5G Cellular Networks are Bringing Automotive Competitors Together
4G hotspots in cars haven’t really been around that long, but it has already had a major impact on our daily commutes. It allows all of the semi-autonomous cars out there to communicate, and it has become the basis for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication that has helped to shape our future autonomous car network. Cars like the Tesla Model S can receive OTA updates, while kids can watch Netflix, and your creepy uncle can watch porn in the back seat during family road trips. In the grand scheme of things, we haven’t had 4G very long, but 5G mobile networks are on the horizon, and it’s a pretty big deal. Not only for those of us who are stuck to our cell phones 24/7, but for our cars as well. And that’s exactly why Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG, along with various tech companies, have formed the “5G Automotive Association.”
In partnership with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, the aforementioned luxury automakers believe 5G networks will open the door for better support in C-V2X communications and connected mobility solutions. As such, these tech and automotive companies are looking to work together by defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements, and implementation strategies; supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes; addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication, distributed cloud architectures and more; and running joint innovation and development projects leading to integrated solutions, interoperability testing, large-scale pilots and trial deployments.
Alfons Pfaller, the Head of Infotainment Development for Audi AG, said, "Connected cars will shape the future of individual mobility, and next generation mobile networks will take car to X connectivity to a new level. The key to success is in cross-industry collaboration. This is why we set up the 5G Automotive Association where experts from all relevant fields are teaming up." And Sajjad Khan, the Director of Digital Vehicle and Mobility for Daimler AG, said, "The connected car enables us to offer our customers services, both inside and outside the vehicle, which make their daily routine tasks easier, increase comfort and safety and thus create considerable added value. The fundamental basis for this is a reliable and fast connectivity technology whose standards have global validity."
So what does all this mean to you? Keep reading to find out.
Leaked Ordering Guide Shows BMW 5-Series is going Semi-Autonomous
We already know quite a bit about the next-gen BMW 5 Series. We’ve seen it testing on public roads a couple of times, one of which revealed the basics of the car’s M Sport Package. We also know that is should be somewhat lighter than the current model and should make its official debut at the Paris Auto Show at the send of September. Now, Bimmer Post has come across a leaked ordering guide for the 2017 BMW 5 Series, with three distinctive driver assistance packages.
The entry level package, RPO code ZDA includes a head-up display, park distance control, rearview camera, and a parking assistant. Then there’s RPO code ZBD that BMW is calling the Driver Assistance Plus Package. This includes active driving assistant, parking assistant plus, blind spot detection, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, speed limit information, and surround view camera.
Then there’s the top-of-the-line package that’s being called Driver Assistance Plus II and brings true semi-autonomous features to the table. It includes automatic cruise control with stop and go, active lane keeping assistant with side collision avoidance, traffic jam assist, and active lane change. The ordering guide you can see here also exposes three different sets of wheels with or without run-flat tires, a large handful of metallic exterior paint options, various leather options, and M Sport Package, and a Luxury Package, among other things. This is a big move for the 5 Series, but don’t expect them to come cheap.
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German manufacturers Volkswagen and BMW joined forces with the California-based ChargePoint Inc. to expand the electric-vehicle infrastructure throughout the U.S., and this blitzkrieg has borne fruit in the form of two new major EV charging networks within two of the most heavily traveled corridors on the East and West coast.
The Express Charging Corridors Initiative announced on the 13th of September, 2016, the addition of 95 new public charging stations meant to support EV travel from Portland, Oregon to San Diego, California, out West and from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., down East. These are DC, fast-charge stations set at 50-mile increments along the main highway with additional stations on the branches that feed traffic to the local places-to-be-and-see, so suddenly EV touring is a thing.
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Bosch To Bring Water Injection from the M4 GTS to Other Models by 2019
Hey kids! Wanna convince Mom and Dad that the family sedan really needs that new high-flow exhaust you’ve been eyeing? It’s simple – tell ‘em it’ll help boost mileage and fuel efficiency! It’s true – performance upgrades like a new exhaust and water injection system not only add ponies, but increase mpg as well. And according to Autocar, that’s exactly the logic Bosch is using as it plans to install its water injection system on more models by 2019.
