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Volvo Trucks is a global truck manufacturer based in Gothenburg, Sweden, owned by AB Volvo. It is the world's second largest heavy-duty truck brand.Volvo Group was re-organized on January 1, 2012 and as a part of the process, Volvo Trucks ceased to be a separate company and was instead incorporated into Volvo Group Trucks, together with Volvo’s other truck brands.The first Volvo truck rolled off the production lines in 1928 and in 2011 Volvo Trucks employed about 19,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, Volvo manufactures and assembles its trucks in 15 countries. Volvo Trucks produces and sells over 100,000 units annually.Volvo Trucks sister truck brands in the Volvo Group Trucks company include Renault Trucks, Mack Trucks and UD Trucks . Wikipedia.

« Volvo Trucks used SuperTruck learnings to boost efficiency, performance in 2017 powertrains; wave piston, turbocompounding, injection | Main | DOE to offer up to $4.5M for research on methane hydrates » Three emerging and converging factors—connectivity, autonomy and transport-as-a-service—will fundamentally change the automotive industry over the next few decades, according to Mike Abelson, GM’s VP of Strategy and Global Portfolio Planning. These three factors, said Abelson in a panel talk at the 2016 SAE World Congress in Detroit, are changing how the vehicle interacts with the environment; how the user interacts with the vehicle; and the entire business structure around it. The basic DNA of the automotive industry—i.e., the way the vehicle operates and the supporting business structure—has remained more or less the same for the past 100 years. Automakers make most of their money by selling vehicles to individuals for personal transportation. I would ask you to think about the economic efficiency of our transportation system. An economist would make the point to all of us in this industry that an automobile is often-times the second-most valuable asset that a family owns and yet it sits unused 90% of the time. To an economist, that is a clear indication that there is an industry with a lot of potential for change. Sustainability and efficiency will continue to drive the industry, Abelson said. In his overview of the importance of electrification technologies, Abelson was much in alignment with Justin Ward from Toyota, with both of them referencing electrification as a spectrum of capabilities from stop-start to high-end battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles. While he touched on the “very geeky core engineering competencies talked about for number of years” of electrified propulsion and lightweighting, Abelson chose to focus more on the disruptors. Abelson noted that through OnStar, GM has been working with connectivity for some 20 years. The company now has 2.8 million vehicles on the road with 4G LTE connectivity. Last year, GM recorded some 133 million customer-OnStar interactions (100 million in North America, 33 million in China, 83,000 in Europe). More telling, however, is the growth: the 2015 data represented a doubling from 2014, which in turn represented a doubling from 2013. Here’s the sort of explosive growth that you hear talked about in the software industry, but not so much in our industry. I take this as a real indicator that this idea of connectivity, of giving customers connectivity to their vehicles but then going forward giving the vehicle connectivity to the wider Internet of Things is an important trend and one that will change how cars interact with their environment. Ridesharing is another disruptor. There are a lot of advantages to ridesharing, especially in urban areas, Abelson said, noting that the growth there has been explosive as well. Lyft in the US—in which GM recently made a $500-million investment (earlier post)—is up to 85 million rides in 2015. That pales in comparison to China’s DiDi, which supported 1.5 billion rides in 2015. Newcomer Ola in India is already up to 9 million rides, Abelson said. In September 2015, Lyft and DiDi announced a strategic partnership to enable Lyft users to use their Lyft app when they travel to China and Didi users to use their app when they travel to the US. DiDi also made a $100-million investment in Lyft. I emphasize that ridesharing is not going to replace personal vehicle ownership anytime soon. But it is sort of the point of the spear on the idea of transportation as a service and these changing business models. We think that the combination of these changing business models and some of these other technologies make for some very interesting opportunities going forward.

Continental Automotive Systems said Thursday that it supplied possibly faulty air bag controls to 5 million cars manufactured over a five-year period across the globe, prompting a recall of affected vehicles. Continental Automotive, a Continental AG unit, told the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the potentially malfunctioning air bags are fitted in vehicles created by Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, Volvo Trucks North America and Mazda Motor Corp. These air bag units, produced from 2006 to 2010, may not deploy in a crash or may deploy by accident with no warning. Mary Arraf, a spokeswoman for Continental, said the recall affects 1.5 million to 2 million cars in the United States. Fiat Chrysler said that 112,000 of its vehicles in the United States are covered by the recall, ranging from the 2009 Dodge Journey, 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country and the 2009 Volkswagen Routan, which it assembled for Volkswagen. So far, it has already documented 25 cases of accidental air bag deployments. Honda said that it is recalling 341,000 Accord models made from 2008 to 2010 to replace control units associated with the defective Continental air bag systems. At the moment, Honda has already recorded two confirmed injuries linked to this defect. Furthermore, it has noted 1,575 warranty claims and 83 field reports. It also added that 74 injury accusations in connection with air bags that failed to deploy have yet to be verified. Honda said, however, that replacement parts are presently scarce and can only be requested for cars with air bag issues and with vehicle damage. It went on to say that these parts aren't sufficient for all cars until autumn. Meanwhile, an analyst thinks that the Continental air bag recall can't be compared to the Takata air bag recall, mainly because fewer vehicles are impacted by Continental's recall. "I would classify this as a more traditional recall," said Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Rebecca Lindland. "I think comparisons [to Takata] are a little unfair to Continental." Right now, 14 automakers have recalled around 25 million cars because of the defective Takata air bags. These air bags are said to rupture and produce possibly lethal metal pieces. Ten deaths and 100 injuries have been reported so far as a result of the faulty Takata air bags.

