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).