Sunday, November 12, 2017

Interesting News in Engineering, IoT, PLM, Industry 4.0, and Telecom - Vol 10

These 44 news stories caught my attention last week. These stories are across automotive, aerospace, Industry 4.0, 3D printing, software, telecom, semiconductor, medical devices, drones, IoT, and PLM.


EV investments: Ford, China's Zotye Auto invest $756 million in electric vehicle JV. (Read here). Vespa’s first electric scooter is coming in 2018 with 62 miles of range. (Read here). Toyota cuts production costs to allow record research budget for EV. (Read here).

EV battery/ charging infrastructure investments: Samsung working on battery breakthrough for powering cars. Lithium-air promises twice the capacity of today's Li-ion tech. Samsung's new battery would theoretically let an electric vehicle go more than 700km. (Read here).

Autonomous driving: A big public debut for a self-driving bus in Las Vegas turned out to be trouble. An autonomous shuttle bus collided with a semi-truck just a few hours after Las Vegas city officials held a ceremony to celebrate its first day as part of a larger city-wide test. (Read here). Waymo makes history testing on public roads with no one at the wheel. (Read here). Tencent is reportedly testing its own autonomous driving system. (Read here).

Startup/ technology investments: Tesla acquires automated manufacturing machine supplier Perbix. (Read here). Renault has entered into a strategic development agreement with Chronocam SA, a developer of biologically-inspired vision sensors and computer vision solutions for automotive applications. (Read here).  EV startup Nio reportedly raises $1B from Tencent and others. (Read here).

Safety: Ford made a trucker hat that uses technology to save truckers’ lives. The new SafeCap tracks head movement to determine whether drivers are safely awake or about to snooze. (Read here).

Geographical expansion: Opel will enter more than 20 new markets by 2022, with Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan among countries identified as potential export markets. Opel also is exploring whether to sell cars in China and Brazil. With Opel's entire lineup moving to PSA platforms, Opel has much more freedom to pursue sales in non-European markets. (Read here).

Connected cars:  Ola partners with Microsoft to build a connected vehicle platform for car manufacturers. (Read here). Denso announces it has developed a thin-film transistor enabling it to produce what it says is the world’s largest automotive head-up display, a human-machine interface with a nearly 24-in. (61-cm) projection. (Read here).

Shared mobility: Uber gives top riders a 24/7 ‘Premium Support’ hotline. (Read here).

OEM/ Tier 1s preparing for software-defined cars: Continental, Osram to join forces in auto lighting JV. (Read here). VW, Google cooperate on quantum computing. (Read here).

Service provider investments: Altran Technologies opens first U.S. passive-safety center in Michigan. (Read here).


Testing: Airbus knew of software vulnerability before A400M crash. (Read here). Software vulnerability can cause air crashes.

Technology Investments:  Boeing’s investment arm, Boeing Horizon X Ventures, has made its first investment in materials research, in the form of Gamma Alloys. (Read here).

Avionics: Honeywell’s suite of advanced cockpit technologies and industry-leading auxiliary power units has been selected by China’s Spring Airlines for its future fleet of Airbus A320neo aircraft. (Read here).

UI Issues: USS McCain collision ultimately caused by UI confusion. (Read here). UI often doesn’t get same importance in aerospace and defense as in automotive and other consumer-oriented sectors. This incident should highlight the importance of UI in aerospace and defense sector also.

Flying Taxis: Uber has partnered with NASA to help it develop air traffic management systems for its flying taxi initiatives. (Read here).

Service Provider Contracts: NATS partners with Altran for the next-generation air traffic conflict detection tool. (Read here).

Space: Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the UK Space Agency to work on MicroCarb, a joint UK-French satellite mission which will measure sources and sinks of carbon, the principal greenhouse gas driving global warming. (Read here).

Software/ High-Tech

Technology updates: Airbnb develops an AI which converts the design into the source code. (Read here). IBM says it has created a prototype 50 qubit quantum computer. What does that mean? It would be a machine close to the threshold at which it could perform tasks beyond the reach of conventional supercomputers. (Read here).

Technology investments: Apple has acquired imaging sensor startup InVisage Technologies. (Read here).

Telecom/ Semiconductor

Business model: Intelsat and Coca-Cola are working together to bring satellite-enabled Wi-Fi services to remote communities across Africa. (Read here).

Graphics chips: Intel to develop its own graphics chips led by former AMD exec. (Read here). Intel and AMD team up against Nvidia to produce a new laptop chip. (Read here).

Technology updates: A new patent filing from telecommunications provider Comcast suggests the firm is looking at how to store operational data on a blockchain. The blockchain database would hold private and identifying information for customers, and would only be accessible by certain entities. (Read here).

Medical Devices

Product innovation: A regular ultrasound machine costs over $100,000 but a new ultrasound on a chip device attached to a smartphone will be $2000 in 2018. It will be portable and will eventually make ultrasound as common as blood pressure cuffs in hospitals, clinics, and doctors offices and with first responders and field medics. Butterfly iQ is FDA 510(k) cleared for diagnostic imaging across 13 clinical applications which span the whole body. (Read here).

3D Printing

AR-based 3D printing: Apple secures patent for a 3D printing method that’s compatible with cameras and AR glasses. (Read here).

Materials: Rolls Royce to consider PyroGenesis additive manufacturing powders as NDA signed. (Read here).


Drones in Mining: Drones are now operating underground. Mining companies look to automation to help companies dig out more ore and save lives. (Read here).

