Tag Archive for: automotive

March was another intense month in the world of autonomous driving, with some critical safety setbacks, government feedback and advancements — like the London GATEway pods (pictured above). 

Fatal Accident Involving Driverless Vehicle Prompts Safety Questions

Earlier this month, a self-driving Uber vehicle with a human backup driver inside was on a test run outside Phoenix when it struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the road.

In response, the state of Arizona — which had been an incredibly fertile ground for driverless vehicle experimentation in recent months — took action by suspending Uber’s privileges for testing driverless vehicles. Even before the accident though, Uber’s driverless technology appeared to have issues.

As the New York Times reports, Uber was struggling in Arizona to meet its target of 13 miles per needed intervention from the human driver onboard. For comparison, another self-driving car company, Waymo, said that in tests on roads in California last year, its vehicles went an average of around 5,600 miles before an intervention was needed. There’s also news from Reuters that Uber potentially reduced the number of LIDAR sensors on its vehicles when it swapped out its fleet in 2016.

As local police officials and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board analyze the Uber accident, hopefully their findings will help other autonomous vehicle companies strengthen their safety technologies as well. It’s been reported Uber has already reached a settlement with the family of the woman killed in the crash.

Trump Administration Signals Ease on Self-Driving Car Restrictions

On March 1, a U.S. Department of Transportation “Listening Summit” around development of regulations and policies related to autonomous vehicles was held in Washington, DC. The meeting was attended by representatives from auto manufacturers, technology companies, road safety advocates and policy makers, and featured remarks from the likes of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

While there’s still a variety of questions about how autonomous vehicles will be regulated, in a summary of the event (which you can watch here), The Verge reports that UDOT did provide an abundance of answers.

“If the government was at all nervous about the coming revolution in driverless technology, it didn’t show,” The Verge says, adding that “all guidance would be completely voluntary, and anything that could be perceived as a mandate or a requirement was dismissed as an impediment to innovation.”

Still, UDOT did say to expect the release of updated federal guidance, dubbed “AV 3.0,” for manufacturers and states seeking to deploy self-driving vehicles as early as this summer.

London’s Slow-Moving Pods an Interesting Addition to Self-Driving Public Transportation

For the past year, the city of London has been trial-testing driverless shuttles, nicknamed “pods,” using a mix of public and private funding. As opposed to self-driving cars, these pods — born out of an effort called the GATEway Project — have been described as being more capable of navigating the windy streets of Europe.

One of the goals of the endeavor is to gain a better understanding of the public’s acceptance of, and attitudes towards, driverless vehicles, according to the GATEway Project. To that end, members of the public are participating, being shuttled around a small stretch of cycling path that, according to The Register, “features an unpredictable mix of cyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers, width constraints, sharp bends, dodgy surfaces and different lighting levels.”

Despite the variance of obstacles, The Verge notes, London’s pods have been reliably safe, which may have something to do with their composition. They’re round, with no hard edges, and they don’t move faster than 10 m.p.h. There’s also an engineer always onboard who can take control in the case of a crisis.

With no steering wheels, the pods were created by British companies Westfield Sportscars and Heathrow Enterprises, and are powered by Fusion Processing technology that combines GPS with radar and LIDAR. This allows the pods to detect and navigate objects in their path and operate at night and in adverse weather conditions.

While the pods wouldn’t necessarily be a reliable way to zip around cities quickly, one of the potential use cases is that they could serve as shuttles to other forms of mass transit.

Learn how a Fortune 100 semiconductor company is meeting challenges and functional safety standards for its automotive-related technologies with an integrated and compliance-ready solution in our white paper, “Driving Compliance with Functional Safety Standards for Software-Based Automotive Components.”

There’s no question autonomous vehicle technology was a prominent theme at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Between partnership announcements by major auto manufacturers and driverless technology makers, Toyota introducing a driverless vehicle for autonomous business applications, AAA working on unified safety criteria for driverless vehicles and even autonomous taxis shuttling attendees up and down the Strip, this year’s CES cemented the fact that the age of driverless vehicles is upon us. Here’s a look at some of the biggest announcements.

