No one knows exactly what an autonomous future will look like. But it’s safe to say that some of the first applications of the technology will involve robo ride-sharing services.
By 2021, Ford wants to mass produce autonomous vehicles without a steering wheel or gas and brakes pedals for ride-sharing purposes. Uber and Lyft have made clear their intentions to ditch human drivers in favor of self-driving technology, and Alphabet’s Waymo has similar plans
One company to keep an eye on here, though, is Delphi. This week, it announced a deal with French conglomerate Transdev, which provides a wide range of public transportation services, showing that Delphi is putting all the pieces in place for a soup-to-nuts autonomous vehicle ecosystem that we could be along for ride sooner than we think.
Delphi has made significant moves lately to transform from a traditional tier-one automotive supplier to a dominant player in self-driving and connected car technology—largely by scooping up an array of startups and inking several strategic partnerships.
In 2015, Delphi bought Ottomatika, a self-driving startup that emerged from Carnegie Mellon University, and last year it purchased Control-Tec, which provides autonomous vehicle analysis software. Earlier this year Delphi acquired Movimento, a provider of over-the-air (OTA) software technology, along with several other startups.
Delphi has also made savvy deals with some of the most important players in the space. Late last year, for example, it created a new platform along with sensor-maker Mobileye that fast-tracks self-driving technology by using what company calls “semantic understanding” of dynamic roadway scenarios.
This is due in part to Mobileye’s Road Management Experience system that crowd-sources images from the cameras in millions of cars to create accurate and constantly updated maps. Last month, Delphi also combined with BMW, Intel, and Mobileye to form a self-driving supergroup of sorts.
The goal of the recent partnership with Transdev is “to develop a global, fully automated, mobility-on-demand (AMoD) transport system,” Delphi said in a statement. This translates to a network of autonomous vehicle that are on-call and it’s where the various pieces Delphi has been assembling come together.
Transdev brings to the party its expertise in vehicle routing, ticketing, and other public transportation services, while Delphi provides its autonomous vehicle know-how. This will converge for two pilot programs near Paris in what Delphi calls “the first EU driverless, on-demand mobility service on an open road.”
The pilot will “test the sensor architecture and intelligence for driverless last-mile and door-to-door transportation service with the next phase including a commercial service,” Delphi said. And it “will integrate its turnkey CSLP platform into Transdev’s mobility service vehicles, including a centralized computer running Delphi’s Ottomatika vehicle control software, a comprehensive sensor suite, and all the required connectivity and data devices based on Control-Tec real-time analytics, Movimento’s secure over-the-air (OTA) technologies, and Mobileye’s REM technology.”
Transdev has already operated several autonomous bus pilot programs, although mostly in contained areas, and earlier this year the company announced a partnership with Renault-Nissan to develop mobility services system for self-driving vehicles. Transdev’s deal with Delphi takes on-demand self-driving vehicles to a wider public and is a clear sign that a self-driving vehicle is likely in your future—if not in your garage.
Originally published by PCMag.com