Zenuity open close, Volvo automatic driving R & D transformation

Posted 2021-04-09 00:00:00 +0000 UTC

On April 3, 2020, zenuity, the developer of intelligent driving software, announced the split through official channels. After three years of joint venture between Volvo and top tier 1 Autoliv, they chose to break up. Officials say this is to maximize zenity's R & D potential. According to the plan, more than 700 employees in the world will be divided into two parts: (1) zenuity's business and personnel in Munich, Germany and Detroit, the United States will be transferred to veoneer, who will focus on the development and commercialization of ADAS system and integrate it into the platform of veniner. Veniner's predecessor is Autoliv's automotive electronics business department, which went public after the spin off in 2018. (2) Zenuity's (ads) development business, operations and personnel in Gothenburg, Sweden and Shanghai, China will be transferred to an independent new Volvo company that specializes in the development and commercialization of high-level autonomous driving software. In addition, zenuity has developed a unified software platform for ADAS and ads system, which will become the basis for subsequent research and development of new companies under veniner and Volvo. After the spin off, Volvo and veniner have got the technology and resources they want, and will continue to promote their development strategies in the field of intelligent driving. We can't judge whether this is a failed cooperation or a successful breakup. But we can be sure that Volvo and its supplier, veniner, have disagreed on the development strategy of intelligent driving, Volvo continues to adhere to its own high-level automatic driving development, while veniner focuses more on the auxiliary driving market. Some analysts believe that the split of zenity is likely to be related to the group's plan to restructure Volvo. Geely mentioned in February that the purpose of promoting Geely and Volvo's restructuring is "to achieve the synergy of cost structure and new technology development to meet future challenges". Volvo took zenity's high-level R & D business of automatic driving and set up a new company, which just complemented Geely's own short board in the field of automatic driving research and development (Geely's previous research and development focused on auxiliary driving), and could form R & D cooperation. There is also a more direct relationship that Geely has decided to select zenity as its preferred supplier of auxiliary and automatic driving software in 2019. Geely has indirectly owned zenity's high-level R & D area of automatic driving through Volvo, which complements the business area of intelligent driving. According to a batch of product landing plans released by veniner in March this year before the split, Geely Holding's polestar 2 will be equipped with zenity's software system to support traffic congestion assistance driving, Lane center keeping and other functions. In fact, zenity, a joint venture with Autoliv, is only one part of Volvo's 15 years of research and development of intelligent driving technology. In 2016, the joint development mode of auto driving represented by zenuity's car enterprises + tier one suppliers was rare in the industry. At that time, Volvo provided intellectual property and engineering talents to zenity, while Autoliv provided about 126 million US dollars and some intellectual property. The two companies have a clear vision of zenity's future: the product zenity developed is "general software for automatic driving", and they do not make hardware systems. Of course, zenuity can also recommend the corresponding sensor hardware for OEMs if there is a demand from the car enterprises, which will be supplied by Autoliv. When zenity was founded in 2016, Volvo sent Dennis nobelius, then general manager of Volvo Group in Switzerland and vice president of 90 series product projects, as CEO of the new company. In addition, Erik coelingh, who previously led the well-known auto driving test project drive me at Volvo, was also assigned to zenuity as vice president and technical advisor. As can be seen from this series of actions, Volvo's expectation for zenity is very high. But over the past three years, many plans of the joint venture have not made significant progress, which also reflects that Volvo's road of self driving is not so smooth. Time goes back to 2005. At that time, the global car companies were far less enthusiastic about intelligent driving than they are today. They had not yet started to build a team of unmanned cars, nor had Volvo been acquired by Geely. But at that time, Volvo had already set up an automatic driving project team. In terms of the development strategy of automatic driving, Volvo initially didn't want to take off the steering wheel and accelerator pedal "one size fits all", but paid more attention to the consumers themselves, so that they can choose whether to drive manually or automatically, and have the right to drive or not. In 2012, Volvo participated in the European environmental road safety queue driving project, which studied the feasibility of queuing driving on the highway. During the test, a Volvo truck operated by the driver is used as the first vehicle, and three Volvo passenger cars (S60, V60 and XC60 respectively) automatically follow behind. The driving speed of the vehicle does not exceed 90km / h, and the distance between vehicles does not exceed 4m. In order to complete this test, Volvo has added cameras, millimeter wave radar and laser radar sensors to its passenger cars, so the vehicles have self-adaptive cruise, lane keeping, parking aid and other automatic driving functions. With the experience of all kinds of test projects, Volvo has gradually clarified the research and development direction of its automatic driving, and embarked on a research and development road of "two lines simultaneously" for auxiliary driving and high-level automatic driving. Among them, the achievements of the auxiliary driving route are represented by the pilot assist system first installed on the new Volvo XC90 in 2014, while the R & D route of high-level automatic driving