In February 2017, Huawei entered into an innovative partnership with Deutsche Post DHL Group based on mobile IoT technology that connects a large number of devices with minimal power consumption and also provides a logistics value chain by providing critical data and visibility in warehousing operations, cargo transportation and last-mile delivery. In addition, Huawei can connect its IoT devices to experts and network infrastructure, while Deutsche Post DHL Group incorporates stronger sensing and automation capabilities into its warehousing, freight and last-mile delivery services.
In September, some German companies established a strategic alliance for "Industry 4.0" and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) in an attempt to meet the specific needs of machine and plant manufacturers and their customers by building an open platform together, a move that is expected to benefit a large number of medium-sized companies. The platform emphasizes close collaboration and information exchange and the continuous development of new industrial IoT applications without relying on external software suppliers, allowing customers to obtain software solutions from a single source and thus gain data autonomy.
Driverless: a focus on ethical and legal issues and a breakthrough in product development
In May, both houses of the German parliament passed a bill proposed by the Ministry of Transport to amend existing road traffic regulations to allow highly or fully automated driving systems to replace human drivers, giving them the same legal status as drivers. This is the first time in the world that autonomous driving has been included in a road traffic regulation in force. In addition, the new law specifies that the driver must remain at the steering wheel at all times and be able to step in and switch to manual driving mode in the event of an accident with the automated driving system.
In July, a new study from the University of Osnabrück in Germany showed that the moral choices humans make while driving are not as complex as previously thought, or as relevant to the environment. The study shows that the moral choices of human drivers are guided by relatively simple life-based values. This means that it should not be difficult to program self-driving cars to make choices that are morally appropriate for human society.
In August, the German government answered an ethical question that has plagued driverless cars: they should prioritize the protection of human life, even if it hurts animals and causes property damage as a result. Germany's transport authority says it will implement a guideline developed by a panel of experts to look closely at driverless technology. The 14 scientists and legal experts on the department's ethics committee have proposed some 20 rules that drones should follow. Now, for its part, the German transport regulator has promised to enforce it in some way.
In September, Tencent invested in German airline Lilium. The company is working on a flying electric taxi that can take off and land vertically and fly horizontally. Earlier this year, the company showed off a prototype flying electric vehicle that could take off and land vertically, demonstrating how the vehicle could perform horizontal and vertical mode transitions. Its "debut" lasted only a few minutes, but Lilium says the car can fly for an hour on a single charge and reach speeds of up to 300 km/h.
In October, Germany's first self-driving bus went into service in Bavaria. This bus runs for a distance of about seven hundred meters and runs between 10:00 and 18:00 every day, half an hour, and is free for people to ride. The model is the EZ10, an electric car developed by the French Ligier Group, and the operator is Deutsche Bahn. The vehicle provides six seats and six stations and can recognize roadblocks with the help of sensors, cameras and computers, and automatically brakes, but cannot go around them on its own. The car currently has a top speed of 40 km/h. The vehicle is equipped with a staff member who intervenes when necessary.
Overall, in 2017, the German IoT industry focused heavily on cooperation with large foreign companies and internal coalitions of local companies, while the driverless sector was not only limited to technical attacks, but also reflected more on legislation and ethical issues. In the next article, let's take a look at France, the "Gallic Rooster".
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