Drones in O&G: A satellite imaging company, Orbital Insights, is challenging Saudi Arabia’s reports of declining oil inventory suggesting that OPEC’s leader may have well been lying to get prices higher. (Read here). What is possible by satellite imaging today can be verified by drones tomorrow.


Testbed: The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), announced the Digital Solar Plant testbed. The testbed is led by LTI and GE Digital and will deploy in multiple phases at an L&T Solar plant in Rajasthan, India. (Read here).

Business model: Neos launches IoT-powered home insurance UK-wide. (Read here).

Platforms: Telia Estonia has started trialing a self-service platform for its IoT customers, allowing them to manage SIM cards and mobile data traffic. (Read here).

PLM / Industry 4.0

Machine Vision and AI for Quality: The Domino’s Pizza group is implementing an artificial intelligence camera system from Dragontail Systems which will be deployed to check pizzas for quality before they are handed to customers. (Read here).

Contracts: Prysmian to launch its first Industry 4.0 pilot project with Dassault Systèmes. (Read here).


Service provider M&A: AXISCADES announced the acquisition of Mistral, a Bengaluru-based embedded technology company. (Read here). SEGULA Technologies has announced its acquisition of EK Design, a German company specializing in the automotive and industrial / special vehicle sector. (Read here).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Interesting News in Engineering, IoT, PLM, Industry 4.0, and Telecom - Vol 9

These 39 news stories caught my attention last week. These stories are across automotive, aerospace, Industry 4.0, 3D printing, software, telecom, semiconductor, medical devices, AI,  IoT, and PLM.

EV investments: Ashok Leyland, an Indian truck manufacturer, is looking to pump $61.5 Mn-$77 Mn (INR 400 Cr-INR 500 Cr) into its electric vehicle business over the next three to five years. (Read here). Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka-Shing agreed to buy shares in O Luxe Holdings Ltd. for the second time in a month, a deal that would make Hong Kong’s richest man the second-largest investor in the owner of an electric-car maker. (Read here). Indian government to procure another 20,000 electric cars for its fleet. (Read here).

EV charging infrastructure investments: BMW Group, Daimler, Ford Motor Company, and the Volkswagen Group will join up to create a high-power charging network for electric vehicles called “Ionity,” which will build and operate around 400 charging stations across Europe by 2020. (Read here). Indian government invites snap bid for electric vehicle chargers. (Read here).

Autonomous driving: Waymo is investing a lot of time and effort on building out the user experience of its self-driving vehicles, which includes both the external and internal user-facing features of its autonomous cars. (Read here). Delphi partners with leading Chinese map and location service supplier, AutoNav. This will enhance Delphi’s support to customers in the Chinese market on connected infotainment and navigation systems and will lay a foundation for Delphi to bring automated driving systems to the Chinese market. (Read here). Germany has developed a set of ethical guidelines for self-driving cars. (Read here).

Startup/ technology investments: Arbe Robotics raises $9M to build high-resolution radars for autonomous cars. (Read here). Continental is buying Israel’s Argus Cyber Security whose technology guards connected cars against hacking. (Read here). Toyota is exploring airless tires to help reduce the weight of battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles and boost performance. (Read here).
Vehicle recalls: Ford Recalls 1.1 Million 2015-2017 F-Series Pickups for Door Fix. (Read here). BMW recalls 1 million vehicles in North America. (Read here).

Geographical expansion: Aston Martin plans US spending boost to hedge Brexit effect. The U.S. accounted for 20% of Aston Martin's auto sales in 2016. (Read here).

Connected cars: Ford is partnering with Qualcomm, AT&T, and Nokia to test cellular modems that can connect vehicles to each other and roadside infrastructure to help navigate in bad weather or construction zones. The technology, known as cellular-V2X, is meant to connect vehicles with traffic lights, roadside beacons, and other vehicles to share real-time information about the driving conditions around them. It's supposed to improve safety and help speed the deployment of self-driving vehicles. (Read here).

Technology investments: China’s hybrid electric tram powered by hydrogen (H2) fuel cells has begun commercial operation. It is the first commercial H2-powered tram in the world and made by CRRC. It can be refilled with H2 in 15 minutes and can run for 40 kilometers at a maximum speed of 70 km per hour. (Read here).
Indian defense: Indian government clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters worth $3.5 billion for Navy. (Read here).
MRO: Aviation MRO companies want 18% GST scrapped. (Read here). In 2016, Indian airlines spent $950 m on MRO, but only 10% business came to Indian MRO companies. MRO business has an exponential growth potential in India. Global civil aircraft fleet was about 19,000 at the beginning of 2016, and it will be double to 38000+ by 2034. The majority of growth in aircraft will come from Asia.
Testing: Airbus has wrapped up functional, and reliability testing for its A350-1000 and is expecting to achieve certification for the twinjet this month. (Read here).
Technology: Lockheed is making large long-range robotic submarine drone. (Read here).
Airlines consolidation: EasyJet purchases Air Berlin’s Tegel Operations for €40 million. (Read here).
Avionics: USAF awarded Rockwell Collins with a sustainment contract for the 59 aircraft in the KC-59 fleet. (Read here).

Industrial Equipment
M&A/ Consolidation: Schneider emerges as top bidder for L&T’s electrical unit. (Read here).

Software/ High-Tech
Outsourcing: IBM offloads Notes and Domino to India's HCL Technologies. 'Partnership' will see HCL run future development, starting with version 10 in 2018. (Read here).
Startup/ Technology investments: VMware acquires VeloCloud as it moves deeper into networking. (Read here). Amazon adds an AR shopping feature to its iOS app. (Read here).
Business model: Grab, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia, is now officially also a digital payments company. (Read here).

