This week, Continental, the leading tyre and automotive technology group, brought its Vision Zero Live event to Mondello Race Circuit in Co. Kildare. Over three days, Irish motorists, staff from tyre retailers and managers of large company fleets had the opportunity to participate in a range of ‘hands on the wheel’ demonstrations of the company’s latest tyre and automotive systems. As a long-standing expert in the broader automotive sector, Continental has a very clear vision. The company wants to achieve zero injuries, zero fatalities and zero accidents on our roads – hence, Continental’s Vision Zero initiative. The company aims to achieve this through ensuring that Continental’s full range of technologies, from the company’s renowned German-engineered premium tyres to the safety systems that are in many of the vehicles from all of the main car brands.
Using a fleet of some 20 vehicles to run a series of revealing automotive and tyre technology demonstrations, participants at the Vision Zero Live event were shown how dangerous it is to drive on tyres that are at or near the legal tread depth level of 1.6mm. In addition, there was the opportunity to get behind the wheel and perform emergency braking manoeuvres in cars fitted with premium and budget tyres and to observe, the difference in performance and stopping distances. Some of the Continental automotive technologies that were on display included Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) where the car will stop automatically if the driver does not intervene to avoid a collision. AEB is becoming ever more popular on all types of cars and is no longer the preserve of the more premium brands.
Continental’s automotive technologies have been to the fore in providing systems that are the building blocks of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and these latest systems were on display at Mondello. Using a diverse range of vehicles to demonstrate its automotive competence, for example, guests got to experience what it is like to drive ‘blind’ in a vehicle with blacked out windscreen, using just the vehicle’s latest generation cameras and distance sensors to navigate a pre-prepared route without hitting the guiding cones.
Speaking about Vision Zero Live, Tom Dennigan, Head of Continental Tyres Ireland, said: “Our Vision Zero Live event is a great opportunity to educate the public as to the great improvements that automotive and tyre technologies are bringing to road safety. It is exactly these innovations that are helping Continental and our partners in our quest to achieve zero accidents, zero injuries and zero fatalities.”
A team of volunteer riders from the Leinster Blood Bikes organisation were among the 300 Irish motorists (and motorcyclists) who experienced Vision Zero Live at Mondello. The Chairman of the Leinster Blood Bikes, Fergus Lennon, said: “It was a truly great experience for our team to participate in Vision Zero Live. The live demonstrations, giving all participants the opportunity to get behind the wheel, were really eye-opening. In particular, the experience of driving on tyres that are at legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm was extremely scary, you could feel immediately that you did not have full control of the vehicle. We know that there are many cars on Irish roads with similarly dangerous tyres, our message to those drivers is: don’t take the risk, make sure your tyres are fit for purpose, otherwise you are a danger to yourself, your family and all other road users!”,