E-discovery tour: we drove the new BMW 530e iPerformance, and tested the Shuffle recharging point of outdoor lighting specialist Schréder.

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E-power in synergy: The BMW 530e  iPerformance parked in front of the Schréder R&D centre in Liège.

E-mobility is set to conquer our (mega)cities, and car manufacturers are revamping their model range to prepare for the electric age. BMW is indeed also at the forefront of this development with it’s I-drive range, and also with the plug-in hybrid iPerformance models, which combine combustion engines with electric power. The latest 5-series comes now with a 530e iPerformance, and we were keen to drive it.

But that is not all. The dynamic PR people of BMW Belux Group decided to combine the presentation of the 530i Performance with a visit to the Belgian R & D Centre of Schréder in Liège, where we could see how the cars were charged by their clever 11 or 22kW electric vehicle (EV) charger, incorporated in the multi-functional Shuffle streetlight column, of which more here below.

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Your servant pulling out the socket at the Schréder “Shuffle” modular lighting/recharging pole… 

Got curious? Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Volvo Cars suggests governments and car industry should share safety-related traffic data…

Håkan Samuelsson - President & CEO, Volvo Car Group
Håkan Samuelsson – President & CEO, Volvo Car Group, advocating real time sharing of car data with other drivers for better safety…

It was in the cards: with our vehicles detecting road conditions electronically through their driving assistance systems, it was only logical that these data could be send via the cloud to other drivers. This is something Volvo has paid attention to already two years ago, and is now a standard feature on Volvo’ sold in Sweden.

Recently the first “1st European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving”was held  in Brussels at the European Commission. Here Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, asked governments and car makers to join hands in sharing traffic data in order to improve global traffic safety.

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Slippery road alert, where the car in front sends the slippery road surface data it registred  via the cloud to upcoming cars… in real time! This is already standard on Volvo’s sold in Sweden…

Indeed, sharing anonymised data related to traffic safety in real time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety while safeguarding the privacy of individual road users, Mr Samuelsson said. Volvo started doing exactly this in Sweden and Norway two years ago, in collaboration with local authorities.

An excellent practice, which should be adopted all over Europe, we should think…We tell you here somewhat more about it.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Volvo is sharing data since 2015…

In 2015, Volvo Cars started a collaboration on sharing safety data with the road administration authorities in Sweden and Norway. Via a cloud based network, all Volvo cars in a certain area share anonymized information about road friction from their anti-skid systems. The info is transferred in real time to other Volvo drivers notifying them of icy road conditions. The same information will be shared with road administrations so that they quickly can address icy road conditions.

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Hazard light alert is already standard on all SPA cars sold in Sweden…

The same approach is used to warn drivers when another vehicle turns on its hazard lights, which may indicate a potential dangerous situation on the road ahead. These technologies, Slippery Road Alert and Hazard Light Alert, are standard on all SPA-based vehicles on sale in Sweden and Norway: the XC90, S90, V90, V90 Cross Country and the new XC60.

Developing a regulatory framework for autonomous cars…

Volvo XC90 Drive Me test vehicle
Volvo XC90 Drive Me test vehicle

Of course, there is also the very important matter of autonomous driving. Volvo Cars underlines here the need to put safety first when developing a regulatory framework for autonomous cars. When it comes to autonomous driving, it is for Volvo important that the user interface is crystal clear about the role of the driver.

Mr. Samuelsson expressed his concern about the so-called “Level 3” autonomous driving modes. “In this mode the car is in charge of the driving, yet the driver must still be prepared to take over in case of emergency, which could be a matter of a few seconds. Volvo considers this Level 3 driving mode unsafe and will thus skip this level of autonomous driving,” he said.

Consequently, when Volvo launches its first autonomous cars in 2021, they will be at Level 4, in other words completely unsupervised on applicable roads. This means that these cars will be able to manage emergency situations and bring the car into a safe state by itself without driver interaction and that Volvo will assume liability while the car is in autonomous mode.

The discussion is now only beginning, but we can say here that the Volvo point of view is quite logical and exemplary. We will follow the developments in these columns…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

The Renault Trezor wins French prize of most beautiful concept car of 2016

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The French have a gift for elegance and beauty. And we must admit that the Renault styling department is going from strength to strength lately.  The 32nd Festival Automobile International at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, France, has singled out on January 31st the Renault TREZOR as the most beautiful concept car of 2016.

“I would like to thank the jury for this award which will inspire us to pursue our design strategy,” says Laurens van den Acker, SVP Corporate Design, Renault. “The TREZOR’s powerful, sensuous lines pave the way for the styling and technologies that will be features of our upcoming models. It also marks the beginning of a new cycle of Renault concept cars which will be revealed soon.”

