Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) and Danfoss, a market leader in components and software for automation, have entered into an agreement to collaborate on technology for autonomous vehicles.

Danfoss products have long provided critical links from ASI’s software and processors to vehicle control systems and hardware via electrical, network, and hydraulic interfaces. The PLUS+1? platform has been particularly useful to ASI in automating vehicles for agriculture, mining, construction, and material handling applications.

Mel Torrie, President and CEO of ASI, says, “ASI has been using the best-in-class Danfoss components over the last 20 years to support our driverless vehicle development with the world’s leading vehicle OEMs. This new partnership will ensure manufacturers have the needed support to streamline their efforts in making autonomous industrial vehicles a mainstream reality.”

ASI looks forward to working with Danfoss to bring exciting new capabilities to a broader market and a wider range of applications, with world-class support for innovative new offerings. As the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology expands, more potential customers are seeing ways for automation to improve their products and services. This partnership will enable ASI and Danfoss to provide the building blocks for all kinds of implementations not viable in the past.

“This partnership demonstrates our ambition to invest in autonomy and be the innovative partner for our customers. It’s a promising partnership and we are excited about the potential in vehicle automation,” says Kim Fausing, President and CEO of Danfoss.

About ASI

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. is a world leader in vendor independent vehicle automation systems. From our headquarters and 100-acre proving ground in northern Utah, we serve clients in the mining, agriculture, automotive, construction, material handling, government, and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperation and fully automated solutions. ASI’s vehicle automation products can be found in companies and government agencies throughout the world. Read more about us at www.www.ouidzine.com

About Danfoss

Danfoss engineers advanced technologies that enable us to build a better, smarter and more efficient tomorrow. In the world’s growing cities, we ensure the supply of fresh food and optimal comfort in our homes and offices, while meeting the need for energy-efficient infrastructure, connected systems and integrated renewable energy. Our solutions are used in areas, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, motor control and mobile machinery. Our innovative engineering dates back to 1933 and today Danfoss holds market-leading positions, employing 27,000 people and serving customers in more than 100 countries. We are privately held by the founding family. Read more about us at www.danfoss.com.

Mobius® is an industry leading command and control software platform developed by Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI). Over the years, Mobius has been developed and specialized to bring a powerful, custom driverless technology solution to industries like mining, agriculture, automotive, material handling, security, industrial cleaning and more.

Mobius and ASI’s driverless technology can be integrated into nearly any vehicle to make it autonomous. This disruptive technology is changing the way industry is looking at various operations and having a powerful and positive impact where implemented.

One of the most important benefits this technology is brining to industry is safety. Mobius increases safety by removing humans from dangerous environments.

Another benefit ASI customers have seen is increased efficiency leading to reduced operating costs. That means projects that were not being considered may now be feasible, allowing organizations to grow and expand.

ASI's Mobius command and control software
ASI’s Mobius command and control software has been applied to industries like agriculture, mining, automotive testing, material handling, security and more.

Mobius optimizes work by bringing multiple vehicles together in an orchestrated effort. The system can track both automated vehicles and manned vehicles allowing Mobius and all autonomous vehicles to be aware of the location of manned vehicles at all times. A single operator then oversees the entire operation and is notified of important events when necessary.

Through this technology, an operator can see vehicle-specific diagnostics and be alerted anytime systems are reaching near-critical levels. An operator overseeing the operation is also able to draw paths, set tolerances, set specific events at specific points, task vehicles and more.

Mobius incorporates the latest and greatest in cutting edge technology. Whatever the industry is, whatever the needs of an organization’s operations may be, Mobius can be adapted to meet those needs and enable that organization to scale growth and gain competitive advantage.

Contact ASI to learn how Mobius technology can take your organization to the next level.

Autonomous Solutions proving ground management solution has been adopted by many of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers including Ford, Toyota and other major manufacturers. These global leaders from the US, Europe, and Asia leverage ASI’s Mobius command and control solution as their proving ground management platform to drastically increase efficiency and productivity while improving the accuracy of their test results and ultimately the safety of their proving grounds.

“My favorite part of the Autonomous Solutions technology is working with ASI,” says Crystal Mink, senior engineer for Toyota Motors North America.

ASI is a leader in automotive durability and misuse testing offering flexible solutions to fit its customers’ needs while helping its customers achieve competitive advantages. When new vehicles are being developed by these automakers, they must be rigorously tested for safety and durability to meet high standard set by regulatory bodies before they are sold to the general public.

