VoBekking and Brunel back for Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15
Amsterdam – December 3, 2013 - Dutch sailor Bouwe Bekking will return for a record-equaling seventh bid for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, the world’s leading crewed offshore race, as skipper of a new campaign launched by Brunel on Tuesday in Amsterdam.
For both sailor and sponsor, it is a case of “unfinished business”. Bekking, 50, has competed in the event twice as skipper without winning and Team Brunel will be having their third crack at ocean sailing’s most prestigious crown on the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65.
Team Brunel is the fourth campaign to announce its participation in the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts with the Alicante in-port race on October 4, 2014 before setting off for the near nine-month, 39,379-nautical mile marathon a week later.
For Bekking, this latest challenge from one of the world’s leading nautical nations is a chance to put the record straight having twice finished runner-up in an event that is part of Dutch sailing heritage having had three winners over the event’s 40 years.
He will match the achievement of Sde Roger Nilson as the only man to have competed seven times in the race, nearly 30 years after his first attempt in 1985-86we.
“A Dutch-speaking team in the Volvo Ocean Race again – we owe this to our heritage and the future sailing generations to come. But above all it’s the best sailing in the world,” said a delighted Bekking who takes the helm on a Dutch boat with a real chance of adding to the country’s success story.
“Our nation is known around the world as the country of windmills, dykes, tulips, cheese, wooden clogs – and the Volvo Ocean Race. The race is just in our blood.”
Referring to his partnership with Brunel, the global project management, recruitment and consultancy company, Bekking added: “It is a great opportunity to reinforce to the world what Brunel stands for: diverse, international and dynamic. The Volvo Ocean Race is the perfect vehicle to showcase this message.”
Brunel CEO Jan Arie van Barneveld stated: “We are really happy that Brunel has again its own team and own sailing machine in the most exiting and prestigious sailing regatta in the world.”
“The formula of the race has been improved significantly: the boats are identical so it’s the teams that make the difference. It is about the quality and cooperation between the people. That is Brunel! We go for the people, the sport and the victory,” he added.
The team joins all-female campaign Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and the Chinese challenge Team Dongfeng in the 2014-15 line-up announced so far.
The Dutch have a glorious heritage in the race, starting when it was known as the Whitbread Round the World Race in the 1977-78 edition which was won by the legendary skipper Conny van Rietschoten on board Flyer. He triumphed again in 1981-82 and remains the only skipper to have won the Volvo Ocean Race twice.
Brunel made its debut in the 1997-98 race as BrunelSunergy and the company returned in 2005-06 in a race that was won by rival Dutch challenger, ABN AMRO ONE.
Three-time race veteran and Chairman of Sailing Holland, Gideon Messink, is delighted to see all the hard preparation work putting together the latest Dutch challenge paying off.
“Our goal is to enter a professional winning team in the Volvo Ocean Race. The Volvo Ocean 65 high-tech, one-design boat is a great improvement. It’s now all about sport and teamwork.
“We are very happy that we found the golden team to do this with miles and miles of experience in every aspect. We have one of the best sailors and skippers in the world in Bouwe Bekking and twice-Volvo Ocean Race participant and great team player Gerd-Jan Poortman already named in our crew.
“Brunel is an ambitious sponsor with its roots in sailing sports. Our organization is based on expertise and experience in sailing, both business-wise and on the water. Last but certainly not least, we have the support of the Dutch people.”
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad added: “This announcement is great news all round. Brunel is a sponsor coming back to the race for the third time and feels like part of the Volvo Ocean Race family. They are here to win. They’re a fantastic sponsor.
“Bouwe is a great sailor and totally experienced skipper. He’s come close to winning many times – I’m sure he has some unfinished business with the event. This will be a real Dutch team and will create a real buzz in a country that knows the race so well. They will start training very soon – it’s all coming together.”
The campaign’s secondary sponsors will be Moduleo®, a division of the IVC Group which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of vinyl floor coverings.
Volvo Cars chooses Grey London Advertising as its new global creative agency
Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) today announces London-based Grey London Advertising (Grey London) as its new global creative agency. The contract will start 1st of January 2014.
