Jaguar Drive Condition Monitor

Jaguar pioneers new tech to prevent falling asleep at the wheel

Jaguar is pioneering revolutionary new technology that aims to prevent the issue of drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

According to a poll by the AA last year, one in eight drivers admits to having nodded off while driving at least once, but Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety statistics show this can cause up to 25 per cent of fatal accidents.

New system to provide alerts

With this in mind, Jaguar developed its Drive Condition Monitor, which receives data as regularly as every thousandth of a second to detect tell-tale signs of drowsiness.

For instance, the pedal inputs and power steering are checked for use and movement, while general driving behaviour is ‘observed’ by the system for anomalies.

Driver Condition Monitor can then issue a warning for the motorist to take a break using a coffee cup icon on the control panel.

The system is to be fitted as standard on the E-PACE and across the manufacturer’s range going forward.

Jaguar spokesperson David Willey said: “We continuously review the latest advances in vehicle safety and develop innovative technologies to improve the driving experience, making it safer and more enjoyable.”

Driver Condition Monitor has already been praised by Edmund King of the AA, who pointed out that the shocking figures surrounding drowsy drivers are probably under-reported.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “It is great to see Jaguar coming up with such a great solution to save lives on the roads. However, we would also warn motorists that the best way to prevent falling asleep at the wheel is to stop and rest at the first signs of fatigue.”

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Hall Bros Groundwork Fuel Card Services

Hallbros Groundwork: Tele-Gence is ‘transparent, accurate and informative’

Businesses working with Tele-Gence are able to gain enhanced visibility into their fleet operations and we can help to deliver great savings for our customers.

Annie Grace Hall, operations manager at Hallbros Groundwork, has been in touch to highlight the ease with which our services are delivering lasting benefits for the firm.

Ease of use at the heart of our services

“Since my company started using Tele-Gence, it makes a lot of difference from what we’ve used before,” she stated. “I’m very happy that the services I get are always accurate and very informative.”

Ms Hall went on to highlight the additional transparency in the company’s operations that working with Tele-Gence has provided, noting: “I’m able to see a whole report for all my vehicles and my drivers whenever I want.”

She added that the whole team is “very thankful” for the support offered by Tele-Gence and concluded with some high praise for us: “Brilliant team, brilliant service. They delivered what they promised.

“Love to know we are building great relationships with Rachel, Sam and other members of the telematics department.”

Hall Bros Groundwork Fuel Card Services

Hallbros specialises in rail and civil groundworks and operates a mixed fleet of 25 vehicles, 15 of which have Tele-Gence tracking devices installed. The company makes use of the BP Plus fuel card and has a monthly spend of approximately £10,000, drawing both diesel and petrol for its vehicles.

Jenny Smith, Product Manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “It’s great to see the beneficial impact that our tracking devices are having for Hallbros. At the same time, we always love to hear about the positive relationships we’re building with our customers.”

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Naked Highways

No more road signs by 2027?

A new report has suggested we may no longer need road signs by the end of the next decade as technology progresses in favour of digital infrastructure.

The UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030 research from Zenzic said British drivers may be able to enjoy ‘naked highways’ from around 2027, as road initiatives move away from existing assets towards new, fully-automated systems.

Are naked highways the way forward?

The research predicts improved vehicle connectivity will negate the need for traditional road signage, with decommissioning potentially starting in just eight years’ time.

Zenzic also said drivers can expect to see the widespread adoption of in-car signalling by 2028, which means vehicles themselves will be able to receive and digitally display the speed limits, junction exits and traffic updates we currently see at the roadside.

However, the organisation acknowledged that having the infrastructure in place to facilitate the development of autonomous cars will be key to unlocking this scenario.

Chief executive at Zenzic Daniel Ruiz said: “The ‘naked highway’ concept aims to bring economic benefits as well as tangible benefits to public mobility, including improved safety and better routing through centralised communication with drivers.”

