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Research

[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

IBM launches $3B, 5y research initiative on chip grand challenges; 7nm and beyond and post-silicon

July 11, 2014

IBM is investing $3 billion over the next 5 years in two broad research and early stage development programs to push the limits of chip technology needed to meet the emerging demands of cloud computing and “Big Data” systems. Bandwidth to memory, high speed communication and device power consumption are becoming increasingly challenging and critical in these areas, just as the underlying chip technology is facing numerous significant physical scaling limits.

The first research program is aimed at so-called “7 nanometer and beyond” silicon technology that will address serious physical challenges that are threatening current semiconductor scaling techniques and will impede the ability to manufacture such chips. The second is focused on developing alternative technologies for post-silicon era chips using entirely different approaches, which IBM scientists and other experts say are required because of the physical limitations of silicon based semiconductors.

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DOT to award almost $9M to keep Ann Arbor connected vehicle R&D environment going for another 3 years

July 09, 2014

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a grants notice (DTFH6114RA00002) for the award of $8,991,669 (as a 50% cost-share) to maintain for an additional three years the unique connected vehicle research and testing environment the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) developed in Ann Arbor under the Safety Pilot. (Earlier post.) The grant notice has a “sole source requirement,” with application eligibility limited to UMTRI.

The Connected Vehicle Test Environment (CVTE) was developed as a real-world model deployment test site for enabling wireless communications among vehicles and with roadside equipment for use in generating data to enable driver safety warning systems. The CVTE encompasses vehicles of various types that include a mix of integrated, retrofit, and aftermarket safety devices.

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 reaches orbit

July 02, 2014

by Jack Rosebro

At 2:56 AM PST today, NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) was successfully launched into orbit from Space Complex 2 West at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, riding on a two-stage Delta II 7320-10 launch vehicle. Consisting of a single observing instrument, the Observatory is designed to provide precise measurements of atmospheric CO2, and is NASA’s first satellite mission dedicated to studying concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

OCO-2 will not be measuring CO2 directly; but rather the intensity of the sunlight reflected from the presence of CO2 in a column of air. This measurement is unique like a fingerprint, and can be used for identification. The OCO-2 instrument will use a diffraction grating to separate the incoming sunlight into a spectrum of multiple component colors.

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DOE awards $100M in 2nd funding round for 32 Energy Frontier Research Centers

June 24, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $100 million in the second round of funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs); research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

The 32 projects receiving funding were competitively selected from more than 200 proposals. Ten of these projects are new while the rest received renewed funding based both on their achievements to date and the quality of their proposals for future research.

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Japanese automobile industry establishes joint Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE)

May 20, 2014

Eight Japanese automakers and one automobile research institute—Suzuki Motor; Daihatsu Motor; Toyota Motor; Nissan Motor; Fuji Heavy Industries; Honda R&D; Mazda Moto; Mitsubishi Motors; and Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI)—have jointly established the Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE). AICE’s president is Keiji Otsu, Managing Officer, Honda R&D.

The participating automakers will work together to identify and to present research needs that address issues and challenges facing the automakers in the area of more fuel efficient combustion technologies for internal combustion engines and technologies which achieve cleaner tailpipe emissions.

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European research project AdaptIVe targeting advances in automated driving technologies

February 01, 2014

Adaptive1
Representation of AdapIVe’s working point between full driver control and full vehicle control. Source: Volkswagen Research. Click to enlarge.

A major European research project, AdaptIVe (Automated Driving Applications & Technologies for Intelligent Vehicles), targeting breakthrough advances that will lead to more efficient and safe automated driving kicked off at the MobileLifeCampus in Wolfsburg, Germany on Friday. AdaptIVe is an effort by a consortium of 29 partners—automotive manufacturers, suppliers, research institutes and universities, and small- and medium-sized businesses—coordinated by Volkswagen Group Research.

Over the planned 42-month duration of AdaptIVe, the partners will develop and test new functionalities for cars and trucks, offering both partially automated and highly automated driving on motorways, in urban scenarios, and for close-distance maneuvers.

