Audi & Qualcomm to Deploy Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything Technology on Virginia Roadways That Will Alert Drivers When Workers Are Present

A new pilot project in Virginia aims to make the state's roads safer using wireless communications technology known as "cellular vehicle-to-everything" (C-V2X), which allows vehicles to communicate with infrastructure, such as traffic signals, road signs as well as other nearby vehicles.

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Electric Vehicles Jolt into Trash Pickup

Republic Services orders 2,500 electric refuse trucks from Nikola (Update)

Bookings for Tre cabover model electric chassis could reach 5,000 units

Editor’s Note:Updates throughout with comments from virtual press conference

Republic Services is ordering a record 2,500 Nikola Tre-based battery-electric truck garbage trucks, generating up to $2 billion in revenue for the electric truck startup.

The order could expand to up to 5,000 trucks, Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA) said. The news sent company shares soaring. They closed Monday at $44.81 up 22.03%.
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Is this Last Mile for the Million-Mile Battery?

Announcements from Tesla and CATL show that a long-lived, cobalt-free and competitively price EV and grid/home batteries may finally have arrived.

John Blyler Jul 06, 2020

The much discussed 1 million-mile (1.6 million kilometers) battery may now be a reality. As the name suggests, these batteries would last for 1 million miles without breaking down. Tesla, along with China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), have announced such a battery that not only lasts longer but also costs less than $100/kWh and uses cobalt-free materials. Why are these two features important?

It has long been a metric for the success of electronic vehicles (EV) that their battery energy density be on parity with traditional gasoline-powered engines. Such a condition would allow EVs to compete with gasoline vehicles on both weight and range – especially the latter. This means that, if gasoline is 100 times more energy-dense than a battery, that a vehicle would need 100 lbs of battery to go as far as 1-lb of gasoline.

But past studies by the Argonne National Labs have shown that system efficiency is another key consideration when comparing EV and gasoline energy densities. The research lab noted that electric powertrains are far more efficient than powertrains powered by gasoline. In many cases, less than 20% of the energy contained in a gallon of gas actually gets converted to forward motion. After that power has been transmitted through a transmission and differential to the wheels, it would have suffered significantly more mechanical losses. By contrast, an electric powertrain can be more than 90% efficient. This would suggest that the energy density of an EV battery could be far less than equivalent to a gasoline-powered vehicle and still come out ahead.

Let’s go back to the Tesla-CATL announcement of a 1 million mile, $100/kWh battery. This is a significant improvement in an accelerated trend in battery improvements. Last December 2019, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released the results of its 2019 Battery Price Survey, finding that industry-weighted average battery pack prices fell to $156 per kWh. This drop represented a 13% decrease over the 2018 average ($180/kWh, when adjusted for inflation), and BNEF foresees cost reductions continuing, with $100/kWh potentially being reached by 2023. But it would now appear that the $100/kWh battery may already be here in 2020!

Bloomberg NEF energy density trends. (Image Source: BNEF Energy Density)


There is another benefit to these long-lived batteries especially for the Tesla company. Even after a full life inside a Tesla EV, which have an average life of 200,000 miles, the battery can hypothetically be resold or recycled for use on a Tesla battery farm or home (Powerwall) system. Such reuse potentially means that EV companies can lease the batteries to car owners and bring down the costs of ownership to be on par with traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Lastly, let’s look at the importance of making EV batteries free from cobalt materials. Most of today’s EVs run on lithium-ion batteries made with heavy metals like cobalt, which are in limited supply and require less than ideal mining conditions. Further, cobalt batteries tend to catch on fire.

The move to cobalt-free batteries has been the focus of many research firms. For example, the IBM Research Battery Lab has recently developed a new battery built without heavy metals. It's made, instead, with materials that can be extracted from seawater. According to IBM, the new design could outperform current lithium-ion batteries in cost, charging time (less than five minutes to reach an 80 percent charge), power density and energy efficiency. The battery is also less flammable, and it could be used in aircraft, EVs and smart energy grids.

Returning to the earlier announcement, CATL said it is ready to begin manufacturing a cobalt-free battery that will last for 16 years and power an EV for 2 million kilometers (1.24 million miles). Naturally, other companies have been pursuing cobalt-free batteries. For example, the battery unit of Great Wall Motors China – known as SVOLT – recently announced that their new cobalt-free battery is guaranteed to work for 15 years or up to 1.2 million kilometers, close to a million miles.

At least one senior analysist in the energy sector – Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Principal at NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC - is not surprised about the CATL announcement. When asked by Design News, he noted that the company had a large number of scientists with advanced degrees in materials science that have been focused on advanced battery technologies.

