Friday, 17 April 2020

The BMW iNEXT electric SUV has two big plans for 5G

BMW’s big electric car launch, the BMW iNEXT, will come with integrated 5G the automaker confirmed at CES 2020 - with the EV tapping high-speed connectivity for features like autonomous driving. Previewed as the Vision iNEXT back in 2018, the all-electric crossover SUV is expected to arrive on roads by 2021.

It’ll be the second vehicle to use BMW’s fifth-generation electric car platform, including its latest eDrive electric motor technology. That promises more efficiency and more compact packaging, by bundling together the electric motor, system electronics, and the transmission, all into a single unit.

For CES 2020, though, the focus is connectivity rather than car speed. One of the selling points for 5G has long been that it will benefit net-generation vehicles, tapping into both high-speed data rates and low latency for features like car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications. BMW plans to use all of that in the iNEXT, but also rely on 5G for improved in-car entertainment.

5G as the route for autonomous driving

The BMW iNEXT will feature Level 3+ autonomous driving functionality, the automaker has confirmed, with a mixture of driver-assistance and other technologies. Since an autonomous car isn’t going to be operating in isolation, but instead communicating with the other vehicles and infrastructure around it, BMW will be relying on cellular networks. For that to be successful, though, it needs low latency, guaranteed network coverage, and an allotted minimum data rate.

BMW is working with Harman Samsung on a new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for vehicle geolocation, and it has already committed to opening up anonymized safety-related traffic data for non-commercial use. That’ll rely on C-V2X – Cellular Vehicular to Everything – networks over 5G, which BMW is currently looking to Qualcomm for. For example, a car could share safety updates like unusual road conditions with a “neutral server platform,” into which other automakers, city planners, and emergency services could tap.

Even if the car isn’t driving itself, that C-V2X shared data could still be useful. Currently implemented car-to-car systems typically use relatively short-range direct wireless; that can notify nearby compatible vehicles, but there’s no broader architecture for tracking road conditions. With C-V2X as BMW and others envisage it, cars, bikes, scooters, and pedestrians might all use 5G connections to get a more holistic overview of what’s occurring in real-time.

5G for in-car entertainment

5G needn’t be entirely serious, though. BMW is also looking at how next-gen networks might be used for entertainment and comfort within a vehicle. One obvious possibility is streaming 4K video to in-car displays, though BMW is also looking at video conferencing in addition to things like TV shows and movies.

Streaming gaming services, too, such as Google Stadia, could also be enabled. Traditionally they’re not effective when the bandwidth and latency of 4G LTE in a moving vehicle are taken into account. BMW says their time could have finally come, though, when 5G arrives.

BMW believes it could well end up being the first premium carmaker to offer 5G in a production model. It hasn’t said outright whether 5G will be standard in the iNEXT, but it certainly looks like it’s shaping up that way. 5G in other models “will commence soon after,” the automaker says, depending on model and trim.

What happens to Tesla when the sleeping auto giants awake?

Automotive history is littered with the fallen badges of car companies felled by the industry’s giants. Electric cars has been a slightly different story, with the big names so far usurped by a genuinely disruptive contender.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Forget going battery electric, says Continental, the real future is in the hydrogen revolution

Despite being heavily involved in developing electric vehicle technology, automotive giant Continental has suggested that hydrogen will be the long-term solution to replace internal combustion engines.

The global electric vehicle race - who is setting the pace?

It is a time of great change in the automotive industry as manufacturers seek to move from fossil fuels to electric power. Although these are still relatively early days, who is leading the way in this seismic shift towards an electric future?

China is leading the world to an electric future

China has been an early leader in transportation electrification, and in 2015 it surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s largest electric vehicle market - a title it has maintained ever since. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Falectra uses Zortrax 3D printing technology for electric prototype

A young Polish designer has created a comfortable, economical and green transport solution for city dwellers. Using modern technology in bringing his Falectra electric motorcycle to life.

Porsche is reinventing its main plant to handle Taycan production

The introduction of the all-electric Porsche Taycan turns out to be an unprecedented challenge, with the German manufacturer investing roughly €1-billion in its main production plant, which should start making the Taycan from next month.

Melting plastic waste could fuel cars

Scientists at the University of Chester in the UK have found a way to use un-recyclable plastic waste to produce hydrogen, which can fuel cars without producing greenhouse gas emissions. 

In next-decade Lotus will go electric with all new models

Lotus will unveil an all-new gasoline model at the end 2020, but after that every new model will have a fully electric versions - including Elise, Exige and Evora in all-electric models.

Elon Musk says internal combustion engines belong in museums

Cars powered by internal-combustion engines will soon belong in museums, said Elon Musk in a Tweet on Friday - adding that the traditional cars are merely a "passing fad" that will soon "look cool in a museum."

Karma unveils its first all-electric car, a hypercar with insane-looking doors

Karma Automotive, formerly known as Fisker, has unveiled its first all-electric car, described as a “statement about the direction of Karma’s future product offerings in both technology and design.”

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BMW charging station reuses old EV batteries

BMW Korea opened the first electric car-charging station in Korea that reuses electric batteries as it strives to carve out its own space in the local e-mobility market.

Modular car park transformation system

Car Park Transformer has developed a next generation of their Modular Car Port solution resulting in value out of car parking areas and providing comfort and extra services for customers. 

Monday, 12 August 2019

Automotive industry in talks to pull South Africa into electric car era

Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen are among carmakers in talks to bring the electric-car revolution to South Africa, as the nation’s auto-factory floors risk being left behind in the global switch to greener vehicles.

Spy shots of BMW i4 electric car captured in Europe

Scheduled for production at BMW’s factory in Munich in 2021, images of BMW’s i4 electric car have been snapped in Europe - showing it being pre-production tested in full camouflage.

Bentley’s EXP 100 GT: The Electric Vision Of Luxury

The iconic British carmaker, Bentley, has unveiled the experimental EXP 100 GT electric vehicle as a highlight to its centenary celebrations. The concept looks ahead 16 years to the year 2035, providing a vision of what its cars could look and be like in the future.