“We are delighted to have Grey London onboard, taking Volvo Cars to the next level by visualizing our personality and releasing the full potential of our unique brand,” said Alain Visser, SVP Sales Marketing & Customer Service at Volvo Cars.
Grey London’s strong global insights, combined with the ability to make Volvo Cars relevant in each individual region, will play a very important role in the transformation journey and the ambition to create a more premium visual of the Volvo Cars brand.
The aim is to portray a more sophisticated image, built on the unique Swedish heritage that demonstrates confidence and unconventional attitude.
“Grey London has proven that they are capable of delivering what we are looking for. The team has, in a very short period of time, shown a very good understanding of our brand and our needs,” said Alain Visser.
Volvo Cars agency review was focused on a pitch for the launch of the next Volvo XC90 due to be introduced to the market in 2014.
The all-new Volvo XC90, an important carrier of the brand image, will be the first car built on with our new design direction on the new SPA architecture. It was therefore decided to base the pitch on this immensely important product launch. Each agency was asked to proof their capabilities with strategy for the Brand and Creative proposals for the XC90.
The objective was to find a partner that share the conviction of finding a unique Volvo way of creating both relevance and differentiation to customers, and to challenge the conventional way of going to market.
“Grey London is a partner that can help us to tell the true story of our brand and present our values beyond safety and reliability. Volvo Cars, being a small and nimble brand, sought the same qualities in our creative partner. Grey’s deep understanding of our brand will ensure strong and consistent brand communication,” said Tomás Caetano, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Volvo Cars.
David Patton, CEO and President of Grey EMEA commented, “We are deeply proud to have Grey London partner with Volvo Cars, one of the world's most iconic, innovative automobile brands. We can’t wait to get started in 2014 - we’re going to do some amazing work together”.
The final decision was made following a global creative agency review that was announced in June 2013 and has involved the participation of six agencies, with just four agencies presenting their full proposals.
Volvo Car Group initiates world unique Swedish pilot project with self-driving cars on public roads
Volvo Cars will play a leading role in the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project in which 100 self-driving Volvo cars will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.
The ground-breaking project ‘Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility’ is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg.
The ‘Drive Me’ project is endorsed by the Swedish Government. The aim is to pinpoint the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility.
“Autonomous vehicles are an integrated part of Volvo Cars’ as well as the Swedish government’s vision of zero traffic fatalities. This public pilot represents an important step towards this goal,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group. “It will give us an insight into the technological challenges at the same time as we get valuable feedback from real customers driving on public roads.”
The pilot will involve self-driving cars using approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads in and around Gothenburg. These roads are typical commuter arteries and include motorway conditions and frequent queues.
“Our aim is for the car to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by itself, including leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe ‘harbour’ if the driver for any reason is unable to regain control,” explains Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group.
The ‘Drive Me’ project will focus on a number of areas, such as:
- How autonomous vehicles bring societal and economic benefits by improving traffic efficiency, the traffic environment and road safety
- Infrastructure requirements for autonomous driving
- Typical traffic situations suitable for autonomous vehicles
- Customers’ confidence in autonomous vehicles
- How surrounding drivers interact smoothly with a self-driving car
The project will commence in 2014 with customer research and technology development, as well as the development of a user interface and cloud functionality. The first cars are expected to be on the roads in Gothenburg by 2017.
Recognising that growing urbanisation continues to put pressure on transport systems in and around urban areas all over the world, ‘Drive Me’ addresses the need to join forces in the quest to develop a sustainable society and mobility.
“The public pilot will provide us with a valuable insight into the societal benefits of making autonomous vehicles a natural part of the traffic environment. Smart vehicles are part of the solution, but a broad societal approach is also necessary to offer sustainable personal mobility in the future. We believe that this cross-functional co-operation can give this development a boost,” says Erik Coelingh.
“Sweden has developed unique co-operation between the authorities, the industry and the academic community. This has resulted in a world-leading position in traffic safety. Autonomous vehicles and a smarter infrastructure will bring us another step towards even safer traffic and an improved environment. It will also contribute to new jobs and new opportunities in Sweden,” says Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure.
