Automotive Grade Linux is hitting the road

Ken-ichi Murata of Toyota, and Daimler’s Thomas Wurdig at the AGL Summit in Tokyo (c)Bertel Schmitt

More than 1,000 nerds, geeks, and hackers are convening in Tokyo this week to decide on the future of the automobile. Word got around that the car’s future is digital, and the conventioneers, meeting at the Tokyo Conference Center Ariake, are involved in writing your car’s operating system, called Automotive Grade Linux, or AGL.

Linux is what powers the website you are reading, Linux makes your phone work if you are using an Android device. A remote cousin of Linux drives your iPhone. If it is up to the conventioneers, Linux will be the standard operating system of future cars. [Continue Reading]

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance develops new car platform for emerging markets

Peyman Kargar in Yokohama (c) Bertel Schmitt

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is developing a new platform at its Chennai, India, engineering center, a Nissan senior executive disclosed today in Yokohama Japan. In presenting his mid-term plan for the region, Peyman Kargar, responsible for Nissan’s Africa Middle East and India region, said “what’s  under development now is a little higher than the current platform we are using for Redi Go and Kwid.” Kargar refused  to “disclose more at the moment,”  and Nissan spokespeople likewise maintained cover.

Renault’s very successful $4,000 Kwid, and its Datsun cousin Redi-Go, are built upon the Alliance’s CMF-A common modular family architecture. (See here for an article I wrote years ago about the platform.)

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Nissan says no to Trump’s indecent fuel efficiency proposal

Kawaguchi and McLain

“We are not going to relax,” said Nissan’s Chief Sustainability Officer Hitoshi Kawaguchi, when Wall Street Journal’s Tokyo reporter Sean McLain asked him today in Yokohama whether Trump’s fuel efficiency rollback would impact Nissan’s plans to reduce consumption and hence emissions of its cars by 40% until 2022. [Continue Reading]

Mitsubishi Electric leaves us in the dark on its super-secret headlight-sensor

Operating in the dark – (c) Bertel Schmitt

Today at Mitsubishi Electric’s Tokyo HQ, we were given a preview of what the company will show at the upcoming Asia CES in Shanghai. We’ve seen an LED headlight that adapts to what is in front of us. While this may not sound revolutionary, hidden in the gadget that might escape Mitsubishi’s labs in a few years is something that might help autonomous drive solve a big conundrum.   [Continue Reading]

Toyota prepares for the worst

Akio Toyoda, and some samurai – (c) Bertel Schmitt

If you read the press reports of Toyota’s annual results conference today, you will think all is peachy. After all, “Toyota Motor Corp. reported Wednesday that its quarterly profit rose 21 percent,” wrote the Detroit News. On top of that, Toyota submitted an “upbeat profit forecast,” said Bloomberg. The Toyota share was up strong at the news. I, however, walked out of the Tokyo meeting room given the impression that Toyota fears the sky might fall.

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Tesla too late as Volkswagen and Toyota join their truck forces

Shimo and Renschler – (c) Bertel Schmitt

Should you be among the people highly excited about Tesla’s prospects with heavy trucks, count yourself lucky that you weren’t in the ballroom of Tokyo’s Grand Prince Hotel this afternoon. Would you have been, you went home with all hopes abandoned.  In said ballroom, two global players in the heavy truck business announced that they would join hands, because doing it alone is fraught with dangers.  Unsaid, but quickly evident: Newcomers, don’t even try.  Also, the allied bus and truck makers, will not bet on either battery electric or fuel cell. They will do both. [Continue Reading]

In a search for untapped car markets, Nissan is back in Pakistan.

1976 Datsun 120y, for sale near Islamabad, $1,500 ask

Nissan is entering Pakistan’s car market – again.  The company assembled cars in the country until the middle of the past decade. Nissan withdrew when carmageddon sent Pakistan’s auto business into a tailspin. Now, Nissan is back.

Nissan reactivated its old Pakistan partner Ghandhara Nissan Ltd, and it will start assembling Datsun-branded cars within the 2019 fiscal, Nissan said today. [Continue Reading]

Toyota: News of the death of the ICE have been greatly exaggerated

It’s not Elvis. It’s a new ICE engine by Toyota. There will be more. (c) Bertel Schmitt

I came home tonight, and Frau Schmitto-san, ever the caring wife, asked: “How was your day?”
“I was at Toyota, they launched a completely new line of gasoline engines, transmissions, drivelines.”

Frau Schmitto-san was perplexed: „They still make those?”

This about sums up the level of EV hype, and its utter disconnection from the truth. The short trip to Toyota was a journey back to reality. [Continue Reading]