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DaimlerTrucksDAIMLER DRIVERLESS TRUCK HITS THE ROAD

Daimler Trucks ran a real-world test of what it says is the first series-production truck to operate on an automated basis on the highway.

The firm fitted its Highway Pilot self-driving system to a Mercedes-Benz Actros truck and sent it out on the Autobahn 8 near Stuttgart in Germany.

The truck used for the premiere is a standard Mercedes-Benz Actros equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot system for this test of autonomous driving on public roads. A special permit from the state of Baden-Württemberg allows the truck to drive on motorways on an automated basis.

‘Today’s premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks – and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future,’ said Wolfgang Bernhard, the Daimler AG board member responsible for trucks and buses.

Like self-driving cars, driverless trucks are said to be much safer as they eliminate human error. But not only that, it’s also more efficient at changing gears, accelerating and braking. Which means it uses less fuel and gives off fewer carbon emissions.

Daimler’s system uses a short-range radar that reads the truck’s surroundings up to 70m away, while a long-range unit scans up to 250m away. These work with Active Cruise Control and Active Brake Assist, and a camera that identifies road markings and guides steering.

However, the driver must stay alert at all times, and be ready to take control when necessary. If they can’t, the truck will come to a safe stop.

Daimler emphasised that the Highway Pilot does not replace the driver, but supports and relieves the strain on him or her by dealing with monotonous stretches and taking care of annoying stop-and-go driving in a traffic jam. In automated mode the driver has control over the truck at all times and in tricky situations can take over driving of the vehicle again.

If the minimum prerequisites for the system are not present due to bad weather or missing road markings, the Highway Pilot issues acoustic and visual impulses to ask the driver to take over. If there is no reaction from the driver, the truck brings itself to a standstill independently and safely.

Source: Bodyshopmag.com

VWLogo3Volkswagen releases VIN number checker for vehicles affected by emissions scandal

Volkswagen has released an online checking tool to identify vehicles affected by the emissions scandal.

This follows revelations that Volkswagen Group cheated in official nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions tests in the US, affecting EA 189 diesel engines, which were also fitted to Audi, Skoda and Seat vehicles.

The tool only allows checking of vehicles from Volkswagen passenger cars or Commercial Vehicle divisions, but it says other brands in the group will launch their own self service tools shortly.

At the time of writing, the site appears to be struggling to cope with the number of enquiries so the page may not load immediately.

Source: Fleetnews.co.uk

TISPOLPolice chiefs call for greater efforts to rid roads of dangerous drivers

Senior traffic police officers from around Europe will call for better protection of vulnerable road users at the annual conference of TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network, this week.

As part of its support for the European target of halving road deaths by 2020, TISPOL will use the event, which takes place in Manchester tomorrow and Wednesday, to call for better protection of vulnerable road users, with greater efforts to rid Europe’s roads of the most dangerous drivers.

Other conference messages include:

  • Road safety targets are good. They unite all those groups working to reduce death and injury on Europe’s roads.
  • We want to see political will restored across Europe, and a commitment from governments to avoid any further cuts to policing resources.
  • This will allow police officers to enforce existing laws, investigate collisions effectively, and identify and sanction the most dangerous drivers.
  • The result will be significant and sustained reductions in road deaths and injuries.
  • Aidan Reid, president of TISPOL, said: “Traffic police have a vital role to play in reducing deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Europe.

“Central to this is the task of identifying and sanctioning those drivers who pose unacceptably high risks.

“They may be disqualified, uninsured, or simply have a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road which are there to help keep everyone safe.

“Robust systems are in place to deal with high-end offenders, but there needs to be effective enforcement and consistent, tough sentencing in order to provide a worthwhile deterrent.”

Senior police officers, academics, policy makers and other road safety professionals will consider a range of specific issues during the two-day conference, including:

  • Safer driving in later life
  • Fatigue in emergency service drivers
  • Police strategies to reduce motorcycle casualties
  • Safer cycle commuter journeys
  • Women drivers, alcohol and increased vulnerability

Source: Fleetnews.co.uk

VertuVertu Motors opens sixth Renault dealership

Top 10 AM100 group Vertu Motors has opened its sixth Renault and Dacia dealership with a new Bristol Street Motors location in Mansfield.

It is Vertu’s second new Renault and Dacia dealership in the space of six months. The group’s new Renault outlet in Nottingham opened in March and Bristol Street Motors’ other Renault dealerships are located in Bradford, Derby, Exeter and Gloucester.

Darren Payne, Renault Group UK sales director, said the opening of the latest Vertu dealership is the direct result of the success the dealer group has had with its five other Renault and Dacia dealerships.

Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors chief executive, said the new dealership secures the group’s position as the leading Renault and Dacia retailer in the East Midlands area.

Source: Am-Online.com

AudiLogoLookers launches recruitment and training programme for Audi division

Lookers, the second largest dealer group in the UK, has launched a new recruitment and training initiative aimed at technicians within its Audi division.

