked out, so it’s not yet clear how this will work. When asked if a prepaid card could be scanned directly into the automobile, Galle said he wasn’t sure Xevo and Hyundai would go down that path. More than likely the cards will be added to the wallet in a more traditional manner.

Data Sharing

In addition to its partnership with Xevo, Hyundai also recently joined the Verisk Data Exchange, which will allow customers to share their data for usage-based insurance programs.
Collectively, that’s a lot of information that will pass through Hyundai’s connected automobiles.
“I think certainly over time, as we work toward production we talk about how we share data,” said Grover. “We have some visibility into consumer preferences – who goes where the most. Maybe our brand, for some reason there’s a correlation with this particular merchant that we brought on board. If we see a lot of usage, maybe there’s some co-branding opportunity.”

Vehicle to Cloud

V2X encompasses V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure), but Grover is also looking at a third component.
“There’s a whole separate piece that’s really vehicle to cloud, or cloud to vehicle,” he said. “Using connectivity for possibly vastly enhancing our traffic offering or other data use for navigation, that’s the kind of thing I definitely see in the future.”
Looking beyond data that consumers willingly share, Hyundai is also curious about what could be done with anonymized data.
“As with probably every other OEM, we’re investigating that as well,” said Grover. “Genericized data is something we’re certainly studying. And that’s something we want to look at and make sure it’s within our privacy principals.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

American Center for Mobility Gives Automakers a Safer Venue for AV Testing

Autonomous vehicles were given a boost this spring when the American Center for Mobility opened in Michigan. Located at the historic former site of the Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti Township, ACM is hoping to be the premier destination for AV testing.
“We built ACM on a collaborative approach, working with industry, government and academia on a local, regional, national and even international level,” said John Maddox, president and CEO of the American Center for Mobility. He spoke to attendees at ACM’s ribbon cutting ceremony, which brought together a number of political supporters and auto industry execs.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder referred to ACM as “another huge step forward” for the state as it strives to maintain its leadership as the auto capital of the world. “[Mobility] does three things,” said Snyder. “It’s going to bring us a safer world in terms of saving lives and quality of life. It’s going to create opportunities for people – people that may be economically disadvantaged, have disabilities and other challenges in their lives. It will provide options to their lives they have not seen in the past.” Snyder added that as mobility evolves it will also bring a new level of efficiency to the infrastructure. “This is a place to be on the forefront of improving lives, of creating opportunities for our citizens in this state, but also the entire world,” Snyder continued.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley concurred, adding, “This is going to make such a big difference for our infrastructure, for our safety, but especially mobility for people that don’t have the same types of opportunities that many of the rest of us have.” Calley praised the way corporations, associations, state representatives and others came together to build ACM from the ground up. “It’s so special, so important,” Calley added. “It’s going to have such a profound impact on the entire world and it’s happening right here.”
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, one of many staunch supporters of AV technology, expressed the importance of building a place where self-driving cars can be tested and validated. “One of the things that has surprised me is the public resistance to autonomous vehicles,” said Dingell. “Let’s be honest, the Uber accident [in March] has made people concerned. That’s why we need this test site.”
Kevin Dallas, corporate vice president, artificial intelligence and intelligent cloud business development at Microsoft, also joined the stage to discuss how the company will serve ACM as its exclusive data and cloud provider. “We see it as an opportunity to invest deeply in the first safe environment where we can test, simulate and validate connected autonomous vehicles,” said Dallas. “And then accelerate the delivery of applications and services around autonomous systems. We’re taking that very seriously.”
After the ceremony, William “Andy” Freels, President of Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI), took a moment to share his thoughts on ACM. “We became founding members at the end of last year,” said Freels. “We are literally about 15 minutes from this facility. It’s a real investment in our local R&D facility here. Initially we will start using ACM for sensor development and sensor fusion testing. Connectivity is obviously a very important part.”
While ACM is designed to serve many areas of autonomous car development, Freels thinks the primary benefits will come from testing the potential interactivity and communication between cars (V2V) and infrastructure (V2I).
“Like never before, vehicles are going to need to work together to communicate [with each other] and the infrastructure,” Freels added. “That’s really quite different from the way it has been done in the past, where we could do something completely independently. I think that’s a key point of this facility – being able to collaborate with the industry, as well as the government and the academia side of it.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

What Happens When Autonomous Vehicles Turn Deadly?

Consumers and auto execs alike were horrified by the news that a self-driving Uber vehicle had hit and killed a pedestrian. The incident prompted Uber to ground its fleet of self-driving cars while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reviewed the accident to determine who was at fault.

