Self-Driving

Volkswagen Group, Microsoft team to build cloud-based automated driving platform

Volkswagen has worked to employ a number of cloud-based technologies across its manufacturing, research, and development spectrum.

Photo by Getty Images

Volkswagen Group and Microsoft are collaborating to build a cloud-based automated self-driving platform using Microsoft Azure. The move has technology implications for the whole of the Volkswagen Group portfolio, which includes Audi, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Bugatti, among others.

With the Automated Driving Platform (ADP) running on Azure, Volkswagen Group believes that its Car.Software Organization will increase the efficiency of the development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving (AD) functions for passenger cars across the company's portfolio.

"As we transform Volkswagen Group into a digital mobility provider, we are looking to continuously increase the efficiency of our software development. We are building the Automated Driving Platform with Microsoft to simplify our developers' work through one scalable and data-based engineering environment. By combining our comprehensive expertise in the development of connected driving solutions with Microsoft's cloud and software engineering know-how, we will accelerate the delivery of safe and comfortable mobility services," said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Organization.

This diagram illustrates how Volkswagen and Microsoft solutions will interact with Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"This is the next evolution of our foundational work with the Volkswagen Group to enhance their transformation as a software-driven mobility provider," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud + AI at Microsoft. "The power of Microsoft Azure and its compute, data and AI capabilities will enable Volkswagen to deliver secure and reliable automated driving solutions to their customers faster."

Building models for ADAS and AD require large-scale computational capabilities. Petabytes of data from road and weather conditions, as well as obstacle detection and driver behavior all need to be managed for training, simulation, and validation of function. An Apple iPhone 12 has anywhere from 32 to 256 gigabytes of storage. One petabyte of data includes 1 million gigabytes worth of information.

With the move to Azure, Volkswagen Group expects that the development cycles of ADP will be reduced from months to weeks thanks to the system's agility. The companies will start working on ADP immediately and are looking to continuously expand the functional scope of the development platform, according to a release.

Both companies intend to enable technology partners to build tools and services that integrate with the platform to enhance the creation of AD and ADAS solutions.

This announcement follows several others by Volkswagen Group detailing how connected technology solutions are working to maximize efficiency in warehouses via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud (VAC). Since 2018, Microsoft has been a partner of the company's working with the VAC. In the future, the VAC will be sued to connect autos on the road.

The first VAC-related test fleets are expected to go live in 2021 with production planned for 2022.

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This 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV sold for a high sum.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

This month, two 1970s-era Lamborghinis crossed the block, each achieving a record selling price. But, not all that glitters is gold. Both models have what RM-Sotheby's terms "a troubled history".

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV is chassis #4980. It has been certified as one of the 150 models produced. It was set apart from other Miuras by its different cam timing and altered 4x3-barrel Weber carburetors. Its 3.9-liter V-12 engine that was tuned to achieve 380 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. When it was new, it rode on Pirelli Cinturato tires.

The year before the Miura SV debuted, Lamborghini development driver Bob Wallace modified a Miura to comfort to FIA's Appendix J racing regulations. Among the mods was the replacement of the the steel chassis and body panels with aluminum alloy versions. It as given the name "Miura Jota". The '71 Miura up for auction was altered to mimic this model during its life, but has recently been restored it its original trim.

1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

Photo courtesy of RM-Sotheby's

Following its restoration the Miura SV received its certification from Lamborghini Polo Storico.

A 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP 400 with chassis #1120262 underpinning has a similarly troubled history. It was at one time owned by Rod Stewart, but that's not the trouble. It was a victim of multiple transformations (including the roof removal), before being restored to its original specifications.

The Miura SV fetched €2.4 million, the second highest value ever for a Miura SV, second only to one sold by Gooding & Co. in London last September. The Countach LP 400 went for €775,000.

"This is a pleasing but not surprising result, since it confirms a clear trend," says Paolo Gabrielli, Head of Aftersales at Automobili Lamborghini, which oversees the Polo Storico. Historical Lamborghinis are of increasing interest to the world's leading collectors, who are looking for the utmost respect for originality in their cars. The Polo Storico restoration program, alongside supporting top independent specialists through the provision of advice, documents and original spare parts, makes it possible to obtain restorations of the highest level and quality, which are appreciated by collectors and, consequently, by the market."

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The Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group offers factory-backed half-door comfort, style, and safety.
Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep Wrangler owners who want an open-air experience but don't want the complete doors-off look have a new from-the-factory option. Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar have worked together to create new half-doors for the iconic SUV.

The new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group features two factory engineered, tested, and backed half-door options that offer owners the option to have production-level styling, security, and occupancy protection in addition to improved visibility.

Available for both two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler models through the Mopar Custom Shop, as part of an original new-vehicle purchase in the U.S. and Canada, the new Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group includes both full and half doors. Full-steel production doors are installed on the vehicle while matching body-color half doors are packaged within the vehicle.

    Jeep Wrangler Dual-Door Group

    Photo courtesy of Stellantis

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    With production-level materials and build quality, new half doors are designed to work when equipped with any of the following features: power mirrors, blind-spot detection, passive and non-passive entry handles, and power locks. A quick and easy swap from full doors to half doors can be accomplished within minutes using the existing hinge locations and the exact same wiring connections.

    The newly developed upper-window assemblies are designed to have a weather-tight sealant feature zippered plastic windows. Two materials are offered for the assemblies: base-model vinyl that matches the production soft-top roof or premium acrylic that matches the premium soft-top roof.

    Each upper-door frame section uses an easy, tool-free, dual-guide post feature for easy installation and removal.

    The Dual-Door Group is now available on two- and four-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, Rubicon; Sahara, Rubicon 392, and 4xe models. Factory-option pricing for the U.S.s tarts at $2,350 for the two-door's Dual-Door Group with base-model upper-window assembles while the four-door costs $3,995. Checking the box for the more premium version of the upper-window assemblies moves the price tag up to $2,550 for the two-door and $4,395 for the four-door.

    Warranty coverage for each Dual-Door Group option is included as part of the new-vehicle warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

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