Auto IQ weekly news roundup, including Toyota, Porsche, Boeing, Bird, Tier and VW
On the site this week, we’ve brought together the contributions from our semiconductor experts in another exclusive excerpt from Automotive IQ’s Semiconductors in the Autonomous Age report.
You can read all about what the good folks from NXP and more are thinking in terms of future trends, investment opportunities and more.
We also have a new webinar from Infosys. It takes place on November 13 at 14.30 GMT, and allows you to understand how manufacturers gather and monetize data from across the value chain to create operational efficiency and drive innovation.
Here’s some other stories that caught our eye this week:
Toyota gives Tokyo debuts to new LQ concept and second-generation Mirai
The Tokyo Motor Show takes place later this month, and Toyota has been busy previewing the exhibits it has in store for its home event.
First up is the level 4-capable LQ concept that features an AI assistant called Yui that’s been created to help drivers form an emotional bond with the tech in the car. Toyota says that Yui can control pretty much all of the car’s HMI features in order to “increase alertness or reduce stress.”
Unusually, the press release also includes shouts outs to the concept’s tech suppliers, including an automated valet and AR HUD co-developed with Panasonic, advanced seats, which help with the aforementioned alertness, created with Toyota Boshoku; and an ozone-reducing air purification system made with Aisin and Cataler.
The firm will also unveil its second-generation hydrogen-powered Mirai, launching next year complete with a new rear-drive platform, circa 400-mile range – up around 30 percent, and a far less controversial design (above).
Porsche and Boeing to explore flying cars
Porsche is exploring the jump from carmaker to mobility provider by signing an MOU with Boeing “to explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace.”
The companies will come together to analyze the market’s potential, and also to build a prototype electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle. Porsche’s consulting arm did a study in 2018 that predicts the market for such a vehicle will take-off from 2025, so the MOU makes sense as Porsche seeks to apply its brand attributes to another dimension of high-end travel.
Scooters get a big-money boost
Not one but two scooter firms are celebrating fresh cash injections, seemingly meaning that electric scooters are here to fill sidewalks for at least the sort-term future.
The biggest of them all, Bird, announced a $275 million Series D funding round led by CDPQ and Sequoia Capital, valuing the company at around €2.5bn(!) The extra cash is being invested by CEO Travis VanderZanden in making the firm more financially sustainable.
Berlin’s Tier has celebrated 10 million rides taken in its scooters with a Series B boost of $60m. The money will go towards expanding the firm’s current fleet of 20,000 scooters that you can rent in 40 cities in 12 countries. Will it last? We shall see.
VW ID3 lighting the way
Electric vehicles offer plenty of fresh challenges – like, for example, the fact that the car doesn’t have an engine that thrums into life and tells you it’s ready to go. To combat this, VW’s UX designers have created the ID Light that runs across the ID3’s dashboard, although we don’t quite yet know exactly where.
Much like the glow you get when you give a command to an Amazon Alexa, VW says the light gives feedback to the driver, telling you things like when the car is unlocked or locked; when you’re getting a phone call; and blinks to recommend that you change lane. It’s not earth shattering, but an interesting new way of bridging the gap between today’s driver and a new, less familiar technology.