Uber is only one part of the growing autonomous vehicle sector, but the accident sent shockwaves throughout the entire industry. It’s the kind of incident that could thwart plans for AV deployment, attract a new level of scrutiny from lawmakers, and erode consumer confidence in a vehicle’s ability to drive itself.

Many in the auto industry wouldn’t even respond to a request for comment, but Nicolas de Cremiers, head of marketing at Navya, shared his reaction to what happened last March.

“As with any sector, human error is a possibility,” said de Cremiers, whose company produces autonomous shuttles and cabs. “It is crucial that we, as suppliers of autonomous mobility solutions, come together with communities and municipalities to begin taking steps towards creating safety standards and comprehensive measures for the upcoming Autonomous Vehicle Era in smart cities.”

de Cremiers remained optimistic for the future of AVs, adding, “In working towards a more fluid and sustainable future, by improving traffic flow and reducing congestion in urban centers, we will ultimately upgrade the quality life while raising safety standards for a world in perpetual motion.”

As far as regulations are concerned, Danny Atsmon, CEO of Cognata, a startup specializing in AV simulations, said there needs to be some “common procedures” before these vehicles are publicly deployed.

“It’s not a bad idea to have some commonality and standards among the different AV providers,” said Atsmon. “I do believe that after this incident, there are high chances that it will lead to some regulations.”

Gil Dotan, CEO of Guardian Optical Technologies, said it is the industry’s responsibility to “make sure we learn the most and make our tech smarter and more robust.”

“This will push carmakers and tech providers to be more cautious and responsible,” said Dotan, whose company is developing sensing tech for inside the cabin. “This has precedents in other industries, like aviation and space travel, where unfortunate events have occurred. The last thing we should take out of this is to stop our efforts.”

Dotan is among those who see the greater good in what AVs could achieve by eventually reducing the number of fatal car accidents. Atsmon agrees, but he said the incident is a reminder that AVs “still have years of development and a long validation process before it can be released on the road.”

Where does this leave Uber, the company at the center of it all? Jeffrey Tumlin, principal at Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation planning consultancy, said the video released by the Tempe Police Department is “remarkably damning.”

“Yes, the victim crossed a high-speed road – in the dark, on a curve,” said Tumlin. “But all the tech on the vehicle did nothing to slow the car or alert the human observer. While I still believe that AV tech can result in huge safety benefits, whatever tech was out there on the roads should not have yet been cleared for human trials.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

A better LiDAR for the Future?

Dozens of startups are striving to enter the autonomous vehicle market, hoping to bring innovation to the next generation of automobiles. From software companies that focus on artificial intelligence to hardware manufacturers that are building essential components, AV technology has been a boon for entrepreneurs.
Not all startups are created equal, however. While there are dozens of companies tackling the same group of problems, very few are ready to deploy their offerings. This is due to the immense complexities associated with self-driving technology, whether it’s the algorithm under the hood or the sensor on top.
Innoviz Technologies, a startup out of Kfar Saba, Israel, has zeroed in on one key challenge: LiDAR. The company is developing low-cost solid state LiDAR solutions for the AV market. Its products are not yet ready to be deployed in motor vehicles, but the firm’s progress has already attracted $82 million from investors, including Aptiv (formerly Delphi Automotive), Magna International, Samsung Catalyst and Softbank Ventures Korea.
“We got amazing feedback from companies that visited us (at CES) and realized what we have is already working well,” said Omer Keilaf, co-founder and CEO of Innoviz.

Solving Problems

Keilaf said that one of the problems with LiDAR technology is that it can be degraded by cross interference if multiple cars are close together. From the beginning he wanted Innoviz’s solution to work seamlessly in a multi-LiDAR environment.
“When we started this company the first thing we did was try to understand what are the main challenges behind LiDAR,” said Keilaf. “We had a certain kind of cost on one side. We decided no matter what we do, if you want to have a solution that’s viable for the mass market, we need to make sure that we can sell it at one point for $100. Maybe not in the first two or three years where the volume is not that high, but you cannot design a LiDAR if you do not believe that at some point you can’t sell it for $100 because it won’t go to mass market.”
Innoviz also wanted to build a sensor that is sensitive enough to collect light from a long distance, but strong enough to endure the blinding rays of the sun, which have been problematic for some LiDAR solutions.
Many companies say they can overcome these obstacles, but Innoviz wanted to prove their accomplishments were applicable beyond the testing phase.
“I think the biggest challenge is not only to show a demo but to actually deliver a product that’s automotive-grade,” said Keilaf. “A product that’s very high-quality and is actually reliable. This is what the OEMs want. They want to count on you to actually deliver a product in two years, which is already automotive-grade and meets all the performance and quality needs. They don’t have any appetite for risk.”

