Automakers Tackle Patent Hurdle in Quest for In-Car Tech

First Up 09/22/22

Automakers Tackle Patent Hurdle in Quest for In-Car Tech

Over a dozen automakers including Toyota, and Nissan, have signed up with a platform for patent licenses from 51 tech companies, aiming to simplify access to wireless technology, and avoid costly legal battles. Conflicts have stemmed in part from different views among carmakers, suppliers, and tech firms over who should shoulder the cost of licensing. Through independent licensing marketplace Avanci, carmakers gain access to patents for 2G, 3G, and 4G technology from the likes of Finland's Nokia, Sweden's Ericcson, and Taiwan's Acer for everything from navigation systems to sensors for automated driving. Avanci charges a flat fee of $20 per car, with the money distributed among patent holders, reports Reuters. The new signings mean 80-85 percent of cars with 2G technology or higher are licensed through the platform, Avanci vice president Mark Durrant said. The model allows carmakers to avoid the battles over royalties that took place between smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung and telecoms companies, who negotiate one-on-one for licenses. "The auto market is just too splintered for it to be worth it for patent owners to negotiate with each individual player," said an industry source. Click here for the full story.

How Volvo Plans to Make the Upcoming EX90 EV ‘the Safest Volvo’ Ever

Volvo has always put safety first as its core principle. As it prepares to debut its all-new flagship SUV, the EX90, the Swedish automaker is keeping true to its promise by making it the very first Volvo equipped with lidar. Volvo previewed the reveal of the EX90 with a teaser that focused on the vehicle's safety rather than its physical appearance, reports The Drive. CEO Jim Rowan says that the driving assist features, which are built primarily around Volvo's new forward-facing lidar unit, go "beyond that of any Volvo before it" and is expected to reduce death or serious injury by 20 percent, and overall crashes by around nine percent. The EX90 will be the first vehicle in Volvo's lineup to use a lidar unit, the core component of the SUV's so-called "invisible shield of safety." Lidar stands for "light detection and ranging," and is essentially another set of eyes for the car to map out a 3D picture of the world around it using depth-measuring lasers. The unit is molded into the SUV's roofline and works alongside eight cameras, five radars, and 16 ultrasonic sensors.  Click here to learn more about “the Safest Volvo ever.”

China Calls U.S. EV Tax Breaks ‘Discriminatory'

China joined in the criticism of the new U.S. law providing tax breaks for electric vehicles, threatening unspecified action if needed to protect its interests from a law it says is "discriminatory." The clause in the Inflation Reduction Act ruling out tax breaks for vehicles assembled abroad "discriminates against similar imported goods and is a suspected breach of the World Trade Organization principles" Shu Jueting, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce said. "China will continue to assess and evaluate implementation of the legislation and will take measures to safeguard its legal interests, when necessary," she added. Automotive News reports the comments add to the criticism from the European Union and South Korea over the law, which says that cars will not be eligible for up to $7,500 in subsidies if critical battery components come from China, Russia, and other "foreign entities of concern." Much of the world's battery supply chain is reliant on China, which is home to some of the world's largest battery giants such including Tesla supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Click here for the full story.

Volkswagen Expects Chip Shortage to Continue into 2024

Volkswagen expects semiconductor shortages to continue into 2023 and says the supply chain disruptions experienced over the past two years will become the “new normal.” Carscoops reports, Volkswagen head of procurement Murat Aksel noted that geopolitical concerns with leading chip manufacturers have created new and challenging issues. “With the new geopolitical issues, if anything, it’s going to get even more complex and challenging,” Aksel said. “Investments for new capacity are now on track, but there will probably still be a structural shortfall in semiconductors up to and including 2023.” In February, Aksel had told the media that the chip shortage could resolve itself this year but his outlook has clearly changed. The German car manufacturer has been doing what it can to reduce the impact of the shortage throughout the year. In early 2022, it had to cut output at its Wolfsburg plant and introduced an early warning system designed to detect supply shortfalls which had helped it identify 150 technical alternatives to semiconductor chips. Click here for the full story.

Forecast: More Than Half of U.S. Car Sales Will Be EVs by 2030

Just over half of passenger cars sold in the U.S. will be electrified vehicles by 2030, according to a report from BloombergNEF, thanks in part to consumer incentives included in the $374 billion in new climate spending enacted by President Joe Biden. Those incentives, among them a point-of-sale tax credit of up to $7,500 for a new EV purchase, are likely to boost the pace of adoption, BloombergNEF analysts found in the report. Prior to passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August, projections for EV sales by 2030 2030 came in at 43 percent of the U.S. market, reports Automotive News. With the climate-spending measure in place, that estimate was revised upwards to 52 percent. The latest projection from BloombergNEF, the consulting and analysis affiliate of Bloomberg News, puts the U.S. on track to hit a key target set by Biden last year, for half of all cars sold in the U.S. to be battery-electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell-powered by the end of the decade. Click here for the full story.

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