The AstaZero proving ground includes a "City Area" that can test vehicle interactions with other types of urban street users

The AstaZero proving ground includes a "City Area" that can test vehicle interactions with other types of urban street users

There was an interesting development in the area of active safety and emerging advanced driver assistance technologies last week. A new purpose built proving ground for the technologies that could eventually lead us to highly autonomous vehicles opened in Sweden.

SWEDEN: New safety testing facility opens

Volvo Cars has a strong safety brief and is, unsurprisingly, heavily involved with the new testing facility. However, as we were told, the aim is to get other OEMs and suppliers engaged and using it, too.

SWEDEN: AstaZero targets more automakers/suppliers to new proving ground

Gotta admire Volvo Cars' goal:

SWEDEN: Volvo goes "step closer" to zero fatalities with proving site opening

Connectivity in cars and the services delivered to drivers and passengers is also emerging as a new technology driver in automotive. Suppliers are now positioning for competitive advantage. Continental said this week that it is investing in a new business unit specialising in connectivity that draws on Silicon Valley expertise.

US: Continental invests in Silicon Valley expertise

And over in China, SAIC partnered up with a big e-commerce player.

CHINA: SAIC and Alibaba to partner in connectivity

China was mainly in the news this week for the regulatory crackdown that is impacting the auto sector. Parts suppliers have been fined. Automakers are busy cutting parts prices. I suspect the regulators will conclude that turning the spotlight on the auto sector is already working well. The contrite statements and press releases from the parts suppliers saying that they will happily pay up and are now reviewing compliance procedures to make sure such a bad thing can't happen again made me wonder: how long before we are reading similar releases from the OEMs on new car prices?

COMMENT: Regulatory concerns grow in China

In the US, we heard about a new large car for Cadillac. Can Caddy mix it with the Mercedes S-Class?

US: Cadillac takes on Merc S Class

And this analysis on Cadillac's new product strategy is from our new product guru.

ANALYSIS: GM gets serious about Cadillac

We have also just published this update on emerging markets. Interesting to see how the risks pan out by region for different OEMs.

August 2014 management briefing: Emerging markets in trouble (1)

I was very impressed with this 3-D printing (catchier term than 'additive printing') story that came out of Opel.

GERMANY: Opel hails assembly tools produced from 3D printer

And, finally, I can't let the week pass by without acknowledging the continued efforts of the people at NEVS in Sweden. A prototype emerged this week. Could Saab really live on, the old 9-3 re-imagined and re-engineered as an EV? I wish the people at NEVS well.

SWEDEN: NEVS shows 9-3 EV prototype

It's a long weekend here with Monday off as a UK national holiday. We'll be back at our desks on Tuesday morning, so see you then.

Have a good weekend.

Dave Leggett, Editor, just-auto