More Than LiDAR

LiDAR may receive the most attention, but Keilaf realizes that self-driving cars will need to equip multiple technologies before they’re deployed.
“I think it’s clear that in order to have high functional safety, you need to rely on different technologies like LiDAR, cameras, radar, sonar and GPS,” he said. “And there’s so much data that OEMs need to analyze. You see cars today that are running those platforms with computers that drive a lot of power and heat. It’s not what we do, but it’s one of the hurdles today.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

In-Car Monitoring Technology for a New Level of Safety

Automakers are hastily working on new ways to monitor everything around the vehicle, but what about the driver sitting behind the wheel, or the passengers sitting in back? Thus far, car interiors haven’t received nearly as much attention.

That could change with the arrival of Tel Aviv-based Guardian Optical Technologies. The company is building sensing technology that will allow its potential users (such as OEMs) to take a closer look at what goes on inside the cabin. Its goal is to help manufacturers produce the first generation of automobiles that are “passenger-aware.”

“The data that our sensor can supply is very valuable to all sorts of applications inside the vehicle,” said Gil Dotan, co-founder and CEO of Guardian Optical Technologies.

While this technology could be applicable to other industries, Guardian chose to focus on automotive, which offers a number of possible use cases. For example, it can determine if a driver is drowsy, distracted or holding onto something, such as a smartphone. This information could be used to identify dangerous situations before it’s too late.

“And if you are an insurer, you would want to have this data so you can make sure that you optimize all your algorithms when it comes to charging for insurance,” said Dotan. “Both insurers and OEMs want to figure out what kind of behavior usually leads to accidents. Specifically if you’re an OEM you would want to optimize the safety systems inside the vehicle, whether they are proactive systems trying to avoid an accident.”

Could this lead to an autonomous driving mode that’s automatically turned on when drivers aren’t paying attention? It’s too early to say for sure, but it’s one possibility as manufacturers grapple with the rise in auto accidents.

“Saving lives is something we’re definitely interested in,” Dotan added.

Learning from the Road

Guardian’s technology has yet to be deployed, but early tests have revealed an interesting look at the way passengers behave when the vehicle hits a bump in the road. Dotan found that while objects jostle with the car’s movement, humans tend to come back to their original posture. This could be helpful in designing better, more supportive seats for tomorrow’s automobiles.

What about non-human passengers, such as pets? Dotan said it would be “very hard” to tell the difference between the various types of dogs, particularly those that differ in size. He believes that machine learning could help, along with the addition of 3D depth-mapping, which offers a greater level of in-car monitoring.

“Once we add the 3D aspect, you will find the outcomes to these algorithms are much more reliable and faster to provide an indication,” he said.

In December Guardian announced that it had raised $5.1 million in Series A funding from Maniv Mobility and Mirai Creation Fund. The company plans to use the funds to bring on more talent and to prepare its technology for production.

“We want to be in the assembly line,” said Dotan. “That’s our first go-to-market objective. Our sensor would also be very well suited for the aftermarket, but our first focus is OEMs.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Could In-Car Ads Lead to Cheaper Mobility?

Ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft are expected to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of autonomous vehicles. The cars could theoretically pick up passengers 24 hours a day. On the downside, these services will then be required to purchase or lease new vehicles from automakers, an expense they currently avoided by having drivers use their own automobiles.
With so much technology going into them, self-driving cars are likely to be very expensive. How will Uber and Lyft – or any taxi-type service – pay for them without increasing their fees?

Is In-car Advertising the Solution?

One solution is personalized in-car advertising. Using data gathered from customer’s phones, the car could deliver targeted ads that provide steady revenue for ride-hail services.
“I’m sure everything will be tried,” said Marc Weiser, managing director at RPM Ventures, which invests in seed and early stage companies, including automotive IT. “We’re not doing it yet, so why would we start? As long as the economics work…[but] if they don’t, that’s when you could start to see people paying for ads not to be there.”
Higher fees for no ads? That sounds like the model used by some streaming video services, including YouTube.
Jeffrey Tumlin, principal at Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation planning consultancy, thinks this model is inevitable.
“Of course that’s the market we’re heading to,” said Tumlin. “And given the business model for mobility, I would expect it’s going to be much more like the Hulu model, where the only thing you pay for is to turn the ads off. Think about advertising: when you are [in a car], you’re in a confined space. You’re surrounded by surfaces. The [car] knows who you are, where you are, where you’re going. It has your credit card information. It has anything that’s available about you online.”

