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CES 2019: Sprint pairs Curiosity IoT with 5G to power smart cities, autonomous vehicles

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(Image: Sprint)

Sprint has announced at CES 2019 that Greenville, South Carolina, will see its first smart city build-out based on both its Curiosity Internet of Things (IoT) platform and mobile 5G network connectivity.

As part of the project, Sprint will deploy Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology as well as a dedicated IoT network and “micro-positioning” technology aimed at enabling connected vehicles, smart machines, and autonomous drones to operate and react in real time.

“Greenville government officials and staff are placing their trust in … leveraging the power of Sprint mobile 5G and Curiosity IoT networks to bring smart city use cases to life,” Sprint SVP of IoT and Product Development Ivo Rook said during CES on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Greenville is hoping to attract startups to the city, as well as companies wanting to conduct R&D across artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and autonomous vehicles use cases.

Sprint further announced on Tuesday at CES that it will be constructing a smart vehicle test track in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, which will also utilise Curiosity IoT, 5G, and micro-positioning tech.

The Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners will feature a 1.5-mile test track equipped with nodes to trial AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicle applications including vehicle-to-vehicle communications, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and over-the-horizon warning systems.

“Sprint is bringing together Curiosity IoT, micro-positioning, and HD mapping, all enabled by our upcoming mobile 5G network, to develop and test the most advanced technologies in the industry,” Rook said.

“It will be possible, for example, to test how connected cars can communicate to make lane changing and highway exiting safer and more efficient, how above-road warning messages might instead be sent to and displayed on car dashboards, and how drivers might receive in-car alerts about approaching connected emergency vehicles,” Sprint added.

Non-profit incubator Prototype Prime is recruiting startups across software and hardware to deploy 5G in Peachtree Corners, Sprint said.

Lastly, Sprint announced on Tuesday that it is launching “precision mapping technology” with Mapbox, again using its Curiosity IoT and later its 5G network.

“Smart machine-based services need to be able to make immediate mobility decisions similar to the way a driver might react to construction, traffic or other obstacles on a street,” Rook said.

“Sprint’s Curiosity IoT network with mobile 5G provides platform services that make that real with high bandwidth, edge computing for object detection and data processing, and super low latency,” Mapbox CEO Eric Gundersen added.

Mapbox had developed its Live Map technology previously, using data from hundreds of millions of sensors as well as AI to build real-time accurate maps. Using Curiosity IoT and 5G will provide lower latency and higher bandwidth to improve this system, Sprint said.

Sprint had announced the launch of its Curiosity IoT platform, developed in partnership with fellow SoftBank-owned company Packet, back in September.

The operating system makes use of Arm’s Platform Security Architecture, which includes open-source firmware and security analysis; Arm Pelion Data Management for IoT data and analytics; Arm Pelion Connectivity Management and Arm Kigen SIM solutions for managing and provisioning SIM connectivity across any device deployed on any network, including cell, satellite, and LoRa; and Arm Pelion Device Management for baked-in security, over-the-air firmware updates, and management for IoT devices on-premises and in the cloud.

Thanks to Packet’s bare metal servers, the virtualised and distributed IoT core then reduces the distance from 1,000 miles down to less than 50 miles between the device generating data and the IoT application processing the data.

Sprint on Monday also confirmed that it will be launching a Samsung 5G smartphone in summer 2019, as well as unveiling the smart home small cell solution with LTE called Trebl with Magic Box.

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Toyota lowers production goals by 15 percent for November

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The global chip shortage is impacting automakers significantly. This week, Toyota announced that it plans to cut its global production output by 15 percent in November. The reduced production is laid directly at the feet of the shortage of microprocessors needed to build modern vehicles.

Despite chopping production in November, Toyota says it is still sticking to its planned production goals for the entirety of 2021. The company has said that it plans to ramp up production in December. Toyota is the largest automaker in Japan and also builds some of its vehicles in the US.