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“The jury decided this award should go to the TREZOR because of the extreme beauty, sensuality and elegance it exudes,” observes Rémi Depoix, President of the Festival Automobile International. “It is the epitome of a concept car and we were notably won over by the cohesion of its overall design and the attention that has been paid to the details. It is a fine creative work which, we hope, will inspire Renault’s future roadgoing models.”

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A harbinger of the styling language of future Renaults

The lines of the Renault TREZOR are warm, sensuous and refined, while its assertive front end incorporates signature C-shaped lights. In terms of their styling, Renault’s upcoming models will draw their inspiration from the TREZOR’s DNA as their forms become even more fluid and mature.

The TREZOR’s interior design, meanwhile, places the emphasis on driving enjoyment and features a large enveloping touchscreen display that reinforces the cockpit feel. This customisable, connected interface juxtaposes warming, prestige materials like wood and leather. The interiors of upcoming Renault models will take their inspiration from these increasingly refined styling trends and connected technologies.

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For the duration of this year’s Festival International de l’Automobile, the Renault TREZOR will be on display at the Hôtel des Invalides alongside other concept cars selected by the jury.You will have to hurry though: this display will be open to the public from February 1-5, 2017. For further information, go to www.festivalautomobile.com/gb/index.php.

In the meantime, just have a look at this beauty…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

VW at CES Las Vegas: Your profile travels with you in any VW you drive…

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Experiencing your personal digital world in a vehicle is made possible by VW at the latest CES.

In the future, your own profile and preferences will always be with you – regardless of which Volkswagen model you’re driving.  Volkswagen presents the next milestone in ease of use Visionary I.D. electric car being shown for first time in the USA.

We just tell you here somewhat more about Volkswagen’s show highlights…just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Audi shows at 2017 CES piloted driving with artificial intelligence…

Audi Q7 Piloted Driving Concept
Audi Q7 Piloted Driving Concept

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a key technology for piloted driving – that’s why Audi and strong partners from the electronics industry are jointly developing game-changing know-how in the field of machine learning. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Audi is presenting the Audi Q7 deep learning concept, a piloted driving car made possible thanks to collaboration with NVIDIA.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Just read more…

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Mercedes-Benz “Fit & Healthy” at CES in Las Vegas: Comfort is becoming even more intelligent

Mercedes-Benz Fit & Healthy steht für Komfort, Sicherheit und Vitalität. Damit fördert das Fahrzeug der Zukunft stärker als je zuvor das Wohlbefinden seiner Passagiere im Auto und mit Mercedes me auch darüber hinaus. (englische Version) ; Mercedes-Benz Fit & Healthy stands for comfort, safety, and vitality. Therefore, the car of the future promotes the health of its passengers more vigorously than ever before while in the car and also beyond the car, with Mercedes me.;

Mercedes-Benz Fit & Healthy stands for comfort, safety, and vitality. Therefore, the car of the future promotes the health of its passengers more vigorously than ever before while in the car and also beyond the car, with Mercedes me.

Mercedes-Benz vehicles of tomorrow will enhance the fitness and well-being of their passengers in an even more individualised way while offering worlds of experience for all the senses. In connection with Mercedes me, Mercedes-Benz is also planning a holistic ecosystem to assist the user with an active and healthy lifestyle also when away from the vehicle.

Just read more below…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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New strategy, new culture: Mercedes-Benz Vans at CES in Las Vegas

Mercedes-Benz Vision Van - Exterior ; Mercedes-Benz Vision Van - Exterior;

Mercedes-Benz Vans exhibits for the first time at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. The presence at the Consumer Electronics Show underpins Mercedes-Benz Vans’ transformation into a supplier of holistic system solutions for the transport sector – a process initiated by the van manufacturer’s strategic future initiative adVANce. Mercedes-Benz Vans’ exhibits at CES include the van study “Vision Van”, which was presented to the public for the first time in September 2016.

Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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BMW at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas: shaping the future of mobility…

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At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, taking place in Las Vegas on 5 – 8 January 2017, BMW reveals a vision of an interior whose architecture and user interface are extensively adapted for fully automated driving on board a vehicle that is seamlessly integrated into the driver’s digital life.

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BMW is also showcasing the potential of connected mobility with demonstration drives in a prototype based on the new BMW 5 Series Sedan. Drivers experience innovative digital services underpinned by BMW Connected and the flexible Open Mobility Cloud platform.

Just read further…

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Renault Group shows innovative mobility solutions at the Las Vegas CES 2017…together with partners

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Following our report about the Nissan Futures Conference in Barcelona, we decide to report you regularly on what’s happening around the future of our automobiles, and mobility in general. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is an interesting showcase of up to date vehicle electronics enhancing our mobility. We will take a closer look at what the major manufacturers have to offer, starting off here, in tune with our report about the Nissan conference, with the other member of the alliance, Renault…

Hans  Knol ten Bensel

Four Groupe Renault strategic technology partners – OSVehicle, ARM, Pilot and Sensoria – will present exciting open-innovation and open-source projects at CES this week, illustrating new ways of thinking about mobility as technology meets transportation. With an open-approach to innovation, Renault and its partners are exploring the changing face of the automotive industry through early hardware and software modification, the addition of new, customizable features and aftermarket opportunities.

