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Volvo Cars Tech Fund invests in Israeli technology start-ups MDGo and UVeye

Volvo Cars has made investments in two promising Israeli technology start-ups through the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the company’s venture capital investment arm.

 

Both UVeye and MDGo have their headquarters in Tel Aviv, where Volvo Cars has been involved with DRIVE, a so-called ‘accelerator’ for young companies in the mobility sector, since 2017. UVeye and MDGo have developed their business in recent years with the help of DRIVE, offering the potential to boost quality and safety respectively. They represent the Tech Fund’s first investments outside the US and Europe.

 

MDGo is a company specialising in what it calls medical artificial intelligence. By using advanced machine learning technology it aims to save numerous lives by making sure that people are treated according to their specific injury following an accident with their car.

 

MDGo’s technology will combine real-time data from the car during an accident with medical knowledge with the aim to make automated early and immediate predictions on the type of injuries emergency personnel are likely to encounter at the scene of the accident

 

This data would be transmitted to trauma physicans and emergency personnel via a cloud-based platform to improve treatment of the people involved in an accident. As such, the technology has the potential to reduce the likelihood of complications and by extension serious injuries and fatalities.

 

“MDGo’s technology aims to do something that is close to our hearts, which is saving lives,” says Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “Their mission as a company seamlessly connects with ours at Volvo Cars, so we are happy to support the continued development of MDGo.”

 

The Tech Fund’s other investment, UVeye, has developed advanced technology for the automatic external inspection and scanning of cars for damages, dents and scratches. Volvo Cars is not just investing in the company, but is also looking at using UVeye’s technology for conducting full exterior inspection of cars after they roll out from production lines.

 

Volvo Cars believes using UVeye’s technology could further improve the quality of cars leaving the factory and ensure that even tiny faults are detected. A first pilot is intended to start later this year at its manufacturing plant in Torslanda, Sweden. The technology could also be used during the various steps of the logistics flow and at dealerships.

 

“Premium quality standards are at the core of the Volvo brand and we are intrigued by the possibilities that UVeye’s technology offers,” Zaki Fasihuddin says. “This type of advanced scanning technology could allow us to take the next step in quality.”

 

The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was launched last year and invests in high-potential technology start-ups around the globe. It focuses its investments on strategic technology trends transforming the auto industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving and digital mobility services.

 

Since 2018 the Tech Fund has invested in a number of companies, including Luminar Technologies, a leading firm in the development of advanced sensor technology for autonomous cars; Varjo, a maker of high-end augmented reality headsets; and Zum, a ride sharing service for children. Other investments include electric car charging firm Freewire and Forciot, which develops connected, printable and stretchable electronics.

Volvo XC40 crowned New Car of the Year at Motor Trader 2019 Awards

The Volvo XC40 has claimed yet another significant honour, adding the New Car of the Year title in the Motor Trader 2019 Awards to its impressive collection. Its success confirms its status as a game-changing model in the fiercely competitive premium compact SUV market, more than a year on from its UK debut.

 

Motor Trader's judging panel was full of praise, saying: "The XC40 is a star turn. It shines on all the crucial fronts: convenient size, engaging driving dynamics, impeccable safety credentials and excellent build quality. These combine to make it an outstanding car."

 

The XC40 was admired for its restrained styling in contrast to more "pumped-up" SUVs, projecting a look that is "more mannerly and less confrontational". The judges were also impressed by the car's ride, handling, performance and refinement, which help make it an accomplished companion over long distances. Further appreciation was given to the "cool Scandinavian interior" and the impressive array of safety features fitted to every version in the range.

 

Kristian Elvefors, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: "This latest award is a fantastic result, especially because it names the XC40 as the all-round best new car on sale. The XC40 has enjoyed an exceptional reception from the media and public alike, and we will continue to develop and improve its qualities to ensure it remains the car that sets the standard in its class."

 

The XC40 exemplifies Volvo's transformation of its entire model range. It's a car that addresses all the priorities of today's premium-market customers in a package that is highly desirable yet full of practical touches to make life easier. Its popularity has helped power Volvo's exceptional UK sales growth – up 27% in the first six months of 2019. In fact, more than 15,000 XC40s have been snapped up by customers since its launch in February 2018.

 

A large part of this appeal is down to the XC40's clean, contemporary Scandinavian styling, while its cabin is a calm, comfortable and luxuriously appointed place to be. It also delivers the latest in seamless on-board connectivity with unmatched safety technology.