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DOE proposing $100M in FY2014 for 2nd round of funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers

October 01, 2013

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a proposed $100 million in FY2014 funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers; research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production and use.

The Department of Energy (DOE) currently funds 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), which were selected for five-year funding in 2009. (Earlier post.) With support for those centers set to expire in July 2014, DOE has announced a “re-competition” for a second round of funding (DE-FOA-0001010).

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NASA rolls out new strategic vision for aeronautics research

August 15, 2013

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden unveiled a new strategic vision better to align the work of the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) to address looming challenges in global air transportation. Bolden shared the strategic vision in a keynote speech at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Aviation 2013 conference in Los Angeles.

The new vision addresses three “mega-drivers” that are expected to alter aviation during the next 20 to 40 years: significant growth in planet-wide demand for air mobility, prompted by Asian market growth and global urbanization; mounting concerns related to climate and energy; and the convergence of technologies ranging from new materials to embedded sensors to ubiquitous networking.

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Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop preliminary design study

August 12, 2013

Hyperloop
Linear accelerator concept for capsule acceleration and deceleration between 300 and 760 mph (480 and 1,220 km/h). Click to enlarge.

Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk released the preliminary design study for what he calls “The Hyperloop”—a new high-speed electric transportation system targeted for the the specific case of high-traffic city pairs (e.g., San Francisco and Los Angeles) that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. (For longer distances, Musk suggests, quiet supersonic air travel would be faster and cheaper.)

Hyperloop—which is an open-source concept, user feedback is welcome—consists of paired partially-evacuated tubes (0.015 psi, 100 Pa), with passenger capsules (or pods) that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube. Stators are located on the capsules to transfer momentum to the capsules via the linear accelerators.

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CAAFI R&D team releases critical challenges position paper and white papers for alternative jet fuel industry

August 06, 2013

The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) R&D team released its current position paper on critical R&D challenges facing the alternative jet fuel industry, highlighting near-, mid-, and long-term priorities. The Position Paper is supported by a series of white papers describing the path forward on these key topics.

The position paper is the result a meeting last fall at which more than 80 members of the CAAFI R&D team—comprising a range of stakeholders from the aviation and alternative fuels industries, academia, and government—identified and discussed key immediate and longer-term needs for targeted funding to maximize the efficacy of the incipient alternative jet fuels industry. Critical enablers requiring immediate development are:

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JRC assesses EU RD&D investments in electric-drive vehicles; controls and energy storage top the list

July 20, 2013

Jrc1
Distribution of total investments and public co-funding in publicly co-funded R&D projects. Controls and energy storage top the list. Source: JRC. Click to enlarge.

A report from the JRC on research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects on electric drive vehicles (not including fuel cell vehicles) in the EU finds that increased exchange of information and more coordination between projects would result in a better leverage of the investments—at this point, some €1.9 billion (US$2.5 billion), 65% from public funding. The JRC (Joint Research Centre) is the European Commission’s (EC’s) in-house science service.

The report is the third in a series that deals with aspects of electromobility in Europe. Its goal was to collect the information on all on-going or recently concluded RD&D projects on electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which received EU or national public funding with a budget of more than €1 million (US$1.3 million), in order to assess which of the electric drive vehicles (EDV) challenges are addressed by these projects and to identify potential gaps in the RD&D landscape in Europe.

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$11M European project seeks to increase lifetime and energy density of automotive Li-ion batteries; second-life use

July 19, 2013

A €8.4-million (US$11-million) European research project will seek to increase the lifetime and energy density of large-format automotive Li-ion batteries, with a target of a 4,000-cycle lifetime at 80% DOD (depth of discharge) and an energy density of 250 Wh/kg. The goal is a commercial pre-product by the end of the project in September 2016.

The Batteries2020 project approach is based on three parallel strategies: 1) highly focused materials development; 2) understanding aging and degradation phenomena; and 3) routes to reduce battery cost, including second-life use. The project, led by Basque R&D Center IK4-IKERLAN, is receiving €5.9 million (US$7.8 million) in funding from the EU’s 7th Framework Programme.

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