Telecom/ Semiconductor
Business model: Orange launches its own bank in France, aiming to win 2million users (25 percent of France's online banking market) by capitalizing on the rising use of smartphones. (Read here).
Legacy infrastructure: Indian Telecom major Airtel is likely to shut down 3G network faster than 2G network in next 3-4 years. There are still 50 per cent of phone being shipped out in India that are feature phones. (Read here). So 2G will continue for some more time but 3G will be replaced by 4G very soon.
M&A/ consolidation: Broadcom Ltd. is considering a bid of more than $100 billion for Qualcomm in what would be the biggest-ever takeover of a chipmaker. (Read here).
Automotive chips: Renesas to provide chips for Toyota's self-driving cars. (Read here).
5G: Docomo, Sony to trial real time HD video streaming to a moving vehicle via 5G. (Read here).

Medical Devices
AI & Business model innovation: For a dollar, an AI will examine your medical scan. Zebra-Med's tech helps radiologists find heart, liver, bone and other diseases. (Read here).

3D Printing
Medical devices 3D printing: Just-in-time 3-D implants set to transform tumor surgery. (Read here).
Automotive 3D printing: Porsche buys minority stakes in two 3D-printing companies. (Read here).

Contract: Bell and Howell has selected the ThingWorx industrial innovation platform to transform its service organization by enabling remote monitoring and service of its connected industrial mechatronic machines. (Read here).

PLM / Industry 4.0
Startup/ Technology invetsments: Rockwell Automation announced its investment in The Hive, a Silicon Valley innovation fund and co-creation studio, to gain access to an ecosystem of innovators and technology start-ups with a focus on applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to industrial automation. (Read here).

Service provider M&A: QuEST has announced the acquisition of IT Six Global, a Romania based engineering services provider. (Read here).

Service provider M&A: Alten has acquired Premier Logic to strengthen its software produce engineering practice. (Read here).

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Interesting News in Engineering, IoT, PLM, Industry 4.0, and Telecom - Vol 8

These 59 news stories caught my attention last week. These stories are across automotive, aerospace, drones, AR, robotics, 3D printing, software, telecom, semiconductor, IoT, and PLM.

Tesla strikes a deal with Shanghai to build a factory in China. The arrangement could enable electric-car maker to slash production costs; firm would still likely incur 25% import tariff. (Read here).

Daimler is jumping the gun on Tesla by showing off a battery-powered heavy-duty truck weeks before the California electric-car maker's own planned unveiling. The E-Fuso Vision One prototype can carry 11 tons of cargo as far as 220 miles before recharging. (Read here).

Uniti says it will manufacture its light electric cars in Landskrona, Sweden. The company is set to launch the new electric vehicle at the new manufacturing facility on December 7, 2017. (Read here).

Toyota will keep in-house what it calls its "game-changing" solid state battery technology, despite working with Mazda and Denso on a new architecture for electric cars. (Read here). Toyota sees traditional gas engines phased out of its line by the 2040s. (Read here).

EV news from India. Maruti Suzuki to make electric cars. (Read here). Tata Motors began a pilot-run of its 9-meter electric bus in Assam and claimed that it has become the first automaker to get Arai and homologation certifications for its 9-m and 12-m electric buses. (Read here).
Amazon got the patent for developing a drone that can connect to transfer electricity to a car in motion. (Read here).

Delphi buys Nutonomy for $400 million to scale and deliver autonomous vehicles. (Read here).

Waymo targets snowy roads for self-driving cars. (Read here).

Kiekert is developing Autonomous Door Systems. (Read here).

Singapore’s first driverless truck makes debut at Jurong Island. (Read here).

Daimler aims to bring its self-driving snowplows to airports. (Read here).

BMW office was searched by European Union officials investigating an alleged cartel among five German carmakers (BMW, Daimler, VW, Audi, and Porsche) to limit their spending on emissions technology. (Read here). Daimler and VW offices were also raided subsequently. (Read here).

Fiat Chrysler accused of obstructing diesel inquiry. (Read here). And also, Fiat Chrysler sues shippers over alleged price fixing. (Read here).

From Toyota, vehicles driven by emotions. The common thread is an artificial intelligence system that taps deep learning to absorb the driver's habits and behavior, make predictions and suggestions and protect the occupants. (Read here).

Kia Motors America Inc. is recalling 342,381 Souls for the second time in the U.S. because an initial repair may not have fixed a steering flaw. (Read here).

Subaro set to recall up to 400,000 vehicles in Japan in the wake of improper inspections by uncertified workers. (Read here).

Honda to install faster-filling hydrogen stations across Japan. (Read here).

Tesla, Apple, and Google scrambling for Graphite supplies. (Read here).

BMW i Ventures and Penske invest in flexible car ownership app, Fair, which attracted nearly $1 billion in offers from investors. (Read here).


The aviation industry may have a major crisis on its hands, as the number of pilots needed to fly commercial airliners is dwindling. Between 2017 and 2036, about 640,000 new pilots will be needed to fly commercial airplanes worldwide. As the demand for pilots grows, so does the retirement rate among current aviators operating commercial aircraft. (Read here).

Singapore Airlines formalized a deal with for 20 Boeing 777-9s and 19 787-10 “Dreamliners" –valued at $13.8 billion at list prices. (Read here).

Glitches in Pratt & Whitney's engines used by IndiGo and GoAir on their new Airbus A320neo planes have led to as many as 64 of them having to be removed for repair and replacement by the two airlines in the last year and a half on 32 aircraft, said people aware of the matter. That, according to experts, is more than six times the usual number, leading to hundreds of canceled flights (Read here).
Saudi Arabia plans $1 billion investment in Virgin's space tourism. (Read here).