“My favorite part of the Autonomous Solutions technology is working with ASI,” says Crystal Mink, senior engineer for Toyota Motors North America. “Seeing how systematic they are – and they’re giving us great capability through that thorough process.”

Traditionally, driving tests were carried out by human drivers, however, driverless robots have proven to be safer, more accurate, and more efficient. By using robotic drivers, these manufacturers are no longer restricted by stringent regulations which limit driver time to under 2 hours on these tracks in many cases.

Truck on test track at Ford
2018 Ford F250 on test track at a Ford proving ground.

These tests that auto manufacturers must put their vehicles through to prove them out are extremely rough and hazardous to human health. Drivers are often injured and sent to hospitals. These tracks and tests are so rough and must be executed so precisely, even professional drivers can struggle to pass them. ASI driverless robots, utilizing the latest in driverless technology, are able to consistently stay on course and follow the track test instructions precisely. This means less errors, better test results, and lower costs.

“The Mobius platform is very beneficial because it allows us to run all the vehicles from one location,” says Jeff Bledsoe, durability technical specialist for Ford Motor Company.

How is the technology integrated into various types of vehicles? ASI’s technology is OEM agnostic and can be put into nearly any vehicle, make, model, or year. Whether the vehicle has electronic or mechanical controls, ASI’s driverless robotic kits are installed and integrated into a vehicle. It can be moved from one vehicle to another quite easily and also allows a human driver to sit in the driver seat and drive the vehicle manually when needed.

Some infrastructure is required on site for communications between the vehicles on the track and a control room where operators oversee the operation.

“The Mobius platform is very beneficial because it allows us to run all the vehicles from one location,” says Jeff Bledsoe, durability technical specialist for Ford Motor Company.

Vehicles are tasked to execute the prescribed tests from here. These tests are setup within Mobius and a single operator can oversee multiple vehicles from the control room.

Contact ASI today to learn how this technology can revolutionize your proving ground and bring the benefits of automation to your automotive testing.

Every car maker and Silicon Valley giant seems to be getting into the autonomous vehicle game. That’s because fully autonomous driving is the future, and companies want to capture a slice of what will become a major, disruptive market. In fact, we don’t have to wait until some far-off date, as driverless technology is already being used, developed, and refined every single day.

One of the primary motivators for the rapid adoption of autonomous driving technology is its potential to dramatically reduce traffic collisions and save lives. In 2015, there were an estimated 35,000 motor vehicle deaths, with the majority of all crashes caused by human error. Having smart AI take the wheel can improve safety. It already is.

Proving grounds are where car makers send their vehicles for durability and misuse testing. These facilities feature miles of tracks that automotive companies use to put their latest model, or one up for recall, through extreme conditions so they can analyze how it performs, and evaluate it for manufacturing defects or design miscalculations.

In the past, a human had to sit in the driver’s seat and steer the vehicle aroundthe course. Inserting a person into an unproven test vehicle and sending them down very hazardous tracks which are purposefully designed with the worst imaginable road conditions. Injuries or even deaths could occur from rough durability tracks, jumps, vehicle rolls, and other scenarios, making the proving grounds a dangerous place – but not anymore.

At Autonomous Solutions Inc., we specialize in engineering independent vehicle automation systems that remove the human from the driver’s seat, and out of harm’s way. Our researchers have developed technology for proving ground automation, bringing safety to durability and misuse testing.

We’ve partnered with some of the largest automotive brands in the world to improve the safety and efficiency of their durability and misuse testing. Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Hyundai all trust ASI’s Mobius on their proving grounds.

We’ve even worked with the U.S. Air Force, applying our automation kits to drive vehicles pulling target sleds from a control center 50 miles away!

Our vehicle automation systems start with installing hardware into test vehicles to control steering, acceleration, braking, and transmission. Then, equipped with our intelligent Mobius command and control platform, remote operators are able to send the vehicle down specific drive paths. A single operator can even control multiple vehicles, interacting in the same area or different locations for increased productivity.

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At the end of last year, ten of the world's largest consumer vehicle manufacturers combined to announce that automated emergency braking systems would be a standard feature in all new vehicle models produced by the companies. The move is designed to reduce the number of rear end collisions which make up about a third of all accidents.

and autonomous braking system braking for a vehicle

While each manufacturer's system would work differently, the fundamental concept is the same: if forward facing sensors detect a slower moving or stopped vehicle ahead, the brakes automatically engage without driver intervention. "We are entering an era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen," said Anthony Foxx, US Transportation Secretary in the Los Angeles Times article.

