Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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72 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 GROUND DRIVERLESS CARS believes technology has changed so much that it is important to partner with the right companies. "We have been a traditional automaker for a century, but times are changing because of IoT and many other devices that are connect- ed," said Burkhard Huhnke, Volkswagen of America senior vice president, e-mobility. He noted that automakers' product development times were long, compared to the technology companies they partner with. "We are not just making cars anymore. For us, it is a position we have identified since 1998 to make the right partnerships." Huhnke said Volkswagen, which believes the electric car will be the "x piece" for connected and self-driving vehicles, has been working on autonomous driving since 2005, when it part- nered with Stanford University in the DARPA Challenge. "[Electric vehicles] will enable us to continue to work with automated driving. We are not working alone as it is not enough to put a giant sensor on the roof of a car that is more expensive than the car itself," he said. Volkswagen drove an autonomous vehicle from San Francisco to Las Vegas in 2015 for different reasons than people might think, he said. "We did not want to showcase the autono- mous vehicle for engineers. The car performed well and it was encouraging," he said. "But we wanted it to be a prototype for consumers, and how they would think [when operating a self- driving car]." Some companies are partnering with es- tablished Tier 1 suppliers to offer new services for automakers. An example is the pairing of Inmarsat and Continental. Inmarsat's two-way data connection, com- bined with global broadcast capability, will be used by Continental to deliver over-the-air updates to vehicles worldwide. "We've noticed the automotive industry is going from manufacturing-oriented to ser- vice oriented. Car companies want to become software companies," said Gregory Ewert, Inmarsat president, connected car and intel- ligent transport systems. "Automakers are out there looking at becoming service companies." Ewert said the way things work in the auto industry is that while automakers may be in- terested in a product or service, they still want to buy it from their Tier 1 partners. "They were used to having Tier 1's make their drive trains, transmissions and seat belts. Now they need other things," he said. "Continental took it to heart. They assessed what was needed to be built to provide products and capabilities to allow OEMs to get into the service indus- try. They liked the OTS (over-the-air) updates and our global broadcast network." Another Major Player: Insurance Companies While insurance companies will have a ma- jor role in autonomous vehicle development and regulation, it is puzzling where executives stand on this potentially disruptive industry. While some insurance executives contend that liability will go up, most seemed almost noncommittal. "We know with certainty [that liability] will climb with more technology in a vehicle as the price goes up. Our focus is with the disruption with the shared economy and everything leading us down to vehicle-to-ev- erything," said Chad Ammons, Assurant vice president, global strategy and development. Fully autonomous, or Society of Automotive Engineers Level 5 vehicles, are one thing, but partially self-driving cars are another, one in- dustry executive said. "The period now until full autonomy should be safer than human driving. The problem is in the middle with partial autonomy, we are not focused on who has the data—and who can cover that?" said Mariel Devesa, Farmers Insurance head of product innovation. "We may see claims decline [with autonomous ve- hicles], but with phone distraction and more tech in a car, it may increase in the short term. The cost to repair the car will increase [with more technology]." Photo courtesy of Kevin Dennehy. "WE ARE NOT JUST MAKING CARS anymore. For us, it is a position we have identified since 1998 to make the right partnerships and with technologies." Burkhard Huhnke, Volkswagen of America senior vice president

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