Dassault Aviation said it would invest €100 million in its defense joint venture with the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group. The facility will manufacture several components of the offset obligation connected to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters from France. (Read here).

We all know about bird strike analysis in the aircraft design. Here are some statistics - In 2017 alone, there have been 18 incidents of bird strikes at the Bangalore airport. The Bangalore  Airport Limited (BIAL) wants to conduct a special ornithological study for evaluating bird activities in and around the region in the backdrop of its expansion plans. (Read here).

JetBlue plan to add more seats to its Airbus SE A320 planes is running into an obstacle: broken toilets. The Space Flex lavatories supplied by Zodiac Aerospace are crucial to JetBlue’s plan to reconfigure its fleet of A320 jets. (Read here).

Boeing stopped loading new airplane sections onto its 777 assembly line as workers scrambled to catch up on a growing amount of unfinished work, which has grown in recent months as the company continues to implement new automation into the widebody’s fuselage assembly process. (Read here). Automation can delay production in the short term!

Industrial Equipment

Pentair's electric division spinoff will be called nVent Electric. (Read here).


Alphabet’s Project Wing now delivers burritos by drone in southeastern Australia. (Read here).

After a natural disaster, the process of finding survivors can be a dangerous and arduous undertaking. There might be downed power-lines, impassable flooded streets, or unstable ground to work around. A new drone from Parrot has the potential to help. Outfitted with a thermal camera, the Bebop Pro Thermal can fly over devastated areas and feed a live image back to an app, providing up-to-date status information and identifying hot spots -- including the heat given off by a survivor's body. (Read here).


Augmented War: New combat helmets are equipped with Microsoft’s HoloLens. (Read here).

Software/ High-Tech

Amazon is launching a service that will let couriers open people's front doors and put deliveries inside. Users of Amazon Key will need a smart lock and Cloud Cam camera. ( Read here).
The Google recently launched Pixel 2 XL and  reports began to surface that the device’s OLED screen was already exhibiting signs of burn-in, which left UI elements faintly evident after switching screens. (Read here).

Amazon Wine is shutting down. (Read here).

eBay launches visual search tools that let you shop using photos from your phone or web. (Read here).

Amazon will soon let you order from restaurants using the Amazon app on your phone. (Read here).

Telecom/ Semiconductor

Finnish mobile operator Elisa and the mobile payments company Fortumo announced a partnership for the launch of direct carrier billing. More than 2 million Elisa subscribers can now make purchases in app stores, inside games, and for digital content by charging payments to their mobile phone bill. (Read here). While credit card ownership in Finland is relatively high, standing at 63%, carrier billing has become a popular payment method thanks to its simplicity and security. The main benefits of carrier billing over card-based payments are that the payments take only a few seconds to complete and do not require users to share personal data.

Cisco acquires BroadSoft for $1.9 billion. Broadsoft sells unified communications software tools and fits in Cisco’s strategy to move from hardware to software. This is Cisco’s 200 the acquisition. (Read here).

Australia’s ambitious NBN program is in trouble. Govt looks to courts to salvage NBN model. (Read here). It raises the question whether FTTx broadband model is commercially viable beyond densely populated urban areas.

Nokia trials Asia's first fall prediction video analytics application. (Read here).


Robotic underwater miners can go where humans can’t. The goal is to extract mineral resources from abandoned, flooded mine sites previously considered too dangerous or costly to access. (Read here).

Kindred robots are learning to grab and sort clothing in a warehouse for the Gap. (Read here).
Microsoft has stopped manufacturing the Kinect sensor, which has given robots affordable eyes since its launch in 2010. (Read here).  Earlier this year Google sold its robotics arm, Boston Dynamics. It looks like Google and Microsoft are not bullish on the robotics prospects.

3D Printing

GKN and GE Additive sign MoU for additive manufacturing collaboration. (Read here).

RTI Surgical, a global surgical implant company,  announced the introduction of TETRAfuse® 3D Technology, providing surgeons a solution they have been seeking. From the beginning, surgeons have had to choose between bone in-growth, radiolucency or mechanical strength when selecting a spinal interbody implant. TETRAfuse 3D Technology is the first 3D printed polymer implant material that has demonstrated trabecular bone ingrowth while maintaining radiolucency and bone-like mechanical properties. (Read here).


Meet the “connected cow.” Dairy herds are being connected to sensors and mobile phones. (Read here).

Exelon signed a deal with GE Power to sift the data with Predix, GE’s IoT platform. (Read here).

PLM / Industry 4.0

Autodesk launches services marketplace geared for the AEC industry. (Read here).
Siemens and FFG partner for digitalization strategy. (Read here).

Dassault Systèmes to acquire No Magic, leader in model-based systems engineering, and modeling solutions. (Read here).

REHAU Automotive to deploy Siemens software exclusively across all 15 plants. (Read here).
Imagine a fully loaded Boeing 747 crashing four times a week, every week, with no survivors. Over a 52-week period, that would result in about 100,000 lives lost. That’s roughly the same number of deaths in the United States each year that can be attributed to infections contracted in hospital operating rooms. HUNTAIR is using BIM to solve this challenge leveraging its semiconductor’s clean room expertise. (Read here).


Saudi Arabia announced plans to build a $500 billion mega-city that's 33 times the size of New York City. (Read here).

GE explores divesting its transportation, healthcare IT businesses. (Read here). Will any Indian IT service provider interested in GE’s healthcare IT business?

The Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents. (Read here).

