Ford: helping manufacturers to make roads safer
In a landmark road safety data sharing agreement, Ford has committed to helping drivers of connected vehicles across multiple brands with advance warning capabilities for potential dangerous driving conditions on the roads
“Connected vehicles help drivers to anticipate hazards that may be lurking just around the next bend. Road-safety data sharing ecosystems are more effective the more vehicles and telematics sources they include; extending the benefits of this technology to those who do not drive Ford cars represents a significant step forwards,” commented Peter Geffers, manager, Connected Vehicles, Ford of Europe.
Ford’s Local Hazard Information system
Introduced in early 2020 in the company’s new Ford Puma, the automotive manufacturer’s system is currently being enabled on newly built Fords and can warn drivers of road safety dangers that could be round the corner.
The new agreement - Led by the European Commission-backed Data for Road Safety partnership - will enable vehicles from other manufacturers to identify and share information about hazards encountered to improve road safety by preparing drivers for dangers ahead.
This new agreement follows a 16 month proof of concept where tens of millions of safety related traffic information (SRTI) messages were exchanged between different vehicles.
Partners of the data-sharing ecosystem include BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo so far, and is open to new participants.
How it works
Data from vehicles - such as fog lights, emergency braking or airbag activation - is anonymised and computed onboard to determine the presence and location of potential hazards.
Warning messages are sent to a secure Ford server where the data is distributed to SRTI partners to share with their vehicle brands. Relevant SRTI messages are immediately sent to vehicles in the vicinity of the potential hazard appearing on their dashboard display.
The data can also be used to alert emergency services and provide accurate location data in near real time to help accelerate assistance.
“The Data for Road Safety ecosystem is a public-private partnership that delivers enriched data to improve road safety in a very tangible way, so it is a win-win situation for society as a whole. The vehicle manufacturers participating in the project are willing to share data on a daily basis, and will continue their endeavours to contribute to the SRTI data ecosystem, together with all partners,” concluded Joost Vantomme, chairman of the new SRTI ecosystem.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.