SAN JOSE California has been selected by German automotive giants Bosch and Daimler as the city for pilot trials of a new world-leading automated ride-hailing service.

Located on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay in Silicon Valley, and with more than one million inhabitants, San José is the third biggest city in California. It is planned to be the pilot city for trials, targeted to begin during the second half of 2019, of the highly and fully automated driving (SAE Level 4/5) on-demand ride-hailing service recently announced by Bosch and Daimler.

Using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles, Bosch and Daimler propose to offer the service to a selected user community in the San Carlos/Stevens Creek corridor between downtown and west San José. With its population expected to grow 40 percent in the next two decades, the metropolitan area faces growing transportation challenges. The San José city administration wants to prepare itself for a future in which autonomous cars hit the streets. 

“The pilot project is an opportunity to explore how autonomous vehicles can help us better meet future transportation needs,” San José Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Daimler AG vice president for its Drive Technologies and Automated Driving division, Michael Hafner said, “Since many years we consequently push autonomous driving. With this pilot we will generate valuable insights to connect fully automated vehicles in the best way with users of future mobility services.”

Robert Bosch GmbH senior vice president of the Automated Driving business unit, Stephan Hönle said, . “We have to rethink urban transportation. Automated driving will help us complete the picture of future urban traffic.”

The on-demand ride-hailing service app operated by Daimler Mobility Services will demonstrate how mobility services such as car sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi), and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can be intelligently connected.

The test operation will provide information about how highly and fully automated vehicles can be integrated into a multi-modal transportation network. The intent is to provide a seamless digital experience, in which a selected user community will have the opportunity to hail a self-driving car, monitored by a safety driver, from a designated pick-up location and drive automatically to their destination.


With their joint development work on highly and fully automated driving (SAE level 4/5) in urban environments, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance road safety, and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future, Dr Hafner said.

Among other things, the technology will boost the attraction of car sharing.

Without compromising driving safety, it will allow people to make the best possible use of the time they spend in their vehicles, and open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s licence, he said.

Bosch and Daimler associates involved in the development project work together in teams in two regions: in the greater Stuttgart area in Germany and, in the US, around Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley between San José and San Francisco.

Bosch’s Dr Hönle said since they share the same office space, rapid communication across working disciplines is ensured, and decision-making paths are short. At the same time, they can draw on the combined know-how of their colleagues in the parent companies.

Dr Hönle said the two companies’ associates were jointly developing the concepts and algorithms for the highly and fully automated drive system. Daimler’s task is to bring the drive system into the car. The company is providing the necessary development vehicles, test facilities, and vehicles for the test fleet.

Bosch, which has had a manufacturing presence in Australia since 1907, is responsible for the components specified during the development work, such as sensors, actuators, and control units.

For test purposes, Bosch and Daimler use their laboratories and test rigs, plus their respective test sites in Germany. Since obtaining its Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in 2014, Mercedes-Benz has been testing automated vehicles in the Sunnyvale/California region.

Since 2016, it has had similar approval for the greater Stuttgart area in Germany. In early 2013, Bosch was the world’s first automotive supplier to test automated driving (SAE level 3) on public roads in Germany and the US.



THE GROWING demand for energy, driven by the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), could lead to greater unpredictability in electrical grids according to a new study by Australian EV charging infrastructure company Tritium and global research group LEK Consulting.

The study warns that utilities globally must urgently take a proactive approach to planning their future networks.

The study highlights statistics around sales of EVs which show there is a ‘clustering’ effect, where some suburbs, streets, and locations have a higher proportion of EV ownership – and this has been highlighted in journals such as Nature magazine. This clustering has the potential to overload local electricity infrastructure, especially the feeder lines – in Australia that is mostly in the form of street ‘poles and wires’. 

“There are significant opportunities for network owners, operators and energy retailers as EVs are one of the few growth drivers for many developed energy markets, and also enable the opportunity for utilities to build closer customer relationships,” said LEK Consulting principal Natasha Santha said.

“But utilities need to be proactive in planning for a future scenario of significant EV adoption, especially in a world where spending capex on additional infrastructure at the cost of the consumer is no longer a palatable response.

“The real challenge for utilities is managing the peak demand increase and greater unpredictability that comes with greater EV adoption. EV charging has an element of randomness that needs to be managed; this can stress local infrastructure and heighten the need for increased network investment.

“The good news is that we have time to prepare in Australia. Given the expected pace of adoption, and time it will take to turn over the car parc (a European term that describes the numbers of registered vehicles in a region), grid owners have sufficient time to prepare for the change.

