Car dealerships will need to adapt to some new practices spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, writes John Possumato, founder of Automotive Mobile Solutions and DriveItAway. He predicts customers will come to expect home delivery, online sales and other touch-free services after the pandemic subsides.
Jeep is a brand known for encouraging outdoor exploration, but shifted gears amid the pandemic with an Online Retail Experience portal, social videos, user-generated content and online listening to tap consumer sentiment, says Olivier Francois, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' chief marketing officer. "It is so tempting to jump onto current trends or social commentary, but we need to weigh every decision against not only our brand values but our fan values," Francois says.
Ford launched a program that allows customers to return vehicles to dealerships if customers lose their jobs within the first year of ownership -- as long as the vehicle is financed by Ford Credit. "Ford Credit has a long history of helping customers affected by all types of economic setbacks," says Marion Harris, CEO of Ford Motor Credit Co.
Imagination Technologies' XS family of graphics processing units for driver assistance, 3D graphics displays and other automotive uses is ready, and the company says the GPUs are "the first licensable intellectual property to meet the car industry's ISO 26262 standard, which addresses risk levels in cars," Dean Takahashi writes. Separately, the company's Ethernet packet processor, which assists with secure routing of data in vehicle networks, has had its license renewed.
Connected car features may require unique security issues due to the nature of moving vehicles. "It's difficult enough to maintain connectivity when the source is moving, much less add security mechanisms to deter session hijacking as the connection switches from one place to another," says Scott Russ, security architect at Nerdery.
In-vehicle technology that monitors a driver's health could include access to a doctor if problems are detected, notes Harman executive Steve Surhigh. For example, sensors in the steering wheel or driver's seat could monitor the driver's pulse, and check the driver's breath to determine whether they've been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs.
Electric truck company Rivian has raised $2.5 billion in its latest round of financing as it looks to go to market in 2021. Founder Robert "R.J." Scaringe says the company is focused on products rather than going public.
Building a self-driving car means integrating complex systems reliably and at low cost, which is "really, really hard," says Karl Iagnemma, president and CEO of a joint venture started by Hyundai and self-driving startup Aptiv. Consolidation is occurring across the industry, and longtime automakers are partnering with startups on autonomous vehicle development, with Aptiv and Hyundai joined by Waymo and Jaguar, General Motors and Cruise, and other ventures.
When self-driving cars use lidar, they often must use several units because of the narrow field of vision, and those units are expensive, writes Steve Hanley in this roundup of lidar developments. He says Toshiba's research tackles both issues, adding that the company's advances will be in compact units it will produce starting in 2022.