Using water injection for better internal combustion is nothing new, but the latest high-visibility application of the tech is on the BMW M4 GTS, a track-ready two-door that’s quite obviously focused on performance above all else.
Bosch, a German-based multinational auto parts supplier, is the company behind the Bimmer’s water injection system, and reports a 5-percent increase in horsepower, a 13-percent increase in fuel efficiency, and a 4-percent drop in CO2 emissions when its in use.
“The system works best on cars with an output of more than 80 kw (107 horsepower) per liter,” Fabiana Piazza, global project manager at Bosch, told Autocar. “We’re launching it into the market now as tighter legislation and new real driving emissions tests are increasing the importance of this technology in all cars.”
“We are in contact with major automotive makers already, but we can’t talk about them in more detail at this stage,” said Martin Frohnmaier, Bosch project lead. “We can say that we expect the system to make mass production from 2019.”
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BMW Set To Launch Autonomous Vehicles In China By 2021
BMW has its sights sets on launching autonomous driving vehicles in China and the timetable has been set for 2021. Speaking at a summit on artificial intelligence and robotics in Shenzhen, BMW senior manager for highly automated driving Maximilian Doemling made the proclamation about the German automaker’s ambitious plan to have fully autonomous vehicles hit the streets in five years.
It’s no secret that BMW is already hard at work developing the technology that it plans to utilize as part of the company’s “Project i Next.” The 2021 timetable has also been talked about before, most recently by BMW board member Klaus Froehlich, who spoke with Automotive News back in June 2016 about the automaker’s plan to roll out a flagship autonomous model by 2021.
Doemling took it a step further when he expounded on the potential functions of BMW’s autonomous technology, describing a self-driving car in its most literal sense: a car that drives, changes lanes, and does everything by itself, enabling the driver to do other things like play with a smartphone.
It’s an ambitious statement to make, even for a company of BMW’s size and stature. That’s especially true today when Tesla, the first company to roll out autonomous driving technology in its cars, has resisted from describing the system as “self-driving” in the wake of multiple crashes and accidents that have been attributed to the electric car maker’s Autopilot system.
Only time will tell if BMW’s version of autonomous driving will live up to Doemling’s description. What appears certain though is that the German automaker is confident that it will have its autonomous driving cars out on the streets by 2021 with China being one of the first markets, if not the first itself, to get them.
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BMW Autonomous Tech Gives U.S. Olympic Swimmers an Assist
Making it to the Olympics takes a lot of training. Winning gold at the Olympics takes the harshest and most grueling training possible. USA Swimming took gold in Rio, but it wasn’t just all that hard and endless training. The team, who is teamed up with BMW, used some of the German brand’s latest tech to help fine tune themselves during the training process.
First, each swimmer is fitted with some LED lights that are attached to their bodies via 3D-printed mounts. These LEDs are then monitored by an underwater camera that uses BMW’s motion-tracking technology to record each movement the swimmer makes during his or her lap across the pool. The LED lights are attached to a swimmer’s wrist, feet, ankles, knees, thighs, and shoulders, which in turn allows the team to review their precise movements and correct anything that may be slowing them down.
It is the same technology that BMW uses to detect moving obstacles and objects in vehicles that have autonomous capabilities. This isn’t the first time a technology like this has been used. An older version of the same technology, which was obviously far less advanced, was used to help the team train for the Olympics four years ago. This year, the technology was more detailed and accurate, and could very well have given the team the extra boost it needed to bring home the gold this year. Way to go team!
New BMW Engine Technology on the Way
In May 2016, BMW unveiled a brand-new quad-turbo diesel engine that replaced the tri-turbo oil-burner offered in the previous 750d xDrive model. Come August and the German brand released details about a new family of three- and four-cylinder engines that will hit the market in 2017.
Developed as part of BMW’s next generation of Efficient Dynamics drivetrains, the new batch of engines includes both gasoline and diesel units, which are said to be more powerful and efficient than any similar BMW engines to date.