Toyota was also forced to reduce production in September and October due to the chip shortage and other issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. For the year through March 31, Toyota reduced its production goals to 9 million vehicles representing a reduction of 300,000 units. In addition, the pandemic has significantly impacted components required to build its vehicles sourced from Malaysia and Vietnam.

Toyota says that a decline in COVID-19 infection rates in southeast Asia will allow chip manufacturers to increase output for the remainder of the year. Toyota wasn’t as impacted as some automakers by the chip shortage and pandemic because it had a stockpile of components allowing it to continue manufacturing operations.

The automaker has asked its component suppliers in southeast Asia to boost its allotment of chips and other components in December to allow it to ramp production significantly and meet its goals. Toyota spokesperson has stated that the total loss production for the automaker between September and November will be as high as 910,000 vehicles. In North America specifically, the reduced production in November will mean between 45,000 and 55,000 fewer vehicles produced.

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Porsche deliveries climb significantly despite chip shortage

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The global chip shortage impacts most automakers and has resulted in reduced shipments and production stoppages. While most automakers are seeing their deliveries decline, Porsche has seen deliveries increased by 13 percent in the first three quarters between January and September 2021. Porsche says it has delivered 217,198 vehicles around the globe.

The automaker notes that demand for its vehicles rose across all sales regions, but increased demand was particularly strong in the US. While deliveries have increased for Porsche, the automaker still says the coronavirus situation is dynamic, and it is facing challenges in procuring semiconductors. The most popular model for Porsche is the Cayenne, with deliveries of 62,451 units.

Porsche’s second most popular model was the Macan delivering 61,944 units, working out to a 12 percent increase in deliveries for that model. Its third most popular model may be a surprise to some. The electric Taycan sports car delivered 28,640 units to customers. 2021 is only the second year that model has been available, and it’s already surpassed deliveries of the iconic 911. So far, the 911 has delivered 27,972 units in the first three quarters of the year, which represents a 10 percent increase.

Porsche says the 718 Boxster and the 718 Cayman delivered 15,916 units. The four-door Porsche Panamera remains popular, delivering 20,275 units. In the US, Porsche says it delivered 51,615 vehicles in the first nine months of 2021. Those numbers represent a 30 percent increase compared to deliveries made during 2020. Across the entirety of the American continent, Porsche delivered 63,025 vehicles for a 29 percent increase compared to last year.

Interestingly, the largest single market for Porsche is China, with 69,789 vehicles delivered, representing an 11 percent gain compared to 2020. In addition, Porsche delivered 56,332 vehicles across Europe.

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AAA study finds vehicle safety systems are negatively impacted by rain

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Researchers from AAA have published a new study looking at how moderate to heavy rain affects the ability of modern vehicle safety systems to function. AAA conducted testing in a closed course environment simulating rainfall and discovered that test vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking they were traveling at 35 mph collided with stopped vehicles 33 percent of the time during rain. Other vehicle safety features were also impacted during rain.

Other tested features include lane keeping assist, which allowed the vehicle to depart their lane 69 percent of the time during grade. AAA says that vehicle safety systems called advanced driver assistance systems are typically tested in ideal conditions. AAA believes testing standards need to be changed to incorporate real-world conditions that drivers would typically encounter.

Safety systems rely on cameras and sensors to visualize markings on the road, cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles. AAA’s Greg Brannon says people don’t always drive around in perfect sunny weather and test methods need to be changed to take real-world conditions into account. AAA says its research found rain had the biggest effect on vehicle safety systems.

However, they also stimulated other environmental conditions, including bug impacts and dirt. The results found that driving in simulated moderate to heavy rain impacted both safety systems. Automatic emergency braking engaged while approaching a stopped vehicle in the lane ahead at 25 mph but resulted in collision 17 percent of the time.

When speeds were increased to 35 mph, collisions occurred 33 percent of the time. Overall, during testing, lane keeping assist veered outside of lane markers 69 percent of the time. Researchers said that when testing systems with a simulated dirty window stamped with a concentration of bugs, dirt, and water, only minor differences in performance were noted. However, cameras can be influenced by a dirty windshield, and AAA says it’s important that drivers keep the windshield clean.

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