Fearing the Ad Invasion

Grayson Brulte, co-founder and president of Brulte & Company, hopes that is not the case. He is not looking forward to a ride-hail service that bombards passengers with any form of advertising.
“[But] I am very fascinated and utterly interested in hyper-local experiences that can be monetized,” said Brulte, whose company develops and implements technology strategies for a global marketplace. “If you’re driving through a city and you have an augmented reality windshield, and it pops up an offer for Chipotle or something else – a paid or sponsored advertisement inside the augmented reality world – I think that’s interesting.”
Brulte said he is not bullish on the idea of a car that’s covered in ads or forces passengers to watch a screen. “It’s too invasive,” he said, comparing it to the loud and repetitive commercials that are displayed in some taxis. “It takes away from the whole experience. People try to turn it off all the time. They hate it. I don’t see that transferring to autonomous vehicles because there will be a backlash.”
Before that happens, Weiser theorized that ride-hail services might experiment with offering faster pickups for a monthly fee.
“Will I pay $500 a month to ensure that when I hit the ‘Lyft’ button to hail a ride, the car is there within five minutes every time?” Weiser questioned. “And if not, my fare is entirely free? We haven’t seen any of that. Right now the only differentiating payment models are [based on the] vehicle or the number of people inside the vehicle.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Why Wait for AVs? Carma Car Offers Mobility as a Service Right Now

Vehicle ownership is a costly and potentially frustrating investment. Between monthly payments, insurance and the inevitable repairs, it can be difficult to justify the expense. These issues have pushed many consumers toward leasing, but even that comes with a multi-year agreement.
Carma Car offers something different: a monthly vehicle subscription service without a long-term commitment.

What's behind The Vehicle Subscription Model?

“We’re trying to bring flexibility and convenience, [which] has come into mobility on the fractional end of Zipcar and Uber, and really give it to the people who need a full-time vehicle,” said Patrick Min, founder and COO of Carma Car. “We offer a month-to-month subscription payment that is inclusive of all those additive ancillary benefits of car ownership.”
Unlike a traditional rental service, Carma Car does not own a fleet of vehicles. The company has instead chosen to partner with banks and rental car companies.
“When you lease a vehicle today, the bank is really the one that owns the car, whether it’s Toyota Financial or Nissan Motor Credit,” said Min. “When your lease comes back it’s really the bank’s responsibility to take and manage that car and put it out to market. Because leasing has been so prevalent, there’s an overabundance of these lightly used vehicles coming back. If they put all those vehicles back through their standard remarketing channels, it would crush resell values.”
This provided Carma Car with an unique opportunity.
“They’re looking at ways to activate and work with customers in different ways to spread that risk out,” Min added. “They also know that in the future these are likely going to be the large autonomous vehicle fleet operators. They need to understand what that subscription experience needs to be. We can start to build those mechanisms and platforms today that will make even more sense in the future [with AVs].”
Carma Car is currently piloting its service in Chicago and hopes to roll out additional cities in the near future.
“We’re looking at cities that are still car-dependent, so probably not downtown Manhattan or San Francisco,” said Min. “But there are a number of areas that are car-dependent that index highly with the demographics we know gravitate toward a subscription. Even leasing indexes very high with the 25- to 40-year-old demographic.”
Carma Car is not looking to replace the leasing market, however. The company is focused on serving consumers that need access to a car more often than a rental, but less frequently and less stringently than ownership or leasing. Customers can select a different vehicle (currently sedans, but more options may be offered down the line) each month or simply cancel when they’re done.
Insurance and maintenance are included with the monthly fee, which is set at $399 for 500 miles, $449 for 1,000 miles and $499 for 1,250 miles. That might seem high, but it’s far cheaper than what consumers would pay a rental company over a 30-day period.
“It’s a huge market,” said Min. “A trillion dollars a year gets moved in auto sales.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

3D Printing and the Cars of Tomorrow

Three-dimensional printing has come a long way over the past few years, allowing both consumers and corporations the chance to print a wide range of items. Could it go one step further and change the cars of tomorrow?
Ford is one of the first automakers to explore the technology and began testing the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer in March 2017. In a press release, Ford said the printer could be a “breakthrough” that provides a “more efficient, affordable way to create tooling, prototype parts and components for low-volume vehicles such as Ford Performance products, as well as personalized car parts.”
Those are some lofty goals, but what are the realities of 3D printing? Can it go above and beyond Ford’s goals?
“I think if you follow Moore’s law and you have this continuing advancement of the technology, then yes, it’s eventually going to happen,” said Frank Schwartz, principal and founder of Advanced Automotive Consulting Services. “What they’re capable of doing these days is absolutely amazing. But actually using 3D printing for mass-produced volume parts, I think we’re a ways from that.”

