Friday, August 29, 2014

A reward that keeps Ken Morgan 76 years young

Ken Morgan.
In 1989 the Burdekin Report was published by the then Federal Human Rights Commissioner Brian Burdekin, shocking the Australian public by revealing the number of young people who were homeless and the appalling lifestyle they lived.

This landmark report was also the trigger that set Ken Morgan off to form Kids Under Cover.

Burdekin said to Morgan at the time: ‘Ken, it’s not going to get any better, it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse. You can cut-through the clutter and get some of them, but don’t think you’re going to go out there and save a hundred out of a hundred, because you won’t.’

According to Morgan, there are over 140,000 people designated homeless at this very minute in Australia and approximately 46,000 of those are at-risk young people.

For a former car dealer, who has one of the most recognisable names in the industry and experienced more than his fair share of life’s ups and downs, including being homeless at 16 and ‘stone motherless broke at 55’, his passion and commitment for dealing with this national problem is as strong as ever, even though he retired from the Chair two years ago.

With the support of the Variety Club and many of Melbourne’s most successful businessmen, media personalities, performers and community workers, Kids Under Cover was established in 1989. That same year it also raised the necessary funds to build one of their first homes for homeless kids: ‘At one stage there, we had about 20 properties, three and four bedroom homes, with carers living there full-time.’

But as Morgan says: ‘It just didn’t work as well as a one-on-one situation or one on two.’

So, the Studio program commenced in 1993 as an innovative extension to the Housing Program and the first two bedroom fully re-locatable studio was built in the same year.

Today the program constructs one studio, complete with a bathroom, every five days on the grounds of the family/carer’s home, providing a safe, secure and stable environment to enable the young person to grow into adulthood.

Currently, there are over 350 studios and since inception, more than 2800 young people have been housed. They are also provided with a mentor, who they can ring at any time and say ‘I’ve got a problem, I feel like I want to run away, talk to me,’ and the mentor does just that.

The Scholarship program also helps young people stay committed to their education or job by covering some of their education expenses. Currently there are 70 young people on scholarships.

And the bottom line for Ken Morgan OAM is: ‘If you’re going to take from this community you’ve got to give back to the community.’ 

To donate or support the Kids Under Cover program, go to

This is just one of the many informative and enlightening articles that will be published in the upcoming issue of Automotive Dealer - the official publication of the AADA.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Clayton’s Review – VACC condemns Productivity Commission report on the automotive manufacturing industry

“As expected, the Australian Automotive Manufacturing Industry Report by the Productivity Commission has proved to be a complete waste of time. It’s delivered little of substance, it’s out of touch with the industry and proved economists have a complete lack of understanding about the automotive industry,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

“The Federal Government has issued its initial response to the Report and VACC hopes the Abbott Government will talk directly to the automotive industry and listens to our views, as we are the ones who really know what’s going on.
Read more here:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When Cars Start to Feel the Road

NIRA Dynamics AB has now developed algorithms that can estimate the friction value between the road and the tires.

Experienced drivers perceive the road with nearly all senses: they see, feel and even hear the road. They use all this information to estimate the grip of the road and, based on their judgement, adapt their driving speed to the conditions.

But what if every car could have such an experienced co-driver to help do this difficult job?

Driving at excessive speed or misjudging the road and traffic conditions are still the most common causes of traffic accidents. Current inbuilt assistance systems can recognize road signs and help the driver stick to speed limits. Most drivers are also familiar with the ice warning displayed on the dashboard when the temperature is approaching freezing point. These functions are steps in the right direction, but with the new algorithms by NIRA, cars can take a large step further and get even smarter.

A typical example of where NIRA’s algorithms can be used is on a long oily patch on a curvy road. This might be hardly noticeable for car drivers, but is a potential death trap for motorcyclists even at low speeds. If the road friction estimation calculated with NIRA’s algorithms is communicated directly to the car or via the infrastructure, approaching traffic could receive a warning before it is too late.

Looking even further into the future, real autonomous driving will hardly be imaginable without road friction estimation, as the smart co-driver will fully take over. It won’t be enough for new cars to recognise other vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles, as demanding as these features alone may be. 

The car will also need to be able to monitor the road condition and make the right decisions.
NIRA is now looking for automotive applications and partners to bring the new algorithms out onto the road.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All-New Volvo SUV Revealed

Months of speculation ended today after Volvo Cars unveiled its all-new Volvo XC90, delivering on its promise to introduce a visually striking, premium quality seven seat SUV with world leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency and a superlative interior finish.

Three years in the making and part of a USD 11bn investment programme, the new XC90 marks the beginning of a new chapter in Volvo history, capturing its future design direction, incorporating its own range of new technologies and utilising its new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology.

"This is one of the most important days in our history. We are not just launching a car but re-launching our brand. This day marks a new era for our company. The XC90 paves the way for a portfolio of exciting new cars to come in the following years," said Hakan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.

The limited First Edition of XC90 includes 1,927 individually numbered cars that celebrate the year Volvo was founded and, for the first time in history, they will only be available for sale via digital commerce at from September 3rd at 16.00 CET.

"Those who want to be among the first ones to own the best SUV in the world have to act fast. The huge interest in the all-new XC90 indicates that the First Edition will sell out quickly," said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service of Volvo Car Group.

Fully equipped

The First Edition cars, which have uniquely numbered tread plates and a distinctive badge on the tailgate, are powered by a high-performance petrol or diesel engine from Volvo Cars' new four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family. The supercharged and turbocharged T6 has an output of 320 hp and a maximum torque of 400 Nm, while the D5 twin turbo diesel engine has 225 hp and 470 Nm. The engines are teamed with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.

The Onyx Black exterior and 8-spoke, 21-inch Inscription wheels are combined with an interior featuring nappa leather seats in Amber, a Charcoal leather dashboard and Linear Walnut inlays.

Volvo's new face

The new XC90 will be the first of its cars to carry the company's new more prominent iron mark, which has the iconic arrow elegantly aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille. Together with the T-shaped "Thor's Hammer" DRL lights, the iron mark introduces an entirely new, distinctive and confident face for Volvo's forthcoming generation of cars. 

The XC90's larger bonnet with its new topography, the beltline and the sharpened shoulders connecting with the tattoo-like, new rear lights are other important design signatures that will be mirrored across the range.

"The overall impression, both exterior and interior, has a strong connection to the key elements of the Swedish lifestyle: the generous space, the celebration of light and the focus on wellbeing," said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.


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