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: https://urgentcomm.com/   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: https://www.fiercewireless.com/financial    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: https://msbusiness.com/ 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: insideevs.com 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

September 12, 2019: Awarded a contract to remanufacture electronic components for a Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturer

September 12, 2019

Carol Stream, IL

Advanced Technical Services (ATS) announced today that they have successfully completed the PPAP process for a Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturer and have been awarded a contract to remanufacture electronic components for this OEM.

No further details were available in regards to unit types or annual volumes.

When asked about the addition, ATS company President, Dave Vikartofsky, said that we are very excited to be supporting this new Automotive customer.

Our roots are in Automotive Electronic Remanufacturing and to be adding an Automotive OEM with products where we have decades of direct support experience seems like it will be an excellent fit for both parties.

For more information about ATS product and service offerings please visit the company’s website www.ats4solutions.com.

Comcast Multifamily Unit Announces ‘Smart Communities’ Project in Chicago

Partnership will equip 50 rental units in two MDU properties with smart thermostats and lighting Xfinity Communities, a unit of Comcast devoted to servicing multifamily dwellings, has announced a new smart communities project in Chicago.

The operator has partnered with Chicago-based property manager Kass Management Services to integrate smart devices, including thermostats and lightening, into 50 rental units across two properties. These devices will enable renters to control lighting and room temperature via app.

Property owners, meanwhile, will have similar control in public areas of the buildings, as well as in vacant apartments.

“Home automation is a burgeoning market, and we’re thrilled to bring it to Chicago area apartment dwellers,” said Chris Smith, Comcast’s regional VP of marketing and sales, in a statement. “Tenants are going to appreciate the control they have over their units, and property managers are going to appreciate the convenience and control this technology will give them over their properties.”

Added Mark Durakovic, principal, Kass Management Services Inc.: “Creating smart communities by integrating smart home technology into our properties makes life easier and more convenient for residents and may even help them have more control over their utility usage,”. “In a competitive rental market like Chicago’s, smart features help to differentiate properties, add value and attract residents.”




Comcast Commits Millions to Harmonic’s ‘CableOS’ Platform

Harmonic's cable access network virtualization initiative got another lift this week amid word that Comcast had committed to pay millions in the coming years for an enterprise license for the vendor's CableOS platform.

According to an 8-K document filed Tuesday by Harmonic, Comcast has elected for enterprise licensing for CableOS effective July 1, and has committed to $175 million in software license fees over the four-year term of the deal.

CableOS, Harmonic's virtual Converged Cable Access Platform, is designed to run on commercial off-the-shelf hardware and support both centralized and newer distributed forms of the hybrid fiber/cable (HFC) network.

The new enterprise agreement is also subject to certain incentive credits that Comcast could earn pursuant to other purchases of CableOS-related products, Harmonic said.

Harmonic noted that Comcast will pay the initial $50 million of the enterprise license fees in 2019.

The enterprise license and monetary commitment is a clear sign that Comcast is moving forward with a plan to deploy CableOS, or a variety of it optimized for the MSO's networks, and ties into a broader effort to virtualize Comcast's access network.

As reported by Light Reading in May, Comcast is also considering a syndication model for a virtual cable modem termination system that would be powered in part by Harmonic's CableOS platform. If that bears fruit, it could enable Comcast to license a vCCAP product to other cable operators similar to how it syndicates X1 today to cable operators such as Cox Communications, Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Videotron.

For Harmonic, the new deal tightens its ties to Comcast while also shoring up its competitive positioning against other vendors that have developed or are developing virtualization products for cable networks. That group includes CommScope/Arris, Vecima, Cisco Systems, Nokia and Casa Systems.

The new enterprise license also follows an earlier warrants deal involving common stock of Harmonic based on Comcast's purchase and adoption of Harmonic products, including CableOS. According to the terms of that deal, signed in the fall of 2016, Comcast has the right to purchase up to 7.8 million shares of Harmonic at an exercise price of $4.76.

Harmonic said it deemed that the remaining milestones and thresholds required to fulfill each of the vesting requirements of the warrant agreement have been satisfied, achieved or otherwise waived.

Signs of life for virtualized, distributed cable networks
The new deal, which appears to be of a higher commitment than those initial warrants agreements, is a clear sign that Comcast's work with virtualization and distributed access architectures is progressing, said Jeff Heynen, research director of broadband access and home networking at Dell'Oro.

The new agreement also sets up Harmonic to see some decent positive momentum with CableOS in Q2 and ramp up further throughout 2019, he added. Harmonic is set to announce Q2 2019 results on July 29.

Investors cheered the deal. Harmonic shares rose 62 cents (10.37%) to $6.60 each in after-hours trading Tuesday following word of the new deal with Comcast.


Source: lightreading.com

Mobile Electronics Installation & Service Technician

Looking for 12V/24V Installation/ Service Technician Subcontractors in Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI & Minneapolis, MN regions.

We are seeking Subcontractors with a minimum of 1 year experience in the Installation and effective diagnosis/repair of electronic GPS Fleet tracking systems, mobile electronics and communication equipment.

Most work is performed at Customer sites. Outdoor work is required regularly in all weather conditions.

Technicians must be self-starters with professional appearance and excellent interpersonal communication skills.  Must also have own insurance, tools, reliable car, valid driver’s license and good driving record.

If interested, send relevant work history, list of products you have installed and contact information to Duane at: careers@ats4solutions.com