« Volvo Trucks unveils new powertrains featuring increased power and 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency | Main | Sadoway and MIT team demonstrate calcium-metal-based liquid metal battery » Volkswagen Group IT uses agile workstyles and intensive cooperation with universities, technology partners and Volkswagen Group departments to develop digital solutions. At the new Volkswagen Digital:Lab in Berlin, the Group is working on this in a strategic partnership with software developer Pivotal. IT experts from Volkswagen and Pivotal are jointly developing innovative software and mobility solutions for networked customers together with specialists from Technical Development and Sales. “In our Digital:Lab we are working on a digital ecosystem that offers our customers a new user experience, new mobility services and a raft of networked vehicle services”, Volkswagen Group CIO Dr. Martin Hofmann said. “We are creating completely new products for our customers, and are therefore turning Volkswagen from a car manufacturer into a mobility provider.” Hofmann commented that at the same time Volkswagen was establishing new workstyles which are being further developed. Our IT experts in our labs in Berlin and Munich work the Silicon Valley way, we have brought the Valley to Volkswagen. Pivotal is supporting our experts with over 20 experts from San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado, and is training them in new software development methods. Our aim is to firmly anchor these skills and workstyles in the Group and in Germany. In the medium term, there will be more than 600 programmers, data scientists, design thinking experts and cloud architects working in our labs in Berlin, Munich and San Francisco. Volkswagen and Pivotal are focusing on innovative workstyles for software development. These are based on agile programming techniques such as extreme programming. Extreme programming stresses customer satisfaction, enabling software developers to developers to respond to changing customer requirements, even late in the life cycle. Extreme Programming improves a software project in five essential ways; communication, simplicity, feedback, respect, and courage. Extreme Programmers constantly communicate with their customers and fellow programmers. They keep their design simple and clean. They get feedback by testing their software starting on day one. They deliver the system to the customers as early as possible and implement changes as suggested. Every small success deepens their respect for the unique contributions of each and every team member. With this foundation Extreme Programmers are able to courageously respond to changing requirements and technology. For example, software developers work systematically in changing pairs with daily stand-up meetings, regular weekly training sessions and continuous in-team optimization. This partnership fosters exchange and creativity within the teams, reduces the error rate, shortens development processes and allows swifter adjustment in the event of short-term changes in customer wishes. The Digital:Lab in Berlin is the Volkswagen Group’s advanced software developer. The lab supports projects that go beyond the boundaries of Volkswagen’s existing core business and are designed to open up new business opportunities. The Digital:Lab is developing a digital mobility platform where external partners can dock on to jointly develop software solutions. The lab is also working on a new vehicle control center which collects data on weather, surroundings and traffic from networked vehicles and uses this data to generate early hazard warnings. The Digital:Lab’s first software projects include digital sales support for dealers and a data hub for digital products.

Volvo Trucks | Date: 2013-05-29

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« Toyota Motor Europe hybrid sales up 38% in first quarter; 30% hybrid mix | Main | Volvo Trucks used SuperTruck learnings to boost efficiency, performance in 2017 powertrains; wave piston, turbocompounding, injection » Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BAIC BJEV), a subsidiary of BAIC, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Dresden University of Technology (TUD) to create the Sino-German Automotive Light Weighting Technology Joint R&D Center. The two also entered into a letter of intent on the establishment of Sino-German Automotive Light Weighting Technology Engineering Center Co., Ltd. TUD Distinguished Senior Professor Werner Hufenbach was named chief scientist in lightweight technology for BAIC BJEV. The Sino-German Light Weighting R&D Center will become the company’s fifth overseas R&D center. BAIC BJEV has been building its global R&D network in its core areas, i.e. electric and smart technologies, by establishing oversea R&D centers in Silicon Valley, USA; Aachen, Germany; Detroit, USA; and Barcelona, Spain. (Earlier post.) Under the new agreement, the two sides will jointly develop finished cars made of lightweight multi-materials, using new lightweight design and material application techniques. The key projects of their cooperation will employ integrated development technologies to build lightweight pure electric cars, based on a light-weighting platform named MMSF (Multi-Material Space Frame). Using the carbon and aluminum MMSF bodies and non-metal panels, body weight will be reduced by up to 45%. The first production car model based on the platform will be unveiled at Auto China 2016 in April. The MMSF platform features technical concepts similar to those of InEco, an ultra-light pure electric car made of multi-materials designed by Professor Hufenbach. TUD and Professor Hufenbach’s team, as long-term partners of automakers as BMW, VW, and Porsche, and aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce, are global leaders in the light-weighting segment. The team has specialized test validation centers for aviation and automotive composite materials, and also has IP in light-weight materials, and their construction and manufacturing. BAIC BJEV has already progressed with the light-weighting of carbon, aluminum and high-strength steel materials as well as construction, in addition to the foundation it has laid for core light-weighting technologies. Pure electric cars that the company introduced, including the EV200 (A0 Class) and the EU260 (A Class), have weight advantages over their competitors. A pure electric supercar created by the company, which will be showcased in Auto China 2016, will make BAIC BJEV the first complete new energy automobile manufacturer in China that owns the techniques for aluminum alloy body-on-frame and auto body panels made of composite materials. At the signing ceremony, Wan Gang, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) and Minister of Science and Technology of China noted that electric, smart, and lightweight cars represent the three main directions to future of automobiles. He expressed his hope that the cooperation between BAIC BJEV and TUD will establish benchmarks for the industry. The minister also stressed that Sino-German cooperation in light-weighting should be future-oriented, and academic institutions and enterprises of the two countries go beyond joint production to embrace joint innovation, make good use of their resources, and cultivate young professionals.

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