“While EV uptake in Australia is still in its infancy, it is growing, and networks need to prepare for this now. As the need for the deployment of public fast chargers is required in Australia, utilities will need to be ready to turn around new connections quickly.”

Among other findings, the study found the expected increase in overall energy demand was relatively modest in the short to medium term.


In 2017, the estimated electricity demand from all EVs was 54 TWh equating to just 0.3 percent of global electricity demand. With a predicted 125 million EVs on the road in 2030 – and for simplicity researchers are assuming a similar level of battery energy efficiency as today, although it is likely to be higher – the overall EV share of energy demand would increase to only 6.3 percent.  

However, owning an EV will increase a household’s electricity consumption by about 50 percent. This calculation assumes average household use of 5,700 kWh of electricity per year, and the average EV consumes 3000 kWh of electricity per year driving 15,000km per year.

If multiple houses on a single street decide to charge simultaneously, there may be insufficient capacity in the feeder lines to deliver the required level of power. For example, assuming utilities make no changes to their infrastructure and EV charging is unmanaged, and EV owners mostly charge at the end of the traditional workday when they return home, overlaying the impact of EV charging on a local network – with 50 percent EV adoption – would drive peak demand up by about 30 percent.

As the demand for EVs increases, there will be a growing requirement for charging infrastructure. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that by 2030 the number of charging stations required will exceed 130 million units, which is close to 30 times the current installed box.

Further, the study found the development of high-power charging infrastructure may have a more manageable initial impact for network operators. High power chargers, up to 350kw each, are typically installed in a park or group of chargers. While these groups of high-power chargers equate to very large (1MW+) connections, the charger owners will deploy the appropriate infrastructure adjacent to the charging equipment at the time of installation.


The study outlined five measures utilities should consider, both to stabilise future grid behaviour and ensure the rise of EVs maintains its pace.

Design tariffs and demand response programs: Utilities need to begin preparing incentive structures to manage residential chargers, such as time of use EV tariffs that can shift customer charging behaviour alleviating local feeder stress. They could glean lessons from South Australian and Queensland networks, which are trialling new tariffs to encourage households with electric hot water systems to heat them in off-peak periods.

Utilise smart software: Managed charging uses software to schedule home charging throughout the night avoiding the risk of EV owners all plugging in during the evening peak, using lessons learned from such measures as air conditioning incentive programs.

Improve grid information: Provide clear and detailed information publicly to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to invest in and install public charging infrastructure. For example, PG&E, a Californian utility, has created an interactive mapping tool for network capacity highlighting the locations on its network where existing equipment has the capacity and is ready to be utilised for EV charging..

Assess adjacent opportunities from charging infrastructure: Utilities should begin to explore if there are other opportunities that arise from the deployment of charging infrastructure, such as stationary battery storage, to reduce grid augmentation costs and enable charger deployment in areas of the network that would otherwise be prohibitive.

Trial, test, and work with charging manufacturers: Collaboration and joint research will enable utilities to be at the forefront of emerging vehicle, charging, and grid integration technologies.



THE NEW Volvo Cars Brisbane North dealership adds the Swedish carmaker’s renowned ‘safety and style’ to LMM Holdings’ impressive collection of motor marques that already include Ferrari, BMW, Mini, Alfa Romeo and Fiat.

LMM Holdings Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Martin Roller, Marvin Burke and Sime Darby Motors, opened its new Volvo Cars Brisbane North dealership at 773 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley in June. 

LMM has focused on assembling an impressive stable of European brands – Ferrari, BMW, Mini, Alfa Romeo and Fiat is not a bad start – and officially acquired the Volvo franchise after an extensive review process.

Following a substantial investment in the brand’s footprint, Volvo Cars Brisbane North is now responsible for all of Brisbane’s central, as well as the northern and western suburbs, Mr Roller said..

“It is a real feather in our cap to be awarded this famous brand and it is testament to our experience and reputation in the marketplace,” Mr Roller said.

“This move will now result in Volvo customers experiencing all that encompasses premium service – LMM’s promise of exceeding customers’ expectations which separates it from its competitors.”

The partnership with Sime Darby Motors is very significant for the dealership. Sime Darby Motors is one of the major motor vehicle players in the Asia Pacific region, with a presence in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and increasingly Australia.

The Volvo Cars Brisbane North acquisition is part of Sime Darby Motors’ fast-emerging Australasian growth strategy.


AUSTRALIA’s biggest automotive club, NRMA – in fact the country’s largest membership organisation – has chosen Australian electric vehicle (EV) charging specialists Tritium to provide EV fast-chargers for its new network rollout. 

