“One Ping Only”

Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October

Sean Connery as Captain Marko Ramius in the movie ‘The Hunt for Red October’ says the famous line: “Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please.” This odd request is to help identify his submarine’s presence to a US submarine nearby. Volvo is thinking of doing something similar to make cycling safer, intrigued? Read on…

Volvo cars and bicyclists

Volvo says ‘Since the first lockdown (in Ireland) in March 2020, there has been a 45% increase in cycling in cities across Ireland. However, cyclists are still among the most at-risk road users, according to the World Health Organisation. In the past decade, 851 cyclists have been seriously injured on Irish roads, and cyclists, unlike car passengers, are a demographic whose risk is not decreasing. Lockdown 3.0 is here, and although we are restricted to a 5k radius, safety on city and urban roads is as important as ever. Volvo Cars, the leader in safety, asks ‘how can motorists and cyclists work together to create more cycle friendly cities?

(As we’re reported here before) ‘Volvo Cars has its own cyclist and pedestrian crash database, while other manufacturers mostly rely on common databases. Volvo Cars is also researching a ground-breaking new technology that uses ultrasounds via parametric speakers to “ping” pedestrians and cyclists, like a submarine’s sonar. This ping is essentially an ultrasonic sound beam which is targeted directly at a pedestrian or cyclist. When bouncing off the target’s body, the sound beam is modulated into a frequency range that only they can hear. They are effectively alerted to the car’s presence, and nobody else is disturbed. While this technology is in the developmental stages, it’s all part of Volvo’s efforts to create a universally understandable, and therefore safe, language for autonomous cars.’ 

Malin Ekholm, Head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre believes that “this project with POC is a good example of our pioneering spirit in safety. We often develop new testing methods for challenging traffic scenarios. Our aim is not only to meet legal requirements or pass rating tests. Instead, we go beyond ratings, using real traffic situations to develop technology that further improves safety.”

‘With head injuries one of the most common causes of serious injuries among cyclists, Volvo has been working with leading Swedish sports and safety brand, POC, for a series of world-first crash tests of bike helmets against cars, as part of a ground-breaking new research project that aims to further protect cyclists.’

We say well done Volvo and lets hope all manufacturers innovate ways to make the roads safer – after all we all share the road.


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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