Weekly Brief: Volvo brings V2V technology to the tipping point

Imagine if every time you drove over a dangerous pothole, skidded on black ice or popped on your hazard warning lights owing to a sudden stop in traffic, your car immediately relayed that action to every other car in your vicinity, thus improving their ability to react and drive safely. If you’re in the market for a high-end Volvo, that’s about to be your reality.

The carmaker announced that it’s set to deploy vehicle-to-vehicle(V2V) communication across all of the 90 series models in its European lineup before the end of the year. That's the S90, V90 and XC90, all of which will now be able to detect dangerous road conditions based on steering, braking and emergency hazard sensors, then communicate that information to other Volvo cars using a cloud-based solution that Volvo co-developed with telecom Ericsson.

Consider this the leading edge of the V2V tidal wave. Earlier this year Mercedes-Benz deployed similar technology in its new E class and Cadillac, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover all have said they plan to integrate solutions of their own come 2017. Compare that with Honda’s more cautious approach to V2V.

In other news, it was a good week for Amazonsmart home technology, Amazon Echo. Ford announced that its drivers will soon be able to talk to their cars thanks to Amazon Echo integration and, by extension, be able to control smart home features like heating, air conditioning and garage doors. They'll also be able to remote start their cars from home using voice assistant Amazon Alexa and check on charge levels. The tech will debut by the end of the year in three models, the Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi.

BMW launched version 3.0 of its BMW Connected mobile platform, which includes Amazon Echo integration. That means that users will be able to use voice commands to check the vehicle’s battery charge and fuel level, as well as lock the vehicle remotely. The BMW Connected Alexa skill also allows users to learn about their next scheduled trip, find out what time to leave and send the destination to their BMWs.

The PSA Group created a new mobility brand called Free2Move. The brand will unite all of PSA's existing endeavors on the mobility front, including car sharing (now dubbed Free2Move Car Sharing), corporate fleet services (Free2Move Fleet Sharing and Free2MoveFleet Management) and connected services for devices and cars (Free2Move Smart Services). The Group also plans to roll out new solutions via its new brand in the coming months and years.

Toyota and BMW invested in self-driving car technology company Nauto and are working on integrating its cloud-based data learning platform into their vehicles. Nauto has developed deep learning capabilities that run both in the cloud and on retrofit devices that can be mounted in any vehicle. As more vehicles deploy Nauto, its connected car network will be populated with greater volumes of precise information on how drivers and vehicles behave and perform –understanding both how excellent drivers handle vehicles in real urban conditions as well as the combinations of errors, distraction, and challenging circumstances that lead to crashes.

Coyote, the controversial GPS device known for pinpointing traffic cops in France, is about to add a new target to its products: real-time parking. The company has signed a pan-European deal with Parkopedia to provide premium on-street and off-street parking information across the Coyote suite of products. The info will include real-time data and will be integrated across the Coyote lineup by the end of 2016.

Finally, Bentley is piloting a mobile, app-based fuel-delivery service in California with technology start-up Filld. With ‘Filld for Bentley', Bentley owners can open the app, choose a delivery time and their fuel will be delivered wherever and whenever they require. Connected car integration means that Filld employees will be able to pinpoint the car’s location and access the fuel cap without the owner doing a thing. No word yet on pricing but never hunting for gas again sounds pretty good to us.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the weeks top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry press releases.

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