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Ericsson makes major autonomous driving move with Zenuity partnership

autonomous connected car

The Ericsson IoT Accelerator platform will be used to power the Zenuity Connected Cloud, a white-label autonomous driving cloud solution for car-makers.

In a great illustration of how megatrends such as 5G and IoT are creating new opportunities for the telco industry, Ericsson is effectively getting into bed with a major car-maker and the biggest car-safety component supplier. That’s because Zenuity was created earlier this year as a joint-venture between Volvo and Autoliv specifically to focus on advanced driver assistance support (ADAS) and autonomous driving.

The Zenuity Connected Cloud seems to be designed to giver car OEMs a head start in the autonomous car game by dealing with the IoT (i.e. connectivity, sensors, data processing, etc) stuff for them. It will also deal with the integration of in-vehicle software, security and the use of cloud-based safety data.

“With a strong focus on increasing safety through ADAS and AS software and functions, our unique expertise in ADAS and autonomous technologies combined with Ericsson’s technology leadership in complex connectivity solutions is a win-win for the entire automotive industry,” said Dennis Nobelius, CEO, Zenuity. “Together, we will provide OEMs with unique, robust and scalable cloud-based solutions with much faster time to market, allowing them to capture the seemingly endless possibilities in the connected automotive ecosystem of the future.”

“Connectivity is reshaping the future of transport, and Ericsson is right at the heart of this with our IoT Accelerator platform that underpins the connected automotive ecosystem,” said Niklas Heuveldop Head of Technology & Emerging Business at Ericsson. “We will work closely with Zenuity to develop a truly end-to-end offering that enables higher levels of safe driving through ADAS and AD software and functions.”

Dominique Bonte of ABI Research reckons this is a significant win for Ericsson. “Ericsson looks set to benefit from the partnership, as this will expand its automotive connectivity platform beyond basic telematics/infotainment through deep integration with ADAS and driverless solutions and align the company with two global market leaders in vehicle safety and autonomous technology,” he said.

“In addition, this move will connect Ericsson with automotive AI leader, NVIDIA, which announced a partnership with Zenuity earlier this year. It will enable Ericsson to plug its connectivity platform into an end-to-end, scalable, and global autonomous vehicle solution which should help it to win additional OEM deals in the future, including in China where it already works with Geely (Link & CO brand).

Ericsson has invested heavily in automotive as one of its key end market focuses by creating an independent division; the Zenuity partnership is a very important announcement for the much-plagued network infrastructure vendor, which has recently gone through a major re-organisation and cost saving exercise; however, the real proof will have to come in the form of OEM wins. The Autoliv, Volvo, Zenuity, NVIDIA and Ericsson alliance puts it in the same league as the Intel, Mobileye, BMW, FCA and Delphi constellation.”

Ericsson likes to quote a statistic that 95% of car accidents are due to human error, the inference being that we need technology to help us overcome our failings. Maybe, but what does seem clear is that automotive is an increasingly important new sector for telcos and it seems like a sound strategic move for Ericsson to be focusing on it, especially when you bear in mind that Nokia went in the opposite direction with the sale of Here.

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