The Lookers Audi Technician Immersion Programme is now being rolled out across its nine dealerships and 136 technicians that work across the UK and Ireland.

The new programme is designed to “revolutionise” Lookers’ recruitment and training environment for the next generation of qualified technical specialists within its Audi division. The training element involves programmes delivered byAfter an initial evaluation process, successful recruit technicians complete a paper-based technical assessment and practical test before taking part in the programme, which occurs in a classroom and practical workshop environment.

Steve Dean, Lookers Audi managing director, said: “This new and unique recruitment and training process provides us with an excellent indication of the capability of those candidates applying and the additional training and up-skilling needed to ensure we can attract and maintain the technical talent in the marketplace.”

Lookers Audi has also introduced special financial incentives and dedicated career development plans to new recruits as part of its concerted focus on raising technical expertise and knowledge and across its network. Lookers Audi master technicians.

Source: Am-Online.com

DieselNewsUK emissions testing programme begins after EU transport minister meeting

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has confirmed that the UK has begun its own testing programme in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

McLoughlin met with other European transport ministers in Luxembourg today, where he called for a full European investigation.

McLoughlin said: “The needs of consumers must be at the forefront of action to restore public confidence in emissions testing. I have made it clear to Volkswagen that we expect it to support UK owners of vehicles fitted with defeat device software. The UK government has already announced that owners in Britain will not incur higher vehicle taxes as result of VW’s actions.

“There now needs to be co-ordinated European work to establish trust in the testing process. As I highlighted to the Transport Council, driving emissions tests that reflect real-world performance must be introduced as quickly as possible.

“In the meantime, I can confirm that the UK has now started its own testing programme. This will get to the bottom of what the situation is for VW Group cars in the UK and ensure we understand the wider implications for other car types to give all consumers certainty.

“I have also today repeated my call for a Europe-wide investigation into the use of ‘defeat devices’, in parallel to the work we are doing in the UK.

“The UK testing programme will get to the bottom of what the situation is for Volkswagen Group cars in the UK and ensure we understand the wider implications for other car types to give all consumers certainty.”

The UK will initially re-test Euro 5 category diesel cars previously type-approved by VCA that VW Group has confirmed contain ‘defeat device’ software. This re-testing will involve both laboratory and real-world elements.

These measurements will be used as a benchmark for further testing, with the final programme to be developed.

Source: Fleetnews.co.uk

VWLogo3VW diesel tops fastest selling used cars

The fastest selling used car in September was a VW diesel. The Sharan sold in an average of 13 days across the UK, according to sales trend data released by Auto Trader.

The results come as VW Group has become embroiled in a diesel emissions fixing scandal, with Auto Trader acknowledging that it only became public knowledge towards the end of the month and therefore too late to impact sales.

In addition to the national top ten – which also included the VW Touran MPV diesel in eighth position, VW Group models reported fastest selling cars in four UK regions. The 2013 VW Golf diesel was the fastest seller in Wales, the 2014 Passat diesel estate took the top spot in Scotland and the 2012 VW Polo petrol was the quickest mover in the South West. While the 2013 Seat Leon diesel was the fastest seller in the South.

“Auto Trader reports these figures on a monthly basis, but I have no doubt that data for September will be scrutinised in great detail by motor industry commentators,” said Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of retailer and consumer products.

“A note of caution however: September’s top ten will reassure a lot of franchise outlets, as well as independent retailers selling used VW models, but it’s worth remembering that the emissions crisis did not break in the media until 21st of the month. We will really have to wait until October’s data to see if VW diesel models continue to perform strongly on the forecourt.

Source: Motortrader.com

ArnoldArnold Clark reports record year as profits increase by 26%

Arnold Clark had its most successful year in its history in 2014 with a 12.3% increase in turnover to £3.27 billion and a 26% increase in pre-tax profits to £107 million.

The top three AM100 group put the growth down to the increase in its sales figures, with a 7.5% increase to 249,000 units.

The business is confident it will break the 250,000 unit sales barrier for the first time this year.

Eddie Hawthorne, Arnold Clark managing director, said: “The group has had a strong year in terms of sales and we hope to continue this into 2016.

“The number of acquisitions the group takes on is increasing and we are happy with the progress the group makes as it develops the Arnold Clark brand throughout the UK.

“As a family enterprise, we maintain a strong commitment to providing unrivalled customer satisfaction. Our employees are the most vital asset to the business and we know we would not be seeing these numbers without their passion for the Arnold Clark brand.”

The number of employees grew by 340 to 9,270.

New sites contributed to the increase in employee numbers with the completion of a new Motorstore and Fiat branch in August and a new Activa site in Milton Keynes. The company’s training provider, GTG Training, also opened a new, purpose-built training and conference site in Edinburgh.

Arnold Clark now has over 200 dealerships in the UK and represents 23 manufacturers.

Source: Am-Online.com

Posted by Sue Robinson on 09/10/2015