 

The heart of the XC40's connectivity is the Volvo Sensus system, which includes a central nine-inch touchscreen and advanced voice-activated control system. This allows easy control of the car's entertainment and information technology, along with access to a range of online apps. A wireless phone charging pad is also available.

 

A recipient of the maximum, five-star rating from independent safety testing organisation Euro NCAP, the XC40 has excellent impact protection engineered in, while its array of advanced systems include City Safety, which alerts you to a collision risk and can automatically apply the brakes in an emergency as required.

 

The XC40 is available with a range of Volvo-designed-and-built engines, engineered for smooth performance with good fuel economy and low emissions across the board. Manual and automatic transmissions are available, together with front- or all-wheel drive, depending on the engine.

A red Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 instantly becomes most popular company car for Asda managers

The multi-award-winning Volvo XC40 has brought a new level of performance and comfort to the fleet available to Asda managers following the SUV’s addition to its user-chooser list. The design and in-car technology of the XC40 have quickly made it the most popular company car choice for managers at Asda, one of Britain’s leading retailers.

Volvo’s early adoption of, and compliance with, the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) made the manufacturer a fleet option for Asda for the first time. Meanwhile, the Swedish firm’s keen focus on safety without compromising on design and comfort secured the XC40’s place on the Asda fleet.

Helen Mansell, Reward Manager – Shares and Car Fleet, Asda explains: “We were initially drawn to Volvo after it met the WLTP requirements ahead of the competition, and with SUVs popular amongst our existing drivers, Volvo seemed the ideal choice.

“The XC40’s leading edge safety features, including City Safety and Lane Keeping Aid which come as standard, convinced us to add Volvo as a company car option for our managers. Volvo’s safety credentials fit well with our company culture of caring for employees beyond our Duty of Care requirements.”

Asda is committed to making life easier, happier and more fun – for customers and colleagues alike. It strives to support its colleagues by giving them the training, tools and freedom they need to develop an exciting, rewarding and enjoyable career. Providing premium fleet options to suit individual requirements and preferences, and help colleagues enjoy their business journeys, is part of that vision.

Reflecting the new partnership, the XC40 was a star attraction at the company’s recent World Safety Day event which focused on road safety and driver distraction. The event covered important topics such as tyre safety, drink-driving and mobile distraction, as well as other issues that affect drivers.

Lindsay Robson, Asda’s Health, Safety and Environment Manager, was responsible for the World Safety Day event. She adds: “An XC40 was available for employees to test drive from Volvo retailer, Ray Chapman Motors. The team was on hand to engage with colleagues and answer any questions people had about its safety benefits. By providing this valuable experience, company car drivers are now able to make a fully informed fleet choice so that their vehicle truly matches their professional and personal needs.”

Steve Beattie, Head of Business Sales, Volvo Car UK, adds: “Our XC40 offers a huge array of benefits to company car drivers, as proved by its remarkable capacity for winning major fleet sector awards. Its striking exterior and thoughtful interior design, comprehensive safety offering and efficient powertrain options have already made it a hit with fleets across the country and we’re delighted to be helping to make the lives of Asda’s managers easier, safer and more enjoyable.” 

The XC40 is notable for its recent success in prominent fleet industry awards. In two separate awards voted for by fleet decision-makers it was the first ever SUV to be named New Company Car of the Year by Fleet News earlier this year. It also picked up Business Car’s New Company Car of the Year title in 2018. Other achievements include the titles of Best Small SUV in the 2019 Great British Fleet Awards and Best Compact SUV in the recent Business Motoring Awards.

Article originally appeared on Fleet Point

Volvo Cars releases armoured cars for people needing heightened protection

With the release of the Volvo XC90 Armoured, Volvo Cars takes another step as a manufacturer of armoured vehicles. The cars are designed and built to provide safe and comfortable travel with a high level of personal protection for the occupants.

 

"We are proud to be able to offer these armoured cars. With our armoured cars, we can provide vehicles with a high level of personal security for individuals who require heightened protection," says Stephan Green, Marketing Director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

 

There is a growing global market for armoured vehicles at present, and a large number are manufactured with various protection ratings. Volvo Cars has received numerous requests over the past few years to develop an armoured XC90. Volvo Cars has extensive experience of building police cars, fire engines and diverse special vehicles with high requirements in terms of function, driveability and safety. In fact, the first Volvo police car was delivered back in 1929.

 

"The XC90 Armoured (heavy) with VR8* protection rating (VPAM BRV 2009/ERV 2010) enables us to offer a car that provides a high level of protection while retaining the car's fundamental properties. Potential customers include security services who would use the car to transport high-profile individuals," says Green.

