Auto tech roundup: Volvo's electric SUV, VW's grand ambitions

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 11 Jun 2024
Volvo's new EX90 is based on a brand new vehicle platform and running a core system powered by Nvidia.
Volvo's new EX90 is based on a brand new vehicle platform and running a core system powered by Nvidia.

In this week's automotive tech roundyp: Volvo starts production of its flagship electric SUV, and Volkswagen has grand ambitions of powering Europe.

Volvo delays

Swedish carmaker Volvo was supposed to launch its flagship seven-seater electric SUV last year, but troubles with the car’s lidar system led to a months-long delay while supplier Luminar Technologies readied the much anticipated self-driving tech. 

Last week the new Volvo EX90 finally entered production at the manufacturer’s South Carolina factory, based on a brand new vehicle platform and running a core system powered by Nvidia.

Volvo plans to completely electrify its entire range of cars by 2030. with the $78 000 (starting) EX90 topping the line-up.

AI in F1

The Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League which was launched last month doesn’t pose a threat to Formula 1 as the pinnacle of motorsport yet… The sport of Formula 1 itself has been an early-adopter of AI technologies as it’s the only way for a racing team to, for example, simulate every possible race scenario (F1 cars generate more than a million data points per second). 

Now AI is seeping out of the engineering departments and onto victory lane  Formula 1 called on its partner Amazon Web Services to come up with the first-ever generative AI-inspired race trophy design at the Canadian Grand Prix this past weekend, which was lifted on the top step of the podium by winner Max Verstappen. The next move for AWS in F1 is the development of ‘Statbot’, a tool that utilises AI to analyse historical F1 data for use in live race broadcasts.

LDV D90 in SA

Lotus, MG, Rover, all storied British brands  are today owned by Chinese companies…

The long-defunct Leyland name made a comeback, in spirit at least, when China’s giant SAIC group bought the rights to Leyland more than a decade ago. Now its top-of-the-range LDV D90 SUV is ready for export duty to take on the legacy brands from Europe, Japan and America. 

The D90’s first port of call? South Africa, actually, which is set to become the LDV D90’s first international market outside China when it goes on sale later this year.

Buyers will have a choice of two trim levels and a bit of a ‘budget Toyota Land Cruiser’ positioning on the market. The spec list features tech such as Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, 12.3-inch infotainment screen, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree camera.

VW energises

Volkswagen is officially entering the energy market, or more specifically the business of industrial energy storage, with its new Berlin-headquartered partner Elli. 

The Volkswagen Group has ambitions of operating large-scale stationary energy storage systems, with the potential of developing into an actual energy provider in Europe, besides just supplying customers’ EVs with go-juice. 

According to VW’s statement on the partnership, “In 2023 alone, around 10,500 GWh were not generated from renewable electricity sources in Germany due to a lack of intermediate storage options.” This amount of electricity is enough to power 3.2 million EVs for a year…