Also in the news this week are Uber, nuTonomy, Aptiv, Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners, Tesla, NHTSA, Faraday Future and Gemalto.
Sprint takes on Verizon and AT&T with a new telematics device for the aftermarket. Andrew Tolve reports.
If the hype is true, the advent of 5G mobile broadband will change the game for connected cars. They’ll be able to share more data at faster speeds, while more passengers will be able to stream content and download videos and files on their mobile devices without delay, no matter their location. That’s all well and good if you own a luxury tech-loaded car but what about for the rest of us with vehicles built before the connected car revolution? Enter Sprint and its new 5G-enabled connected car platform.
Built in partnership with NXM Labs, the platform will offer on-demand, unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity for drivers and passengers on the Sprint network – no matter what year their vehicle trundled off the factory floor. The platform will also provide health monitoring, roadside assistance, collision detection and maintenance reminders, along with anti-theft alerts, vehicle expense tracking and nearby parking and low-cost gas alerts. It’s due out this autumn at automotive dealers across the US and will face stiff competition from rival platforms like Verizon Hum and AT&T Connected Car.
In other news, a ‘scapegoat’ is being lined up in the wake of Uber’s self-driving vehicle collision that killed a 49-year-old pedestrian earlier this year in Tempe, Arizona. It has emerged that the safety driver in the car at the time was streaming the hit TV talent programme The Voice on her smartphone when she was supposed to have her eyes on the road. The Tempe Police Department released a damning report against the driver, Rafaela Vasquez, revealing that she had been streaming the show on Hulu for 42 minutes and didn’t look up to see the pedestrian until 0.5 seconds before impact. She could face vehicular manslaughter charges. That said, none of this changes the fact that Uber technicians had disabled the Volvo XC90’s crash mitigation systems that may have prevented the death of the pedestrian, whether or not the driver was paying attention.
The City of Boston granted nuTonomy, and its parent company Aptiv, permission to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads city-wide. That makes Aptiv the first company to be allowed to test city-wide in Boston. The company is already working with Lyft on a self-driving pilot in Boston. Back in May 2018 Aptiv deployed a fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas on the Lyft network.
Forget California or Arizona, Massachusetts wants self-driving car companies to know that it’s open for testing. The governor announced an agreement last week with 15 cities and towns across the state that have agreed to allow self-driving cars in their communities to experiment with new mobility services. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is working with the municipalities to plan rollout in 2019.
Get this: a company called Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners is selling the automotive equivalent of a Bump-Stock (device converting semi-automatic firearms to full assault rifles) with a hack device called the “Autopilot Buddy”. This claims to allow Tesla drivers to disable the safety controls that require drivers to keep their hands on the wheel when Autopilot is engaged. Pretty unconscionable given all the accidents that Autopilot has been causing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Authority has caught wind of the device and has ordered the LLC to stop.
Finally, Faraday Future’s first vehicle, the FF 91 due out in late 2018, will come with a suite of eye-popping connected features, including facial recognition tech that will unlock the car when the driver approaches and automatically configure the interior, from seat position to infotainment set-up, based on his or her settings. Last week digital security firm Gemalto revealed that it’s providing the cybersecurity system to keep all that tech safe. Gemalto’s SafeNet Hardware Security Modules will insure that every step of data flow will be protected, including over-the-air software updates.
The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry sources.