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Interesting News in Engineering, IoT, PLM, Industry 4.0, and Telecom - Vol 7

These 38 news stories caught my attention last week. These stories are across automotive, aerospace, 3D printing, software, telecom, semiconductor, IoT, and PLM.


Rolls-Royce built the new Phantom VIII for billionaires who like driving. (Read here). I think it’s time to change assumptions in car designing that entry and mid-level cars are self-driven and luxury cars are chauffeur driven. With shared mobility and likes of Uber, Lyft, Ola the entry, and mid cars are increasingly not self-driven, and some billionaires might like driving too.

Tesla Inc is modifying new cars delivered to China and retrofitting the charging network in the country to comply with domestic norms. (Read here). Even Tesla can’t ignore China’s rules of the game.

Tesla also agrees to raise pay at German division. (Read here). Even Tesla is not immune to labor issues.

EV party has not even started, and there is talk that EV battery suppliers such as Samsung and LG Chem will face capacity crunch. (Read here). There is room for new players in this market. Start-up company Northvolt said that it had picked its home country Sweden to build Europe's biggest factory for electric car batteries, rivaling Tesla's American "Gigafactory." Once fully operational, the site is to produce lithium-ion batteries totaling 32 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. (Read here).

Cummins unveils fully electric Urban Hauler Tractor. (Read here).

Shell opens first fast EV charging stations in the UK. (Read here).

Nissan Vehicle-to-Grid program is spreading in Europe. The scheme has been tested in Denmark and is to begin its European rollout next year. The trial involving a fleet of e-NV200 vans resulted in weekly revenue of €40 per vehicle for their owners. (Read here).

While EV is gaining momentum, some deeper questions are also raised. Ferrari CEO says electric cars may not be as clean as they seem. (Read here).

Twelve major car brands in China (Besturn, Changan, Dongfeng Fengshen, Geely, Haval, Hongqi, Lynk, MG, Trumpchi, Roewe, Senova, and Wey) which collectively represent 85% of the Chinese market, will equip all new models with electronic stability control (ESC) starting in January. (Read here).

GM’s Cruise Automation will expand its test pool while keeping a focus on city driving, something it has said gives it an edge in the autonomous driving space. What better city to use for testing, then, than New York, one of the densest and most hectic traffic nightmares in North America. (Read here).

Ford recalls about 1.3 million 2015-17 F-150 and 2017 Super Duty vehicles in North America because of potential door problems. (Read here).

Google parent company leads $1 billion investment in Lyft. (Read here).

The circular economy is gaining traction. Michelin has acquired Lehigh Technologies, a specialty materials company that uses patented cryogenic turbo mill technology to transform rubber from end-of-life tires and industrial goods into materials for new tires and other products, reducing the amount of raw materials initially needed. (Read here).


Airbus and Bombardier announce C Series partnership. (Read here). Some people are calling this the deal of the century in aerospace. Bombardier has been facing financial and scale problem despite having a superior product in the narrow-body single-aisle segment. The US recently levied 300% (Yes 300%) duty on Bombardier. All these problems of Bombardier are taken care of. Airbus got a great product in this segment and will manufacture Ce series in the US to avoid duties. Airbus one step ahead of Boeing now. But for us analysts, the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus continues in Aerospace. The first credible number 3 player is acquired. Now all eyes on China’s COMAC and Brazil’s Embraer.

Speaking of Embraer, it announced the delivery of its first E190-E2 in April 2018. Widerøe, the largest regional carrier operating in the Nordic countries, is the launch customer to receive the newest, upgraded version of the prosperous E-Jet family of aircraft. (Read here).

The one good news for Boeing this week is that India’s Jet Airways had agreed to buy 75 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the deal value of $9.3 billion at the list price. (Read here).

A Seattle-area startup, Zunum Aero, backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing Co and JetBlue Airways Corp announced plans to bring a small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market by 2022. (Read here).

Boeing, reversing the tide of cuts, rushes to bring back retirees as temps. Boeing is hiring back 500 to 800 retirees on a temporary basis. (Read here). Skill development in aerospace sector is one the biggest challenge which aerospace enterprises and engineering service providers are facing. Hiring retirees could be a temporary solution.

Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 powers Airbus A330neo first flight test. The Trent 7000 is not only 6dB quieter than the 700 model, but it also features a 10% specific fuel consumption improvement thanks to its small, high pressure-ratio core and the latest, fully swept, wide-chord fan technology. (Read here).

Software/ High-Tech

Always-On computers are here. Windows 10 ARM devices expected to have unbelievable battery life. (Read here).

Alexa is about to disappear into other devices, thanks to a new technology. (Read here).

AlphaGo’s AI upgrade gets round the need for human input. (Read here).

Industry 4.0

Brewing automation and AI can improve quality of the beer. (Read here).

Telecom/ Semiconductor

Google's first mobile chip is an image processor hidden in the Pixel 2. (Read here).

Samsung has completed the development of the 8-nanometer chip processing technology, moving closer to its commercialization. (Read here).

Nokia announces a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services to enable telco’s easier transition to the cloud. (Read here).

Cisco unveils industry’s first predictive services powered by AI. (Read here).

Intel aims to conquer AI with the Nervana processor. It will release its first all-purpose AI chips by the end of 2017. (Read here).

3D Printing

GE Healthcare opens first 3D Printing Center in Europe. (Read here).


Smart Home. The smart home market continues to heat up, and the legacy giants do not want to get locked out: quite literally. Assa Abloy, the $23 billion Swedish lock giant that owns Yale and many other brands — announced that it is buying US-based smart lock maker August Home to double down on new technology. August home has only 90 employees. (Read here).