"We are entering an era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,"

Regardless of where your opinion falls on this specific topic, it's important to recognize that the automatic emergency braking system is just one of several autonomous vehicle technologies that have or will shortly make it into consumer vehicles. Advances such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and automatic parallel parking have already made their debut and are becoming increasingly affordable options. In each case, the combination of sensors and intelligent action on the part of the vehicle has its roots in robotics. The benefits to safety and convenience will continue to push the industry toward robotic vehicles.

However, because of the substantial legal issues involved, the unmanned industry generally has steered clear of consumer vehicles. California recently released draft regulation proposals signaling that liability of these vehicles could rest on the vehicle manufacturers. Nothing has been passed on the federal or state level though so some are still trying to anticipate the eventual adoption of fully automated vehicles on public roads and what it will take to get the industry there. For example, the University of Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan DOT, have created Mcity, a mock "downtown" that simulates the unexpected variables that come with driving in urban conditions, allowing manufacturers to test autonomous vehicles in a realistic environment. ASI also expanded its test facilities in northern Utah to allow for simulating some of these situations.

Fully autonomous systems have already been successfully applied to consumer vehicles in closed/controlled environments. Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has been working with Ford Motor Company since 2011 and developed a robotic durability testing program. Robotic technology is retrofitted to new vehicle models and operated from a central command center at Ford's Michigan Proving Ground facility. The robotic technology enables Ford to remove human drivers from the most punishing test tracks and run durability testing 24/7.

Despite the progress of the University of Michigan, ASI, and other innovators like Google with their Google Car program, full adoption of autonomous vehicles on the road still seems a ways in the future. But that's not to say that we won't continue to see individual autonomous technologies, such as automatic emergency braking, trickle into the consumer market.

Volatility in the mining industry caused by, amongst other things, shrinking global demand and record low commodity prices has left mining companies looking for ways to retool their organizations and processes to cope with what some are calling the “new normal.” Mining majors are beginning to exhaust classic short term fixes, such as Anglo American’s massive restructure that would release 85,000 workers over the next few years, and are now looking to other sources to achieve long term productivity and process improvements.

In the shadow of these challenges, Deloitte released "Tracking the Trends 2016 " The report is designed to focus on the current issues in the mining industry and provide suggestions on where miners can go to meet these challenges. We previously focused on Deloitte’s recommendation to invest in innovation and the massive productivity gains achieved by several mining companies by leveraging technology.

In another strategy, Deloitte suggests mining companies build bridges with other industries to learn and incorporate lessons on process optimization. The manufacturing and automotive industries in particular have a long history with lean production systems as well as investment in robotic technology.

The mining industry can learn from the automotive industry's automation

"The Ford Motor Company is a salient case in point," says Deloitte. "In 2006, the company lost over US$12 billion following a collapse in consumer demand. Between 2011 and 2014, however, Ford realized annual profits ranging from US$6.2 billion to US$8.3 billion."

One of the reasons for this dramatic turnaround—of which we at ASI have a particularly intimate knowledge—was Ford's willingness to
"embrace emerging technologies, such as robotics, self-driving vehicles, connecting vehicles to the cloud, and hybrid and electric vehicle development."
Since 2011, ASI has been working with Ford to develop a robotic durability testing program . The program improves safety by removing test drivers from the most jarring test tracks and improves productivity by allowing vehicles to test 24/7. The same automation technologies that delivered productivity and safety improvements to Ford's durability testing program can be realized in mining vehicle automation.

“Although there are as many differences between the automotive and mining sectors as there are similarities,” Deloitte concluded,
“forward-thinking miners can likely make unanticipated productivity gains by taking lessons from this example.”

Looking to and leveraging lessons learned by other industries may hold the key for improving productivity for mining companies, but this is just one of the suggestions offered by Deloitte. To explore additional suggestions and to gear up for mining in 2016,

Safety is ASI's number one priority. Requesting a safety audit from HORIBA MIRA helps ASI evaluate and enhance its internal processes to ensure that rigorous international safety standards are continually in place to be met.Safety is ASI's number one priority. Requesting a safety audit from HORIBA MIRA helps ASI evaluate and enhance its internal processes to ensure that rigorous international safety standards are continually in place to be met.