is represented by the drive me test project launched by Volvo in December 2013. Let's start with the pilot assist system. The new generation of Volvo XC90 was unveiled in Sweden in August 2014. In September, the world's first limited edition 1927 new XC90 opened the booking on the electronic business platform, and Robin Li and Liu Chuanzhi became quasi owners. As the first new car after Geely's acquisition of Volvo, the first car under the spa framework, and the pilot assist driving system on its first launch, XC90 attracted a lot of attention at that time. The first generation pilot assist system allows the user to turn on within 50 km / h, and the system will take over the steering wheel and brake system to keep the vehicle in the middle of the lane. When the front vehicle deceleration is detected, the vehicle will also slow down and follow until it stops. In the case of traffic congestion, pilot assist system can automatically control the acceleration, deceleration and braking of the vehicle to reduce the operating pressure of the driver. In 2016, Volvo launched the second generation pilot assist system, which became the standard configuration of the new S90 model. This generation of pilot assist has realized the "TJA + ICA (integrated Cruise)" function, and the upper speed limit has also been increased to 130 km / h. Its practicability and application range have been expanded a lot - especially on highways: just press the button in the middle of the left side of the steering wheel, and the green indicator light in the lower left corner of the instrument cluster will be on to enter the automatic driving state. For safety reasons, pilot assist system only allows the driver to leave the steering wheel for 10 seconds. If this prompt lasts for 5-10 seconds, and the steering wheel still does not sense the pressure of the hand grip, it will prompt to remove the automatic driving state. Volvo's pilot assist system is similar in function to the propilot system and the super cruise system. But the difference is that Volvo realized the mass production of this system in 2014. Besides pilot assist system, another route of Volvo is high-level automatic driving. As early as December 2013, Volvo announced the launch of the automatic driving test plan, Drive Me, to test 100 autopilot vehicles on the typical commuter road in the urban area of Goteborg, Sweden and around 50 kilometers. These vehicles will be delivered to the voluntary families in Goteborg for daily use. Volvo named its own autopilot system Auto Pilot. The system can only run in the limited road section. When the vehicle drives to the designated road section according to the navigation, auto pilot will enter the operable state. The user only needs to press and hold the paddles on both sides of the steering wheel with both hands for a short period of time, and the vehicle will press to enter the automatic driving state. There will be a prompt on the right side of the vehicle dashboard for the remaining operation time of auto pilot, that is to say, during this period of time, users can separate from the driving of the vehicle to do other things. Volvo's autonomous vehicle is equipped with a single line laser radar, 7 millimeter wave radars, 5 cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors, as well as GPS devices and computing units. At the same time, each executive system of the vehicle has multiple redundancy. In 2015, the drive me project also came to Beijing. Volvo invited a group of people from the science and technology circle to have a test drive experience, including Wang Xing, founder of meituan. At that time, drive me's vehicles could realize adaptive cruise, full-automatic parking, pedestrian anti-collision, fatigue monitoring and other functions. On December 12, 2017, the drive me project with an investment of SEK 500 million finally ushered in phased progress. Volvo officially delivered two XC90 vehicles to the Heins and simonovskies from Gothenburg, which officially opened the world's first real-life automatic driving test project of drive me. The two voluntary families will test Volvo's autopilot on the public road in Goteborg, Sweden. Volvo said at the time: at the beginning of 2018, three more families will join in; in the next four years, a total of 100 people are expected to participate in the project. Volvo has another very familiar cooperation in the field of high-level automatic driving, that is, Volvo and Uber, the "old guys". The two companies first formed a partnership in August 18, 2016 to jointly develop the next generation of self driving cars and technologies. Specifically, Volvo and Uber will launch a joint project to jointly develop new basic models. This model will not only cover the latest automatic driving technology, but also support upgrading, including the development of vehicles with full automatic driving function. The basic model will be produced by Volvo cars and will be purchased by Uber. The two companies will invest a total of $300 million in the project. In November 2017, the cooperation between Volvo and Uber will be further deepened. The former will sell tens of thousands of basic models to the latter between 2019 and 2021 to develop the latest automatic driving technology. Based on Volvo XC90, this basic model is equipped with Volvo's most advanced safety, redundancy configuration and core automatic driving technology, on which Uber will carry its independently developed technology. Later, Volvo and Uber jointly developed several basic models of automatic driving. The important functions of these basic models include: multiple redundant settings for steering and braking functions, as well as standby power supply. When any main system fails for some reason, redundancy setting will immediately take measures to make the vehicle stop running safely. In June 2019, Volvo and Uber launched another self driving prototype based on XC90. Volvo also plans to launch its highly automated driving vehicle based on the next generation of scalable module architecture (SPA 2) in early 2020s, which can be used in designated geographic areas such as expressways and loops.

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