Enriching city life
The ‘Drive Me’ project will help define the role of self-driving vehicles in future city planning. By paving the way for more efficient land use they can contribute to reducing infrastructure investments. Self-driving vehicles can also enrich city life in other ways, such as by lowering emissions and thus improving air quality and traffic safety.
Making Gothenburg the arena for this unique public pilot is a strong demonstration of the city’s aim to pioneer the development of efficient, clean and safe urban transportation systems.
Autonomous driving will give significant consumer benefits. It will fundamentally change the way we look at driving cars. As a driver in the future, you will be able to plan your drive with a mix of autonomous and active driving, making your daily journey more efficient.
Autonomous driving will pave the way for more efficient time-management behind the wheel. You will be able to interact safely via phone or tablets or simply choose to relax.
“The self-driving technology used in the pilot allows you to hand over the driving to the car when the circumstances are appropriate,” says Håkan Samuelsson.
Prepared for autonomous drive
The vehicles in the pilot project are defined as Highly Autonomous Cars, according to the official definition by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) in Germany. In practical terms this means that the responsibility is handed over to the vehicle, which can handle all driving functions at the driver's discretion. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control but with a sufficiently comfortable transition time.
The 100 Volvo cars driven by customers will be new models developed on the company’s upcoming Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The architecture is prepared for the continuous introduction of new support and safety systems all the way to technologies that enable highly autonomous drive. The first SPA model will be the all-new Volvo XC90, which will be introduced in 2014.
Autonomous parking included
The project also includes fully automated parking, without a driver in the car. This allows the driver to walk away from the car at the parking entrance while the vehicle finds a vacant spot and parks by itself.
“Our approach is based on the principle that autonomously driven cars must be able to move safely in environments with non-autonomous vehicles and unprotected road users,” says Erik Coelingh.
Autonomous Driving according to Volvo Car Group: benefits for society and consumers alike
Despite massive improvements in traffic safety, 1.2 million people are still killed in traffic every year. In 2007, this spurred Volvo Cars, as the only automotive manufacturer in the world, to launch a safety vision stating that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020. The company’s vision is that cars should not crash.
“Pioneering technologies involving extensive use of driver support systems will not only help us realize our safety vision but also bring strong societal and consumer benefits,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.
Modern society faces extensive future challenges to improve safety, and reduce pollution and global CO2 emissions. Autonomous driving can cut fuel consumption by up to 50 per cent in certain situations. Impaired mobility and congestion can be added to the list of challenges.
“Volvo Cars’ long-standing human-centric approach and commitment to safety gives us a different starting point from other car manufacturers when we address the field of autonomous driving,” says Håkan Samuelsson.
Allowing the car to act automatically is crucial when moving towards the vision that future cars will not crash at all. The present systems for auto braking, lane keeping aid and adaptive cruise control are examples of the first steps towards autonomous driving. Now, Volvo Cars is moving towards technologies with a higher degree of autonomous driving in normal traffic situations.
Autonomous driving in traffic queues
The first autonomous features will be introduced in the all-new Volvo XC90 by the end of 2014: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with steer assist automatically follows the vehicle ahead in queues. Other features include road edge and barrier detection with steer assist, which detects if the car is about to drive off the road and autonomously applies steering torque to bring the vehicle back on track.
Paving the way for highly autonomous cars – a new dimension of driving
The next step is technology that follows the car in front at higher speeds, allowing the driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel while still surveying the drive. This in turn paves the way for the introduction of Highly Autonomous Cars that hand over responsibility to the vehicle, which handles all driving functions at the driver’s discretion.
This sophisticated self-driving technology will be tested and evaluated in the ‘Drive Me’ project in Volvo Car Group’s Swedish hometown of Gothenburg. In 2017, 100 customers will join the project using 100 self-driving Volvo cars driving on selected public roads in and around the city.
The world unique project is a partnership between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The ‘Drive Me’ project is endorsed by the Swedish Government. It will be initiated already in 2014 by a joint evaluation and development of test vehicles.