Smart Cities. Google is entering into smart cities. Alphabet group company Sidewalk Labs Is trying to reinvent the city, starting with Toronto. (Read here).

Smart Railways. GE uses IoT and AI to find rail track flaws that could cause derailments. (Read here). This solution, if it does what it says, can save many lives in India where every other month we hear about train accidents and derailments. (Read here).

Apple and GE partner to bring Predix industrial apps to iPhone and iPad. (Read here).

Altran and Nokia are developing a joint IoT solution which will help car manufacturers, railways operators, utilities and smart cities to digitalize their operations. (Read here).

Blue Star chooses PTC's Thingworx IoT platform for Industry 4.0 and advanced analytics. (Read here).

SNCF eliminates disruptions and delays on its telecommunication services with IoT remote wireless backup power monitoring. (Read here).


Scania selects Dassault Systèmes. The cooperation aims to enable cost-efficient design, testing, and validation of the complete range of Scania’s high-quality modular products. It will improve realistic simulations of functional properties and processes, such as engineering, manufacturing, service, and sales. (Read here). 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Interesting News in Engineering, IoT, PLM, Industry 4.0, and Telecom - Vol 6

These 48 news stories caught my attention last week. These stories are across automotive, aerospace, drones, software, telecom, medical devices, AR/VR,  IoT, and PLM.


New business models are evolving in the car industry. Porsche will start a “subscription service” for customers that could give them access to a number of their sports cars and SUVs, from $2,000 per month. (Read here). Volkswagen plans to reduce the size of its European dealer network and introduce online sales as it adjusts to changing buying habits. (Read here).

Vehicle recalls continuing to make the news. Fiat Chrysler recalls 470,000 vehicles for restraint defect. (Read here). Mercedes will recall over 350,000 vehicles in China with Takata airbags. (Read here).

Even Tesla is not spared of vehicle recall problem. Tesla recalls about 11,000 Model X sport utility vehicles due to possible issues with their second-row fold-flat seats. (Read here). Tesla’s trouble doesn’t end there. Tesla fired hundreds of employees in past week. (Read here).

There is a race to build EV charging infrastructure. Shell has agreed to buy NewMotion, a Netherlands-based provider of more than 30,000 private home electric charging points for EVs as well as 50,000 public sites. The move is the biggest yet by “big oil” into the electric vehicle refueling market, which is forecast to grow dramatically in the coming years. Earlier this year France’s Total bought Dutch company PitPoint, which provides natural gas refueling for vehicles as well as operating a number of EV charging points in Europe. (Read here). ABB has submitted a bid to provide 4,500 charging points as part of the Indian Government’s tender to procure electric vehicles. (Read here). Fortum partners NBCC to set up EV charging infra in projects in India. (Read here). Groupe Renault has acquired a 25 percent share in smart charging company Jedlix, a Dutch start-up launched by the Eneco Group that specializes in sustainable charging of electric vehicles. (Read here).

Beijing's green car push helps Chinese battery makers reign. Technologically strong Japanese, South Korean rivals fight to stay relevant. Team China had a share of just over 60% of the global market by volume followed by Japan 20% and Korea 10%. The top five vendors are all Chinese. (Read here).
How to develop a business case of EVs in the country where fuels costs are as cheap as they could be. Well, give consumers free charging. Dubai to give free charging, Salik for electric cars. Incentives hoped to boost electric car ownership in the emirate. (Read here).

More EV rollout announcements. VW to roll out electric trucks, buses in $1.7 Billion projects. Electric trucks for local deliveries will probably exceed a 5% market share by 2025, according to the head of the VW Truck & Bus division. That compares to a forecast of about 25% for battery-powered cars. (Read here). BMW is looking to form a joint venture with Great Wall Motor in China, which could focus on electric vehicles. (Read here).

Volkswagen Group's plan to cut costs by creating a new parts business could unlock funds for its move to electric vehicles and herald an eventual spin-off that could transform its profitability. (Read here).

More cities and countries come up with their ban on combustion engine cars. Paris plans ban on combustion-engine cars by 2030. (Read here). The Dutch government confirms plan to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. (Read here).

Even Uber is doing its bit. Uber drivers will be banned from using vehicles that are not a hybrid or fully electric in London from 2020, as part of a plan to help tackle illegal levels of air pollution in the capital. Uber’s 40,000 licensed drivers in London will be offered grants of up to £5,000 towards a hybrid or fully electric car. (Read here).

A bunch of announcement by GM. General Motors is working on a self-driving truck platform called the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS). The modular platform will have self-driving capabilities and will be able to run on unpredictable, off-road terrain. It could be used in many different ways from acting as logistical support to emergency, backup power generation and as plain utility trucks. (Read here). General Motors boosts self-driving car credentials with the acquisition of lidar startup Strobe. ( Read here).

Baidu plans to mass produce Level 4 self-driving cars with BAIC by 2021. This shows how new-age technology companies will partner with OEMs and not necessarily rivals. (Read here).

End users are also developing plans for autonomous vehicles. US Postal Services plans to work autonomy into its 228,000-vehicle fleet. Those plans are already in motion: The post office has partnered with the University of Michigan to build what it’s calling an Autonomous Rural Delivery Vehicle, which it wants to launch on 28,000 rural routes nationwide as early as 2025. (Read here). U.S. chipmaker Nvidia, German supplier ZF and logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL have partnered to deploy a test fleet of autonomous electric delivery trucks starting in 2018. (Read here).

