Posts Tagged 'Automobiles'

Back Seat Big Brother?

Nissan, EPFL Researchers Developing Technology That Would Allow Cars To Anticipate Drivers’ Next Moves.

AFP (9/29) reports, “Nissan and a Swiss university are developing cars that scan the driver’s thoughts and prepares the vehicle for the next move.”

Popular Science (9/29, Boyle) reports, “Using environmental and biometric indicators, cars will prepare themselves for an upcoming task the driver already has in mind, maybe slowing down to ready for a turn, or changing lanes in anticipation of a highway exit.” Popular Science reports, “It will use sensors embedded in the car, as well as brain activity and eye movement patterns, to anticipate what’s about to happen.” Swiss researchers said “their new system also uses statistical analysis to predict a driver’s intentions. It would conceivably work faster, so the car would know you’re thinking ‘turn left’ before you actually start actively thinking it.”

Reposted from the 9/29/11 ASEE First Bell

Advertisements

Car “Platooning”

New Scientist (1/18, Graham-Rowe) reported on a road test of an automatic driving system in Sweden that showed “that a single car could join a platoon, be ‘enslaved’ by a lead truck” and become part of a convoy “and then exit safely.” As a result, “discussions are now under way to carry out tests on public roads in Spain next year.” The system, known as “platooning,” was tested by Volvo, “one of the partners of the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) Project” coordinated by the Cambridge engineering firm Ricardo UK, which has “€6.4 million of European Commission money” for it. The system would theoretically let “drivers read a book, surf the net or possibly even have a snooze while behind the wheel.” The SARTRE project aims to operate “platoons on public highways without having to change the infrastructure.”

Reposted from the 1/19/11 ASEE First Bell

Automotive X-Prize Winner

Automotive X-Prize Names Winning Vehicles.

The Washington Post (9/17, Shin) reports, “A team lead by Charlottesville developer Oliver Kuttner has won an international competition sponsored by Progressive Auto Insurance and the US Department of Energy to build a car that can go 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline.” By achieving 102.5 miles per gallon with its Very Light Car, Kuttner’s Edison2 “was awarded the largest chunk of the $10 million purse offered by the X Prize Foundation, which created the competition.” The vehicle achieved the increased efficiency by “using lightweight materials, aerodynamic design and a combustion engine. It beat out vehicles that relied on batteries, which are heavier — and thus create more drag — more expensive, and dependent on electricity generated by greenhouse gas-emitting power plants.”

Reuters (9/17) quotes X PRIZE Foundation Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis as saying, “We’re living in a day and time where literally anything is possible. … A man or woman can go out and build a spaceship or a 100 mile per gallon car. This is only the beginning.”

The Los Angeles Times (9/17, Hsu) reports Edison2 received $5 million for taking first place in the mainstream class. Meanwhile, the tandem class was won by Switzerland’s X-Tracer team and its “battery-powered E-Tracer #79,” which “can run up to the equivalent of 205.3 miles per gallon and has two extra stabilizing wheels that emerge at low speeds.” X-Tracer was awarded $2.5 million. Similarly, “Li-ion Motors Corp. of North Carolina won $2.5 million in the alternative side-by-side class with its Wave II electric vehicle,” which achieved “the equivalent of 187 miles per gallon.” The Times notes, “The three winners now qualify for a Department of Energy program that will help prepare the vehicles for commercialization in the United States.”

Focusing on Edison2 and its Very Light Car No. 98, the AP (9/17) reports that, according to Kuttner, “a team of around 100 people – including many racing veterans – developed the car. They opted for a one-cylinder, ethanol-capable engine instead of an electric car because batteries add weight and gas is readily available. But the team said its innovations in aerodynamics and the use of lightweight materials could apply to any kind of vehicle.” A racecar driver himself, Kuttner said “We’ve been working on these types of solutions, really, all our lives. … In racing, fuel is a precious resource. One less pit stop is the difference between winning and losing.”

“The X Prize is only the beginning,” Kuttner is quoted as saying in the Wired (9/16, Squatriglia) “Autopia” blog. “We need to demonstrate that low-mass cars can be safe and meet FMVSS safety standards. We need to show how our Light Car principles can dramatically improve efficiency for electric, hybrid, diesel and natural gas systems. And we need to create cars to fit the wide needs of consumers: SUV’s, family sedans, sports and utility models – all light, aerodynamic, safe and incredibly efficient.”

NPR (9/17) reports that, according to David Champion of Consumer Reports, “car engineers still need to iron out kinks with braking, emergency handling and acceleration.” Scalability is also an important consideration, experts said. But while these vehicles are still “very much in their development stages,” Champion said the competition “really showed the passion and the drive and the ingenuity of these engineers to produce these cars that were extremely fuel efficient.” X Prize Foundation CEO Peter Diamandis said, “This is a prize to show the public that you can have a car that is beautiful, affordable, fast, safe and, ‘Oh by the way – it can get over 100 mpg or the gas equivalent.’ And why would you want anything else?” The Wall Street Journal (9/17) website carries a slideshow of the winning vehicles, and ultra-efficient cars in general.

Reposted from the 9/17/10 ASEE First Bell.

A Robot for My Co-Pilot

In-Dash Robot Uses Facial Expressions To Communicate With Driver

The Wired (11/17, Squatriglia) “Autopia” blog reported, “Audi and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology envision a future where robots riding shotgun make us happier, safer drivers and create a ‘symbiotic relationship’ between car and driver.”  The robot, called Affective Intelligent Driving Agent, or Aida, “would analyze our driving habits, keeping track of frequent routes and destinations to provide real-time traffic info, and make friendly suggestions along the way,” as well as “give gentle reminders to buckle up, watch our speed or slow down for that school bus up ahead.”  The robot “uses a small laser video projector to convey facial expressions and other information.”  Having “human-like motion” and the ability to express emotions, researchers say, “makes it easier to convey information,” since “reading a facial expression is instantaneous.”  The researchers “plan to build a driving simulator for a controlled study” by next year, and “real-world tests will follow in 2011.”

Reposted from the November 18, 2009 ASEE First Bell briefing.


RSS Feed

October 2017
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031