The three- and four-cylinder units will be used in a variety of BMW and Mini models. Likely candidates include all Bimmer nameplates from 1 Series to the 5 Series, and the entire Mini lineup except the Countryman. The latter will get them with its next refresh.
Getting down to actual figures, the gasoline engines will receive a boost of seven horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque. Specifically, the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder unit will now develop 103 and 115 horses. Moving over to the 2.0-liter four-pot, output will range between 149 and 234 horsepower. Despite the power increase, BMW promises that fuel economy will improve by five percent, while CO2 emissions will be reduced by a similar amount. These improvement mainly come from the relocated turbochargers and exhaust manifold, increase fuel pressure, and a redesigned cooling system.
As far as diesels go, BMW had nothing to say about output upgrades, but did mention a five-percent bump in fuel efficiency and revealed that the four-cylinder units will switch to twin-turbo setups, previously reserved for performance-oriented drivetrains only. New features include a revised exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, an additional selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, a higher-pressure common-rail injection system, and a "flared" cylinder bore profile.
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Is your BMW Safe from Malicious Hacking?
Sometime in late 2014 or early 2015, it was found that BMW vehicles equipped with ConnectedDrive could be tricked into unlocking the doors by any hacker who knew how to mimic BMW’s servers. While information about that specific hack is rather scant, it’s safe to assume that BMW probably put an end to that vulnerability rather quickly, but that doesn’t mean your BMW is safe from hackers. In fact, it was recently discovered that BMW’s equipped with ConnectedDrive could, in fact, be hacked through a simple web browser – once again giving the technologically advanced the ability to unlawfully enter your fine piece of German engineering. That’s not all, though.
This vulnerability is one of two that was recently discovered Kunz Mejri, a security researcher for Vulnerability Laboratory. To put it simply, hackers can bypass a secure validation system and take over VIN numbers already in the system ultimately to view or manipulate them, which can lead to the ability to remotely unlocked the doors of any BMW vehicle that have been connected to the ConnectedDrive system.
The second vulnerability is more of a threat to BMW than anyone else, but could ultimately lead to your BMW doing some pretty wonky things at the hands of an intelligent hacker. By taking advantage of a vulnerability on the ConnectedDrive’s password reset page, a hacker can inject malicious code into BMW’s portal that could cause issues within its servers. While this is more of a threat to BMW, a hacker with the right know-how and the underlying desire to be a complete douche could cause issues with connected BMW’s on a massive scale. It’s hard to say what exactly a hacker could do, but the first thing that comes to mind is tens of thousands of BMWs locking and unlocking randomly at the same time. It’s not likely, but with technology these days, anything is possible.
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BMW To Partner With Intel And Mobileye To Develop Autonomous Driving Technology
It’s safe to say that the race to develop autonomous driving technology is heating up as more and more automakers are looking to the tech industry in an effort to form partnerships with some of the biggest tech giants in the business. German automaker BMW appears to be the latest to do it, as the company just announced a partnership with computer chip manufacturer Intel and collision detection specialist Mobileye. This partnership wants to find solutions so that the automated driving will be put into series production by 2021.
The partnership is reportedly centered on Mobileye’s fifth-generation chips, called the EyeQ5. Information is minimal on what the chip’s capabilities are, but it is expected to give self-driving cars better reflexes by using real-time road mapping when drivers are disengaged. For its part, Intel is reportedly involved in the partnership to provide the central processor unit that will coordinate with Mobileye’s new software to translate the technology into future BMW models.
It’s worth noting that alliances between automakers and tech firms have grown in recent months, all because of the same pursuit of developing autonomous driving vehicles. Back in April 2016, Ford, Volvo, Google, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft all struck a deal to expedite their own development of autonomous driving technology.
BMW is in a unique position with its partnership with Intel and Mobileye as it can leverage the core strengths of both companies into its own development of self-driving vehicles. More details are expected to be revealed during a joint press conference that will be attended by BMW CEO Harald Krueger, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Mobileye Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua.