ASI is pleased to have been audited by an external auditor Dr. David Ward of HORIBA MIRA. ASI engineering processes were reviewed over a period of 4 days this summer and the approach to the functional safety of our products was assessed against a range of international functional safety engineering standards including IEC 61508, ISO 26262, ISO 17757 and ISO 13849.

“It’s a pleasure working with HORIBA MIRA and David Ward. He’s a professional of the utmost integrity and patience, always pragmatic and extremely knowledgeable in a broad range of sectors including Mining, Security, Agriculture and Automotive where ASI customers are realizing huge savings and productivity improvements through using our products and services,” says Jonathan Moore, ASI Chief Engineer.

“As autonomous solutions become more widespread in automotive and industrial applications it’s important that we demonstrate their dependability, compliance with functional safety standards is an important aspect of demonstrating a rigorous approach to product design and implementation,” says Dr. David Ward, HORIBA MIRA.

“It’s encouraging to see a technology innovator embodying these principles as part of their core engineering processes.”

ASI Steering Robot on a Ford F-150

ASI’s Automation Kit will be featured on cable TV’s popluar show Translogic. The episode will air on Velocity some date in the near future, click the link below to see the clip now.

Translogic producer, Jonathan Buckley, takes a ride in a Ford truck that has no driver. Instead, it is equipped with one of ASI’s automation robots.

Ford uses ASI’s driverless solutions on vehicles at their Michigan proving ground on tracks designed to put vehicles through the toughest of tests. These tests can be abusive on human drivers and there are limits to how long a driver can operate a vehicle on these types of tracks. So using these automation kits for Ford provides safe, accurate, and repeatable results.

See ASI’s Automation Kit in action at the Ford Proving Grounds.

A 2014 Ford Transit Van drives on a proving ground in MichiganASI's robotic durability testing technology helps Ford perform test events that are too taxing for human drivers. Recent talks have shown the European automotive market is also highly interested in proving ground automation.

Members of ASI's sales and product development teams recently returned from attending the Automotive Testing Expo 2014 Europe held in Stuttgart, Germany. Testing engineers and OEMs from all over the world gather at the Europe Expo to discuss the latest technologies that will make automotive testing safer and more efficient. ASI representatives were able to establish relationships with European-based OEMs that are looking to vehicle robotics as a testing solution and identify key technology trends in the automotive industry.

The following discusses some of the industry trends ASI representatives discovered at the Expo and how these trends impact proving ground automation.

Impact of Emissions Regulations.

In past years, manual transmissions dominated the European vehicle market due to lower production cost and higher fuel efficiency. However, as European countries sharpen their focus on reducing vehicle emissions (in the form of severe fines for noncompliance), OEMs are responding by producing more vehicles with automatic transmissions which allow the OEMs greater control over shifting and fuel consumption.

This is good news for ASI's vehicle automation technologies that are highly effectively with automatic transmissions.

On November 1, 2013, Autonomous Solutions, Inc. celebrated their thirteenth year of business. Since November 2000, ASI has automated more than sixty different types of vehicles; deploy hundreds of robots worldwide; and provided solutions that improve productivity and safety in challenging spaces, including: military, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and automotive.

As the year winds down, we have an opportunity to pause and reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. This past year was full of exciting events, notable implementations, product releases, and industry awards.

This article will take you through some of the more prominent happenings during ASI's Year Thirteen.

Mar 2013—ASI adopts AGILE development methodology
To deliver the best possible product while being able to accommodate customer feedback, ASI teams adopt AGILE development methodologies.

Apr 2013—Guideline Receives Bronze Edison Award
On April 25th, the prestigious Edison Awards selected ASI's Guideline Robotic Convoy product as a 2013 Bronze winner. Guideline is a tethered, unmanned convoy system currently undergoing in-theater testing.

Ford Robotic Durability Program

Jun 2013—Ford Motor Company Announces Robotic Program
Ford Motor Company announced its robotic durability testing program designed to protect drivers from their most punishing test tracks. ASI's automotive team worked with Ford engineers for three years to supply the vehicle robotics for Ford's program.

Jul 2013—USPTO Issues Two New Trademarks
ASI adds to its store of intellectual property with two new trademarks for the Forecast 3D laser system and the Vantage obstacle detection and avoidance system.

Aug 2013—ASI Announces New Forge Robotic Platform at AUVSI
ASI unveils the new Forge robotic platform at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington DC. The new product answer the need for an x-by-wire robotic platform usable across multiple industries.

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