“Either way, this announcement is very good news for the industry and for the grid,” explained Kelly-Detwiler. “All of those batteries are likely to outlast the car and need a second home - literally!”

With all of these benefits, the cobalt-free, 1 million-mile, cost competitive EV and potentially reusable EV batteries should usher in a new era for energy-based technology and markets. Perhaps this is one reason why several major oil companies are investing heavily in renewable energies such as wind and solar, which will only increase the need for long-lasting and cheaper energy storage devices like batteries.

Source: 7/15/2020

2G, Not 5G, Best Bet to Accelerate Driverless Tech

Making our existing cars more ‘clever’ could be a better way of getting autonomous cars safely on our streets rather than relying on 5G connectivity.

That’s the view of Dr Ramsey Faragher founder and CEO of FocalPoint and a Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge, who argues a 2G connection is ample when the car’s sensor arrays are sophisticated enough. Speaking exclusively to TU-Automotive, Faragher claimed cheap software can bridge the gap to truly smart automated transport rather than adding more expensive hardware.

He said the burden on bandwidth is driven by an increase in connected cars that is on a steep upward curve. Faragher said: “The two key points are that there are going to be a lot more connected vehicles around that will require the bandwidth and we will need 5G to achieve that yet this could give us more or a problem than we have at the moment in terms of range and mass.

“One of the solutions could be that we stop relying on the connectivity and make the vehicles so ‘clever’ that they barely need any communication with the rest of the world to function well. Then it will rely on how well their on-board sensors work and how clever is the programming at spotting any errors that are coming into those sensors.”

His own company claims a breakthrough in vehicle positioning using algorithms embedded in a vehicle’s positioning receivers. He explained: “This software application is a very powerful technology and it is also the cheapest part of the senor array on that autonomous vehicle. We are hoping to make the GPS chip much more clever by adding software to it in order to not having to add expensive hardware to the car like more cameras, radar or LiDAR. For autonomous vehicles to be truly here and ubiquitous they need to be economically viable and at the moment carmakers are putting more expensive hardware on the car which is not going to be viable in the long-term.”

He claims his solution requires no major infrastructure spending as would be the case with rolling out enough 5G transmitters to ensure a vehicle knows exactly where it is particularly in the GPS canyons found in most of our high-rise cities. “It’s not going to be viable to have an autonomous vehicle to be free to roam the whole of the UK but need to be within a 100-meters or so of a 5G connection,” said Faragher. “The solution is to have very clever software on-board the vehicle using low bandwidth, long-range communications to carry simple messages.”

He added that existing connectivity should be used to accelerate the advance of autonomous driving. “If you look at eCall for example when dealing with an accident where the emergency services have to be called, that connection uses a very low band width using a tradition 2G phone call. The other end of the spectrum, people are talking about streaming live video between vehicles so that the vehicle behind another one can see what’s in front of it.

“All these very bold views about how 5G could be used to share huge amounts of data, whereas the realistic solution is that the cars themselves are internally very clever and that the amount of connectivity they require is only low bandwidth, long-range stuff. The 2G connections that you and I have used for a long time with phone calls and text messages are sufficient.”

He explained that using a software application on a self-driving vehicle will solve the issue of many motorists face when losing GPS connections while driving among inner city skyscrapers. Faragher explained how it could work: “The biggest problem you have with GPS in cities is that, often, you are picking up a reflected version of the signal from the satellite.

“So, there is one very simple but very important piece of maths that goes on inside the receiver and that maths is based on the premise that the signal has travelled in a straight line from the satellite. However, if the signal bounces [off tall city tower blocks, for example] that maths can’t give you the right answer anymore and you get the wrong GPS position areas in cities.

“If you have very tall buildings, the signal can bounce 100-meters (330-feet) before it gets to the car. Our technology can, for the first time, allow the receiver to determine for itself which direction the signal actually arrived from. Instead of very expensive antennae, we have software solution that calculates if the signal is coming from the direction it should be or not. This allows us to do two things: firstly, we can discard the measurements coming from the wrong direction and just use the subset of data we determine to be line-of-sight to give us a more honest positioning.”

The really clever part is when the data is matched against a 3D high definition map of the city. Faragher continued: “Secondly, we can use the knowledge that signals are coming from different directions and that can be useful. Such as, if you have a 3D map of the city you can say this signal from satellite No. 4 is coming from a particular direction that it shouldn’t be which means there is probably a building in the way. So you can start to match where you might be in the street based on where reflected signals are coming from, where signals have been blocked completely and where signals are getting a mixture of true line-of-sight and reflected ones.”

He pointed out the process, described as either shadow-mapping or 3D map-aiding, is currently being explored by the ride-hail giant Uber which has said it is trying to implement these sort of concepts. Faragher did admit to get the most from the software, the process will depend on an on-going growth in 3D mapping databases being available to the connected car.

