Weekly Brief: Nevada places its bets on a collision free state

The ‘casino’ state commits to creating the first V2V network in US. Andrew Tolve reports.

The US Department of Transportation's proposed rule mandating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication would be a game changer, allowing cars to 'talk' to each other to avoid crashes and save thousands of lives each year. However, a change in administrations has left the rule's fate unclear and, even if it does become law, carmakers estimate it would take years to fully implement. The state of Nevada doesn't want to wait that long.

So last week Nevada’s Center for Advanced Mobility (Nevada CAM) unveiled a plan to create the first state wide V2V network in the country. To make that happen Nevada will partner with start-up Nexar whose network uses smartphone dash cameras and mobile telecoms technology to provide drivers real-time alerts to prevent vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian collisions. Such smartphone-based networks are potentially not as accurate as true V2V networks, given latency and delay issues with the phones and the wireless networks that they depend upon. Still, Nexar’s free app is well established in New York City and San Francisco and is building up in Las Vegas and has shown 24% reduction in collisions since its inception.

Rather than rely on everyday drivers, Nevada will integrate Nexar into its state, city and private vehicle fleets, from buses to trucks to maintenance vehicles. The end goal is to generate data covering 250 million miles on a weekly basis by 2020. Nevada will use this information to increase safety, better manage traffic and infrastructure and accelerate the adoption of self-driving vehicles.

In other news, three market leaders in vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology announced a collaboration to drive V2X adoption among carmakers. ublox, Commsignia and NXP Semiconductors plan to build a fully integrated bundle of V2X hardware and software solutions that delivers faster time to market with greater safety and security. The bundle will include Commsignia's end-to-end V2X software suite for connecting cars and smart city infrastructure, the NXP RoadLINK chipset and u-blox's v2x THEO module. u-blox, Commsignia and NXP will demonstrate their partnership solution at the TU-Automotive Detroit Conference and Expo, 7-8 June 2017.

What's the fastest way for a carmaker to beef up its connected car offerings? Swipe a whole software division from a tech company. That's what Renault did last week when it purchased Intel's embedded software research and development team in France. All of the Intel engineers at Intel's Toulouse and Sophia Antipolis sites will now report to the Groupe Renault Alliance Systems Engineering Department. Renault is hoping to leverage the new expertise to build personalised services and remote, autonomous, real-time updates with no outside intervention. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Qualcomm demonstrated that dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC), the idea of charging electric vehicles while they're driving down a road, isn't a pipe dream. In fact, at a 100-metre test track in Versailles France, Qualcomm was able to charge two Renault Kangoo cars while they travelled over a special road with a ribbon of Qualcomm's Halo wireless EV charging technology running down the middle. The European Commission has set aside €9M (£7.83M) in a project called FABRIC to address the feasibility of wireless DEVC as a means of EV range extension. Qualcomm will now hand over the Halo DEVC system to FABRIC partner VEDECOM for further testing.

Avis is doubling the number of connected cars in its worldwide rental fleet from 50,000 to 100,000.  We’re not talking fancy infotainment or advanced driver assistance systems here; Avis has in mind simple telematics that helps expedite the rental process during pickup and drop-off with real time access to maintenance needs, fuel consumption and mileage readings. It also allows customers to throw on the flashers and remotely lock and unlock their cars with the free Avis mobile app.

Nissan signed a memorandum of understanding with UK energy provider Northern Powergrid to explore new ways to optimise the relationship between EVs and the grid. The partnership will focus in part on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology that would allow electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf to be fully integrated into the electricity grid, improving network capacity and helping to make renewable energy sources more affordable and more widely available. It also would provide an opportunity to create mobile energy hubs, by integrating large numbers of electric vehicles directly with the grid.

Finally Ford is rolling out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to all model year 2016 vehicles equipped with Sync 3. In a first for the company, the update is available via Wi-Fi for customers who have over-the-air updates enabled. CarPlay and Android Auto are already available on all model 2017 Ford cars and trucks.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry sources.

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