NRMA is, at this stage, focusing on its projected $10 million program to open up New South Wales and the ACT for electric vehicle touring.

“Until now, electric vehicles have only been practical for short urban journeys, driving only within charging range of their garages or the small number of public fast chargers,” NRMA Group chief executive officer, Rohan Lund said.

“Our vision is to open up the great destinations NSW and the ACT has to offer electric vehicle drivers, without the worry of running out of a charge on their trip.” 

Announced in October 2017, NRMA’s Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Network will ensure that 95 percent of EV journeys will be within 150km of a fast charge across NSW and ACT. The network will be Australia’s largest and is being delivered in partnership with local communities including councils, small businesses and land owners.

The NRMA fast charger will see at least 40 publicly-accessible sites, with the costs of charging included in NRMA membership. 

Tritium’s Veefil-RT 50kW fast chargers ensure drivers can fully charge their vehicle to 80 percent within 30 minutes, on average, for any EV with a CHAdeMO or CCS2 socket. Chargers will accommodate most makes and models of EVs available in Australia.

Tritium, founded in Brisbane, is a world leader in fast-charging station technology with deployments in the United States and Europe. In Australia, Tritium is the leading supplier of chargers for Queensland’s EV super-highway.

“The NRMA is pleased to work alongside a local Australian-owned company like Tritium to support the development of a local electric vehicle industry,” Mr Lund said.

“Tritium is leading the world in EV charging technology from their base in Brisbane.”

Tritium responded that the NRMA’s program would help to drive the adoption of electric vehicles in Australia.

“It’s through forward-thinking leadership from organisations such as the NRMA that Australia will make its mark on the electric vehicle driving space,” Tritium Australia and New Zealand head of sales, Chris Hewitt said.

“They are breaking down a major barrier to EV adoption in Australia – the availability of chargers.”

The $10 million community investment from the NRMA forms part of the group’s social dividend investment strategy returning benefits to Members and the community, Mr Lund said.


FOUR-time Australian Top Fuel Champion Darren Morgan will give V8 Supercars fans a taste of what his 10,000 horsepower Top Fuel Dragster can do at Adelaide 500 this weekend.

From Friday until Sunday, Morgan will showcase his vehicle in front of more than 250,000 spectators at Round 1 of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. 

Morgan previously stunned crowds at Adelaide 500 in 2017 and 2011.

“It’s excellent to have the chance to showcase our vehicle at another Supercars event, where we can continue to expand our fan base at all types of motorsport events,” Morgan said.

“We are looking forward to converting new motorsport fans over to the powerful sport of drag racing.

“We are thankful for the continuous support of our marketing partners.”

Morgan will fire up his Top Fuel Dragster various times over the weekend, as well as perform demonstration burnouts on the main straight on Friday at 1.45pm and Saturday at 12.30pm.

The Top Fuel Dragster will be on display from through to Sunday, with spectators given the chance to get up close to the vehicle.


AUSTRALIAN electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging solutions company, Tritium, is driving growth in Europe by establishing its European Union headquarters in the Netherlands capital, Amsterdam.

The announcement is part of Brisbane-based Tritium’s strategic development plan to take service, support, sales, training and manufacturing of its fast-charging solutions closer to customers around the world. 

Tritium has secured about 20 percent of the Western Europe market in just four years and is gearing up for greater inroads into fleet, workplace, public transport, multi-residential and ‘on-street’ public charging sectors.

Amsterdam is the second overseas facility opened by Tritium in just over a year, the first in Torrance, California, in 2017

The Amsterdam facility will be the centre for Tritium’s sales program across the EU and also house a state-of-the-art training and accreditation unit for technical servicing and customer support.  Tritium has built-in capability to customise its product range to meet local market needs and specific customer requirements. 

“The opening of this facility represents a major investment and commitment to the European market,” Tritium co-founder and CEO, David Finn said. “It’s in direct response to increased demand for our products and services from this region. 

“In just a few years, Tritium has made a significant impact in the fast-charging sector and we needed to have a local presence operational in Europe ahead of a very active year, when we’ll be launching a number of new initiatives.

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DENSO Corporation and Toshiba are jointly developing an artificial intelligence (AI) technology, called Deep Neural Network-Intellectual Property (DNN-IP), which will accelerate driver assistance and automated driving technologies and open up new business applications.

The move combines image recognition systems which have been independently developed by the two companies to help achieve automated driving technologies way ahead of what exists today – aiming to rival and exceed the human brain. 

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