Tire Technology

New Pirelli tires connect to the 5G network

Pirelli's P Zero Trofeo tires are part of the company's Perfect Fit product development strategy.

Photo courtesy of Pirelli

Pirelli is the first company in the world to transmit the information collected from smart times via a 5G network. During a display of the technology at The 5G Path of Vehicle-to-Everything Communication event, the tire transmitted information about the road surface and the risk of hydroplaning via the network.

The tire is the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road. The manufacturer aims to have its technology in the Pirelli Cyber Tire be able to relay information about road infrastructure, distance driven, dynamic load, and the dangers of the road surface in real time to the car the tires are on. In turn, the car will be able to adapt the way it drives given that information.

Pirelli 5G tire Graphic courtesy of Pirelli

Current technology allows sensors and cameras on a car to read the road ahead and adjust the suspension accordingly. Rolls-Royce employs this technology to allow for a smooth Magic Carpet Ride in its Cullinan and Lincoln has similar technology in the Aviator.

Pirelli sees the technology as having the potential to be part of a larger communication context with regard to the larger space of transportation and the future of mobility solutions and autonomous driving. It would could potentially relay information vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) as more vehicles become connected to the network.

As part of the demonstration, Pirelli also showed off its Italia Track Adrenaline tire, which is designed for track days. The P Zero Trofeo tires that are part of the time are fitted with sensors that monitor tire pressure and temperature in real time. Software combines those measurements with telemetric data giving drivers detailed information about conditions that may effect their on-track performance.

The Cyber Tire and Italia Track Adrenaline line are part of Pirelli's larger Perfect Fit product development strategy which sees the company develop tailor made products and services to meet the needs of carmakers, fleets, and drivers with an eye toward the future.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

BMW infotainment systems recently received a major upgrade.

Photo courtesy of BMW

All 2021 model year BMW automobiles will come standard with a free one-year SiriusXM All-Access subscription. The move is part of a larger deal that extends the relationship between BMW and SiriusXM through 2026.

The news comes just weeks after BMW divulged that a long list of its 2021 models will come with SiriusXM with 360L, an audio platform that combines satellite and streaming content delivery into the existing SiriusXM platform. SiriusXM with 360L made its debut in the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 and after a year of exclusivity is moving into more vehicles throughout the market space.

BMW SiriusXM with 360L BMW will offer SiriusXM with 360L in its 2021 model year vehicles. This is what it looks like on-screen.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW delivers their customers a premium experience every time out on the road. We're very proud that SiriusXM has been a popular feature of that in-vehicle experience dating back to the earliest days of satellite radio in 2002," said Rodney Pickett, SVP, Automotive Partnerships, for SiriusXM. "Today we are truly excited that our relationship continues to grow, as we announce that SiriusXM will be standard on all BMW Group vehicles, ensuring all of their customers can enjoy our premium programming content for many years to come."

Earlier this year, BMW announced five big updates to its infotainment system. You can find out more about that here.

BMW vehicles with SiriusXM with 360L will be able to receive software updates allowing customers to have accesss to the latest features without having to visit a dealership. The latest offering, Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora, will be part of a future software update. With Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora, drivers can create their own ad-free music stations based on the artist they are listening to, then give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down within the SiriusXM service, or even skip songs, to create their own personal channel that plays more of what they want.

BMW has offered SiriusXM in its vehicles since 2002. It is now standard across the BMW lineup.

"In-vehicle technology and entertainment have become as important to BMW drivers as the performance and handling of their new automobiles." said Monika D. Reimel, Head of BMW Aftersales Business Development. "BMW was one of the first manufacturers to offer SiriusXM in our automobiles and today we are excited to not only include SiriusXM as a standard feature in all of our 2021 models but also combine it with one of the longest initial subscription periods in the industry. This new agreement with SiriusXM offers immediate benefits to our enthusiastic customers."

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Ford continues to test self-driving vehicles in Austin, Texas.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company approached the end of 2019 with a sense of optimism for the future. They had just unveiled the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and the hotly-anticipated debuts of the new Ford Bronco, Bronco Sport, and redesigned F-150 were on the immediate horizon.

Between then and now, the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and Ford Motor Company switched CEOs. All the while, the automaker has been testing autonomous vehicle technology in Austin, Texas.

The company has made strides in the last year, which Kathleen Baireuther, Austin Market Manager, Ford Autonomous recently detailed the progress of the company in a blog post on Medium.

Ford Austin Texas Autonomous Self-Driving Ford expanded its self-driving vehicle operations to Austin lat year. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has opened an autonomous vehicle terminal in East Austin and created a command near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, in close proximity to where Tesla recently began constructing the plant that will produce its Cybertruck. The terminal serves as a base for the self-driving test fleet.

Baireuther sees the proper maintenance of the fleet as a part of creating a service that people value, from the use of the models to the deep cleaning and maintenance. When the service is used, the fleet grows closer to making a profit. She shared, "We recently completed the first phase of a fleet operations pilot in Austin that will be utilized for our business in Austin and Ford's broader strategy."

The command center will serve as the "epicenter" of Ford's self-driving business and daily operations. It will house local customer relations, business development, research, safety evaluations and testing operations.

The company continues to be focused on safety. While stories of owners continually trusting their hands-on Tesla AutoPilot technology to drive their vehicles hands-free, Ford and other companies are cognizant of ensuring their test vehicles work within a set of limitations to ensure safety for passengers and those inhabiting the space surrounding the vehicle.

Part of keeping everyone safe is helping vehicles and their operators understand the parameters for use. This includes the landscape. Ford has partnered with Argo to create 3D maps of the streets where the vehicles are used including detailed information about lane geometry, sidewalk locations, bike lanes, traffic signals, street signs, speed limits and static landmarks.

These maps are updated when construction or foliage changes. In Austin, a city that is rapidly expanding and changing, these changes are frequent.

Following the mapping process, the Argo team began operating the vehicles on public roads in autonomous modes. This means confronting the construction changes but also the daily scenarios that conflict with autonomous operation. For instance, Austin has more scooter activity than Ford has encountered in its other test cities - Washington D.C. and Miami, Florida. There's also a good amount of pedestrians and cyclists.

Ford is committed to continuing its self-driving vehicle testing in various areas of the city including East Austin, South Congress, and downtown, including the University of Texas.

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