He said: “Accessing that second stage will involve some key entities such as Google with its rich set of databases for this. However, it does solve the connectivity issue because you won’t have to update the vehicle all the time but just now and again with the latest map databases. 5G is not critical for a self-driving car but some people may be leaning on it for their own particular reasons.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Source:   4/6/2020

Crown Castle expects ramp in small cells in backend of 2020

Crown Castle reported its fourth quarter 2019 earnings this week, and analysts were frustrated trying to decipher the company’s restatement of its financials. But, bottom line, analysts found its small cells and tower businesses should increase over the year now that the T-Mobile and Sprint merger has solidified.

On its earnings call, Crown Castle CEO Jay Brown said uncertainty around the outcome of the pending merger between T-Mobile and Sprint caused a decrease in activity during late 2019 and early 2020. “However, we believe this slowdown will ultimately prove temporary and short-lived as we anticipate a significant increase in industry activity in second half of this year as clarity around the merger drives a ramp in 5G investments,” said Brown, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche noted that of the three public tower companies, Crown Castle was the only one that included accelerated leasing contribution in its 2020 outlook. “With a large macro portfolio and 50% share in the small cell space, we believe CCI’s infrastructure will continue to benefit from 4G and future 5G spend,” wrote Fritzsche.

Cowen analysts led by Colby Synesael said Crown Castle’s updated guidance now implies 2020 tower organic growth of about 6%, while implied organic growth for small cells remains mid-teens and fiber remains about 3%. “However, management did note that it expects its performance to be more back-end loaded, particularly for its services business, due to the drop-off in activity, which the company began to see in 4Q19 related to the pending T-Mobile/Sprint deal,” wrote Synesael.

But Crown Castle's Brown bragged that 2019 represented the highest level of tower leasing activity for the company in more than a decade. He said the company deployed about 10,000 small cell nodes in 2019. “We expect to deploy another 10,000 small cell nodes this year as we continue to respond to the significant increase in demand from our customers while, at the same time, navigating ongoing hurdles that remain challenging with many municipalities and utilities,” said Brown. “We finished 2019 with more than 40,000 small cells on air and another approximately 30,000 in our construction pipeline.”

MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said Crown Castle has benefitted from an uptick in tower leasing over the past couple of years. “Like its peers, the company experienced a slowdown in leasing in Q4 2019 related to T-Mobile and Sprint pulling back as they waited for a resolution to their proposed merger,” wrote Moffett.

Moffett also said Crown Castle’s tower growth guidance puts it in the same zone as American Tower’s and SBA’s. “Still, the bottom line is that Q4 results were soft, in large part due to a known factor (the T-Mobile pause and its knock-on effects to leasing and services), and the 2020 outlook remained unchanged on an apples-to-apples basis.”


Source:    3/4/2020

Navistar Defense buys West Point Assembly Plant

By DENNIS SEID / Daily Journal

Navistar Defense on Monday said it had acquired its assembly plant in West Point for an undisclosed amount. The company has leased the facility from Babcock and Wilcox since 2006.

“The purchase of the assembly plant is a part of our strategic plan to grow our business,” said Ted Wright, Navistar Defense chief executive officer. “With the hard work of the local workforce, Navistar Defense has manufactured tens of thousands of vehicles at this facility since 2006. This acquisition shows our commitment to the West Point community and to Mississippi.”

The West Point Assembly Plant has been Navistar Defense’s primary manufacturing site since 2006. The company calls the plant its hub for the manufacture of it line of military vehicles, which are sold worldwide. The plant is located on 161 acres and has 562,000 square feet of manufacturing, storage and office space comprised of five multi-purpose, moving assembly lines.

“This facility has the ability to produce armored and unarmored tactical vehicles from the ground up,” said Wright. “Beyond that, the plant’s large capacity offers the potential to manufacture a variety of products in addition to our core product lines.”

In addition to assembly tooling and equipment, the plant has high-volume chemical agent resistant coating painting, certified welding and technical automotive capabilities.

“West Point is pleased that Navistar Defense has made a long term, permanent commitment to our community,” said West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson. “We look forward to working with Navistar Defense for the good of our city, state and nation.”

Navistar Defense in December was awarded a $24.5 million contract to provide medium tactical vehicles to foreign military sales customers worldwide, except for Iraq.

Work will be done in West Point, with deliveries starting in 180 days after receipt of each delivery order.

The three-year requirements contract, awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, is comprised of 6X6 general transport trucks and 6X6 wreckers, along with spare parts and technical data for both variants.

