AD #1218 – Valeo’s Low-Cost Lidar, GM Diesel Pick-up?, Faurecia Pumps Up the Volume

September 19th, 2013 at 12:02pm

Runtime: 8:08

Valeo, the French supplier company, just unveiled a low cost lidar system that is significantly smaller and can be packaged into the front grille of a car. GM can drop a diesel in its full-size pick-ups if it wants but that’s not the interesting part. Automotive supplier Faurecia makes your car sound more powerful. All that and more, plus Design Handbook’s Jim Hall takes us on a field trip to learn about “MMI.”

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Later on in the show we have the next installment of Design Handbook with Jim Hall, but first we have to get to the news.

Autonomous technology is the hottest topic in the global automotive industry right now. Nissan kicked off a fury two weeks ago when it announced it will have autonomous cars in its showrooms by 2020. Autonomy dominated the discussions last week at the Frankfurt Auto Show and the LA show just added an extra media day devoted to the topic. Yesterday, Elon Musk announced Tesla wants to develop its own autonomous car. He Tweeted that out yesterday, looking for engineers to join the company and report directly to him.

Meanwhile, autonomous technology is improving by leaps and bounds and the costs are coming down fast. No doubt you’ve seen the spinning lidar system that sits on top of fully autonomous cars like Google and Bosch have developed. That is essentially a hand-built component made to military spec that costs about $70,000. But Valeo, the French supplier company just unveiled its low cost lidar system that is significantly smaller, can be packaged into the front grille of a car and will cost, (are you ready for this?) around $250. Valeo’s lidar, or laser radar, is not as capable as the more expensive system, yet it’s pretty good. Valeo says it has a range of 150 meters, a field of view of almost 150 degrees, and accuracy down to only 1/4 degree. Sounds to me like two of these things together would match the more expensive system. Audi is forecasting that a fully autonomous system on a car will cost about $2,500 but with so much R&D being thrown at this technology I think it could be even cheaper than that.

Juan Pablo Montoya is making his return to IndyCars next year but not with Chip Ganassi, his former IndyCar boss. Instead he will join Penske Racing and teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. Montoya is one of the most accomplished race car drivers around. He won the CART title in his rookie year and also won the Indy500. Then he jumped to Formula One and most recently raced in NASCAR. But he didn’t do that well racing stock cars and we’ll probably see him more often in victory circle now that he’s going back to open wheel racing.

When the Ram comes out with its 1500 Ecodiesel later this year it will be the only automaker with a diesel light-duty pickup, but as we have said, other automakers will be keeping a close eye on its sales. Well according to AutoGuide, GM can drop a diesel into the Sierra and Silverado if it wants, but what’s more interesting is that it would be the same engine going into the Ram. The 3.0 liter V6 engine is produced by VM Motori, which GM partly owns. So far, however, GM does not have any plans to use it.

Have you noticed that cars are a whole lot quieter than they used to be? Well if you’re like us and don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing, the folks over at automotive supplier Faurecia may have the solution for you. Called Exhaust Dynamic Sound Technologies, it’s a speaker mounted at the end of the exhaust that, depending on speed and engine load, will replicate sounds similar to powerful gasoline cars. It can also allow designers to develop the exhaust system much later in the design process because they can “play” with the exhaust note they want. Imagine hearing a Ferrari pull up beside you only to look over and see a Yaris.

Earlier in the week we reported that Tesla is fighting a battle with car dealers in California over opening its own stores which may violate franchise laws. So we asked you, should Tesla be able to operate its own stores or have to go through a franchise network like every other automaker? Apparently most of you don’t care about the law, 78% of you are on Tesla’s side while the remaining 22% said the company should have to use a franchise network. Now we’ll have to see if the courts agree with you.

It’s time for Design Handbook as Jim Hall takes us on a field trip to learn about “MMI.” That acronym, spelled out, after this friendly message from the folks that make Autoline Daily possible.

You know, when you think about car design, you’re probably most often thinking about styling: things like character lines and stance. But, these days usability is a bigger deal than ever. This week’s Design Handbook subject is MMI or Man-Machine Interface.

(Design Handbook can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

If you want more of Jim’s lessons on car design, hop on over to our YouTube channel. Just search for “Autoline Network” on or click the link on

Also don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tonight starting at 6 pm Eastern time. We’ll be talking about Buick tonight so join me and the Autoextremist for some of the best insider discussions in the business. That’s on

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching we’ll see you tomorrow.

