New mobility aggregator Karfu launches Crowdcube campaign

Investment drive for mobility comparison website

If you’ve attended industry events like MOVE recently then you’re probably familiar with Karfu, the all vehicle comparison website.

They’ve officially been in stealth mode but now, with the launch of a new crowdfunder, we can finally talk about them.

The USP is compelling – compare the lifetime financial cost and environmental impact of different vehicles. The aim is to be a Moneysupermarket for mobility.

“In the last few years there’s been a surge of new types of vehicles, from electric cars to scooters, as well as new ways of accessing them, including subscription, sharing and rental,” explains Co-founder & CEO, Sam Ellis.

“This overload makes it hard to directly compare and choose. A lack of trust in providers, along with consumers’ environmental concerns, make the decision-making process more complex. People are confused.”

Co-founder Dominic Thomas picks up the story: “This is where Karfu comes in. It’s an impartial mobility comparison website designed to save people time, money, and help them to make more sustainable choices.

“It brings every vehicle-based product or service into one place, helping consumers to make the best choice for them.”

As of 2.30pm on Tue 28 March, the Karfu campaign on Crowdcube was up to 86% of the £300k target.

For further info see this short video or visit

Introducing mobility comparison website, Karfu

Software-defined vehicle debate feat. experts in computer engineering, automotive fintech and ADAS.

Software-defined vehicles: Cars of the Future editor hosts Reuters webinar on amazing emerging tech

In case you didn’t catch it live, Cars of the Future editor Neil Kennett recently moderated a fantastic discussion on The Evolution of Automotive Technology for Reuters Events.

The high-profile three-man panel consisted of Dr Mario De Felice, Head of Software Architecture at Jaguar Land Rover, Nico Kersten, CEO of Mercedes Pay, and Plato Pathrose, CTO of Vinfast.

With world leading expertise in computer engineering, automotive fintech and ADAS, the main topics covered included EVs and hybrids, software-defined vehicles (SDVs), over-the-air updates (OTAs) and in-car purchase systems (ICPSs).

In particular, they discussed an Accenture report predicting that revenues from digitally-enabled services will rise tenfold by 2040 (to US$3.5 trillion), and the letter by the European Association of Automotive Suppliers to the President of the European Commission calling for sector-specific regulation on the use and sharing of in-vehicle data.

They also covered Mercedes’ Drive Pilot becoming the first SAE Level 3 system in a standard production vehicle to be authorised for use on public freeways in America, and the UK’s recent self-driving public transport successes in Scotland and Didcot.

Software-defined debate

Highlights included…

How is modern software architecture changing vehicle design?

Mario De Felice: “At JLR we’ve integrated Alexa so that the user seamlessly moves from one ecosystem to the other – more complex software architecture enables all of those features. That revolution is incredible.”

How will in-car purchase systems deliver more personalised driving experiences?

Nico Kersten: “If you have digital extras available, you can really reconfigure your car. Two important words are trust and responsibility. This is how we need to approach data.”

What are the challenges and opportunities of being an emerging VM in the age of zero fatalities?

Plato Pathrose: “The major advantages we have are flexibility and adaptability. We have to deliver products that are stable and trustworthy, and show we are capable of providing better technologies.”

The full hour-long session can be viewed here.

Bournemouth University researchers investigate what Gen Z want from a self-driving car?

New research into self-driving UX: horse and rider or Jeeves and Wooster?

Bournemouth University has highlighted the work of Dr Kyungjoo Cha, Senior Lecturer in Product Design, in helping Hyundai and Kia to ensure that their self-driving vehicles live up to the expectations of Gen Z users – those born between 1997 and 2012.

Specialising in user experience (UX) design, and working in partnership with Hyundai Motor Company’s Holistic UX Group, Dr Cha began the “auZentic” project to understand how young people perceive their digital life and entertainment needs.

Dr Kyungjoo Cha helping self-driving vehicles live up to the expectations of Gen Z users
Dr Kyungjoo Cha is helping self-driving vehicles live up to Gen Z expectations

“This is a fast-moving sector, with the development of new technologies and artificial intelligence,” she said. “The automobile sector has invested a great deal in research and development for autonomous vehicles, and now Hyundai and Kia have identified the need to understand what will drive the next generation’s experience.

“Generation Z were born with the internet. Their perceptions around entertainment and digital life are different to older generations. Understanding this is crucial for designing the vehicles of the future. It will not necessarily be just about chilling out in the vehicle – we found they are passionate about advocacy and getting behind projects in their digital life.”

Ongoing self-driving partnership

Kia and Hyundai’s positive response to the initial work led to a second stage of the partnership, investigating how users will want to interact and communicate with an autonomous vehicle.

“The people we spoke to gave us many examples of the type of relationship they could have,” said Dr Cha. “Some suggested a relationship like that between a horse and its rider, we also had comparisons to a butler and their employer, or an aeroplane pilot and auto-pilot. Some also spoke about being team players with their cars.

“Different contexts will determine how people want to communicate. For example, if someone was feeling emotional or upset, they might not want to talk.”

The suggested solution is a multi-model approach offering several options for communication between car and user, which could provide safety benefits as well as better user experiences.

2019 Hyundai video

Back in 2019, in the early days of Cars of the Future, this futuristic video of Hyundai’s EV wireless charging and automated valet parking concept was one of our most popular features.

Hyundai self-driving concept 2019

Largest ever dataset to inform off-road self-driving vehicles.

Advanced self-driving lessons for future off-road robots

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) School of Computer Science, in Pennsylvania, have created what is thought to be the largest ever dataset to inform off-road self-driving vehicles.

In stark contrast to safety-first city tests, the high-octane study involved ragging a Yamaha Viking All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) around a muddy, hilly test site near Pittsburgh.

Video: Carnegie Mellon University off-road testing for self-driving AI

A human driver guided the vehicle using a joystick and traditional braking, with the bumpy ride tracked by proprioceptive and exteroceptive sensors plus video.

The result was a dataset called TartanDrive consisting of 200,000 real-world off-road interactions covering individual wheel speeds and suspension shocks.

Self-driving scientists

Wenshan Wang, project scientist at the CMU Robotics Institute, commented: “Unlike autonomous street driving, off-road driving is more challenging because you have to understand the dynamics of the terrain in order to drive safely and to drive faster.”

Samuel Triest, a Master’s student in robotics and lead author of the team’s paper, added: “The dynamics of these systems tend to get more challenging as you add more speed.

“You drive faster, you bounce off more stuff. A lot of the data we were interested in gathering was this more aggressive driving, more challenging slopes and thicker vegetation because that’s where some of the simpler rules start breaking down.”

Over the years, many self-driving experts have predicted that “off-road applications might come firstthe logic being that private geofenced areas are more predictable environments.

This study is different, teaching AI to drive by pushing the boundaries of performance and safety in more extreme conditions.