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FRSC: Fatal crashes, gridlocks, roadblocks avoidable at Yuletide

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The Federal Road Safety Corps has urged people to stay at home and celebrate the Yuletide as well as the end of the year holidays with their families in view of the reported new strain of COVID-19.

It, however, advised those that must travel to do so by observing all traffic rules and COVID-19 protocols, noting that the season can be celebrated without fatal accidents, gridlocks and road obstruction that usually characterise the Yuletide and end of the year movements.

Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, stated this in a message to felicitate with motorists and commuters as well as guide them during the season’s celebrations.

This is contained in a statement entitled, ‘Oyeyemi felicitates with Christians, reiterates need to observe COVID-19 protocols’.

The corps marshal is quoted in the statement signed by the FRSC spokesperson, Assistant Corps Marshal Bisi Kazeem, as saying, “Celebrate peacefully with your family at home if possible; but if you must travel to other places, then try as much as possible to observe all the COVID-19 protocols including frequent washing of hands, wearing of masks and keeping to social distancing.”

He also said, “People must prove through their obedience to traffic rules and regulations that Christmas and new year can be celebrated without loss of lives, road obstruction and gridlocks that characterise the periods.

“All road travelers must observe these basic traffic rules to ensure the desired safety outcomes, not only during the Christmas and new year celebrations, but beyond the seasons.”

He warned people against some specific offences like route violation, overloading, speeding, light signs violation and driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs which had been identified as responsible for most crashes and deaths that occur during the yuletide seasons.

He reiterated his earlier calls for people to guide against unhealthy habits that could compromise the guidelines put in place by the National Centre for Disease Control to avert spread of the disease.

The FRSC boss particularly cautioned travellers against dangers that go with road travels at this period of increased human and vehicular traffic, stressing that people must show extra vigilance while using the road to overcome the annual carnage.

The corps marshal also appealed to Nigerians to cooperate fully with the FRSC personnel and other security agencies as well as stakeholders in the civil societies who had voluntarily joined in keeping the roads safer in the spirits of road safety as a shared responsibility.

“Adequate patrol and rescue logistics as well as personnel have been deployed along all black spots and major highways across the country to ease movement of travelers and render prompt medical care in case of crashes related and other emergencies.

All members of the public are accordingly enjoined to cooperate with the Corps to make the special exercise a huge success,” Oyeyemi said.

He further appealed to Nigerians to report any cases of obstruction, crashes and other emergencies to the FRSC toll free line: 122 or directly call to the studios of the FRSC National Traffic Radio-107.1fm.

Oyeyemi further called on road users to support the ongoing road safety sensitisation programmes by the FRSC to address issues of poor attitude to road usage by people, saying such non committal attitude to road safety accounts for why the periods of Christmas and new year becoming the most challenging to the campaigns for safer road environments in the country.

He further noted that while FRSC as part of its annual end of year special patrol has put adequate measures in place and mapped out strategies to address all the anticipated traffic challenges that could hinder free movement of people and vehicles, such measures would remain inadequate without cooperation from members of the public particularly, those that travel on the roads.

He expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for protecting Nigerians against various social and security challenges, saying the period of Christmas should be devoted to giving glory to God for His favours and asking Him for more, instead of laying emphasis on merriments alone.

He urged people to pray fervently for God’s more grace to the country and protection for all Nigerians.

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Apple itches closer to i-car, hires former BMW executive for project

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Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to help its vehicle initiatives, Apple confirmed on Thursday.

This is an indication that Apple’s i-car project will be delivered sooner than expected, people close to the company have said.

The technology giant hired Kranz about a month after he stepped down as chief executive officer of Canoo Inc, a developer of self-driving electric vehicles.

Apple has worked with BMW for many years, integrating the iPod with auto infotainment systems back in 2004 and more recently making the iPhone double as a car key.

In 2014, Apple began working on “Project Titan,” with upwards of 1,000 car experts and engineers developing an electric vehicle at a secret location near the company’s Cupertino headquarters.

Over the course of the last several years, internal strife, leadership issues, and other problems impacted the car project and 2016 rumors even suggested Apple shelved plans for a car, but the most recent information indicates Apple has overcome development problems and is moving forward with plans to develop a consumer-facing autonomous vehicle.

The Apple Car project has seen multiple leadership changes and hundreds of employees have been laid off during the course of development, but it is now under the leadership of John Giannandrea, Apple’s AI and machine learning chief, who took over the reins from Bob Mansfield after Mansfield retired in 2020.

Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed autonomous vehicles with Kara Swisher in an April 2021 interview, saying, “We [Apple] love to integrate hardware, software and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs. And we love to own the primary technology that’s around that.”

In December 2020 “people familiar with the matter” quoted by Reuters as saying that the car project was back, and that a passenger vehicle for consumers in or before 2024.

Before co-founding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years.

Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla Inc and other carmakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

Apple has become the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of more than $2 trillion, by selling iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs and services. With investors and customers clamoring for new products, the company has targeted cars and augmented-reality headsets. An Apple spokesperson confirmed Kranz’s hiring.