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51 Comments to “AD #1218 – Valeo’s Low-Cost Lidar, GM Diesel Pick-up?, Faurecia Pumps Up the Volume”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Are you sure that GM still owns a piece of VM Motori? I have read both that it still does,and it does not.Which is it?

  2. Brett Says:


    Fortunately, the touchscreen MMI can be uploaded with revised programming to correct those “forget the setting” issues.

    The aftermarket unit in my Outlander accepts an SD memory card for MP3 files. I’ve got about 800 songs on the card and I generally play the tracks in random order. One minute I’m listening to The Seldom Scene, the next Diane Schuur, and then Guy Clark.

    Every time I shut off the ignition, it forgets that it is random track mode. That’s annoying.

    If I’d spent more than $50 for the unit, it would be really annoying, but… :)

  3. Al Jadczak Says:

    Hey Jim, why are you leaving women out of the design picture? The term Man Machine Interface was changed over 10 years ago to Human Machine Interface, or HMI. The PC folks always win out. Great example of how these systems force you to do things their way. Why give us an option and then take it back. I love my GMC Envoy with the key fob for me and my wife. When I push the unlock button, the car is mine. When my wife pushes her button the car is hers. The best of design, don’t you think?

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Here John,just read the first paragraph:

  5. Roger T Says:

    Glad to see autonomous vehicles won’t necessarily look like unicorns.

    Excited to see Montoya at Penske.

    MMI – critical these days, especially with the touch screens, multi-menu options, etc. I bet some drivers will never learn about all features available to them in their own vehicles after years of service.

  6. T. Bejma Says:


    GM does still own a large chunk of VM Motori.

  7. HtG Says:

    Those good ol’ boys were never going to let poor Juan win nothin’.

  8. ColoradoKid Says:


    OK .. lets get down to the brass tacks ..

    1) A present poll has shown that 45% of all GPS users have been misled by their GPS’s more than twice … while a good 20% polled said their GPS misled them on a regular basis

    2) The actual error rate for both GPS and Lidar is on average the distance of one full city block or more

    3) The number of accidents/errors for autonomous robots used in manufacturing …. remembering they use an imbedded track technology …. is approximately 30%

    4) All … and I do mean ALL involved in Artificial Intelligence .. from the Ivory Towers to the Manufactures …are in complete agreement that Autonomous Automobiles will not be safely ready for Prime Time despite the hyperbole coming from the likes of Nissan/GM/TESLA/Valeo/Google etc

    5) In light of recent revelations about Google… which is at present the only supplier of available infrastructure .. do you .. really want them controlling your automobile as well ?

    Lastly … and in relation to my rants on the 9/18 page about Corporate mentality

    To put it simply ….. the only reason we’re hearing so much about Autonomy in automobiles is the desperate attempt on behalf of the Automakers involved to delay the inevitable …. that being their attaining Irrelevancy .. Worldwide .

    While the automakers are dumping billions into a technology that has little or no chance of success … they’re also dumping billions into Lobbyists to campaign / bribe and manipulate against any and all forms of Public Transportation

    Don’t believe me ? Like I told Kit this morning . Ask a DC insider …. and while your at it …. ask him/her how much of those bailout dollars given were spent on lobbying against public transportation as well .

    That answer is real entertaining

    And that’ll be all from me on this subject seeing as how I’m still steamed /shocked . dismayed /depressed and disgusted by the Franchise discussion yesterday

    On that … one final hint …. If money is involved in any way … be it Retail – Insurance – Investments – 401K’s – Real Estate etc …… nobody but YOU … and you alone gives a rats pituty about your personal finances and well being … with ALL to a number more than willing to rip you blind in order to increase Their bottom line

    Basta !


    Montoya back to Indy Car . How appropriate …. an irrelevant has been driver … returning to an irrelevant has been series


  9. T. Bejma Says:


    Fiat bought Penske’s share, but GM still has theirs…

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ T Bejma: ?? What’s up on the ‘allpar’ site then? Like I said in my first post,I’ve read it both ways. Now,if gm still owns some of VM,why will they be using Isuzu diesels on the upcoming midsize twins?

  11. HtG Says:

    8 Irrelevant has been? The man brings sponsorship dollars from latin america. LOOT!

    come on CK

  12. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ T B: The date on your link is 2011.The stuff on allpar is 2013…..?

