Leasing market up 18% in first half 2018
The total amount financed in the Hungarian leasing market was HUF 329 bn, up 18% from a year earlier. The Hungarian Leasing Association attributes the good performance to vehicle financing, which continues to drive growth, but the equipment segment also expanded in the first half. Leasing companies expect annual growth of more than 20% in 2018.
The interest rates on forint-based products has been rising in recent months, especially in agriculture financing, Katalin Nyikos, president of the association, pointed out in the statement. Despite higher interests, the leasing market had a good first half as investment sentiment remained high.
In the vehicle financing segment, the financed amount for cars and pick-up trucks grew nearly 40% from a year earlier to HUF 119 bn, of which financing on new cars bought by private individuals also rose 40% to HUF 17.2 bn. In the corporate fleet segment, the financed amount rose 12% to HUF 40 bn in the first half.
Toyota to invest $500m in Uber in driverless car deal
Japanese carmaker Toyota is to invest $500m in Uber and expand a partnership to jointly develop self-driving cars. The firm said this would involve the “mass-production” of autonomous vehicles that would be deployed on Uber’s ride sharing network.
It is being viewed as a way for both firms to catch up with rivals in the competitive driverless car market. The deal also values Uber at some $72bn, despite its mounting losses.
According to a press release issued by the firms, self-driving technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles.
Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company as we help provide a path for safe and secure expansion of mobility services like ride-sharing.”
“The deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO. “Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality. Uber’s advanced technology and Toyota’s commitment to safety and its renowned manufacturing prowess make this partnership a natural fit. I look forward to seeing what our teams accomplish together.”
The initial “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan platform. Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system will both be integrated into the Autono-MaaS vehicles. Toyota will also utilize its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), its core information infrastructure for connected vehicles. Pilot-scale deployments will begin on the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.
1000 drivers, 100 cars, 10 countries, 34 partners
Automated driving technology has matured to a level motivating a final phase of road tests which can answer key questions before market introduction of the systems. The European research project L3Pilot tests the viability of automated driving as a safe and efficient means of transportation on public roads. It will focus on large-scale piloting of SAE (safe and efficient ) Level 3 functions, with additional assessment of some Level 4 functions. The functionality of the systems will be exposed to variable conditions with 1,000 drivers and 100 cars across ten European countries, including cross-border routes.
The technologies being tested cover a wide range of driving situations, including parking, overtaking on highways and driving through urban intersections. The tests will provide valuable data for evaluating technical aspects, user acceptance, driving and travel behaviour, as well as impact on traffic and safety.
The functionality of the systems used is exposed to variable conditions in 10 European countries, 100 vehicles and 1000 test drivers. The approach will be to adapt the FESTA methodology for testing automated driving needs. The tested functions cover a wide range from parking to overtaking, and urban intersection driving. Due to its large coverage of driving situations, L3Pilot is unique, and the first project which will demonstrate and test such a comprehensive menu of automated driving functions. The data collected will also be made available for third parties outside the consortium, for further use. The evaluation of the data will focus on technical, user acceptance, driving and travel behaviour, impact on traffic and society. The project promotion will include user outreach campaigns with four showcases, and the creation of a comprehensive guideline – a Code of Practice – with best practices for the development of automated driving functions.
Among the 34 cooperating members are outstanding automotive manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Honda, PSA, Renault, Toyota, Volkswagen or Volvo. As partners, suppliers like Autoliv, Delphi or FEV are involved in the work. The project’s contributors are also represented by recognized research centers, universities, technology companies and the official site through the competent Dutch supervisory body. Prominent partner is the FIA, the International Automobile Association. The members include two insurance companies, Allianz and Swiss Re. It is understandable that the actors of the insurance market are also represented in such a project since in the research phase these companies are also seeking an up-to-date information package in order to develop the most appropriate business models in the area of civil liability insuranc
The project volume amounts to €68 million. Thereof, the European Union allocates €36 million from the Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement No 723051. The project is supported by the European Council for Automotive R&D EUCAR.
World’s First Self-Driving Fare-Paying Taxi in Tokyo
The world’s first autonomous taxi started to run on public roads started operating in central Tokyo on August 27.
The vehicle, developed by Tokyo-based robot maker ZMP and operated by taxi company Hinomaru Kotsu, ferries passengers along a set 5.3km route starting near Tokyo Station and ending in the Roppongi entertainment district.
For the time being, the taxi makes only four return trips per day and reservations have to be made online. The trip costs 1,500 yen ($13.5) one way and passengers use a smartphone app to get their trip started. The two companies hope to begin full commercial operations in 2020, when the city hosts the Summer Olympics.
The 2 weeks-pilot project is partly financed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
More trials will take place over the next few weeks, with 1,500 people reported to have applied to take part.
Before the end of the year, the two companies behind the initiative are hoping to take the vehicles – dubbed the RoboCar MiniVan – on more ambitious routes connecting Haneda airport and various transport hubs within Tokyo.