Volvo Uses VR in Autonomous Safety Research

Volvo is using development tools and hardware from the gaming world as part of new research intended to improve self-driving car safety.

Volvo is using a mix of VR hardware and the Unity real-time rendering software in driveable test cars. These models are being run on a closed test tracks to safely simulate real world driving scenarios.

This new project is an arm of a partnership between Volvo and the Finnish VR hardware company Varjo. Last year they made it possible to drive a real car with a mixed reality headset.

The project members have added a full body haptic suit. This allows for precise motion tracking. The suit can also cause muscle restriction in the wearer as they would experience in a real emergency stop.

This hardware has been incorporated into a group of XC90 SUVs and stationary simulators. In the actual vehicles overlays a virtual images on top of the real world. So, the system can simulate an animal crossing the road.

The project is only in the early stages and hasn’t yet produce findings that will be used in production cars.

Non-Profit Radio Group, Radioplayer, Featured in Volvo Polestar 2/Android Automotive

Radioplayer is a non-profit radio platform which is backed my big broadcasters all over the world. And it has been chosen as a launch accomplice for Volvo’s Polestar 2 car which has the first infotainment system that employs the Android Automotive operating system.

Radioplayer worked with Google to become on of the first organizations to develop a model that would work with Android Automotive’s radio app. This is among one of a few apps preselected by Google and Polestar.

The Radioplayer Android Automotive app includes radio stations, on-demand music and podcasts coming from hundreds of broadcasters. The app will also be able to make suggestions by learning the driver’s taste and will include voice search.

The Polestar two will be available in July and Google, Volvo and Polestar are all coordinating with Radioplayer for the launch in international locations like the UK, Germany, Belgium and Norway.

Step one for Android Automotive and Radioplayer is making sure they can successfully blend hybrid broadcasting (FM, DAB, online streaming, podcasts and visual weather reports) will work together in one piece of software.

 

 

Did You Know Volvo Made Buses and Are Releasing a New Double-Decker?

Volvo Buses is set to debut an all new express coach that will join their 9000 range. It’ll be a double-decker, body courtesy of Carrus Delta OY out of Finland. The 4.25 meter tall double-decker is designated 9700 DD and will be part of the Volvo’s Nordic market.

The new 9700 DD double-decker will join the likes of the popular Volvo 9700 and the award winner Volvo 9900.

Volvo stated they wanted to increase the level of choice their customers have when it comes to express coaches for public transportation, this new double decker bus will give customers yet another solid option.

The new double decker offering is powered by the D11K460 an 11-liter 460 hp engine from Volvo and certified to run on diesel, HVO or B100 biodiesel.

 

Volvo’s S90 and V90 Get New Hybrid Powertrain + Extras

Volvo’s S90 and V90 models just go an update including for the first-time mild hybrid powertrains. These new mild hybrid powertrain is available now on every model in the Swedish’ carmakers line up. Volvo claims it offers up to a 15% savings in fuel and emissions.

The system uses a 48v battery with its own integrated starter, generator and energy recovery mechanism. It will be included across the S90 and V90 models and even on the V90 Cross county. This is the first time one of Volvo’s more sport utility models will be fitted with a hybrid system.

Each of the models in question here got some other small upgrades as well. Both models will be getting new, more stylish bumpers with fog lights and new LED taillights will be included on the V90. Models will include sequential indicator lights as well as new paint and wheel options as well.

Refreshed interiors come standard along with advance air cleaning technology which filters the cabin air and even gives an air quality report from the infotainment system. This is the system previously available only on models sold in the Chinese market.

Both models get rear USB-C charging ports (no more 12-volt power which surely some will miss) along with wireless charging being added as an option on many variants. For the audiophiles both the V90 and S90 will get new Bowers and Wilkins sound systems. For the interiors Volvo is offering many new leather-free options for materials.

Additional specs and pricing are not yet available.

Volvo Will Pay British Customers’ Electric for a Year

In an effort to encourage drivers of their plug-in hybrids to use them in the greenest way possible, Volvo is offering new hybrid customers a free year of electricity.

Volvo is calling it their “Take Charge” offer. This was announced when they revealed the new XC40 Recharge EV recently. This incentive is available to any British customer who chooses one of several plug-in hybrids. The offer is good through June 2020.

While Volvo has an electric version of any car in their cadre, the plug-in hybrid style of vehicle is available in their V90, V60, S60, S90, XC40, XC 60 and XC90 models.

Volvo will require users to record their average electrical use for a charge through the “On Call” app. Customers will then get a rebate based on their average energy usage.

Volvo stated that their purpose was multi-faceted, they want make it clear that hybrids are a sustainable transitionary vehicle or a greener option of those who don’t favor full-electrics. Also, to fight the belief that plug-in hybrids are bought only because of the tax incentives then never plugged in.

Volvo Gets Greener

Automobile maker Volvo has introduced 15,000 solar units at an auto production line in Ghent, Belgium.

The Ghent office likewise makes utilization of wind to supply around 11 percent of its energy utilization, Volvo said in a declaration Thursday. A heating framework introduced in 2016 cut carbon discharges by 40 percent.

Renewables have provided the power at Volvo Cars’ European plants since 2008. The organization has said it needs its worldwide assembling tasks to be carbon neutral and completely electric autos to represent 50 percent of worldwide sales by 2025.