Toyota Unveils e-Palette, an Autonomous Mobility Platform

One of the more interesting innovations in the autonomous vehicle space introduced at CES was Toyota’s e-Palette. Part shuttle, part mobility platform, it can be adapted for a wide range of mobile business applications, including everything from restaurants and food delivery, stores and hotels or even hospitals.

The all-electric, driverless e-Palette was previewed at CES, with its official debut slated for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics games.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda told reporters ahead of its CES event that the technology is part of the automaker’s plans to transition from an automotive company to a mobility company. He said a fleet of the vehicles can be combined to create on-demand malls, medical clinics and festivals, according to ZDNet, saying the e-Palette will form “on-demand cities.”

Toyota has already formed an e-Palette Alliance, with early partners including Amazon, Uber, Pizza Hut and Mazda.

Nvidia Announces Driverless Vehicles Partnership with Uber, Volkswagen and Baidu

Chipmaker Nvidia seems intent on making its mark on the autonomous vehicles landscape, announcing a cross-continental partnership with Uber, Volkswagen and Baidu to use its chips and technology to power the artificial intelligence behind existing and planned fleets of self-driving cars.

Uber has been looking into self-driving technology possibilities since 2015, and will use Nvidia chips as the brains behind its self-driving vehicle fleet, both companies announced at CES this week, according to CNBC. The Volvo XC90 SUV’s Uber used in early testing was powered by Nvidia’s graphics computing technology, which it also uses for its existing self-driving freight trucks and cars.

The Volkswagen partnership will implement Nvidia’s Drive IX platform, which includes features like facial recognition, gesture controls and even a voice assistant. Volkswagen says it plans on using the software as an “intelligent co-pilot” to assist drivers.

Nvidia will also collaborate with Baidu — essentially the Google of China — to design production-ready, AI-based driverless vehicle systems based on Nvidia’s Drive Xavier platform in the large Asian country.

Aptiv’s Driverless Vehicles Shuttle CES Attendees Around Vegas

Using software provided by Lyft, technology company Aptiv kitted out a fleet of BMW 5-series sedans with self-driving capabilities, including Lidar, to use as taxis for people attending CES. The cars could be hailed with a smartphone app, and once inside, the passenger could choose from a list of pre-selected destinations using a tablet.

The event made for a real-world beta test for the technology, which the company says will be ready for commercial use by 2019. But CES wasn’t just a flashy demo. Aptiv representatives told Automotive News they plan to keep the fleet active in Las Vegas even after the event concludes, adding Sin City to its roster of locations where its auto-taxis operate, which currently includes Boston and Singapore.

Currently, the number of autonomous taxis operated globally by Aptiv stands at 60, but Automotive News reports it has plans to expand that number to 150 by the end of 2018.

AAA Partnering with Torc Robotics to Make Self-Driving Cars Safer

The American Automobile Association (AAA) announced at CES a partnership with self-driving technology company Torc Robotics to develop a series of safety guidelines for self-driving cars that can be followed industry-wide.

The goal is to establish a unified set of standards that automakers can use to ensure consumer safety and public trust in the technology as it continues to gain momentum, even as 75% of Americans say they’re skeptical of self-driving cars, according to Engadget.

AAA will test self-driving cars on public roads to gather data that it can use to create the criteria, which can then be applied to every company working on driverless vehicle technology. It’s an attempt by the association that has long championed driver safety to move into the 21st century and transform its business model with the changing automobile landscape.

Image courtesy Alexis Georgeson/Tesla Motors

It seems like every day companies make news by unveiling the latest in autonomous driving technology. Here are some recent updates as the world of self-driving vehicles keeps cruising…

Tesla Unveils Electric, Semi-Autonomous Truck 

With great fanfare, Tesla pulled back the curtain on its long-anticipated electric semi-truck in November, igniting questions about the future of the trucking industry.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was on hand at the flashy unveiling of the Tesla Semi in Hawthorne, California, which promises 500 miles of range on a single charge, semi-autonomous enhanced autopilot included as a standard feature, and an eye-popping five-second 0-60 mph speed.

