At another time, we did not have enough 31 days to go around the news and announcements made by the major automakers during the month of January. It’s all different this year, when the subject that has raised eyebrows the most is this rumor that Apple will launch its own electric car in 2024. In the same way that Apple has its iPhone assembled by an independent supplier, it seems the Californian giant is looking for a third party to build this vehicle which is rumored to be powered by a revolutionary battery. In turn, the names of the Canadian supplier Magna and the Hyundai group were mentioned. On the stock market, the title of Hyundai jumped 30% following this rumor. Manufacturers of components used in autonomous driving systems that are listed on the stock exchange have also gained in value. Apple would like to produce a fully autonomous car and would rely on lidar, a light sensor at the center of this technology, to achieve this … “Apple sees a huge opportunity in the automobile and it is not alone. The electric and autonomous car is coming, that’s for sure. Maybe not as early as 2024, but everything is being put in place to make it happen, ”says Charles Boulanger, CEO of LeddarTech, Quebec designer of lidars and other autonomous driving components. In addition to the polarizing magnetism of the Apple brand, a major tidal wave in the financial world explains the sudden interest of investors in advanced automotive technologies. “ESG investment [environnementaux, sociaux et de gouvernance] popular these days, ”adds Boulanger. Many people do not want to miss this shift and are betting on the innovative, electric and autonomous car as a solution to polluting transport that will create a lot of value in the years to come. Charles Boulanger
Lidar, techno star of 2021
PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTEL Apple and other tech giants, including Intel, are trying to break into the automotive market with technologies like lidar. Lidar facilitates the detection of objects by an automated system. Its precision makes it attractive for advanced driving assistance applications, and its increasingly affordable cost makes it accessible in many areas. Today, lidars are found in robotic vacuum cleaners for the home and newer iPhones. In transportation, lidar has a utility beyond the autonomous car. Communications between vehicles and connected street furniture can also benefit from this technology. Manufacturers demonstrated this at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held 10 days ago. For example, a lidar installed in the traffic lights of the busiest intersections in large cities could help spot pedestrians and cyclists and send that information to nearby automobiles. A lidar at the entrance to freeways could issue an alert if a vehicle attempts to enter in the opposite direction of traffic. In more confined spaces, like factories or shopping malls, a handful of lidars would be enough to determine whether people walking around are respecting physical distancing. Lidars installed in the parking lots of these shopping centers would facilitate the task of autonomous vehicles, which could go and park themselves while their passengers are already in the stores. Does that sound wacky? These are technologies that BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Intel are working on today. At Intel, it is believed that they could be marketed between 2025 and 2030. If so, we bet that Apple will quickly have a lot of competition in the self-driving car market …
Three other novelties for January
Head-up display is gaining ground
PHOTO PROVIDED BY PANASONIC The head-up display presented by Panasonic at CES 2021 occupied the width of the windshield. Several auto accessory manufacturers visit the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to showcase head-up display solutions. This year, Panasonic presented – virtually, COVID-19 requires – a head-up display occupying the width of the windshield. It reads the speed, route guidance, the height of the bridges. The display follows the movement of the driver’s eyes and helps them locate obstacles and lane lines on the road. It also identifies pedestrians and cyclists.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY GENERAL MOTORS General Motors EP1 Motorized Pallet General Motors is getting into commercial delivery logistics and will have an electric van to offer to FedEx around the world before the end of the year. That’s not all: the American group presented a “motorized pallet” called EP1. Warehouse workers will be able to effortlessly carry boxes in storage bins for delivery to delivery trucks. The deliverers can also use it, once at destination, to deliver the packages to the customer’s door while keeping a reasonable distance.
To never forget baby
PHOTO PROVIDED BY FILO TATA Small Bluetooth accessory from Filo Tata that wraps around the belt of the infant seat The simplest gadgets are sometimes the best. This small Bluetooth accessory wraps around the belt of the baby seat installed on the back seat. Move away from the vehicle with the child on board and the device will send an alert to your phone. If you don’t react, it will call you, then send an alert to emergency services. Casually, more than thirty babies die each year in North America after being forgotten in the car.