Tier-1s are also developing their autonomous platforms. Panasonic aims to launch autonomous driving system in 2022. (Read here). Magna has struck a deal with BMW, Intel, and Mobileye to bring a new self-driving platform to the automotive market by 2021. (Read here).

While the world is doubling down on autonomous driving investments, one person betting against it is Warren Buffet. Warren Buffett had invested in the largest truck-stop chain in North America, Pilot Flying J. The company has 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada and more than $20 billion in revenues.  This would not be a good investment if Buffett believed that autonomous trucks were close to becoming a reality. This is because at every stop, truck drivers buy not just fuel, but food and other goods.  No truck drivers mean no ancillary sales. (Read here).


Seven more companies have joined the list of customers for data analytics services from Boeing AnalytX, bringing the total of contracts signed this year to 223. Boeing AnalytX is part of the aircraft manufacturer’s drive to capitalize on the growing demand for after-market services ranging from maintenance to cost-saving efficiencies. When Boeing Global Services was reorganized as a separate business unit last year, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he was aiming to triple the company’s revenue from aviation services to $50 billion annually. 800 people in Boeing work for AnalytX. (Read here).

Dassault Aviation, the French maker of Rafale fighter jets, may build its business aircraft in India, in a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to encourage local manufacturing. Building the Falcon 2000 planes in India would cut costs while ensuring quality and execution that meets standards. It bid for a defense contract worth $11 billion to supply 126 Rafale aircraft and eventually won an order for only 36 planes last year. India had initially agreed to buy all the 126 jets under a long-delayed deal, even mandating Dassault to build some of them locally. (Read here).

Honeywell spins off units worth $7.5 billion in sales, keeps aerospace. Honeywell might make acquisitions in aerospace now it has money from the sale of other businesses. (Read here).

Safran and Emirates sign Airbus A380 component maintenance contract, further strengthening their long partnership. (Read here).

British weapons maker BAE Systems said it would eliminate almost 2,000 jobs as its new chief executive comes to grips with a dearth of military plane orders and the need to lower costs. (Read here). It looks a jinx week for UK manufacturing. PSA will cut 400 Vauxhall jobs in the UK; says production not competitive compared with France. (Read here).

Australian defense firm was hacked and F-35 data stolen, DOD confirms. Aerospace engineering service providers should bump up their cybersecurity practice. (Read here).


Amazon files a patent for deploying exclusive drones in India. The firm says the proposed drones can also be used to identify other such objects, along with aircraft, plying within Indian skies. (Read here).

Drone with Event Camera takes first autonomous flight. Event cameras work differently than conventional ones. Instead of recording what a scene looks like, event cameras record how a scene changes. Point them at a scene that isn’t moving, and they won’t show you anything. But as soon as there’s motion, event cameras show you just that motion on a per-pixel basis and at a very high refresh rate. (Read here).

Software/ High-Tech

Alibaba is launching a $15 billion drive to build overseas research hubs as the deep-pocketed firm looks to compete with global leaders in e-commerce, logistics and cloud technology. (Read here).


Airtel is buying struggling Tata Tele In India and is getting a billion-dollar business for free. It’s a win for Chandra (Tata Sons Chairman) who wanted to non- performing businesses. Speculation is rife whether it will involve more media and telecom businesses of Tatas such as Tata Sky, Tata Communications. Even TCS could benefit from more telecom business from Airtel.  (Read here).

Qualcomm confirms filing of a lawsuit against Apple in China to halt the manufacture and sale of iPhones. (Read here).

Medical Devices

An electronic bandage may heal chronic wounds. (Read here).

Tech Mahindra to set up dedicated center for Terumo BCT. As Terumo's global Innovation and Development (I&D) partner, Tech Mahindra will provide medical device engineering services. (Read here).


Neurosurgery is one of the most complex and difficult specializations that surgeons can take. With this particular area, having accurate information on what needs to be operated on. A new augmented reality (AR) system called GLOW allows surgeons to get a better view. (Read here).


Salesforce takes another shot at IoT. Salesforce announced a new IoT initiative called IoT Explorer Edition designed to help customers make sense of IoT data and put it to work. Salesforce is calling a “low code” way of generating IoT business workflows. Non-technical personnel can supposedly pick and choose processes and connect to different devices and sensors to create some type of automated workflow. (Read here).

Dell Technologies launched a new IoT division to integrate products and services across the company, as well as new tools to speed up implementations, and it plans to invest $1 billion in R&D over the next three years. Dell is betting that edge analytics will be more important than cloud analytics in IoT. (Read here).

Intel Launches new IoT solution to help companies quickly and securely onboard connected devices. (Read here).

Remember a decade back every major country and state (at least Indian state) was formulating its IT policy and consulting firms minted millions in developing their IT policies (Some still do). It now looks IoT is the new IT, and many countries and states will formulate their IoT policies. Indian state Telangana has formulated its IoT policy which aims to attract investment and create jobs. The state wants to do that by becoming a buyer of IoT product/services, an enabler of the ecosystem with labs/ clusters and trainer by encouraging IoT ready workforce. (Read here).


Terumo BCT has selected the PTC Windchill Quality Management solution to support the company’s continuous improvement initiatives for quality systems and processes around the world. (Read here).

Apple acknowledges swelling of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and says that they are looking into the problem. Why am I putting this in PLM? Because, it highlights the business problem of traceability which PLM ISVs and service providers are trying to solve. (Read here).

Kobe Steel said that about 4 percent of the aluminum and copper products that it shipped from September 2016 to August 2017 were falsely labeled as meeting the specifications requested by customers. Products with falsified data were shipped to about 200 companies including Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Mazda. Automakers have been seeking more advanced products to cut weight while retaining strength and versatility. This is a harsh reality for Japanese steel companies: the need to provide higher quality metals to compete.  This is another use case of product and supplier traceability which PLM can solve. (Read here).