Navistar has been contracted to provide MTV variants to Iraq since 2017.

Source: 1/15/2020

Navistar Launches New Business For Electrification

Navistar's NEXT eMobility Solutions to develop electric trucks and school buses.

Navistar announced recently a new business unit - NEXT eMobility Solutions - envisioned for customized electrification solutions (trucks and school buses).

The plan is to introduce on the market thefirst EVs next year:

  • from late 2020 electric school buses (IC Bus)
  • from early 2021 medium-duty electric trucks (International Truck)

"NEXT eMobility Solutions is dedicating a world-class, lean engineering team to developing the best products in the electric vehicle space, using a unique consultative philosophy that embraces the full range of customers' needs.

Vehicles developed by NEXT will be offered under the International Truck and IC Bus nameplates and will be sold and supported by International Truck and IC Bus dealers, respectively."

Persio Lisboa, Navistar executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer said:

"Companies interested in operating electric trucks have more questions than answers; they are looking for a partner who also brings clarity. NEXT combines the technical expertise required to develop leading electric vehicles with the industry experience to deliver custom solutions that go beyond the vehicle."

"NEXT will combine the lean and agile approach of a start-up with the proven engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Navistar. The team is well positioned to deliver rapid, customer-focused innovations in the eMobility space."

International eMV Series concept

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show (October 28-31, 2019) Navistar unveiled an all-new International eMV Series concept.

It's an all-electric version of MV Series with up to 250 miles (400 km) of range:

  • range of up to 250 miles (400 km) *with 321 kWh battery pack
  • 107-321 kWh battery options
  • 474 kW (peak) electric motor and 300 kW continuous

"The International eMV Series concept is based on the production version of the diesel-powered International MV Series.  The truck features a redesigned aerodynamic hood for superior visibility and is powered by an electric motor with peak power of over 474 kW—or 645 HP—allowing it to be able to pull any load required.  The continuous power is 300 kW, or more than 400 HP, which is available at all times. The system, exclusive to Navistar, enables peak efficiency across the entire operating range.

The vehicle was designed to accommodate multiple battery capacity options that range from 107 to 321 kilowatt hours.  Navistar believes customers operating a truck with a 321 kWh battery in typical pickup and delivery cycles should expect to be able to travel up to 250 miles on a single charge."

Source: 11/2/19

Truck manufacturer Navistar to build plant in San Antonio, sources say

Truck maker Navistar International Corp. is looking to build a plant in the Mitchell Lake area on San Antonio’s South Side, say people familiar with the matter.

The Lisle, Ill.-based company ⁠— which manufactures commercial trucks, buses, military vehicles and engines ⁠— is expected to announce its intentions as early as Thursday.

Sources said Navistar will need a network of suppliers in the region to serve the plant, though it’s unclear if those companies would be located adjacent the manufacturer. The company is expected to hire as many as 500 workers initially.

It’s also unclear whether Navistar will seek city or county incentives to build the plant. The company operates manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois and Alabama as well as in Mexico and Brazil.


Source: Madison Iszler, Diego Mendoza-Moyers / on

Comcast has Reportedly Acquired Metrological

AMSTERDAM – Comcast has reportedly acquired Metrological, an application platform developer that integrates OTT video services and other content into the pay TV experience.

nScreenMedia analyst Colin Dixon first reported the news and confirmed it through an unnamed source. It’s unclear what the financial terms were for the potential deal.

For Comcast, the acquisition is likely geared toward further integrating third-party streaming apps and offering a full app store on its X1 video platform, which Comcast also white-labels to other operators including Cox.

As Dixon points out, X1 is built on RDK, an open source software platform for the connected home that standardizes core functions used in broadband devices, set-top boxes, and IoT solutions. But whereas a competing platform like Android TV has a large, built-in app store (Google Play), RDK does not.

Approximately one year ago, RDK Management addressed this by launching a new app program to make it easier to develop and launch apps across RDK-based set-top boxes. The program lets service providers use the new RDK App Framework to build and manage their own solutions, or choose a RDK pre-integrated app store solution, which is the Metrological App Store.

Metrological’s app store includes access to a library of more than 300 apps. It can also be used to launch video apps including Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video; local and regionalized apps; and includes the back-office tools needed to launch and manage the lifecycle of an app store.

If Comcast does indeed acquire Metrological, the deal will strengthen Comcast’s position as an aggregator of traditional pay TV content (linear, VOD, PPV) along with SVOD services. Comcast has been one of the most active U.S. operators in terms of integrating SVOD applications into its platform. Comcast also recently launched Xfinity Flex, a service for its broadband-only subscribers that provides a set-top box that functions as an aggregated video streaming hub and a smart home


Source: nScreenMedia