Taking telematics on the road to improve automotive safety

Jason Ford

News editor

An event taking place this week in London will give attendees an insight into maximising the commercial potential of automotive telematics.

Taking place from today until Wednesday, Connected Vehicle World Europe 2011 brings together senior figures directly responsible for the future direction of telematics and the connected vehicle.

They will be on hand to deliver a number of telematics workshops, one of which is entitled ‘Achieving the vision of a future without fatal road accidents’.

Scheduled to be presented by Jonas Ekmark, Volvo’s head of preventative safety, the session will look at developing the algorithms to predict vehicle movements and facilitate effective car-to-car communication in the future.

Ekmark will look also at the EU SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project and the potential of ‘platooning’ to reduce emissions and accidents, a subject covered by The Engineer in January this year that provoked a flurry of comments.

In his January news story, Andrew Czyzewski wrote that vehicle platooning involves a line of vehicles led by a professional driver, where each car measures the distance, speed and direction, adjusting to the car in front. Once in the platoon, drivers can relax and do other things. Vehicles can, however, leave the procession at any time.

One potential advantage of the system improved road safety, since it eliminates the human factor that is the cause of at least 80 per cent of road accidents.

An appeal now to all of you that work in manufacturing from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

It is calling for expressions of interest from companies that think their products or processes could gain entry into the Make it in Great Britain campaign.

Launched last month, the campaign is designed to transform the image of modern UK manufacturing and to raise awareness of its importance for Britain’s economy.

The campaign will culminate in an exhibition at the Science Museum in summer 2012, which the organisers say will highlight the successes of the manufacturing sector, showing the true face of British manufacturing and encouraging young people to consider a career in the industry.

Click here to be taken to the Make it in Great Britain website, where application forms can be found. You’ll be asked to explain what your exhibit is and how your product or process could be displayed so that it engages an audience.

The deadline for completed Expression of Interests is by midday on 6 January 2012.

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) is holding its national conference this week in London to debate whether the AD industry is finally gathering momentum.

The organisers say that if the UK is to meet its climate change and renewable energy targets by 2050 then a mature AD industry is critical, as it could deliver more than 40TWh of renewable energy. This, they say, is equivalent to 20 per cent of the UK’s domestic gas demand.

High-profile experts from across the anaerobic digestion sector will be on hand to address the key issues currently affecting the AD industry.

There was bad news for new solar photovoltaics (PV) installations eligible for Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) installed from today.

Climate change minister Gregg Barker proposed in October that the generation tariff for PV installations with a total installed capacity of 4kW or less should be reduced to 21p/kWh

DECC’s consultation on proposed changes to FITs for PV closes on 23 December.

Staying with energy, there is news of an online game developed at Southampton University that is designed to raise energy awareness.

The online quiz, which can be found here, invites players to compete and answer 12 questions about energy comparisons.

One question asks: ‘Which uses more energy, a Christmas tree with 100 lights continuously lit over the festive period, or a dishwasher used once a week for month?’

A team led by Dr Alex Rogers of the university’s Electronics and Computer Science department originally developed The Energy Quiz for BT to challenge its employees to test their knowledge about energy. The new version is launched today.