Skip to main content
Market Intelligence

[240301] #Apple #Luminar #Nissan

By 2024년 03월 01일No Comments

Vueron Newsletter

No. 94


Related Company
Autonomous Driving
Apple Kills Its Electric Car Project
Autonomous Driving
Chinese self-driving firm Zelos bags $100m in Series A round led by Meituan
Pusan National University, Hyundai
LiDAR, helping self-driving cars navigate in bad weather
Self-driving sensor maker Luminar falls as production delay at Volvo hits earnings
Autonomous Driving
Nissan plans self-driving taxi service in Japan

1. Apple Kills Its Electric Car Project

    • Apple has decided to cancel its plans to release an electric car with self-driving capabilities.
    • The decision was conveyed to employees in an internal meeting, where it was stated that the project was scrapped, and team members would be reassigned, including to Apple’s artificial intelligence division.
    • Kevin Lynch, an executive involved in the car project, will now report to John Giannandrea, head of artificial intelligence strategy.
    • This decision comes after years of secretive development, during which the project was informally known as Titan and Project 172.
    • Despite never being unveiled to consumers, the project was widely known within Silicon Valley due to testing on public roads.
    • The cancellation is a significant move for Apple, known for its secrecy and typically not shelving high-profile projects.
    • Apple has faced challenges in finding new growth avenues beyond the iPhone, which has saturated the market.
    • Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, had hinted at the company’s interest in entering the car industry, and Apple had been testing vehicles equipped with autonomous driving technology.
    • The cancellation represents a blow to Apple’s innovation reputation and challenges the perception that it can deliver groundbreaking products under Cook’s leadership.
    • Despite this setback, Apple has introduced some new hardware products under Cook, including the successful Apple Watch, the less successful HomePod smart speaker, and the recent release of the Vision Pro, a virtual reality headset to rival Meta’s offerings.
    • Apple has heavily invested in research and development, spending $113 billion in the last five years.

Go to the article

Apple’s decision to cancel its electric car project reflects the challenges and complexities involved in developing such a product, even for a company with vast resources like Apple. The move to shift team members to the artificial intelligence division suggests a continued focus on AI-related technologies, which could be integrated into future products or services.

2. Chinese self-driving firm Zelos bags $100m in Series A round led by Meituan

    • Zelos Technology, specializing in unmanned logistics vehicles, secures $100 million in a Series A financing round led by Meituan, a Chinese food delivery giant.
    • Baidu Ventures, Xianting Fund, Seekdource, and existing shareholders like Blue Lake Capital also participated in the funding round.
    • The Suzhou-based company intends to use the funds for further research and development (R&D) and commercialization efforts.
    • Founded in 2021, Zelos focuses on Level 4 autonomous driving technology to target challenges in the trillion-dollar B2B urban logistics market.
    • Level 4 autonomy implies vehicles can operate without human intervention.
    • Prior to this financing, Zelos received $30 million from Southern Taihu Lake New District, a tech hub in Huzhou city.
    • Zelos operates from offices in Beijing, Singapore, and Silicon Valley.
    • KPMG’s report forecasts mass commercialization of self-driving vehicles in major Chinese cities by 2030, but regulatory and technological hurdles remain.

Go to the article

The involvement of major players like Meituan and Baidu Ventures underscores the strategic importance of autonomous logistics in China’s tech ecosystem. Zelos’ focus on Level 4 autonomy suggests a high degree of automation, which could enhance efficiency and safety in urban logistics operations.

3. LiDAR, helping self-driving cars navigate in bad weather

    • A lidar technology capable of enabling autonomous vehicles to function effectively in adverse weather conditions has been developed.
    • Led by Professor Kim Chang-seok of Pusan National University, the research team collaborated with Hyundai Motor’s Basic Materials Research Centre.
    • Lidar, essential for autonomous vehicles, uses laser pulses to measure distances to objects and create precise surroundings imagery.
    • Traditional time-of-flight (ToF) lidars, sensitive to sunlight and vehicle interference, struggle in adverse weather like fog, snow, and rain.
    • The team developed Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) lidar, utilizing color modulation with lasers of different wavelengths (red, green, blue, yellow).
    • This approach enhances visibility in bad weather by compensating for the limitations of single-wavelength lidars.
    • FMCW lidar scans in two dimensions, measuring distance in three dimensions and velocity in one, providing real-time, four-dimensional autonomous driving data.
    • Professor Kim highlights that this technology surpasses current autonomous driving limitations, enabling functionality in various weather conditions and driving scenarios.

Go to the article

The development of lidar technology that operates effectively in adverse weather conditions is a significant breakthrough for autonomous vehicle research. Overcoming weather-related challenges expands the potential application of autonomous vehicles beyond controlled environments, paving the way for broader adoption and integration into everyday transportation systems.

4. Self-driving sensor maker Luminar falls as production delay at Volvo hits earnings

    • Luminar Technologies shares fell by approximately 10% following fourth-quarter results missing estimates due to production delays for Volvo Cars’ new EX90 electric SUVs.
    • The delay in EX90 production, pushed to mid-2024 from the originally planned 2023-end, has impacted Luminar’s sensor sales as resources were shifted to support the delayed production.
    • Revenue for the fourth quarter was reported at $22.1 million, below the estimated $27.34 million, while the adjusted loss per share of 20 cents also fell short of expectations.
    • Analysts attribute slower commercial progress not only to Luminar but across the auto-tech ecosystem, indicating broader challenges in the industry.
    • Electric vehicle adoption has slowed, and there is negative sentiment towards Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) due to autonomous program delays and cancellations.
    • Mobileye Global recently mentioned inventory build-up at its customers impacting growth in 2024.
    • Luminar’s shares experienced a 10.4% decline, trading at $2.24 on Wednesday, with a significant loss of value observed throughout the previous year.

Go to the article

Luminar’s share decline underscores the significant impact of production delays in the automotive industry, particularly on suppliers like Luminar heavily reliant on timely vehicle rollouts. Luminar’s share price decline reflects investor concerns about the company’s performance and broader industry challenges, emphasizing the importance of managing production schedules and market expectations effectively.

5. Nissan plans self-driving taxi service in Japan

    • Nissan announces plans to launch a self-driving taxi service in Japan starting in the financial year beginning April 2027.
    • Trials for the commercial service will commence in the upcoming financial year, starting in April, using minivans in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
    • Nissan aims to address mobility challenges, such as driver shortages due to an aging population, by partnering with local authorities and transport operators to provide new services enabling free movement.
    • The Japanese government prioritizes accelerating autonomous vehicle technology to combat labor shortages and support an aging population’s transportation needs.
    • Road traffic laws in Japan now permit “Level 4” self-driving vehicles to operate on public roads under certain conditions.
    • Nissan has been testing business models for self-driving mobility services since 2017, while rivals like Honda and General Motors are also investing in driverless ride services.
    • Toyota plans a pilot project using automated vehicles in Tokyo’s Odaiba area from July, with a paid service expected from 2025 and expansion to other central Tokyo districts.
    • Details about future automated driving, including the level of automation, are still under discussion with stakeholders.

Go to the article

Nissan’s move to launch a self-driving taxi service reflects the growing interest and investment in autonomous mobility solutions to address societal challenges like aging populations and driver shortages. The planned expansion of automated driving services in Japan indicates a shift towards mainstream acceptance and adoption of self-driving technology, potentially reshaping urban transportation landscapes in the future.

*Contents above are the opinion of ChatGPT, not an individual nor company


Author vuerontechnology

More posts by vuerontechnology