Last year, Apple gave oversight of the operation to John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence and Field’s boss. Several months ago, Apple rebooted its efforts to develop a full-fledged electric car, but development remains in the early stages, so a launch is likely at least five years away.

-Sources: Reuters and Bloomberg

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Volkswagen to unveil zero-emission Multivan T17 today

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After a long teaser campaign, the new generation Volkswagen Transporter (T7) will be set loose on the Nurburgring, Germany, today, Thursday June 10, 2021.

Volkswagen says the all-new Multivan T7, built as 2022 model, will be more car-like than never by switching to the MQB platform.

The German automaker, according to Carscoops, has concentrated its efforts on hiding the Golf-like front end by making the headlamps look bigger than they are. The grille, logo and parts of the bumper are also under wraps, alongside the side window line, tailgate, roof-mounted spoiler and taillights

In its preview of the vehicle, the auto reviewer says, “In the Multivan – aka MPV – configuration, the 2021 T7 features three rows of seats and a clever table design on tracks that can be used in different ways. Things such as a modern infotainment system with a 10-inch display, shift-by-wire gear selector, and 360-degree cameras will be included.

“Built around the MQB platform that’s shared with a wide number of Volkswagen Group products, like the Golf Mk8, the T7 will launch with different powertrains. As usual, petrol and diesel units are understood to be part of the lineup.”

The all-new Multivan will get an eHybrid version from day one to denote its PHEV setup with an E-Mode that will offer zero-emissions driving for an unspecified range.

VW Commercial Vehicles doesn’t go too deep into details about the plug-in hybrid arrangement but we do know it will be linked to a dual-clutch automatic transmission as all T7 versions will come exclusively with the DSG. Another important detail revealed today is the Multivan’s front-wheel-drive configuration, which means the PHEV version lacks a rear-mounted electric motor.

The e-motor will work closely together with a turbocharged gasoline engine (TSI) for a plug-in hybrid setup likely adapted from the VW Golf eHybrid or the more powerful GTE. Expect the combustion engine to be a 1.4-liter unit since other VW Group products offered with a PHEV configuration have this four-cylinder engine. Relevant examples include the SEAT Leon e-Hybrid, Skoda Octavia iV, and the Audi A3 E-Tron.

VW Commercial Vehicles explains the lithium-ion battery pack sits within the van’s underbody to save up space inside the cabin and also to lower the center of gravity to improve handling. The charging port is located in the front fender on the right-hand side and owners will get a charging card to “fill up” the Multivan T7 at public charging points. In addition, wall boxes with fast-charging support are going to be available.

Based on the MQB platform, the T7 goes official sometime in June and will go on sale in Europe in the second half of 2021. Thankfully, the Multivan eHybrid will be available right away alongside conventional gasoline and most likely diesel powertrains. VW Commercial Vehicles will still offer the old T6.1-based Transporter as the workhorse is sticking around for a couple of years.

Sources: Volkswagen Commercial Services, Carscoops

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I didn’t invalidate existing genuine tinted-glass permits – IGP

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The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, says he has not cancelled existing tinted vehicle windscreen permits genuinely issued and already in use in the country.

The IGP had on Monday ordered the suspension of the issuance of permits for tinted glasses and SPY number plates for vehicles, adding that some individuals were fraudulently acquiring the permits.

The IGP however clarified on Wednesday that the directive did not affect already issued permits.

In a statement issued by the police spokesman, Baba said all existing permits remained valid and that existing SPY number plates must be used only by authorised users.

He directed the police commissioners of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to retrieve all supernumerary (spy) number plates currently in use by unauthorised persons or fitted to unauthorised vehicles.

He said the suspension would remain in force pending the release of a new protocol to regulate the permits.

The statement read in part, “The IGP noted that the move is part of efforts to streamline the process of issuance and usage in line with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Tinted Glass) Act which is explicit on conditions for the use of vehicles with tinted glass in Nigeria.

“This is in addition to, among other things, effectively address contemporary security challenges associated with the usage of tinted glasses by criminal elements who hide under the cover of tinted vehicles to carry out their nefarious activities,” he said.

“In a similar vein, the IGP stated that existing SPY number plates must be used by authorized users, for purposes and vehicles specified by law while issuance of new SPY number plates remain on hold pending the release of a new protocol that would guide its issuance and usage in the country.

“Meanwhile, the IGP has directed commissioners of police in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as their supervisory Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), to give full effect to the directives as contained above.

“The IGP told the AIGs and CPs to ensure that all SPY number plates currently in use by unauthorized users or fitted to unauthorized vehicles, are retrieved forthwith. The IGP however warned that while carrying out these assignments, officers must ensure the rights and privileges of citizens are respected in line with the laws of the land and in accordance with international best practices.

“Members of the public are enjoined to cooperate with the Police in this regard as the moves are aimed at strengthening our internal security order.”

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