The hulking behemoth features a futuristic, streamlined look both inside and out, with the interior more resembling a minimalist jet cockpit than a standard truck cab. The interior is clad with screens that show the truck from various angles through the use of exterior mirror-mounted cameras, which Tesla says are used in support of its autonomous driving capabilities.

Tesla has not shied away from introducing technologies that disrupt long-established industries, and its electric semi truck follows that trend. The smaller, 300-mile range version of the Semi will cost $150,000, while its larger, 500-mile capacity Semi will set you back $180,000.

The unveiling raises inevitable questions about whether autonomous or semi-autonomous trucks will up-end the freight industry, with many wondering what effect it will have on human truckers’ jobs.

GM, Cruise on Pace to Launch Self-Driving Ride Hailing Service by 2019 

GM and Cruise are gearing up to launch their self-driving car service in dense urban centers as soon as 2019, according to GM President Dan Ammann on a recent investor call.

Cruise has been evolving its self-driving technology since 2013. In that time, the San Francisco-based company has quickly become a vanguard in the automotive space. Its 2016 partnership with GM has so far resulted in three generations of test cars that promise to yield the autonomous ride-hailing service of the future.

San Francisco and New York have been the main test markets so far, and Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said during the investor presentation that it’s aggressively preparing for an initial launch in the Bay Area as its first major commercial market.

Cruise says it will focus on large urban centers first, rather than smaller markets. It’s approaching rolling out the technology with an eye toward scalability, noting that it’s capable of launching in multiple cities simultaneously.

Velodyne Announces Its Most Powerful LIDAR Yet

 Leading manufacturer of laser sensors for autonomous vehicles, Velodyne, recently announced the VLS-128, which the company says will have twice the range and three times the resolution of its previous version. Anand Gopalan, Velodyne’s CTO, says it was designed to pave the way to fully autonomous Level 5 functionality.

Achieving true Level 5 has long been the goal of self-driving technology makers, as it represents true autonomy — able to match or exceed the performance of human drivers under any circumstances.

LIDAR is at the heart of most self-driving cars. It’s a sophisticated laser sensor that provides a 360-degree view around the vehicle, enabling the self-driving system to see potential road hazards and decide how to react.

The high resolution and range offered by the VLS-128 enables autonomous vehicles to make critical decisions faster and with greater accuracy than its predecessors, which is critical for safe driving at high speeds.

Velodyne’s newly unveiled LIDAR packs all of that power into a smaller package, and represents a big leap forward toward truly autonomous driving.

Intel Wants to Make the Self-Driving Experience More Entertaining

Driving yourself around requires your full attention and monopolizes your vision, but what will you do to keep occupied when relaxing in a car that drives itself?

Intel envisions a future where passengers of driverless cars have access to a wide range of entertainment options to while away the hours spent as a passive passenger. In-cabin movies, games in the car and even immersive VR and AR experiences are just some of Intel’s plans, it recently announced at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

The chipmaker says it is partnering with Warner Bros. to develop entertainment options, some of which sound pretty darn cool — like an Augmented Reality experience that turns the car into the Batmobile and the outside world into the streets of Gotham City.

No word yet on when Intel plans to roll out these features, but it will certainly be something to watch, and sounds like an exciting addition to the autonomous vehicle passenger experience.

Denver Readying Driverless Shuttle, Aiming for 2018 Launch

The Colorado capital has been testing the EZ10 driverless shuttle on designated test roads, and hopes it will be ferrying commuters to their offices as soon as next spring.

The shuttle, manufactured by French developer EasyMile in partnership with Panasonic, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation District (RTD), was demoed just this week at the RTD station before excited and supportive local and state officials. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper even designated the test day, Dec. 4, as “Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Day”.

The hope is that shuttles like the six-passenger EZ10 will one day serve as a “last mile” option for commuters, bringing workers the final stretch between public transit stations and their paces of work. The shuttle is driverless, contains no steering wheel or seatbelts, and uses cameras and LIDAR systems.