Monday, October 9, 2017

Interesting News in Engineering, IoT, PLM, Industry 4.0, and Telecom - Vol 5

These 25 news stories caught my attention last week. These stories are across automotive, aerospace, industrial equipment, software, telecom, 3D printing, and IoT, and PLM.

EV push continues. Mitsubishi Motors plans to roll out small sports utility vehicle-based electric vehicles in Japan, the U.S., Europe and other markets in the early 2020s. Mini EVs will also become available in Japan in 2019. (Read here).  General Motors is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023. (Read here). Ford to cut $14 billion in cost for EV push and is looking for partnerships to spread risk. (Read here).

Ford has some bigger troubles also. As Ford pushes into electric vehicles, U.S. union aims to save jobs. Ford is touting a 30 percent reduction in “hours per unit” to build electric vehicles.  Fewer hours mean fewer workers. (Read here). JLR brings agreement for the supply of engines from Ford to an end. (Read here).

There is activating in EV space in India. Chinese bus maker edges out Tata Motors & Ashok Leyland, wins plum EV contracts. BYD Auto will supply 25 fully built electric buses to Himachal Road Transport Corporation as well as six buses to the state-owned transport service BEST in Mumbai. Secunderabad-based, Goldstone Infratech, a leading manufacturer of rubber polymer composite insulators, has partnered BYD to manufacture these buses in India. (Read here). A week after awarding a Rs 1,120-crore order for electric cars to Tata Motors, state-run Energy Efficiency Services has offered to give 40% of the order for 10,000 e-vehicles to Mahindra & Mahindra provided it matches the former's bid. (Read here).

Even Hummer can be electrified. Hummer 4x4s, which are known for their humungous power, performance, and off-road capabilities, are also seen as fossil fuel guzzlers. The H1 model consumes around 24 liters of fuel to travel 100 kilometers and emits up to 470g CO2 per kilometer. Now, there is an eco-friendly option at hand. Austrian start-up Kriesel Electric has developed the world’s first prototype electric powertrain for an existing Hummer H1 model, enabling the butch behemoth to go all electric. (Read here).

Interesting activity in automotive space in South East Asia. Here comes Vietnam's first domestic automotive OEM. Vietnamese real estate conglomerate Vingroup JSC has appointed a former executive of U.S.-based auto giant General Motors as the CEO of its new car-manufacturing subsidiary VINFAST. Vietnam is a country with great potential in the field of auto manufacturing where the demand of the domestic market is expected to be approximately 450,000 - 500,000 vehicles by 2020 and increase to 800,000 - 900,000 vehicles by 2025. (Read here). In Malaysia, a new CEO appointed by Chinese automaker Geely to head Malaysia's Proton presented a 10-year plan to make Proton among Southeast Asia's top vehicle brands. (Read here).

Vehicle recalls are making news again. Fiat Chrysler recalls nearly 710,000 Jeep and Dodge SUVs in North America because an improperly installed brake shield could let water leak in and limit braking ability. (Read here). Nissan recalls 1.2 million vehicles in Japan that were produced between October 2014 and September this year to re-inspect them because they had not gone through the proper final checks. (Read here).

Rolls-Royce has signed a deal with  Google in a move intended to help the British engineering company to develop autonomous ships.   Rolls-Royce has some 4,000 marine customers worldwide, including 70 navies. The agreement, which the companies claim is the first of its kind in the marine sector is significant as it signals Google aspires to be a major technology player in autonomous vehicles space and not necessarily compete in final product segment. (Read here).


The U.S. Commerce Department has heaped another big tariff on Bombardier's new C Series jet -- a win for Boeing. The total tariff is now 300%. (Read here). The one good news for Bombardier this week is that it is nearing a deal to sell at least 14 of the CS300 planes to Air Baltic in an order with a list value of about $1.25 billion. (Read here).

While Air Baltic is expanding, a couple of other short-haul European airlines are going bankrupt. Monarch Airlines went burst last week leaving 100,000+ passengers stranded. (Read here). Earlier Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy after Etihad pulled the plug. (Read here).

Flying taxis are getting the attention of Boeing and Airbus. Boeing plans to acquire Aurora, a maker of aerial drones and pilotless flying systems in a move the company said could pave the way for fleets of small flying taxis. Uber selected the Aurora eVTOL to explore potential flying taxis, with 50 due to be delivered by 2020. (Read here). Airbus and HAX create an accelerator program for flying taxi tech in Shenzhen, China. ( Read here).

Pratt & Whitney has informed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that Indian climatic conditions are primarily responsible for snags encountered in its engines fitted in Airbus A320 new engine option planes. (Read here).

3D Printing

Materialise announced the acquisition of ACTech, a Germany-based leader in producing limited runs of highly complex cast metal parts. (Read here).

Industrial Equipment

Otis to manufacture escalators in India from next year. The Indian elevator industry is the second largest market after China, with an estimated 49,000 units in a year, growing at 6-7 percent annually. (Read here).

Software/ High-Tech/ Telecom

Google’s 2017 launch event introduced a whole slew of new products — but that one that’s undoubtedly making the most waves is the Google Pixel Buds headphones, which is capable of translating 40 different languages directly into your earholes. (Read here).


Accenture is helping Airbus in developing wearable technology solutions to improve productivity and worker experience in cabin interiors. (Read here).

FPT Software and Siemens join forces to push forward the expansion of Siemens PLM and MindSphere IoT platform. (Read here).