Transport Focus may be pleased to hear this, as it recently warned Highways England that one in five drivers have performed a dangerous manoeuvre at a motorway junction because the signage was obscured.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Technology is moving in the right direction to enable many of the benefits described by Zenzic, but we do wonder if their timescale for naked highways is somewhat optimistic. We’re looking forward to seeing more driverless cars first of all.”

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VW expands plans to make autonomous driving a reality

German automotive giant Volkswagen (VW) have announced the creation of a new subsidiary that will be wholly focussed on the delivery of fully autonomous driving.

Volkswagen Autonomy (VWAT) will begin its operations out of Munich and Wolfsburg in Germany, with a new Silicon Valley facility to open in 2020 and a Chinese plant in the coming years.


Addressing the challenges of autonomy

The new business is to be led by Alexander Hitzinger, senior vice president for autonomous driving in the VW Group and member of the VW brand board of management responsible for technical development at VW Commercial Vehicles.

“Autonomous driving presents the entire industry with major challenges: high development costs, extremely high demands on sensor technology plus a lack of regulatory systems and heterogeneous regional standards,” Mr Hitzinger commented.

“Our goal is to build an agile, high-performance development team with the know-how to realise a self-driving system ready to market.”

VWAT will focus on pushing forward the design of new, autonomous vehicles with the aim of moving beyond Level 4 – high automation of systems within vehicles with some driver input – to Level 5 and full autonomy in the near future.


Synergies helping to drive success

Set to become a new centre of excellence for autonomous driving, the facilities of VWAT will be supported by the wider VW brand. It means expertise derived from years of engineering excellence will support the company’s ambitions to make full self-driving vehicles a reality.

“We will continue to use synergies across all group brands to reduce the cost of self-driving vehicles, high-performance computers and sensors,” Mr Hitzinger concluded. “We plan to start commercialising autonomous driving at a large scale around the middle of the next decade.”

He added that the aim of VW is to make the brand a leader in the self-driving category, by “combining the agility and creativity of a high-performance culture with process orientation and scalability”.

Developing the safety systems that are essential for the future of the autonomous driving sector in general will be a top priority for VWAT in the coming years. The company must ensure there is no drop-off in safety when self-driving vehicles begin entering the roads.

Indeed, today’s safety systems in modern cars are of an extremely high level, with a human driver causing a fatal accident every 600 million kilometres on average. Autonomous vehicles must be able to match this in future, before going on to better it. Safety must therefore be extremely robust.

Overall, VWAT will now take over responsibility for all autonomous vehicle testing, development and design across the VW group range. It represents a new stage in the push towards intelligent, self-driving vehicles in the future.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “The launch of VWAT marks a strong commitment by VW to the development of fully autonomous vehicles in the near future. It’s an exciting time for everyone in the automotive arena.”


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Now driverless cars can see around corners

Researchers are working on technology that could help driverless cars to see around corners in a bid to make them safer for real roads.

A team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US will present their latest work at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in China next week, which improves on a system called ShadowCam that was developed several years ago.


Playing with shadows

The team’s aim is for driverless cars to be able to pre-emptively spot other vehicles or hazards such as pedestrians before humans would, even if they are out of sight and around corners.

To do this, they have been using video cameras positioned on the road ahead of the car, where two perpendicular paths meet. This effectively allows the car to see the shadows of potential obstacles coming.

The technology then captures the light that is bounced back and processes the results to create a 3D model of the approaching object, including its speed, so the vehicle has time to slow down or stop.

MIT’s Daniela Rus said: “The big dream is to provide ‘X-ray vision’ of sorts to vehicles moving fast on the streets.”

Unfortunately, the technology has so far only been tested in car parks and corridors and has not yet faced the issues posed by the sun on the use of shadows, so it may be some time before it is commercially available.

Meanwhile, trials of driverless cars started in the London boroughs of Croydon and Bromley this month in a bid to ensure they can cope with Britain’s small and cramped roads, as well as the larger highways and grid systems in America.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “This is exciting news indeed and we continue to look forward to the day when we can sit back and enjoy our car driving us to the shops instead of the other way around.”


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