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Automotive Technology

The Automotive Technology Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about electrical/electronic components, materials, design & assembly, and powertrain systems. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Green Proposal for Automotive Manufacturing

Posted July 31, 2015 12:00 AM by IHS Engineering360 eNewsletter

While electric or hybrid propulsion reduces a vehicle's carbon footprint, vehicle and fuel manufacturing processes must also be addressed to build a better environment. One company suggests a two-step approach to greening the automotive industry. First, "dematerialize" the vehicle by reducing the amount of material needed. Second, "democratize" the manufacturing process by replacing large, centralized automobile plants with local "microfactories." Learn how 3D printing could play a role in both steps.

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1 comments; last comment on 07/31/2015
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IHS Introduces New PEV Index

Posted July 27, 2015 8:32 AM by joekroog

The sails of electric vehicles have caught a warm breeze. The accelerating growth of this segment from special tax incentives, stricter regulations, and significant country incentives is under close watchful eye by the IHS Automotive team. And hitting the market just at the right time, IHS has recently introduced the IHS Automotive Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Index.

The IHS Automotive PEV Index is a quarterly ranking of the top EV/PHEV countries and provides insights into market drivers of market share and quarterly changes in volume. Not surprising to anyone, Norway continues to lead adoption with PEV market share exceeding 30% of new vehicle registrations. One local individual said that amongst the incentives, fuel prices and the economy for PEVs says it all about Norway. The US continues to lead in total volume of PEV registrations, trailed closely by China, and to little surprise given price point and sleek design of the Tesla Model S, it has become the dominant brand in the US.

A notable surprise to me was the rapid growth of 392% in the United Kingdom; but it totally makes sense given the latest grants that discount car and van electric vehicles purchase by up to 35% and other grants for creating the infrastructure and putting charging stations on the street. Late last year I visited Milton Keynes and saw some of this infrastructure being developed and only recently heard that it's going to be a planned site for further testing of autonomous vehicles, too.

Interested in finding out which PEV is the most popular in each country? Download the insight-rich infographic from IHS Automotive or go one step further and check out the eMobility Sample Report on The Netherlands.

2 comments; last comment on 07/30/2015
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Renewed Pursuit of the All-plastic Auto Engine

Posted July 16, 2015 12:00 AM by IHS Engineering360 eNewsletter

Shaving 100 lbs or more from an auto engine, a great idea. The fastest way to cut that much weight? The all-plastic auto engine. Unfortunately that concept, pursued since the 1980s, is still struggling to reach reality. Among the first plastic motors was the Polimotor, built for Ford, but never installed in a vehicle. Now, the Polimotor's original designer, Matt Holzberg and several plastics companies are racing to develop the Polimotor2, in time to power a race car competitively next year in Connecticut. Leading the charge is Solvay, which is providing seven high-performing thermoplastic materials to replace metal engine components.

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1 comments; last comment on 07/20/2015
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Nonpetroleum Transportion Fuels Gain Ground

Posted June 26, 2015 12:00 AM by IHS Engineering360 eNewsletter

Over the past decade, the use of nonpetroleum transportation fuels has more than doubled in the U.S., from 4% to 8.5%. Petroleum still dominates, but more blending of biomass-based fuels and greater numbers of natural gas fueled vehicles are slowly changing energy consumption dynamics within the transportation sector. The share of nonpetroleum fuels will surely grow bigger when electric vehicles are taken into account. Currently, the U.S. Energy Information Administration associates electric charging stations with meters on residential, commercial, or industrial customer sites and does not include energy data from electric vehicles.

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Should Self-Driving Cars be Programmed to Kill You for the Greater Good?

Posted June 22, 2015 4:16 PM by Quasar

Imagine a situation in which several pedestrians have wandered into a crosswalk directly in front of a speeding school bus full of children. There are two options dictated by the laws of physics, taking into account the speed of the vehicle and its physical capability to retain traction and control. The bus can swerve off the road - risking the lives of its occupants - or continue on its path and hit the pedestrians. The best option may or may not be obvious to the human driving the bus. But what if the bus is not controlled by a human, but by a computer? What rules should govern its operation? What priority should be given to the safety of its passengers compared to surrounding vehicles and pedestrians?

The technology behind autonomous vehicles has matured to a point where self-driving cars are ready to hit the road. Volvo will have a self-driving car on Swedish highways by 2017. Google's autonomous cars have driven 1.7 million miles without causing an accident (although they have been involved in several minor accidents, which the company claims have been caused by other human drivers). Elon Musk claims the technology is mature enough to have self-driving Tesla's on major roads this summer.

Self-driving cars are an enticing prospect for many drivers. The ability to lean back and enjoy a movie, read a book, or browse the web on your daily commute is a luxury currently afforded only to those with a chauffeur or those taking public transit. But flipping on the autopilot comes with a cost: surrendering control over your choice to handle any situation that occurs, including those that will unavoidably bring harm to you or others.

By necessity, an automated driving system needs to make decisions governing the safety of the car's occupants and other drivers and pedestrians on the road. The question is the order of priority that each entity involved is given. Should the computer choose the best option for the car's owner, or should it attempt to minimize the total harm in any given situation.

Ultimately, this is a philosophical debate between utilitarianism and deontology. Utilitarianism argues that we should always act in the interest of the greatest good. A computer-controlled car should be programmed to preserve the safety of the greatest number of people.

On the other hand, deontology claims that we should act based on a set of rules that are always true. Since murder is always bad, a self-driven car should never be programmed to sacrifice its driver to keep others out of harm's way.

What do you think is the correct approach? Should autonomous vehicles even be allowed on the road?

54 comments; last comment on 07/07/2015
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Do You Like the Sound of Your Car? Manufacturers Will Make Sure You Do

Posted June 18, 2015 3:59 PM by gbb1277

Remember the days when we used to make the car noises with our lips while playing with our match box cars? With new and old technologies we are able to build engines that produce the power of the old but with the sound of new. And apparently the new sound (the sound of quiet) is not what people want. So car manufactures have taken it steps further.

Automotive designers in a lot of companies Ford, VW, BMW, Porsche just to name a few have either just begun or have been duping us for years. VW has been doing it in their GTI since 2010 and has now switched to the 'Soundaktor' (sounds like something from star wars) which is a speaker that plays engine sounds. Not to pick on VW because BMW uses speakers for enhanced engine noise as well. A lot of other car manufactures use some sort of resonator or amplifier connecting to the cars intake to enhance the cars already existing engine noise.

Here a link to what ford is doing with their new Ecoboost V6 trucks and mustangs.

I say that if these enhancements are in the cabin only go for it enhance away. But if you want to force more noise out of a quite car that we all have to hear then I say no! It's bad enough that every warm night in the pool has to sound like a fast and the furious movie already. So the question is: If we have improved our engineering of the internal combustion engine so much that we can produce smaller, more fuel efficient powerful engines that can make our cars faster, why mask that accomplishment with a lie?

6 comments; last comment on 06/30/2015
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