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GM Now Offers OnStar Service To Anyone Through Guardian App

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General Motors introduced its OnStar connected service a quarter of a century ago. Initially offered as a luxury item on select vehicles, it morphed into an all-encompassing feature for GM vehicles at every price point. A year ago, that service expanded to the world of smartphones, though users still needed an account connected to a GM vehicle. Now, it’s open to anyone with a phone and a willingness to pay a modest monthly fee.

“We are excited to deliver the power and promise of OnStar’s key safety features to more people in more places with the expanded launch of OnStar Guardian,” said Santiago Chamorro, GM’s vice president of Global Connected Services. “Over the past year, we’ve heard incredible stories that illustrate how OnStar Guardian has helped our members. As pandemic-related restrictions relax and people begin to travel again, we understand it is important that everyone feels protected and connected. That is why we are expanding this subscription offering based on our expansive insights.”

GM OnStar Guardian App

How is OnStar Guardian different from OnStar systems in GM-branded vehicles? For starters, it isn’t connected to a car. Users download the OnStar Guardian app to their phone, which can then offer a variety of services to that user. Provided you own (or are a passenger in) a vehicle with compatible connectivity, it could be possible to access some of those services directly through the vehicle. Otherwise, it’s all handled through the phone and as of now, location status, roadside assistance, emergency services, and mobile crash response are part of the package.

Crash response likely deserves the most attention, as it uses various sensors in the phone to determine if an accident has taken place. Just like in vehicle-based OnStar systems, a representative will call the phone to assess the situation and render assistance if needed. Mom and dad might like location status as well, as it tracks the movement of the phone. Roadside assistance functions similar to most roadside assistance plans, offering help in the event of a dead battery, flat tire, or other non-emergency situations.

According to OnStar’s website, the standalone app subscription starts at $15 per month and can be shared on up to seven devices. The app is available from Apple’s App Store or through Google Play.

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Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/512529/gm-onstar-guardian-app-anyone/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

Automotive

Honda Developing Shoe-Based Navi System For Visually Impaired

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Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced a new firm called Ashirase, Inc. It’s the first startup that came from Ignition, Honda’s new business creation program.

Ashirase, Inc.’s first technologically advanced product is quite revolutionary, but it isn’t for cars. The company is developing an in-shoe navigation system to support visually impaired individuals with walking. Honda aims to begin sales of the system, which is also named Ashirase, by March 2023.

The Ashirase uses a smartphone app and a 3D vibration device with a motion sensor that’s attached inside the show. With the use of vibrations, the Ashirase will tell the user when to go straight, turn right, turn left, and stop. Honda said that the product should enable an intuitive understanding of the route so users don’t have to constantly mindful of directions for a safer and more relaxed walk.

Of note, the route guidance is provided by Global Navigation Satellite System while the vibrators are aligned with the foot’s nerve later. Vibration via the foot also allows freedom with the user’s hands, which can be used for other functions such as holding a cane.

We’re pretty sure a healthy lot of you know that Honda isn’t just an automaker. It’s also a tech company that constantly develops new-age products to aid in various walks of life.

Last year, Honda introduced the Ropot, which is practically a blind-spot warning for 7-year-old kids in Japan when walking. All of these technological devices sprung from a need for it, with the Ropot coming from the sheer number of accidents involving kids and walking.

With the Ashirase, Honda reported that there are quite a number of visually impaired individuals that needed aid when walking, thus the birth of this intuitive device.

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Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/513570/honda-ashirase-shoe-based-navigation/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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Artificial Intelligence

The rise of robotaxis in China

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AutoX, Momenta and WeRide took the stage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to discuss the state of robotaxi startups in China and their relationships with local governments in the country.

They also talked about overseas expansion — a common trajectory for China’s top autonomous vehicle startups — and shed light on the challenges and opportunities for foreign AV companies eyeing the massive Chinese market.


Enterprising governments

Worldwide, regulations play a great role in the development of autonomous vehicles. In China, policymaking for autonomous driving is driven from the bottom up rather than a top-down effort by the central government, observed executives from the three Chinese robotaxi startups.

Huan Sun, Europe general manager at Momenta, which is backed by the government of Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, said her company had a “very good experience” working with the municipal governments across multiple cities.

In China, each local government is incentivized to really act like entrepreneurs like us. They are very progressive in developing the local economy… What we feel is that autonomous driving technology can greatly improve and upgrade the [local governments’] economic structure. (Time stamp: 02:56)

Shenzhen, a special economic zone with considerable lawmaking autonomy, is just as progressive in propelling autonomous driving forward, said Jewel Li, chief operation officer at AutoX, which is based in the southern city.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/11/the-rise-of-robotaxis-in-china/

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Automotive

Why Mate Rimac is working on electric robotaxis

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Mate Rimac, the founder and CEO of Croatian electric hypercar and components developer Rimac Automobili, started a separate company nearly three years ago to work on electric robotaxis.

Little is known about the company, which still operates in stealth. Rimac told TechCrunch this week at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 he hopes to keep this separate company under wraps until the team is ready to showcase what it has been working on.

Rimac did provide some details on what he described as an electric robotaxi company. He said the company has offices in Croatia and the U.K. and could expand to other locations. Rimac also said the company intends to be a global operator and he expects to reveal what the team has been working on early next year.

“Why stealth mode?,” Rimac asked during the interview. “Because there’s so much hot air in this industry, and so many PowerPoint companies, you know, announcing big things and not delivering and so on. We didn’t want to be that company, we wanted to do a lot of stuff — and like under-promise, over-deliver.”

Few even knew of the company’s existence until last month when local media discovered a Croatia Ministry of Transport filing that described a proposed project involving an urban mobility ecosystem that used electric autonomous vehicles. While Rimac noted that was an unfortunate discovery, he wants to reveal their work properly.

“People see us as the hypercar company,” Rimac said, noting the company is viewed as one focused on ultra-high net worth individuals. (Indeed, Rimac Automobili unveiled a production version of its Concept 2 vehicle. The renamed Nevera has a $2.44 million price tag.) “We have many other things cooking and have a longer-term outlook. I think that the new mobility will be really a shift in society. Just like phones didn’t just change the phone industry. Apple didn’t just disrupt Nokia, but changed our lives. I think the next big change that we’ll have is mobility.”

Rimac didn’t get into details about the autonomous driving system, sensors or design of the vehicle.

“We think that a lot of people are missing the bigger picture and focusing on some of the building blocks, like the autonomous driving system itself,” he said. “We believe maybe that’s not the differentiator itself, that there are some other differentiating factors within the ecosystem of autonomous mobility.”

Rimac later added that the user experience of the robotaxi is one area that he is focused on and believes it can be different than what others are developing.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/11/why-mate-rimac-is-working-on-electric-robotaxis/

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Automotive

Apple confirms hiring of Ulrich Kranz, former CEO of EV company Canoo

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As former senior executive of BMW AG’s electric car division, Kranz oversaw the development of the sporty electric i3 and i8 cars at BMW, which might give us a hint into the potential aesthetic of the future Apple Car. Anonymous sources say he’ll report to Doug Field, who runs the Apple Car project and previously led development of Tesla’s Model 3.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/10/apple-confirms-hiring-of-ulrich-kranz-former-ceo-of-ev-company-canoo/

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