Personalized Car Parts

Automakers aren’t the only ones that could use a 3D printer to manufacture custom parts. As the technology matures, consumers could theoretically do the same, presenting a new challenge for connected automobiles.
“[The auto industry] is concerned about the whole right to repair,” said Sam Lauzon, a senior engineer in research at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). “If people are going to be able to legally repair and manipulate their cars’ electronics or vehicle systems, how will that impact the safety and security of them? Right now if you want to replace the transmission in your garage, go right ahead, there’s nothing illegal about that. But if we start adding security to your transmission and you could possibly 3D print that at home, what are the ramifications of that?”
Lauzon said this is especially problematic if consumers wish to print their own parts of autonomous vehicles.
“If people are doing things like that, they have to ensure the parts are good,” he said.

More Exciting Designs

Jeffrey Tumlin, principal at Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation planning consultancy, hopes that 3D printing will allow automakers to build more attractive automobiles.
“One of the areas in which I think 3D printing becomes very interesting is in that lower speed urban vehicle,” said Tumlin. “You design a little jewel box of a 20mph vehicle using 3D printing, which I think could create an explosion of an amazing design thinking that could bring some joy back into automotive design.”
Tumlin referred to automobiles as the “most complex corner of the entire design world,” with immense safety and liability concerns.
“One of the things I find disappointing is that the designers are still trying to have the car – one car – serve all possible functions,” Tumlin added. “That’s ridiculous. I’m not going to own a car in the future. I’m going to call up the right tool for the job. If I have a hot date, I’m going to want a very different vehicle than if I’m going on a camping trip.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Magna Interview: Jerry Lavine on the Hurdles of Autonomous Driving

Few may realize how complex roadways are, but that picture becomes very clear the moment you start to think about replacing drivers with computers. The road’s many nuances – from gestures and hand signals to a multitude of maneuvers – are far deeper than any computer can currently handle. It might have seemed simple when humans are behind the wheel, but it feels much more complicated when the car moves automatically.
“A lot of times drivers of non-autonomous vehicles don’t follow the rules,” said Jerry Lavine, VP of advanced product development at Magna. “What happens when you have an autonomous vehicle that’s programmed to just follow the rules? How do people experience that? And will it be a good experience for them or a bad experience?”
These are some of the many hurdles that must be overcome in order for autonomous vehicles to operate without human intervention.
“Some of it is going to be the infrastructure itself, [which] needs to be developed and managed,” said Lavine. “At the same time you also need to see what the customer acceptance is. There’s nobody out there that’s riding in a level 4 vehicle [yet], so how are customers going to interact with it and what will their experience be?”

Building Smarter Cities

There’s been a lot of talk about the connectivity between cars and the cities of tomorrow, but many questions remain. Most importantly: will self-driving cars be able to function without being connected?
“The car [should be able to] operate independently, but it’ll operate more efficiently and effectively with a smart city,” said Lavine. “The infrastructure is really a big part of autonomy. You’ll never get to mass deployment of level 4, level 5 vehicles without an infrastructure that supports it and enables it. A smart city is definitely a big step in the right direction.”
Lavine added that camera-based technology, along with object detection and recognition, will be necessary for the car to read and understand any number of road signs. He would like these things (including sign placement and the way information is communicated) to be standardized for autonomous vehicles.

Environmental Challenges

What happens if a road sign is covered by snow or other environmental hazards? This has been an ongoing challenge for driverless cars, but Lavine thinks that high-definition maps will provide a solution, allowing cars to read the road even if it can’t see everything within the environment.
“I think mapping helps overcome some of that,” he said. “There are issues, like when you go through a tunnel and your visibility changes. If roads are flooded, that creates a problem. Those are things that need to be overcome with the infrastructure itself.”

Cloud Vs. Smart Cities

Some may wonder if cloud-based connectivity will be necessary once smart cities are up and running. Lavine said it depends on the amount of information the car is getting.
“At the end of the day, you need to know what’s going on in the infrastructure and the vehicle needs to be able to communicate back,” he explained. “I’m sure you could probably get it through a smart city versus a cloud, but that’s really one in the same. And my guess is a smart city is going to also have a cloud. It’ll be somewhat cloud-based.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.