  13. ColoradoKid Says:


    Hmmmn …. Isn’t it more than just a bit curious and interesting that the most successful and #1 by a hundred country miles F1 designer and master of all things aerodynamic in the most technologically advanced motorsport on the planet .. Adrian Newey ……. still does all his initial designs by hand with pen and pencil ;

    Anachronism – 100 ….. Techno Wonks – 0

    Hint ‘ Red Bull aint dominating F1 just because they’ve got Vettel in the drivers seat ;-)

    ( part one of four HtG … well worth the watch )

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    11 – How long has it been since the Party Animal has been’s accomplished anything of note ?

    And errr …. that money’s because of family ties … not his skill or tv draw … ;-)

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    #10 – Perhaps because for once ( even an insane deluded fool gets it right once and awhile ) GM’s being smart and not stuffing Italian built mechanicals under their hoods .. unlike FIAT/Chrysler … choosing Japanese reliability over Italian destined to fall apart before your very eyes motors ?

    Hmmmn ….

    BTW – Even looking over VM’s ( VM not VW ALD ) official Italian site as well as several Italian financial sources ….ownership and percentages of VM Motori is to say the least more than a bit … vague and contradictory ….


  16. T. Bejma Says:


    Yes, GM uses both Isuzu and VM Motori diesels.

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ TB: Which one is in the Cruze diesel?

  18. Rumblestrip Says:

    That very same 3 row Santa Fe that Jim Hall was using was great on a 1200 mile road trip to get our English Mastiff pup, oh and we took our current English Mastiff with us too!

    Best nav system I’ve ever used in an OEM vehicle was in that 3 row Santa Fe. Look for the Rumblestrip.NET channel on YouTube for my review, I won’t link to it on John’s property.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    R & T says the diesel in the Cruze is FIAT by way of Germany.

  20. HtG Says:

    Serious, Jim Hall? You and I have the same musical driving taste?


  21. Bradley Says:

    John loves to pick on the Yaris. When a car drives itself, does 0-60, torque, etc. matter?

    I did a lot of research in college on the iDrive and why it was the antithesis of convenience.

    In my opinion, software developers are following requirements and requirements miss a lot of the big picture because there isn’t time or money to allow for appropriate usability analysis. Everything is developed and tested as pieces, but the validation of the usability never occurs.

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    Ben/ALD … I screwed up and included two links on one post … so to save you the time and effort I’ll divy them up myself

    Mea Culpa !

    AutoWeek finally acquires some …. stones ????

    Well yeah … its only one manufacture … and truth be known I’m betting Dutch Mandel has had some personal experience thats led to this rant about Porsche …. but still …… AutoWeek ? Reading any manufacture the riot act ?

    Wow ! Will miracles never cease ?

    Next thing you know we’ll start getting honest reviews from all the magazines rather than the current wave of manufacture created/approved reviews everyone’s been dumping on our door step lately

    ( jeeze … that almost makes up for yesterdays bout of depressing reality …. almost )

  23. ColoradoKid Says:


    HtG – Aint’cha glad you passed on that Boxster mien freund ?

    BTW … ” Rush ” … after you’ve seen the film … [yes I remember you'd gotten Lauda's " My Years With Ferrari " on my recommend ... but never the less ] … after you’ve seen the film … buy/Kindle what ever … this ;

    …..for a more overall view of that episode in F1 history … But read it after …not before … or the movie may lose its appeal

  24. HtG Says:

    23 I’ve noted that MotorTrend reviewers are now looking right into the camera and telling BMW that their cars are overweight. And being careful what I write, I’ll say that it has been reliably acknowledged to me that the stories on the Porsche owner forums are accurate; not that it prevents me from getting this close to buying one anyway. I’m human.


    I well know the story of that season, and hope that Ron Howard’s film hinges on one very specific “moment.” I won’t say more, no spoiler me. But thanks for the link, CK.

  25. Dan Hudgins Says:

    I thought GM had developed a 4.5 liter diesel that they shelved before their bankruptcy. It won an award and had the turbos located in the V of the engine and the exhaust flowing to the inside of the V instead of the more normal outside configuration.

