Safety First

New Volvo tech allows sensed road conditions info to be set to municipalities, Waze

V2V communication allows vehicles to connect to each other.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

You might not have gotten in an accident if you know the road ahead of you was covered with ice. You may have known that the road was covered with ice if that digital sign you pass on the highway had a message announcing slippery conditions ahead.

A new partnership between Volvo and Waycare Technologies will enable data from Volvo's Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert to be anonymously shared with transportation municipalities and Waze.

Starting with 2021 model year vehicles, Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert will allow certain Volvo cars to communicate with each other. The models will be able to automatically alert other Volvo drivers via a cloud-based network when the vehicle's hazard lights are turned on or low friction is detected, and the system is properly connected to the internet.

Volvo Waycare Technologies Waze safety communication Information sharing between cars can give a driver more knowledge about the unknowns of the roadway ahead.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

This isn't the first time the system has been implemented. It was introduced in 2016 on 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway.

Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert now come as standard equipment on all model year 2021 Volvo cars sold in the U.S. Owners will be able to choose to activate the features via the car's infotainment screen and can opt-out/deactivate them at any time.

In addition to road conditions, the Daycare partnership allows Volvos to share data with other sources including city infrastructure, telematics, and weather forecasts.

Behind the scenes, Waycare will then use artificial intelligence to synthesize the data and provide operational insights local U.S. transportation industries (think: New York State Thruway Authority, your local public works department, and the Michigan State Police). Using the information, agencies can choose to push notifications to drivers using the 5-1-1 system, social media, or a series of road sign alerts.

"Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents," said Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center. "Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead."

Connected safety data-sharing between Volvo cars is available throughout the U.S. Connected safety data sharing with Waycare and its partners is currently available at locations where Waycare has their traffic Management Platform including Nevada, Central Ohio, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, San Francisco/Bay Area, and western Florida. Waycare has plans to expand to other areas in the future.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Snake Pass is one of England's most beloved driving roads.

Britain's Snake Pass takes you though some of England's most scenic topography, curving in and out of the Derbyshire region of the Peak District. The weather there isn't always favorable - it's frequently closed due to snow or flooding - but when it's open, and you have the right car, it's a driver's dream.

The road has a rich history. It was opened as a toll road in the early 1800s and remained as such until the 1870s. It was the primary route between Sheffield and Manchester until the 1980s.

Porsche recently traced the route using its free-to-download Roads by Porsche app, which gives drivers the means of finding the best roads to travel. The route was recently voted onto the app by fans of the roadway.

Snake Pass Porche Cayman 718 Porsche recently test drove the road, which was added to its Roads app by fans.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The preferred route starts east of Glossop, a town just outside of Manchester. All 11 miles of the path are in a national park. Fro Glossop, the roadway climbs into the Pennine Hills reaching 1,680 feet above sea level at the point the route passes Pennine Way. A public house, the Snake Pass Inn, sits nearby. The road passes just north of Kinder Scout, the highest point in England, and through the towns of Knowsley, St. Helens, and Warrington.

The winding scenic roads naturally draws comparisons to Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, which runs along the Oregon and Idaho boarder. The U.S. route offers some of the most breathtaking views roadway views you can get in the country, and provides plenty of technical driving opportunities.

Traversing Snake Pass is technically tough. There are plenty of hazardous bends and blind summits. Fog rolls in quickly at times. Cyclists, professional and far from it, compete for roadway.

Porsche Cayman 718 at Snake Pass

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

On the flip side, the road offers perhaps the best views of the Manchester area you'll ever see. The scenery goes from moorland to forest to flatland as well.

But, you won't be able to look long because of the road's perils.

Once through the forest, the road opens up again as you near Sheffield. Drystone walls feature while sheep politely munch their lunch nearby. The route draws to a close at Ladybower Reservoir at Ashopton but there's the option to continue. The A57 carries drivers on to Sheffield, dispersing them to the cities near and far via any number of more major motorways.

Or, you could turn around and traverse it once again. It's only 11 miles, after all.

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Sony's team is testing the Vision-S on the streets of Austria.

Photo courtesy of Sony

One year ago Sony surprised the crowds at CES with the Vision -S, a concept vehicle meant to further the discussion on safety, security, and entertainment. The vehicle has moved from concept to prototype, taking to the roads of Europe for testing.

The car has been driving the roads of Austria since December 2020, according to the company, for technical evaluation. Evaluation of what? We're so glad you asked.

If the car is technologically similar to what has presented at CES last year, on-board is Sony's imaging and sensing technologies as well as software regulated using Sony's AI, telecommunication, and cloud technologies.

Sony Vision-S The Sonny Vision S is a working vehicle prototype now. Photo courtesy of Sony

The car, which was built in cooperations with Magna Steyr, features 33 sensors, including CMOS image sensors and time of flight (ToF) sensors within the vehicle. These sensors are designed to detect and recognize people and objects inside and outside the vehicle, and provide "highly advanced driving support."

Each of the two rows of seating in the vehicle features Sony's 360 Reality Audio system. Bose has similar technology built into the Nissan Kicks.

The crossover-lie car's front seats have a panoramic screen in front of them that has the ability to display rich content.

Does this mean that Sony will begin to make cars? The quick answer is no. Sony does not appear itching to get into the car business though the products that result from this testing will likely be available to automakers offering additional competition for components in a fast-paced marketplace where the technology is evolving quickly.

The real winner here could be consumers who will benefit from the stiff completion between suppliers and be on the receiving end of better technology because of it.

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