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Opel’s car front camera wins connectivity award

The front camera on Opel cars has won the Car Connectivity Award for 2019.

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The Opel front camera has won the ‘Car Connectivity Award 2019’. The system, which is offered in the Astra compact, was voted into first place in the ‘price-performance stars’ category by the readers of authoritative German car magazine auto motor und sport and the podcast Moove

The German brand’s front camera has already won many awards in previous generations and is offered as standard equipment on several model variants. It is the key component of numerous driver assistance systems such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition.

“Opel has always made innovative technology available to a wide customer base”, said Vice President of Communications at Opel, Harald Hamprecht, at the prize-giving. “The popular front camera is a good example. We want to offer our customers cars that are advanced as well as safe and comfortable. The readers want the same, which is why we are particularly pleased to win this award.”

This year was the sixth time that readers of auto motor und sport and Moove have elected the winners of the ‘Car Connectivity Award’. They could choose from cars and technologies in 11 categories, e.g. ‘telephone integration’ and ‘price-performance stars’ to ‘connected e-cars’. More than 12,000 readers and users took part in this year’s election.

‘Opel Front Camera’ Functionality Explained:

Driver Assistance Systems
The Opel Front Camera operates at speeds above 60 km and monitors the area in front of the vehicle via a camera positioned on the windscreen’s upper area. This camera collects information continually, analyses it and informs the driver on required information and warning signals allowing for safer driving.

Forward Collison Alert / Follow Distance Indicator
Forward Collision Alert pre-warns of a possible front-end collision, with some Opel models automatically going into brake mode if the driver fails to act accordingly. The functionality is to pre-warn of a possible accident due to the reduction in set, safe following distance.
The Opel Front Camera calculates the distance between the driven vehicle and the vehicle ahead, and can be set to suit the driver’s preferred style of driving with green symbolising a safe distance and amber warning of a reduced safety measurement.

Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist
The Lane Departure Warning is enhanced by a Lane Keep Assist function that guides the driver via the steering wheel controls if drifting out of the designated lane is experienced – unless the correct directional indicator has been activated.

Traffic Sign Recognition
The Opel Front Camera has the capability and processing power to detect traffic signs within its Traffic Sign Assist system. This allows the driver to know what speed the current road demands, plus what category of road they are travelling on.

Cars

LHI is coming to save your car from hazards

Local Hazard Information will give drivers advance warning of potential dangers lurking around the corner

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There are many times when knowing what is around the corner could be useful. But for drivers that knowledge could be critical. Now, thanks to Ford’s new connected car technology, it is also a reality.

Local Hazard Information (LHI) marks a significant step on the journey towards a connected transport infrastructure by helping drivers prepare for and potentially avoid dangers on the road. When drivers ahead encounter sudden tailbacks, accidents or spilled loads, the driver behind – and possibly out of sight – is given advance warning. This could also apply to everything from freak hailstorms, to sudden flooding, or even landslides.

The triggers for the system come from what is happening in the cars ahead. It could be that airbags have been activated, hazard warning lights are flashing, or windscreen wipers are in operation. Previous traffic incident alert systems have relied on drivers to input information in order to generate alerts. LHI works autonomously, without the need for any driver interaction, to generate information and issue warnings.

Hazards are only displayed – via the dashboard display – if the incident is likely to impact on the driver’s journey. LHI is designed to be more beneficial to drivers than hazard information from current radio broadcasting systems, which often deliver notifications not relevant to them.

Already featuring as standard and free of charge for the first year on the new Ford Puma, LHI technology is being rolled out across more than 80 per cent of Ford’s passenger vehicle line-up by the end of this year. Crucially, the benefit will not be limited only to those travelling in Ford vehicles. Information sent can be used to alert drivers of other manufacturers’ vehicles, and vice-versa.

“What makes Local Hazard Information different is that it is the cars that are connected – via the Internet of Things. There is no reliance on third party apps. This is a significant step forward. Warnings are specific, relevant and tailored to try to help improve your specific journey.” Joerg Beyer, executive director, Engineering, Ford of Europe

How it works

Sensors monitor activities including emergency braking, fog lights and traction control to detect adverse weather or road conditions. Data from these activities is then computed to determine the hazard location and whether a traffic incident has occurred.

The vehicle automatically provides updates through a secure connection to “the cloud” using the Ford Pass Connect modem. Ford’s technology partner HERE Technologies operates the central cloud-based platform that collates information from multiple vehicle brands, governed by a business-to-business agreement.

The more cars are connected to the network, the greater the efficiency of the system. When many vehicles generate the same warning, others in the vicinity receive incident information from the cloud via the cellular network, enabling drivers to reduce speed or take appropriate action.

Additional information is sourced from public authority incident databases and traffic reports to provide drivers with further advance warnings including approaching vehicles driving on the wrong side of the carriageway, animals or people in the road ahead, and roadworks.

The on-board modem will be connected at the time of vehicle delivery. Customers may choose to opt in/opt out of certain data sharing.

Local Hazard Information data provided by HERE Technologies.

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SA gets live EV charge map

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Drivers of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can now plan their journeys with ease using a live map to locate available public charging stations nationwide. 

The live map displays the entire network of Jaguar Powerway and GridCars supported public charging stations, and indicates the current status of each including if it’s online, offline or in use. The map also shows the time and date of the station’s last successful use, as well as a tally of that particular station’s total charge sessions to date.

Information about each charge station’s exact location with either map pin drops or GPS coordinates is also available.

Brian Hastie, Network Development Director, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, says: “While the primary charging habit for the majority of EV drivers will be at home where it’s most convenient and cost-effective, we know that the future of electric mobility ultimately relies on a public charging network. As the rollout of public charging stations intensifies and the dots between existing locations are connected, it’s vital that EV drivers are able to view the status of chargers remotely. This live map makes that possible.”

Jaguar South Africa began the rollout of its Powerway network of public charging stations late in 2018. The Powerway includes public charging stations along frequently traveled holiday routes along the N1, N2 and N3, and at various points of convenience, such as shopping centres, in the country’s major hubs including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein. 

The Powerway network also includes publicly available chargers in customer parking areas at every Jaguar Land Rover retailer in South Africa. 

The majority of charging stations on the network are 60kWh fast chargers which also feature 22kWh AC fast charge ports to accommodate plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The AC standard Type 2 socket will allow charging of all EVs currently available in South Africa, while the DC charger is fitted with the CCS DC type socket used by the vast majority of EVs in SA.

The R30-million Jaguar Powerway investment, combined with the network of GridCars-supported public chargers, makes day-to-day travel as well as longer day trips and even very long journeys possible for owners of electric vehicles.

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