There was even a bit of unexpected drama during Monday’s test run, as the shuttle suddenly stopped during the one-fifth of a mile test. In a truly Western twist, a tumbleweed rolled into the path of the shuttle, causing its sensors to apply the brakes.

Panasonic’s executive vice president of strategic innovations, Jarrett Wendt, told The Denver Post that there is a lot of work to do before the shuttle is ready to be deployed for passenger use, but says the stakeholders are resolute to bring it to fruition.

Further testing is planned for a two-mile stretch of road near Panasonic Denver, and it could begin testing on the highway next year.

Semiconductors are surging. Recently, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced that worldwide sales of semiconductors hit $107.9 billion for third quarter 2017, making it the industry’s highest-ever quarterly sales and soaring to an increase of 10.2% over the previous quarter.

“The global market is poised to reach its highest-ever annual revenue in 2017,” John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO, said in a press release. “Standouts among semiconductor product categories included memory products like DRAM and NAND flash, both of which posted major year-to-year growth in September, as well as logic products, which enjoyed double-digit growth year-to-year.”

The boom in semiconductor sales this year is being partially attributed to tight supply and higher selling prices in the memory chip market, but there are also other promising trends.

The growing expansion of electronic systems in cars, for instance, as well as the billions of dollars being invested in autonomous vehicles, are expected to continue contributing to this semiconductor rally.

As research firm IC Insights reports, automotive is shaping up to be the fastest-growing electronic system market for semiconductors through 2021, beating out others like medical, industrial and communications.

“Automotive electronics is growing as technology becomes more widely available on mid-range and entry-level cars and as consumers purchase technology-based aftermarket products,” IC Insights notes. “For semiconductor suppliers, this is good news as analog ICs, MCUs, and a great number of sensors are required for many of these automotive systems.”

Check out how a Fortune 100 semiconductor company is accelerating development cycles, balancing functional safety and reducing cost for software-based automotive components.

Recent updates from the race to conquer the future of driverless vehicles…

Autonomous Shuttle Program Hits Public Streets

A federal agency has granted California’s Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) permission to start the final stage of testing for an autonomous shuttle pilot program on public roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved CCTA’s third phase of testing of 12-passenger autonomous shuttles at a small business park, Bishop Ranch, in San Ramon. ­

Created by a French company called EasyMile, the electric, low-speed, driverless shuttles — which don’t have a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator — will share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.

Testing is slated to start next year, and it’s worth noting that, during this phase, the general public will not be allowed on the shuttles. Instead, only testers and evaluators from various employers within Bishop Ranch will have access.

Ultimately though, the shuttles are meant to get passengers from a transit station to their final destination, so navigating a business park like Bishop Ranch is a good exercise, CCTA officials tell govtech.com. CCTA is said to be the first in the country to devise and implement an autonomous vehicle and transit pilot program, so this marks an exciting step forward.

In related news, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles says completely autonomous vehicles, those without backup drivers, could be on the state’s public roads as early as summer 2018, according to The Mercury News.

GM Acquires Driverless Technology Startup

General Motors has acquired Strobe, a California-based startup that develops laser-based sensors called LIDARS. According to the New York Times, LIDARS create high-definition images for vehicles operated by computers. Strobe will now team up with GM’s Cruise Automation to continue making major strides in autonomous driving.

In a blog post, Cruise’s CEO, Kyle Vogt, wrote about the impacts of the Strobe purchase. He noted that LIDARS have been a big bottleneck in the process of developing autonomous vehicles. Having Strobe onboard will significantly improve the capabilities of the company’s autonomous vehicles, Vogt writes, especially when it comes to cost and expanding autonomous ride-sharing services.

As for how LIDARS operate within autonomous vehicles, Wired has a good explainer: “The technology works by firing millions of laser beams every second, and measuring how long they take to return after bouncing off objects as far as 200 meters away. Unlike cameras, LIDAR systems don’t rely on ambient light, and have no problem distinguishing, say, a tree from its shadows. Collecting a million data points or more a second, it sees with far more precision than radar.”

Nvidia’s New Supercomputer to Boost Automated Driving Power

One of the biggest manufacturers of computer graphics cards, NVIDIA, says it’s created a new, powerful computing platform for driverless vehicles.

Dubbed “Pegasus,” the system can power Level 5, fully driverless automobiles “without steering wheels, pedals or mirrors, and interiors that feel like a living room or office,” NVIDIA says. Capable of delivering more than 320 trillion operations per second, the new system’s Level 5 autonomy status is a pretty incredible feat.

As The Verge notes, even with all the driver-assisted technology in cars today, no commercially available vehicle currently on the road ranks higher than a Level 2.

Nvdia, which is a current Jama Software customer, says Pegasus will be available to NVIDIA automotive partners in the second half of 2018.

LeBron James and Intel Work to Build Trust in Driverless Cars

As Intel noted earlier this year, the future of self-driving transportation could result in a $7 trillion annual revenue stream. Among all the complex challenges companies producing autonomous vehicles need to overcome before then, though, has nothing to do software or hardware.

Right now, the notion of stepping into a car without a driver, and entrusting it to navigate you somewhere — anywhere — safely sounds like a gamble. So, building public trust in autonomous vehicles is crucial.

That’s one of the reasons why Intel is turning to the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James, to help generate confidence in driverless vehicles via an advertising campaign, according to Business Insider.

Check out the first Intel ad with James below.

We’re roaring toward a future where self-driving cars are everywhere, but recent news from Cruise Automation indicates we’re now closer than ever before.

On Sept. 12, Cruise Automation, which is owned by General Motors, announced it’s ready to start mass-producing the first production model self-driving car, the Cruise Generation 3.

Cruise has created self-driving vehicles before, but as founder and CEO Kyle Vogt said in a blog post, Generation 3 is the first car that’s not only ready to be mass produced, but also fulfills both the redundancy and safety requirements necessary to operate without a driver.

“This isn’t just a concept design — it has airbags, crumple zones, and comfortable seats,” Vogt wrote in a Medium blog post. “It’s assembled in a high-volume assembly plant capable of producing 100,000’s of vehicles per year, and we’d like to keep that plant busy.”

Software is key

One of the biggest things holding up full-scale production of the Generation 3, and other driverless vehicles, is software. Engineers are working to develop and perfect the type of software systems that will bring these cars onto roads on a massive scale, but that’s no easy task.

As Wired notes, a driverless car’s computer system needs to pull in data from a variety of sensors mounted around the vehicle. The car then has to process that information at a rapid clip, so it can navigate the many unpredictable situations drivers encounter on the roadways, such as kids chasing a bouncing ball into the street or encountering a patch of black ice in the winter. If you think about how quickly a human brain must react to such roadway obstacles, an autonomous vehicle will need the same sorts of sharp, artificial instincts.

Complex systems

Of course, no one knows the complexities of vehicle software systems better than Cruise. At the Generation 3 launch in San Francisco, Vogt recited a list of boxes that need to be checked to make driverless cars a reality.

“You need safety and validation and automotive grade engineering; you need the actual AV software, which is the brain that drives the car; you also need simulation, testing, and validation facilities where you can test fleets, with lots of people to operate them; you need mapping systems, routing, supply and demand balancing or marketplace systems; you need to develop apps, APIs, in-car UX, data storage systems, analysis for all that data; you need activity solutions and then you’ve actually got to operate and maintain these cars once they’re out in the wild; you have operations and cleaning and maintenance and charging and construction, customer support, market operations,” Vogt said, according to Wired. “And then you need high-volume vehicle manufacturing.”

Autonomous potential

When production is ready to start, GM and Cruise are viewing the Generation 3, which resembles the Chevy Bolt, less as a potential car for consumer ownership and more as a business tool for areas like ridesharing (GM and ridesharing service Lyft have agreed on a long-term strategic alliance), according to Car and Driver. One of the main reasons for that strategy is because autonomous vehicle technology is extremely expensive.

In the meantime, the Generation 3s will be shuttling Cruise and GM employees around San Francisco, Vogt wrote on his blog, via an app. While there will still be a human driving the cars, you can imagine that won’t be for very long.