Also at CES will be Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn who will showcase in his Nissan keynote solutions, many developed as part of the Alliance converged engineering function and shared technology.

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THE WORLD’S FIRST OPEN-SOURCE MASS MARKET VEHICLE

Based on Twizy, Renault has developed POM, a compact and lightweight electric vehicle with bodywork parts removed and an open-source automotive platform. Available to start-ups, independent laboratories, private customers and researchers, it allows third parties to copy and modify existing software to create a totally customizable electric vehicle.

In partnering with OSVehicle to develop an open-source platform readily accessible to the community, OSVehicle also provides on-demand design and engineering services for complete personalization.

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OSVehicle is a B2B company that provides a ready-to-use hardware platform which enables companies to produce complete electric vehicles in half the time and ⅙ the cost. OSVehicle’s platform is the key functional parts of a car – the wheels, chassis, motor, electronics and battery. Focusing on the 600B USD market of specialty vehicles, OSVehicle’s open source, modular, electric vehicle platform allows new and existing car manufacturers to develop their own models saving up to two years of R&D and millions of dollars in investments. At the same time it is a reference platform for mobility startups to embed and develop their technology on, without having to re-invent the wheel or partner with existing car brands and wait years before deploying their products.

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Bringing together a rich ecosystem of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and engineers, OSVehicle makes it easier to build, share, distribute and modify the hardware designs of electric vehicles.

Providing processor design technology powering more than 80 percent of mobile computing devices, Renault’s collaboration with ARM will open up the Twizy software and hardware architecture to allow new features, including interoperability with ARM®-based connected devices. The ARM ecosystem is scaling the ARM architecture to address a diverse range of automotive technology use cases in support of ADAS, IVI, autonomous driving, advanced cockpits and connected car.

ARM technology is at the heart of a computing and connectivity revolution that is transforming the way people live and businesses operate. From the unmissable to the invisible; our advanced, energy-efficient processor designs are enabling the intelligence in 90 billion silicon chips and securely powering products from the sensor to the smartphone to the supercomputer. With more than 1,000 technology partners including the world’s most famous business and consumer brands, we are driving ARM innovation into all areas compute is happening inside the chip, the network and the cloud. For further info, take a look at their website, www.arm.com.

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Visual fun when charging…

Renault and Pilot, a retail supplier of mobile electronics and automotive accessories are exploring aftermarket opportunities beyond the traditional automotive sphere. By combining Pilot’s Light Pulse Cable technology with Renault’s expertise in electric mobility, they’ve created the world’s first electroluminescent charging cable for electric vehicles.

Designed to connect an electric vehicle to its charging point, the cable indicates the existing charge level by illuminating and flashing on and off in proportion to electricity flow. The lower the charge level, the higher the current flow and the faster the flash rate of the exterior cable sheath. The flash rate will slow down as the battery charges, switching off completely when fully charged. This technology is inspired by a cable recently brought to market by Pilot for smartphones and tablets based on the same principle.

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Delicate and controlled footwork for the weekend racing driver…

Combining more than a century of racing experience with an expertise in smart garments, including an intelligent T-shirt which records a driver’s heart rate, Renault and Sensoria are collaborating to develop sensitive socks to improve drivers’ footwork. The information gathered by the connected socks is transmitted to an app that records various parameters (speed, braking and acceleration), allowing racing car enthusiasts to assess their performance on the track.

Sensoria Inc. is a leading developer of IoMe (Internet of Me) wearables and artificial intelligence software solutions that improve people’s lives. Our proprietary textile sensors infused smart garments, Sensoria Core microelectronics and cloud system enable smart footwear and clothing to convert data into actionable information for health and fitness users in real-time. For further info, look at sensorial.com

As said, we wil keep you regularly informed about future technology and mobility news…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

Second Nissan Futures event focuses on autonomous driving and unveils bold uses for electric vehicle batteries…

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Nissan had autonomous little robots running around in the Barcelona registration hall of the Futures event… 

We already reported extensively about the first Nissan Futures event in London, and Nissan came in Barcelona up with an encore: this time it revealed the results of Europe’s most comprehensive study into the social and economic impact of autonomous drive.

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It amply showed how Nissan looks progressively into the future, and indeed Nissan has also further bold plans and applications of E-energy up its sleeve: Nissan and Eaton announced in expansion of their xStorage Home portfolio to include a range of six products, with pre-orders being opened in several European countries.

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The conference was held in Nissan’s Barcelona factory premises…

There is still more: xStorage Home to be complemented by xStorage Buildings as Nissan, The Mobility House and Eaton prepare to power up Amsterdam ArenA with electric vehicle batteries…

We tell you here more about all this, just read further.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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