General Motors road tests self-drive technology
25 April 2012
Cadillac is road testing a semi-autonomous technology in America called ‘Super Cruise’ that is capable of fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering, saying the system could be ready for production vehicles by mid-decade.
Super Cruise is designed to ease the driver’s workload on the road, in both bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips by relying on a fusion of radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS map data.
“Super Cruise has the potential to improve driver performance and enjoyment,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing. “Our goal with advanced technologies is to lead in delivering an intuitive user experience.”
The key to delivering semi-autonomous capability will be the integration of lane- centering technology that relies on forward-looking cameras to detect lane markings and GPS map data to detect curves and other road characteristics, said John Capp, General Motors director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation. Even when semi-autonomous driving capability is available on vehicles, the system will have operational limitations based on external factors such as weather and visibility of lane markings. When reliable data is unavailable, the driver will need to steer.
“The primary goal of GM’s autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle development is safety,” Capp said. “In the coming years, autonomous driving systems paired with advanced safety systems could help eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation. More than ever, consumers will be able to trust their car to do the right thing.”
FTA aims to make driver licence checking easy
25 April 2012
The Freight Transport Association, in conjunction with Licence Bureau, is now offering a driver licence checking service specifically tailored for FTA members.
Health and safety legislation requires companies to have a robust procedure for checking the licences of everyone driving their vehicles, whether HGVs, buses, coaches, vans or company cars. But the internal checking of licences is often time-consuming and inefficient. Crucially, revoked, disqualified, provisional and expired licences cannot always be identified when checked this way, particularly if drivers have duplicate licences.
The driver licence checking service means that this labour-intensive job can be managed on behalf of customers. Licence Bureau’s experience shows that companies using its services can achieve a high level of driver compliance within the first 3-6 weeks of enrolment in the scheme. Customers will have 24/7 access to online driver reports through a dedicated website, enabling managers to produce their own tailor-made reports.
Licence Bureau also provides customers with same-day alerts for high risk drivers.
The report includes:
• Licence status – full or provisional
• Licence category detail – categories entitled to drive, expiry dates and information codes
• Full details of disqualifications, endorsements, offence dates or conviction dates
• Licence expiry alert
• LGV/PCV entitlement and category expiry alert
• Photo card expiry alert
New Punto Van makes its UK debut at CV Show
25 April 2012
Fiat Professional’s New Punto Van made its UK debut at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham’s NEC.
The New Punto Van replaces the Grande Punto Van in the Fiat Professional line-up and brings improved load capacity of 1.0 m3 and a payload of 520 kg. The new model combines the style of both the Grande Punto and Punto Evo passenger cars, so the interior features new sportier seat fabrics and on the SX version there is a new dashboard with soft touch materials and an elegant design.
Standard equipment on all versions includes ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), BAS (Brake Assistance System), remote central locking, electric front windows, electrically adjustable and heated body coloured mirrors, trip computer, driver and passenger airbags, radio/CD/MP3 player, electric power steering, height and reach-adjustable steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.
New Punto Van will be available with one diesel engine, the 1.3 MultiJet II diesel, in three levels of power:
•75hp (55 kW) / 190 Nm max torque (at 1500 rpm)
•67.2 MPG (4.2 l/100km) combined fuel consumption and 112 g/km CO2 emissions
•85hp (62 kW) / 200 Nm max torque (at 1500 rpm) with Start&Stop
•80.7 MPG (3.5 l/100km) combined fuel consumption and 90 g/km CO2 emissions
•95hp (70 kW) / 200 Nm max torque (at 1500 rpm) with Start&Stop
•67.2 MPG (4.2 l/100km) combined fuel consumption and 110 g/km CO2 emissions
Start&Stop is standard equipment on the 1.3 MultiJet II 85hp and 95hp versions. The new range starts with the entry level 1.3 MultiJet II 75hp version at £10,990.00 (exc. VAT and OTR). For an additional £500, the 1.3 MultiJet II 85hp version is available, with 10hp more and Start&Stop, having a combined fuel consumption of 80.7 MPG and CO2 emissions of 90 g/km.
The SX trim level is available in combination with the 1.3 MultiJet II 95hp, adding a further £500 to the 85hp version but providing 10hp more, manual air conditioning and a driver’s knee airbag.
Drivers 'should get six penalty points' for
25 April 2012
..... using a mobile phone while driving
Mercedes-Benz unveils new small van
19 April 2012
Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the covers off its new small van, the Citan, which will go on sale in the second half of 2012.
The Citan will be the first small van for Mercedes-Benz, giving it a rival to the Citroen Berlingo and Fiat Doblo, and will be offered in a choice of three lengths. A result of a partnership with Renault, the Citan is derived from the Renault Kangoo, and shares its range of engines. But there are styling changes to ensure it looks part of the Mercedes-Benz family of vans, as well as a few changes to the interior.
Standard equipment includes adaptive electronic stability control (which takes account of vehicle load), and the Citan will be offered with three diesel engines with power ranging from 75bhp to 110bhp. A supercharged petrol version producing 115bhp will also be produced, although full UK specifications will be confirmed nearer the van's launch.
The petrol-engined Citan comes with a BlueEfficiency package as standard, which is optional for the diesel versions. Among other features this includes a start/stop function, battery and generator management, plus optimised low rolling resistance tyres depending on the variant which reduce fuel consumption.