Check out how Jama helps the automotive industry create better products here.

As a child and then an adult during the great age of Sunday morning cartoons, I was especially taken with two shows that depicted the opposite ends of human development: The Flintstones and The Jetsons. The heroes both had spouses, children and pets, but while Fred Flintstone had to travel the streets of Bedrock powering his vehicle with his own two feet, George Jetson whizzed around space in his personal space capsule.

In recent years, technological advancements in the automotive industry have pushed us closer and closer to driving the vehicles of the future, where the modes of transportation in The Jetsons may someday become reality. But with the rapid pace of development in the automotive industry comes a host of problems related to safety, system compliance and consistency, which remind us that as engineers we still need to stay grounded.

Automotive companies such as Tesla (and even tech giants like Google) are leading the charge in developing autonomous vehicles, generating dozens of new headlines with each software rollout or press release. For design teams working on these vehicles, the task of merging complex, ever-changing software with the rigid confines of an automobile’s hardware has become increasingly complicated.

Developing autonomous vehicles presents multiple challenges for engineers and developers. For one thing, it’s a highly uncharted and heavily scrutinized field. With the cost of failure being injury, or even death, automotive manufactures must ensure that any new technology or tool implemented throughout the design process will not result in a catastrophic result. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency recently published its Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, providing a list of 15 areas that organizations wishing to develop an autonomous vehicle must comply with before it can even be considered road-legal.

Standards, such as ISO 26262, are not necessarily new to the automotive industry, but have since become more broadly applicable given the fluid and dynamic state automotive development. ISO 26262 provides a system of steps for managing functional safety and regulating product development on the system, hardware and software levels. The standard provides guidelines and recommendations throughout the development process of an automobile, from conceptual development through decommissioning. During each phase of development, ISO 26262 requires that certain risk levels be placed on a system or component, as well as the overall test process, to ensure safety and system compatibility.

Automotive manufacturers have begun integrating new development tools and technologies in their design processes to further evolve how teams are aligned, ensure they are building the right products and to verify the functional safety of what they design. Product development software has proven itself to be a key tool in predicting single point of failure, while also highlighting the impact of specific changes on the product in the long run. New software platforms have integrated ISO 26262 and other compliance standards and regulations in their own verification and validation kits, preventing mistakes and providing evidence to assist in meeting functional safety standards.

Regulations and standards within the automotive industry are not new things, and the criteria for compliance among developers will only increase as advancements in autonomous vehicle technology increases. While we’re likely decades away from owning the personal spaceships depicted in The Jetsons, the rapid pace of development in the automotive industry makes such a future seem less like fiction. For automotive engineers and developers, it’s important to use modern tools to ensure system compliance between the hardware and software systems in an automobile. Doing so will reduce costs, ensure compliance and reduce the risk to human life as we steer toward the future.

For more on the standards impacting tractability, risk management, validation and verification, read our paper on ISO 26262 & Automotive Electronics Development.


On today’s fast moving road to innovation requirements management can feel like a burdensome, yet necessary evil. For those of you who manage requirements with spreadsheets, word docs and power point, this process can feel even more unwieldy. Possibly worse? Using a heavy-handed tool like DOORS that adds extra overhead and requires additional skillsets for an already complex process. As products get smarter and connected, requirements management will only become more necessary. But it doesn’t need to be evil.

How? One way is by making sure everyone is working from the same, up-to-date information. Doing so lessens the burdens around requirements reviews. You can eliminate the waiting for the necessary stakeholders to provide input, or give approval. Teams can understand change as it happens, and analyze the up- or downstream impact of that change BEFORE change happens.

Why does it matter? The increased burden of regulations and compliance adds additional overhead to the product development process. Especially in the automotive industry where we are seeing rapid growth and leaps in innovation.  Organizations who haven’t had to confront functional safety standards are having to learn regulatory standards, like ISO 26262, on the fly without missing deadlines or features to deliver on time for their customer.

Part of that additional overhead comes from how these teams are managing requirements and tracing validation & verification back to their requirements. Often times teams retroactively trace their data. With a solution like Jama you can pre-build your relationships, so traceability is automated, reducing the manual effort associated with building your traceability, and reducing your regulatory overhead in the process.

Bonus points for using a “fit for purpose” certified solution. A certified solution reduces the manual effort associated with validating your process for ISO 26262 Certification. As AFuzion CEO Vance Hilderman states: “Products labeled ‘safety-critical’ used to be a small niche, but today almost all devices are critical, with many requiring adherence to certification standards…We need to validate and qualify not just the software we build for our client but our development tools as well,” Read more about the Jama Validation and Software Compliance Kit.

In the end, the “old” way of working doesn’t fit the direction of the industry. Legacy tools and manual processes can’t keep up with market demands. You have too much to do to rely on an outdated way of working. If a modern requirements management solution can help you ease regulatory burdens by streamlining traceability, resulting in a more connected way of working that helps you understand the impact of change and can also provide a platform to shorten the requirements review process, isn’t that worth considering?

See Jama in action today! Check out our completely free 30-day Jama trial.


The most advanced cars sold today still require the driver to be aware and ready to take control. But soon, many autos won’t have any driver controls, save for the interface for inputting the destination. Set the target and the car will take care of all of the work. It sounds like science fiction, but Ford has already announced that by 2021 they will be selling fully autonomous cars without a steering wheel or any driver controls.

Describing this future of autonomous vehicles, many have a visceral reaction to the idea of giving up control of their beloved car. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet…there’s no doubt that American’s love their cars. Clearly, a portion of drivers would install square tires before they gave up their steering wheel.

That said, as camera sensors evolve and software algorithms improve, the societal benefits of self driving cars will become widely understood. In the long run, removing humans from the driving equation will increase safety, reduce congestion and improve overall efficiencies.

There’s really no debate whether these self driving cars will be safer than humans. Researchers at Virginia Tech have run the numbers and determined that Google’s fleet of autonomous test vehicles are already today safer than the average driver…and the software folks are just getting started. Robots aren’t distracted, don’t get tired and certainly don’t consume alcohol. You might be thinking that you’re a much better driver than the average Joe, but unless you have the reflexes of a fighter pilot or your last name is Andretti you should get comfortable with the idea that eventually robots will drive more safely than you.

Logical arguments like safety won’t be enough, however, to convince red blooded Americans to take their foot off the gas or their hand off the gear shift. Instead, auto makers will need to provide a more compelling case to get people to cede control of their car to a computer.

The strategy for getting Americans to forget about the steering wheel can be described in one word; Infotainment.

Here’s the scenario…you climb into your 2027 Toyota Camry, and are greeted by a pleasant voice confirming that it’s time to go to work. You let the car know that you want to try a new coffee shop on the way. As you are getting comfortable, the car lets you know that it’s 16 minutes to coffee and 48 minutes to work. At that point the environment shifts to work mode and you’re looking at multiple digital monitors, perhaps even a large projected screen in front of you…all showing your work and productivity data. Instead of a steering wheel you’re presented a keyboard and like that you’ve started the work day. There’s a very real chance that your mobile office will be nicer than the one at work.

Car makers will delight the senses by transforming the car interior into a sanctuary devoted to entertainment or productivity. While a computer takes care of the driving, the car will become a personal cocoon, isolating the rider from outside noise and distractions, providing digital content available on demand.

There’s no argument that many car buyers will continue to demand driver controls. They may let the car drive itself at times, but will want the ability to take control into their own hands. However, as automotive infotainment products evolve and the car interior becomes a beautiful retreat with instant access to a plethora of digital information options many will trade the steering wheel in favor of entertainment, let the computer do the work and in the process redefine the entire driving experience.


There is a global trend toward sharing things, collaborative consumption. Home sharing through AirBnB is now a $2.5 billion business. There are pleasure boat sharing businesses, co-working office spaces, and of course vehicle sharing services.   Consumers are driving the variety and velocity of these changes and putting added pressure on companies to improve their speed-to-market.  Enterprise teams need to collaborate more effectively and coordinate their activities more seamlessly for companies to ride these trends successfully.

Take the automotive industry, which arguably is going through its biggest changes since the introduction of the assembly line.

Changes coming to the automotive industry.

We tend to take the status of private cars as a given, but technology is unleashing important changes in the automotive marketplace. Product-service hybrids like mobility-as-a-service are about to appear on the streets.  According to the Boston Consulting Group, in five years, 35 million people globally will be using ride-sharing services, up from 5.8 million now.  That means 550,000 fewer cars sold each year than normal.  (Portland Press Herald, May 16, 2016)

On the positive side, the accelerating push of the auto market toward mobility-as-a-service is predicted to create up to $1.5 trillion worth of new auto industry revenue in that same time frame, from on-demand mobility and data driven services.  Though vehicle sales may take a hit, actual car usage will increase because people who don’t own cars will begin using them as an extension of the rapid transit system.   Not surprisingly, OEMs are beginning to compensate for vehicle sales losses by investing in car share businesses. This kind of investment can bring new car designs that improve car share operations, fuel consumption, and emissions reduction.

So Daimler has MyTaxi.  Toyota has a strategic arrangement with Uber. General Motors is working with Lyft. Tesla is not to be outdone with their vision of a fleet of fully autonomous MaaS cars all over the globe that can be summoned by a smartphone application.

Another big change is the car-sharing model. The Ford Motor Company is currently testing a car sharing program that helps people rent out cars they purchased from the automaker to prescreened customers, as a way of defraying the cost of vehicle maintenance. The trial is inviting 14,000 new car purchasers in the U.S. and 12,000 in London to sign up for the Peer-2-Peers Car Sharing option in the U.S. or the easyCar Club in London to rent their new vehicles to pre-screened drivers for short-term use.

Ford CEO, Mark Fields, says the financial case for investing in the mobility space is too compelling to ignore.  He points out that global revenue at traditional automakers totals $2.3 trillion a year, while the transportation business, including taxis, buses and car-sharing, is worth $5.4 trillion.” This is why Fields says, “We want to transform, fundamentally, the relationship between an automaker and a customer.”   (Portand Press Herald, May 16, 2016)

A study by McKinsey & Company  last year predicted major changes in the design of cars to begin soon.  Software competence is increasingly becoming one of the most important differentiating factors in the industry, for domain areas including active safety, connectivity, and infotainment.  Adding that as vehicles are further integrated into the “connected world,” OEMs will be forced to participate in the new mobility ecosystems that emerge as a result of technology and consumer trends.

OEMS are also getting more concerned about the overall customer experience they deliver, from the sales process, to the vehicle experience, to customer service, and so on.  They are eager to stay engaged with the customer over the long term.  For instance, the aim of the FordPass mobility program, launched this past April, is to keep contact with the customer by helping with his ongoing mobility needs.  A vehicle sale isn’t the immediate goal, but it may be down the road, no pun intended.  “We are investing in future-proofing,” says Elana Ford, who is the great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford and who led the development of FordPass. (Portland Press Herald, May 16, 2016)  As Ford says, “People spend about 4.5 hours per year in a dealership, but they spend 900 hours per year being mobile.  So how can we have an ongoing dialogue?”

What are the implications?

The marketplace is moving very fast.  OEMs are not accustomed to having to move that quickly.  They are not nimble technology start-ups like Uber.  They operate on medium to long term cycles (e.g., 5+ years to bring on a new car model).  But now to succeed they have to be more agile and efficient. Their customers are not patient, but will flock to the company that can fulfill their needs the fastest.

So OEMs need to learn how to prototype rapidly and to collaborate across functions to get their products to market quickly.  This requires coordination, which is often hard for them.  They also need to comply with company and industry standards, institute faster testing cycles, and incorporate customer feedback into their product strategies.  They need software to streamline and improve workflow processes.  With the right technical tools, they will not only survive these momentous shifts, but be the ultimate winners.

 To learn more about how Jama provides better, faster product definition, change management and functional safety verification for automotive providers, please visit  https://www.jamasoftware.com/solutions/automotive/.