Volvo said in a statement that they want their goal is for their plants to be as efficient as possible.

Volvo testing self-driving cars

The Volvo Car Group will release 100 self-driving cars on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden. Endorsed by the government there, the “Drive Me” project aims to pinpoint the benefits of driving autonomously. It will give them insight to challenges they will face technologically as well as provide a way of receiving feedback from their customers.

The study will start in 2014 with the hopes of having the first cars on the road by 2017. The car will be developed on Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and the first model will be the Volvo XC90 to be introduced in 2014.

The car will also feature autonomous parking. You can leave the car at the entrance and the car will park itself.

Joe Victor

How many cars have you had?

Hey Jody, most people go through more than 1 car in their lifetime. Some may even lease a new car and trade it in 2 years later for the newest model. Not Irv Gordon. He bought a brand new red Volvo P1800 in 1966. On September 15, he passed the 3 million mark. That’s right 3,000,000 miles on one car. That’s an average of over 63,000 miles per year. He set a world record for the most miles driven by a single person in a noncommercial vehicle in 1998 when he reached 1.69 million, but that didn’t stop him from continuing. The car still has its original engine!

Irv Gordon has driven through every state except Hawaii and 5 European countries with this car.

~ Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012

New cars continue to become more reliable and better built, according to the latest Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power and Associates.  I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor®: J.D. Power and Associates does an annual survey to determine customer satisfaction within the first 90 days of ownership. The following vehicles had the fewest complaints. Here we go with the first of 4 installments from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris, with its old 4-speed automatic transmission and plebian interior, isn’t a stellar compact car compared with its more sophisticated competition. The redesigned, edgier 2012 model carries over much of the same equipment. But befitting a typical Toyota, the Yaris is cheap to maintain and simple to operate in either hatchback or sedan form. Toyota, at 88 problems per 100 vehicles, clearly has something right on its hands.

Top Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

Is it any wonder the world’s best-selling car winds up here? The Corolla name is nearly as old as Mustang, and when it comes to no-frills, dead-reliable transport, nothing is more renowned. Like the Yaris, the current Corolla is outclassed by its many rivals in technology, design and performance. That doesn’t seem to matter.

Top Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

When it was introduced 23 years ago, the Miata was meant to re-create the spirit of those iconic British roadsters — the lightweight and zippy MGs, Austin Healeys and Triumphs. What it left out were the atrocious electrical failures and other mechanical problems that plagued those old roadsters. A true enthusiast’s car, the Miata sets the standard for affordable sports cars that can go the long mile.

Top Compact Premium Sporty Car: Volvo C70

Refreshed for 2011, the Volvo C70 is an attractive alternative to the usual crop of $40,000 German convertibles. The folding hardtop, floating center control stack and understated interior blend well with the car’s turbocharged engines. But don’t get confused; the C70 is a cruiser, not a corner-dicing sports car. Safety, of course, is paramount; the C70 was the world’s first convertible with head curtain airbags.

Top Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES

Lexus once again leads the J.D. Power list as the most reliable automaker, with an average of 73 problems per 100 vehicles. The ES 350 is all new for 2013, with a more aggressive front end and sculpted interior, plus a hybrid trim. In any model year, the ES is smooth, steers with a finger and offers a lot of luxury for the money.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012

Did you ever wonder how auto makers figure out where they went wrong? What could they improve? What makes us happy or unhappy with a vehicle? Me, too! That’s why I asked Jody Victor® to tell us about it.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, the answer is:  surveys! Customer satisfaction surveys go a long way to tell manufacturers what they are doing right, but more importantly, what they might be doing wrong. Here’s a list, in 4 parts, of quality vehicles from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris, with its old 4-speed automatic transmission and plebian interior, isn’t a stellar compact car compared with its more sophisticated competition. The redesigned, edgier 2012 model carries over much of the same equipment. But befitting a typical Toyota, the Yaris is cheap to maintain and simple to operate in either hatchback or sedan form. Toyota, at 88 problems per 100 vehicles, clearly has something right on its hands.

Top Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

Is it any wonder the world’s best-selling car winds up here? The Corolla name is nearly as old as Mustang, and when it comes to no-frills, dead-reliable transport, nothing is more renowned. Like the Yaris, the current Corolla is outclassed by its many rivals in technology, design and performance. That doesn’t seem to matter.

Top Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

When it was introduced 23 years ago, the Miata was meant to re-create the spirit of those iconic British roadsters — the lightweight and zippy MGs, Austin Healeys and Triumphs. What it left out were the atrocious electrical failures and other mechanical problems that plagued those old roadsters. A true enthusiast’s car, the Miata sets the standard for affordable sports cars that can go the long mile.

Top Compact Premium Sporty Car: Volvo C70

Refreshed for 2011, the Volvo C70 is an attractive alternative to the usual crop of $40,000 German convertibles. The folding hardtop, floating center control stack and understated interior blend well with the car’s turbocharged engines. But don’t get confused; the C70 is a cruiser, not a corner-dicing sports car. Safety, of course, is paramount; the C70 was the world’s first convertible with head curtain airbags.

Top Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES

Lexus once again leads the J.D. Power list as the most reliable automaker, with an average of 73 problems per 100 vehicles. The ES 350 is all new for 2013, with a more aggressive front end and sculpted interior, plus a hybrid trim. In any model year, the ES is smooth, steers with a finger and offers a lot of luxury for the money.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor