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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New technology is embedded into the brake caliper.

Photo courtesy of Brembo

Brembo is celebrating 60 years of brand braking history with the debut of a bit of its future. The New G Sessanta Concept is a peek at what the company sees as the future of mobility. It was inspired by the first brake caliper for motorbikes produced by the company, an innovation in 1972.

The company says that the core of the concept is LED technology, which is applied directly to the body of the caliper, a feature that is adaptable to every type of caliper they craft. Brembo sees the tech as being able to enhance the caliper's form and function serving as both an interface and an aesthetic. It will be able to "communicate directly with the user" and "adapt to the user's tastes and preferences". A new video released by Brembo shows the LED color changing via a smartphone app.

 New G Sessanta Concept The New G Sessanta Concept features interactive tech.Photo courtesy of Brembo

Brembo is often known for using bright, flashy colors on its calipers and the new light plays on that. The New G Sessanta is designed to be customizable via wireless technology. When a vehicle equipped with the caliper is stopped, the user can control the desired shade of light to express mood, enhance the style of the bike, or adapt it to the surroundings.

Additionally, the LEDs could use color and light to relay data and information regarding the conditions of the vehicle and caliper itself, or even help localize a parked vehicle by emitting a courtesy light.

Watch the video below to see the vision of the New G Sessanta come to life.

BREMBO “NEW G SESSANTA”: THE NEW BRAKE CALIPER CONCEPT SET TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF MOBILITY www.youtube.com

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Driving in the country has its own unique challenges.

Photo by Sergiy Trofimov Photography/Getty Images

Tis the season for getting stuck driving behind a tractor. Country roads have their plusses and minuses - the scenery, the lack of traffic, the ability to push the speed limit. But, they also come with their own set of safety hazards. New guidance from GEM Motoring Assist gives drivers safety tips for navigating back roads. Plus, we threw in a few top tips of our own.

"Driving in the countryside is usually a great pleasure, with good views, quiet roads and a variety of interesting terrain," said GEM chief executive Neil Worth. "But country roads are used by many different people and vehicles, so it's vital to look for the clues – some obvious, others less so – as to what might be round the next bend."

Rule #1: Expect the unexpected

According to Neil Worth, country road hazards may be unique. "What's round the corner on a rural road with restricted visibility? It could be another car or a motorcycle coming towards you too fast, a group of cyclists on a ride out, sheep or cattle crossing the road, a horse and rider, a wild animal, a slow-moving farm tractor…

"Until you have perfect sight of what's ahead, you need to be ready to anticipate what could be there. By adjusting your speed and position accordingly, you're doing your bit to keep yourself and the other road users safe."

Rule #2: Mud can be a sign of what's to come

If you see mud on the road, expect to see slow-moving farm vehicles. Sometimes you'll get lucky and see them in the lane. Other times, tractors enter the roadway from a pasture or field unexpectedly and can be obstructed from view by crops or animals.

Rule #3: Watch for fresh cut grass.

If you smell or see fresh-cut grass, there's a good chance that there's a mower nearby. Whether it's the local department of transportation doing their work in the median on a highway or the side of a thoroughfare, or a resident cutting their lawn, it's important to remember that they may veer into the roadway to get their job done.

Rule #4: Don't stop but smell the manure.

Usual the smell of manure has you reaching for the air circulation options on your dashboard, and rightly so. Smelling manure is a sign that livestock is nearby. Plops in the roadway may mean that there is a horse ahead, either being ridden, pulling a buggy, or on the loose.

Rule #5: Watch out for garbage cans.

If you live in the suburbs, you know how a strong wind can make garbage bins go flying around your neighborhood. Make the wind stronger, give it a clear path, and you're now seeing one of the finer points of country living. When you see garbage bins on the curb on a windy day, pay heed, they may come your way.

Also, having bins on the curb means that it either is trash day or that trash day is tomorrow. Either way, pay attention for stopped and slow-moving garbage trucks along your route.

Rule #6: Make room if you can.

Country roads can be especially narrow, with just barely enough for two vehicles to pass each other. When a vehicle approaches in the opposite direction, it is appropriate to slow on my narrow paths to determine if you'll both fit. Don't be afraid to be the one to pull off to the side to let another vehicle pass, as long as you can do so safely.

If you encounter a horse rider on the road, drive very slowly and give the horse a wide berth. It's important to not frighten the hose, only passing when you're able to safely do so.

Rule #7: Beware the bumpy road.

Not all country roads are paved. Bumpy dirt roads don't just kick the dust up, they can easily hide potholes, drops, and sharp rocks.

Rule #8: Keep your head up for cyclists.

Country roads don't traditionally offer sidewalks or bike paths. Cyclists don't always travel in packs and when moving at speed, can be hard to see against sunshine. Like with horses, give cyclists a wide birth and slow your speed when passing. The wind movement from a passing vehicle can be enough to knock a cyclist off their bike.

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