  26. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    autonomous cars. not fully autonomous any time soon. but i like the lidar device by valeo that can be implemented soon.

    juan pablo montoya esta regresando la serie “indycars”. yes, he has had some success outside of nascar. however, he has made some questionable decisions about which teams to join. i wish him well in his return to indycars.

    gm owning part of vm motori. yes, they do. however that is with fiat. no, fiat does not make poor vehicles like they did in the seventies. it is now time to come into 2013. and gm has a powertrain division in torino. that was said in an aah episode recently.

    faurecia and exhaust noise. do we really need electronics in the exhaust? one more way to make money instead of real tuning of an exhaust note while being within noise regulations.

    tesla and franchise laws. if tesla cannot open its own stores in california, could they not do a joint venture with a dealer? i am asking because i really do not know the franchise laws.

    design handbook. mr. hall, i agree with you. should it not be rather easy for hyundai to have custom settings for up to 4 drivers? returning to default in 2013 is rather lazy in this application of mmi.

    there was a question asked about the future of lincoln on aah last week. in another entry, i will give my outline on what it will take to revive lincoln. jonathan, i expect your counterpoint within the week.

    thank you for this forum.


  27. GM Veteran Says:

    Here is something for consideration: Autonomous driving will degrade skills, making dangerous situations even more so. As Elon Musk notes, the final 5% is the toughest and most costly to achieve. He is saying Tesla will field a car with 90% autonomous driving capability by 2016. Cadillac has basically said the same thing with their Super Cruise. With our litigious society, I think the automakers will prefer to stay with 90% autonomy, so that they have an “out” in the legal system in accident situations. If drivers stop driving 90% of the time, their skills will naturally degrade. And the situations where the car won’t drive itself are the situations where their skills will need to be at their peak. This sounds like a formula for disaster to me.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Using electronics to make cars noisy is the silliest thing to come along, since putting complex touch screen things in the dash of cars. If that idea takes off, it will probably migrate to motorcycles, and Honda will have an option on Gold Wings, to make them sound like a Harley with straight pipes.

  29. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    as promised, here is my outline on what it will take to revive lincoln.

    (1) the lincoln motor company needs to be a real company within ford. not just a name only.

    (2) the board at ford motor company needs to be willing to commit resources to make that happen.

    (3) the lincoln motor company should have a ceo/chairman willing and able to be an advocate as well as a strategist.

    (4) the lincoln motor company should have a definition of what they are about. and which segments lincoln should compete in.

    (5) the lincoln motor company should eventually compete globally. there is room for uniquely american luxury.

    (6) the lincoln motor company should use materials that are at least two (2) grades above what ford would use.

    (7) the lincoln motor company should be mostly rear wheel drive or all wheel drive in their line-up. the entry-level can be front wheel drive/all wheel drive. not the rest of the line-up.

    (8) the lincoln motor company should not expect success to be overnight. look at audi and cadillac as proof. focus and commitment are key to their present success.

    there may be more, but that is what i have for now. jonathan brown, again i expect your counterpoint within the week.

    there needs to be a serious conversation within and without ford regarding lincoln. competition is healthy for all parties. especially the consumer.

    let the conversation begin.

    thank you again for this forum.


  30. HtG Says:

    28 since we’re kicking rocks today, consider the silliness of algorithms that send a little unburned gas down the tailpipe so it pops and growls a little “on the overrun,” he said, glancing at Jaguar F-Type. I didn’t see too many reviewers wink at their readers about it either.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, Lincoln needs to make most of their lineup rear drive based, if the want to be taken seriously against Mercedes and BMW, or even Cadillac. Maybe the best way would be for Ford to buy an existing company, like Jaguar. Oh, wait. They tried that once.

  32. cwolf Says:

    Kit & HtG: I commend both of you astute rascals for noticing I was not myself. Besides having a bad day and 4 beers w/o food, here is the main cause of my frustration:

    Upon entering my car after work, the passive anti-theft system would not allow me to start my car! My attempts to disarm the unit as stated in the manual were unsuccessful,i.e. reentry using fob, by door key pad, repitions of hitting door unlock button in a described sequence at various ignition placements, etc, etc. I then called 2-3 Ford/Merc. service depts for help. They were aware of how the system operates but clueless as to how to disarm it other than using the secondary key fob or changing its battery which may transmit a stronger signal. In despiration, I called my fater-in-law to bring a set of cables. Nothing happened after connecting,but… I then sparked the positive across the terminal which made the car flash the lights in repetion and sound the horn. The car started!!! See the next post to learn the system shuts off more mechanicals the more the car feels intruded upon.

  33. HtG Says:

    32 yer funnin’ is always appreciated, cwolf. Never doubted.


    did you guys hear what Buick’s McNamara said on sales in China just now at AAH? 700,000 units!!!!!! compared to 180K in the US. Wawaweewah!