Strong consumer benefits
Autonomous driving will carry significant consumer benefits. It will fundamentally change the way we look at driving cars. As a driver in the future, you will be able to plan your drive with a mix of autonomous and active driving, allowing for efficient use of your daily journey. You could safely interact via phone or tablets or simply relax. Autonomous driving safely thereby paves the way for more efficient time-management behind the wheel.
Autonomous driving – with steering, acceleration and braking automatically controlled by a vehicle that requires very little human interaction – is already present in the modern transport society.
“Hardly anyone thinks twice about being in an airplane that flies on autopilot, but being in a car that drives by itself while the driver reads a book is still quite a revolutionary thought for many people,” says Håkan Samuelsson.
Winter Tires Verses Standard Tires in Volvo’s Celebrity Snowdome Showdown
- Volvo Car UK invites Louise Thompson, star of TV’s Made in Chelsea, to demonstrate the effectiveness of winter tires when driving in snow
- Louise swapped Tignes for Tamworth to find a more exclusive way of returning to a snowcapped ski slope summit – a Volvo V40 fitted with winter tires
- Winter tires improve road safety and could reduce the 5,000 accidents caused by treacherous road conditions in 2012
As temperatures plummet and experts predict a harsh winter for the UK, Volvo Car UK invited ‘Made In Chelsea’ star and Volvo V40 driver Louise Thompson to demonstrate the effectiveness of winter tires for driving in snow.
Two identical Volvo V40 D2 hatchbacks – one on standard tires and another on winter tires – were ready to meet Louise at the Tamworth Snowdome, an indoor ski slope, where she attempted to drive each one up the slope to the summit.
The test was later repeated using snow socks – a quick-fix, temporary alternative to a full set of winter tires – to see if they could also improve on the performance of standard tires.
And the results were enough to dispel any remaining doubts about the advantages of fitting winter tires. During the test, Louise struggled to hit the five-meter mark on standard rubber but comfortably cruised past the 100-metre marker and continued on towards the summit as soon as she switched into the car fitted with winter tires.
“I’m amazed that it makes such a difference,” she said. “One of the cars has amazing grip and can get all the way to the top, while the other can barely move, so if you’re going to be driving in the snow, I definitely think it’s important to have winter tires.”
Millions of motorists are expected to find themselves driving in treacherous winter conditions in the coming weeks, and investing in a set of winter wheels and tires could help them avoid being stranded in the snow.
Winter tires are at their most effective when temperatures drop below seven degrees. With the Met Office having recorded average temperatures for winter 2012 of just 3.3 degrees, winter tires could have a huge role to play in reducing accidents and enhancing road safety.
They use a softer rubber compound than standard tires which helps them stay more flexible in cold weather. As a result, they can grip the road surface far more effectively, retaining stability and traction, and boosting driver confidence that the car is able to cope with the conditions.
To put it into numbers, if a car is traveling at just 19mph on ice, winter tires can reduce the average braking distance from 68 meters to 57 meters, while at 30mph on snow the figure falls from 43 meters to 35 meters
A second test saw fabric snow socks fitted over the standard tires in just a couple of minutes. This simple, low-cost upgrade transformed the standard tires’ performance and enabled the V40 to cruise up the slope with relative ease.
Both winter tires and snow socks could help reduce the 5,000 accidents the Department for Transport says were caused by treacherous winter weather in 2012.
Nick Connor, Volvo Car UK managing director said: “We wanted to demonstrate, in the most severe conditions possible, the effectiveness of having winter tires or snow socks fitted to your car. There’s definitely a degree of skepticism out there about how useful they can be, but this test dispels the myths once and for all.
“Winter tires and snow socks are available nationwide from our dealerships and we hope this has given motorists reason to believe they’re a worthwhile investment,” he added.
While winter tires are mandatory in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, fewer than 5% of new tires sold in the UK each year are winter tires.
Snow socks are available at participating authorized Volvo repairers for £55* and a set of four winter wheels and tires start from £600*.