Auto IQ weekly news update, including Waymo, GM, Cadillac, Hummer, and Geely



Tom Phillips
03/05/2020

Coronavirus is causing all sorts of havoc, including the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show. We covered the event from Auto IQ’s home base in Berlin, keeping our A-Z list of the plug-in vehicles that debuted this week up to date right from the office.

With the publication of our Automotive IQ Guide to Shared Mobility, we’ve now covered the CASE topics. We are fascinated to see how they evolve over the coming year:

Here’s a couple of other stories that are making the news this week:

Waymo announces fifth-generation tech

Waymo has begun rolling out updated Jaguar I-PACE test cars fitted with the firm’s latest, fifth generation self-driving technology. The updated sensors are detailed in a blog post by Waymo head of hardware, Satish Jeyachandran.

The improvements look to include a new roof-mounted 360 LiDAR system that gives the car a drone-like overview of its surroundings up to 300 meters away, plus a significantly different design of new short-range perimeter LiDARs mounted at each corner.

The LiDARs work together with a redesigned suite of cameras that have a range of over 500 meters for long-distance detection, plus new shorter-range cameras that are used to verify obstacles detected by the short-range LiDAR using an AI-powered algorithm.

An imaging radar has also been developed, which the firm claims is a first application for a self-driving vehicle. This has also been comprehensively knitted together with the other new sensors, giving plenty for Waymo to test as it builds on the 20 million self-driven miles it’s achieved so far.

GM debuts new global EV platform

How do you make an EV platform all things to all markets? It’s a tough question, but now we’ve got GM’s answer. The firm’s new global EV Platform has just been revealed at its iconic Design Dome at the GM Tech Center campus.

Key to the platform is its in-built flexibility. The platform uses GM’s Ultium pouch cells co-developed with LG Chem. They can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack to tweak package layouts for each vehicle design.

Ultium battery capacities range from 50 to 200kWh, giving a range of up to 400 miles. These power emotors designed in-house, and the platform supports front- rear- and all-wheel drive.

GM’s EVs will feature Level 2 ADAS and DC fast charging. Most will have 400V battery packs and up to 200kW fast-charging capability while the truck platform will have 800V- battery packs and charge at up to 350kW. The firm plans 22 EVs by 2023, with the hope that the huge scale involved will help push battery cell costs below $100/kWh.

The platform actually snuck out earlier this year, underpinning the autonomous Cruise Origin, and will next be used for the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV to be unveiled in April, and reborn GMC Hummer to debut in May. These cars are planned to enter production in Fall 2021.

Geely follows Tesla into space

Geely Holdings has announced that it’s planning to spend $326m on a new satellite manufacturing facility in Taizhou, China. It aims to employ 300 specialists to build 500 satellites per year at the factory from 2025. The move has similarities to SpaceX’s Starlink mission (video above).

The satellites will be placed in low-earth orbit to bring high-speed internet, accurate navigation and cloud computing to autonomous vehicles made by Geely’s automotive companies that include Volvo, Geely, Lynk&Co, Proton and Lotus.

Although the announcement comes now, Geely Technology Group actually launched its own firm – Geespace – in 2018 to develop satellites. It will begin launching them by the end of 2020.

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