 

Work to develop a car with a VPAM VR8 protection rating commenced just over two years ago. A certified VPAM VR8 rating means the car has 360-degree ballistic resistance as well as explosive resistance.

 

The armoured car is built on the Inscription version of the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD, which is manufactured at the Torslanda plant in Sweden. The size and nature of the model make it the most suitable vehicle in Volvo Cars' product portfolio for armouring. From Torslanda, the car is sent to TRASCO Bremen GmbH in Germany, a company which has specialised for many years in building high-quality vehicles with high protection ratings.

 

"Production is classified, with stringent procedures and oversight in place in order to attain the stipulated ballistic requirements," says Green.

 

The high-strength steel armour is 10 millimetres thick, while the thickness of the glass can be up to 50 millimetres. The armour adds approximately 1,400 kilograms to the XC90, which brings the total weight of the car up to 4,490kg (including five occupants). To cope with the increased weight, the car is fitted with uprated suspension and new brakes.

 

"Production is carried out with extreme diligence, which is imperative in order to fulfil the exceptionally high requirements placed on this class of security product. We strive to ensure that the car retains its properties despite the extensive armouring. The armour is fitted discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90. Every customer also has their own unique requirements, which we satisfy by means of customised production," says Green.

 

The Volvo XC90 Armoured (heavy) is available to order now and the first customer deliveries will be made at the end of 2019.

 

Volvo Cars also develops another version of the armoured car (light). This means that Volvo Cars has a full portfolio of cars able to offer high personal protection. These cars are built on the XC60 T6 AWD Inscription or XC90 T6 AWD Inscription.

 

These versions are geared towards different clientele than the XC90 Armoured (heavy). Users could be individuals or companies requiring a car with a higher level of protection due to a geographical risk or a heightened personal threat. A market for these types of protective vehicles also exists among security services, the police, the diplomatic corps and private individuals.

 

The cars are intended for Latin America and Europe. After construction, they are retrofitted in Brazil, where there is considerable demand for these types of cars as well as substantial experience of building them. These vehicles are designed to offer lighter protection compared with the XC90 Armoured (heavy).

 

The cars will undergo a battery of ballistic tests to ensure the required protection rating is fulfilled. They primarily provide protection against handguns.

 

The weight of the car is increased by around 250 kilograms, which is compensated for by upgrading the brakes and suspension. This means that the fundamental properties remain largely unchanged compared to the standard car.

 

Sales of these cars are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2020.

Volvo Cars and Uber present production vehicle ready for self-driving

Volvo Cars, a leader in automotive safety, and Uber, the leading ride-hailing firm, today present a jointly developed production car capable of driving by itself, the next step in the strategic collaboration between both companies.

Uber and Volvo Cars entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes aimed at accelerating the companies’ self-driving car development. The Volvo XC90 SUV presented today is the first production car that in combination with Uber’s self-driving system is capable of fully driving itself.

The XC90 base vehicle is equipped with key safety features that allow Uber to easily install its own self-driving system, enabling the possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber’s network as an autonomous ridesharing service.

The most important features of Volvo Cars’ autonomous drive-ready production vehicle include several back-up systems for both steering and braking functions, as well as battery back-up power. If any of the primary systems should fail for some reason, the back-up systems are designed to immediately act to bring the car to a stop.

In addition to Volvo’s built-in back-up systems, an array of sensors atop and built into the vehicle are designed for Uber’s self-driving system to safely operate and manoeuvre in an urban environment.

When paired with Volvo’s vehicle platform, Uber’s self-driving system may one day allow for safe, reliable autonomous ridesharing without the need for a Mission Specialist, the specially trained Uber employees operating and overseeing the car in areas designated and suitable for autonomous drive.

The autonomous drive-capable production vehicle revealed today is part of Volvo Cars’ 2016 commercial agreement with Uber for the delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in the coming years.

“We believe autonomous-drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars. “By the middle of the next decade, we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world’s leading ride-hailing companies.”

“Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet,” said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. “Volvo has long been known for its commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of its newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle. When paired with our self-driving technology, this vehicle will be a key ingredient in Uber’s autonomous product suite.”

Volvo Cars plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s. These technologies, to be introduced on the next generation of Volvo models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture, will include features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads.

Volvo Cars believes autonomous drive can generate significant potential road safety benefits for society as a whole when all cars are autonomous. Until that moment, the technology can offer customers a better driving experience by taking away mundane tasks such as stop-start driving in traffic jams.