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BMW Unveils Quad-Turbo Diesel Engine
While most U.S. buyers continue to stay away from diesel engines — and that’s not likely to change anytime soon due to last year’s "Dieselgate" scandal — the oil burner remains a popular choice in Europe, where cars running on this fuel make up about 50 percent of the market (compared to only three percent in North America). All mainstream automakers offer at least one diesel option nowadays, while premium manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi provide performance-oriented, yet still efficient oil burners. BMW, for instance, used to offer a massive 4.4-liter V-8 in the E65 7 Series before switching to the tri-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six in the F01 generation. Now, the tri-turbo is being retired to make room for brand-new diesel that has four turbochargers.
Set to make its debut in the 750d xDrive model that previously used the tri-turbo, the new quad-turbo oil burner cranks out 394 horsepower form 4,000 rpm and a whopping 561 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 rpm. That’s an impressive 79 horses and 61 pound-feet more than the 3.0-liter six-cylinder in the 740d and an 18-horsepower and 15-pound-feet increase over the previous-generation 750d. Performance is also impressive, with the upcoming 750d expected to hit 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds, a benchmark that makes it only two tenths slower than the V-8-powered, gasoline 750i xDrive model.
More powerful than any other diesel developed by BMW thus far, the new quad-turbo unit is also more fuel efficient. BMW doesn’t give specific numbers, but claims that fuel consumption has been reduced by five percent. The new diesel engine will mate to the same eight-speed automatic available across the entire 7 Series lineup. No word on pricing yet, but we’ll be back with info as soon as BMW spills the beans.
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BMW Explains Its Head-Up Display Technology: Video
Autonomous driving. Electrification. Augmented reality. These three things are but a handful of new technologies that are currently being worked on by just about every automaker that’s invested into the future of the auto industry. With so many things happening, it’s hard to keep track of every technology that’s being developed these days, especially those that have taken a backseat (so to speak) to these overarching tech developments.
One such tech is the Head-Up Display, which a lot of automakers are developing with the hopes of one day integrating it into the world of augmented reality. BMW is one of the companies that have been the most aggressive in its pursuit of developing this technology, so much so that it created a short video to briefly explain the machinations of its Head-Up Display.
The basic gist of the technology is properly explained in the video by no less than Dr. Rolf Gengenbach, development manager of the Head Up Display Development. If you didn’t understand what the tech does, Dr. Gengenbach properly explains it, both from a technical standpoint and the user experience of having one in the car.
Marcus Behrendt, development head of the User Experience Group, also makes an appearance in the video where he talks about the merits of having the Head-Up Display technology in BMW models. Likewise, he talks about the company’s objectives in further developing the technology to the point that it becomes an integral part of BMW’s future plans for its entire lineup.
With the industry evolving into faster than a lot of people anticipated, it’s become imperative for automakers to push the boundaries of technology to offer its customers new and exciting features that will eventually redefine the experience of driving cars.
BMW has scored a huge victory of sorts after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) ruled to allow the automaker’s Park Assistant Plus feature to be included in the 2016 BMW 7 Series. The new exemption from the NHTSA clears the way for BMW to begin offering the feature in the U.S. market. A BMW spokesman confirmed to Automobilemag that the features will be made available in the US even though a clear timetable has yet to be established.
The Park Assistant Plus system is a remote driving feature in the 7 Series that essentially allows owners to drive the cars in and out of a parking spot using only the touchscreen key fobs. The automaker didn’t offer the feature in the U.S. market because of a federal law - FMVSS 114 - that requires all U.S. market cars to have a shift-interlock function, meaning a car’s brake pedal must be depressed before the transmission can be shifted out of Park. Knowing that the brake pedals in the 7 Series are not depressed when the system is activated, BMW didn’t even bother to include the feature among U.S.-bound models of the 7 Series.
The German automaker did do its due diligence and petitioned the NHTSA for an exemption to the rule. To its surprise, the government agency acquiesced to the petition, saying that the wording in the rule was vague enough to be subject to different interpretations. The rule, according to the NHTSA, meant to say that the brakes had to be “applied” before the transmission can be shifted out of Park. Since BMW’s computers automatically apply the brakes before shifting out of Park, the NHTSA deemed the Park Assistant Plus feature legal to be used in the U.S.
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