  34. cwolf Says:

    As I inserted the key, the anti-theft syst. on the panel alerted me the car’s syatem was locked. Upon the second attempt, the brake pedal locked-up rock solid as I tapped the brake, but the shifter could be moved. As futher were made the dash became dimmer, then flashers would activate, the the horn and flashers. Finally the window I rolled down would not roll up, the dash went black and a loud hummmmm eminated from the lower dash! God help me!! I figured if a weak key battery could be the cause of connectivity, I thought jumping the car might better the sensitivity from the column side. I remain as clueless as the dealers, but whatever I did worked. One thing for sure, I will go to all lengths to have the dealer guide me on how to dis-arm this monster and discover why this has been the 3rd occurance. O.k…. time for a cold one.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Holy crap…. And your system is probably simpler than many. I kind of wish the 17 year old Corvette I just bought didn’t have that “pass key” thing.

  36. cwolf Says:

    HEY BEN! Not a darn thing wrong with my last post…. put it back.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just got 4 new tires and alignment and the shop guy told me that the right front Camber was slightly off and he could not adjust it cause my struts are worn, is this guy full of it? C-Tech are you out there, buddy?

  38. T. Bejma Says:

    Lack of camber adjustment has been built into MacPherson struts for a while now. There are, however, tricks to get around it. It is possible to get negative camber (or positive even – why would anyone want positive camber ;-) ) by reaming out the strut mount holes. Should not have anything to do with whether your struts are wore or not. I got a couple of degrees of negative camber on my Cobalt SS with a rat tail file.

  39. C-Tech Says:

    @ #37 Hold the Corolla closer to the website, just kidding. The tech is telling you the truth. The other option to ask about is installing camber adjustment bolts. If you buy them yourself, it should be about $30 plus labor.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Most of what happened sounds like what might happen with a dead car battery, but they don’t normally fix themselves. The brake pedal getting hard would just be from depleting the stored vacuum in the booster.

    Anyway, I hope you can permanently disable the anti-theft thing, and the problem won’t happen again.

  41. C-Tech Says:

    @ #35 Kit if you wish, the passcode system can be bypassed with a little ingenuity and proper resistor. See

  42. C-Tech Says:

    Cwolf, I would have the battery tested and the battery terminals looked at. Most dealers and shops will check for free.

  43. Jim Hall Says:

    @ 2 – Brett, the loss of “shuffle play” on car stereos drives me mad. And the problem is not limited to Hyundai (Kia too) and Mitsu. Hrumph!

    @ 3 – Yep Al, my PC bad. Still I spend a lot of time in an Audi where the splash screen still calls the system MMI. I’m just conditioned, I guess. And the driver-coded remote or remote key is one of the greatest inventions ever. Resets the radio presets, A/C settings and temperature display as well as the seat memory. Can’t ask for more.

    @ 20 – HtG, Что я могу сказать? Просто одна из моих мая виновных удовольствий.

    @ 21 – Bradley the original 8-axis iDrive was a train wreck that ran on Windows CE. No gate-keeper on that one.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks guys!

  45. T. Bejma Says:

    Saab is baaaaaacccckkk….

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks. There is no indication of a problem, but I’ll bookmark that site, just in case.

  47. C-Tech Says:

    Looking forward to seeing JPM in Indy. Hard to win in NASCAR with a mid-level team. I wish he could bring Danica back to Indycars with him. She is better there.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It will be interesting to see what JPM does in his return to IndyCar. Usually Team Penske has as good of cars as anyone, so it’s up to him.

    Danaca has been at least as underwhelming in NASCAR as Montoya, since she has less of an excuse, running for a top team. I still think she is mainly a marketing tool, given that she only won one IndyCar race in 100+ starts, with good teams, but it would be interesting to see her return to Indy. IndyCar needs a PR boost, and having both Danica and JPM back would provide it.

  49. HtG Says:

    46 With JPM having a bit of speed, why do you think he was so middling in NASCAR?

  50. HtG Says:

    47 Isn’t Danica represented by IMG? I never underrate the importance of marketing pull in racing. These racers work at it assiduously. I give Danica great credit for using her sexuality while not being demeaned. Gal’s a hardass.

  51. HtG Says:

    Holy Hong Kong

    The typhoon aiming at Hong Kong is going to continue into the heart of China’s industrial area. The tidal flooding of the Pearl River will be significant. Holy moly.