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October 2015

October 31, 2015

Nissan begins testing piloted driving on both city roads and highway

Nissan has begun testing its first prototype vehicle that demonstrates piloted drive on both highway and city/urban roads. Nissan’s “Intelligent Driving” comprises features that will be introduced in stages, all toward achieving Nissan’s “Zero Fatality” goal of eliminating virtually all fatalities stemming from traffic accidents.

For Stage One, Nissan will offer “Piloted Drive 1.0” by the end of 2016 in Japan. Piloted Drive 1.0 allows for autonomous driving under heavy highway traffic conditions. By 2018, the company hopes to implement a multiple lane piloted drive that can conduct lane changes on highways. By 2020, Nissan will introduce a new technology that allows vehicles to successfully manage city/urban roads—including intersections—autonomously. Autonomous driving under congested city conditions, with all the variables, is a much more difficult problem than on the highway.


October 31, 2015 in Autonomous driving, Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (3)

ORNL tires-to-carbon technology licensed to RJ Lee Group

RJ Lee Group has signed an agreement to license an invention developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that converts waste rubber into a valuable energy storage material. The technology turns rubber sources such as tires into carbon black composites through a proprietary pretreatment process invented by ORNL’s Amit Naskar, Parans Paranthaman and Zhonghe Bi. (Earlier post.)


October 31, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Group CEO Müller agrees on strategic partnership with leading China bank

Volkswagen AG and leading Chinese bank Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Beijing setting out a long-term strategic partnership. Under the MoU, ICBC will provide Volkswagen AG with a wide range of banking services in China and globally.


October 31, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 30, 2015

Volvo Cars tackles kangaroo safety research; highway-speed detection and avoidance

Volvo Cars is developing kangaroo detection technology to solve one of the most costly causes of traffic collisions in Australia. A team of Volvo Cars safety experts travelled to the Australian Capital Territory this week to film and study the roadside behavior of kangaroos in their natural habitat. The data Volvo Cars collects will be used to develop the first kangaroo detection and collision avoidance system.


October 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2)

Vaporized Foil Actuator Welding technique from OSU uses 80% less energy and delivers bonds 50% stronger; joining dissimilar materials

Engineers at The Ohio State University have developed a new welding technique—Vaporized Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW)—that consumes 80% less energy than a common welding technique, yet creates bonds that are 50% stronger. The new technique could have a significant impact on the auto industry, which is poised to offer new cars which combine traditional heavy steel parts with lighter, alternative metals to reduce vehicle weight.

Glenn Daehn, professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State, who helped develop the new technique, explained the new process in a keynote address at the recent Materials Science & Technology 2015 meeting. The Materials Science & Engineering annual meeting is organized by the American Ceramic Society, the Association for Iron & Steel Technology, ASM International, and the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.


October 30, 2015 in Manufacturing, Materials | Permalink | Comments (4)

Audi using Alstom H3 plug-in hybrid shunting locomotive at Ingolstadt

Audi has begun using a new 1,000 horsepower plug-in hybrid shunting locomotive manufactured by Alstom in daily operations at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. The new locomotive runs without any emissions inside the plant buildings and can operate for up to two hours at a time in purely electric mode. Its battery is plugged in during breaks for recharging with CO2‑free electricity, or is supported while in motion by a diesel engine.

The three-axle Alstom H3 hybrid locomotive is significantly quieter than its conventional counterparts, and can deliver up to a 50% reduction in diesel fuel use, with a concomitant reduction in CO2emissions. This means that the plug‑in‑hybrid locomotive emits up to 60 tons less CO2 each year. For the Ingolstadt plant, this is another stage on the way to the CO2‑neutral factory.


October 30, 2015 in Hybrids, Manufacturing, Plug-ins, Rail | Permalink | Comments (1)

Cambridge researchers take new approach to overcome challenges to Li-O2 batteries; laboratory demonstrator

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a working laboratory demonstrator of a lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient, and, to date, can be recharged more than 2000 times, showing how several of the problems holding back the development of these devices could be solved.

In contrast to standard Li-O2 cells, which cycle via the formation of Li2O2, the Cambridge team used a reduced graphene oxide (rGO) electrode, the additive LiI (lithium iodide), and the solvent dimethoxyethane reversibly to form and remove crystalline LiOH with particle sizes larger than 15 micrometers during discharge and charge. This led to high specific capacities, excellent energy efficiency (93.2%) with a voltage gap of only 0.2 volt, and impressive rechargeability. While the results, reported in the journal Science, are promising, the researchers caution that a practical lithium-air battery still remains at least a decade away.


October 30, 2015 in Batteries, Electric (Battery), Li-O2, Li-Sulfur | Permalink | Comments (3)

First production Detroit SP:01 EV rolls off assembly line

The first production Detroit Electric SP:01 (earlier post) has rolled off the line at the company’s Leamington Spa (UK) manufacturing facility. The new SP:01 is destined for one of Detroit Electric’s export markets to be delivered to the EV company’s first customer.


October 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (3)

UMTRI preliminary analysis of autonomous vehicle safety

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have performed a preliminary analysis of the cumulative on-road safety record of self-driving vehicles for three of the ten companies that are currently approved for such vehicle testing in California (Google, Delphi, and Audi).

The analysis compared the safety record of these vehicles with the safety record of all conventional vehicles in the US for 2013 (adjusted for underreporting of crashes that do not involve a fatality). The study, by Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, made four main findings:


October 30, 2015 in Autonomous driving, Safety | Permalink | Comments (2)

October 29, 2015

Berkeley Lab scientists unravel structural ambiguities in Li- and Mn-rich transition metal oxides; importance for high-energy Li-ion cathodes

Using complementary microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have “unambiguouslydescribed the crystal structure of lithium- and manganese-rich transition metal oxides (LMRTMOs)—materials of great interest as high-capacity cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. Despite their being extensively studied, the crystal structure of these materials in their pristine state was not fully understood.

Researchers have been divided into three schools of thought on the material’s structure. A Berkeley Lab team led by Alpesh Khushalchand Shukla and Colin Ophus spent nearly four years analyzing the material and concluded that the least popular theory is in fact the correct one. Their results were published online in an open-access paper in Nature Communications. Other co-authors were Berkeley Lab scientists Guoying Chen and Hugues Duncan and SuperSTEM scientists Quentin Ramasse and Fredrik Hage.


October 29, 2015 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (4)

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