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[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.]

NTU and NXP Semiconductors launch Singapore’s first Smart Mobility consortium; testing V2X on NTU campus

January 19, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and NXP Semiconductors have launched Singapore’s first Smart Mobility Consortium to focus on testing and developing smart mobility technologies. The technologies will be tested on the NTU campus, which serves as a living test bed, bringing together 12 industry partners to form the NTU-NXP Smart Mobility Consortium.

The 12 companies bring together their different expertise from the V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications innovation ecosystem, such as wireless communication design, data analytics and network security. The industry partners include Panasonic, software multinational Red Hat, automotive system manufacturers Schaeffler and Denso, as well as ST Kinetics, the land systems and speciality vehicles arm of ST Engineering.

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Hard parts supplier Rheinmetall Automotive expects electrification to account for more than half of sales in 2020

January 17, 2017

Global Tier 1 supplier Rheinmetall Automotive—formerly KSPG and Kolbenschmidt Pierburg—expects electrification to account for more than half of its sales in 2020. Rheinmetall Automotive AG is the management company of the Automotive sector of Germany’s Rheinmetall Group. Sales amounted to around €2.6 billion (US$2.8 billion) in 2015, including around 16% from the companies located in NAFTA.

Rheinmetall Automotive is more known as a supplier of hard parts (e.g., pistons, blocks, cylinder heads, etc.) and mechatronics. However, said Horst Binnig, Rheinmetall Automotive CEO, “products with a cable” already constitute roughly 40% of the company’s total sales.

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Takata to plead guilty, pay $1B in criminal penalties for airbag scheme; 3 Takata execs indicted

January 14, 2017

Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. An indictment was also unsealed charging three Takata executives with wire fraud and conspiracy in relation to the same conduct.

According to the company’s admissions, in the late 1990s, Takata began developing airbag inflators that relied upon ammonium nitrate as their primary propellant. From at least in or around 2000, Takata knew that certain ammonium nitrate-based inflators were not performing to the specifications required by the auto manufacturers. Takata also knew that certain inflators had sustained failures, including ruptures, during testing.

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New Opel Insignia to offer torque-vectoring all-wheel drive with Twinster system

January 11, 2017

The all-new Opel Insignia Grand Sport, arriving in the market early this year, will be available with a torque vectoring all-wheel drive system. The new Opel Insignia uses a GKN Twinster all-wheel drive system with a rear drive module that uses a twin clutch system without differential. The two clutches distribute torque between the front and rear axle and between the two rear wheels.

Torque vectoring provides intelligent control of the vehicle dynamics by sending precise amounts of torque to individual wheels; by over-speeding the outside wheel in a corner, torque vectoring can induce a yaw-moment, helping steer the vehicle. Conventional torque vectoring systems use a set of planetary gears either side of the differential to achieve only very low levels of over-speeding. Other systems use braking to achieve a similar effect—but waste energy and slow the vehicle in the process.

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Schaeffler Group sees e-mobility and digitalization as key opportunities

January 10, 2017

The Schaeffler Group, a global integrated automotive and industrial supplier, sees e-mobility, Industry 4.0 and digitalization as the key opportunities for the future, said CEO Klaus Rosenfeld at the company’s press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Schaeffler is placing a strong emphasis on hybrid and electric drive technologies, ranging from P0 belt starter on up to full electric drive. Some of these technologies include P2 arrangements that place the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission, and electric axle architectures.

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Audi & partners form Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow consortium for 3GPP Rel. 14 Cellular-V2X trial

January 04, 2017

At CES 2017, Audi AG, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., SWARCO Traffic Systems and the University of Kaiserslautern announced the formation of the Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow (ConVeX) consortium to carry out the first Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) trial based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) Release 14, which includes Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication.

The trial efforts are expected to focus on Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) direct communication, as well as Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) wide area communications. ConVeX will be executed by a cross-industry consortium that brings diverse expertise to the trial. ConVeX will be co-funded by the participating organizations and the German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) within the scope of the “Automated and Connected Driving on Digital Test Fields in Germany” funding guidelines.

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Qualcomm introducing Drive Data platform for sensor fusion

Qualcomm is introducing the Qualcomm Drive Data Platform to collect and analyze intelligently information from a vehicle’s sensors. Cars will be able to determine their location up to lane-level accuracy, to monitor and to learn driving patterns, to perceive their surroundings, and to share this reliable and accurate data with the rest of the world.

These capabilities will be key for many connected car applications, from shared mobility and fleet management to 3D high-definition mapping and automated driving. Qualcomm Drive Data platform is built on three pillars: heterogeneous connectivity; precise positioning; and on-device machine learning, all integrated into the Qualcomm Snapdragon solution.

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Qualcomm Automotive Solutions to power next-gen infotainment for Volkswagen vehicles; Snapdragon 820A Processor, Snapdragon X12 & X5 LTE modems

At CES 2017, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced the integration of Qualcomm Technologies chipsets in the next-generation of Volkswagen AG vehicles. These chipsets include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A processor (earlier post) for advanced infotainment systems, as well as the Snapdragon X12 and X5 LTE modems, for connected car and telematics systems.

Volkswagen AG vehicles featuring the Snapdragon 820A processor are expected to be available in 2019, while vehicles utilizing Snapdragon X12 and X5 LTE modems are expected to be available in 2018.

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Qualcomm announces Gigabit-class LTE for next-gen connected vehicles; Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem

At CES 2017, Qualcomm announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has introduced a new variant of its connected car reference platform using the flagship Gigabit Class Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to help car manufacturers deliver the high-speed, high-quality and reliable connectivity required for advanced telematics and connected vehicle services—supporting peak download speeds up to 1 Gbps.

Building on the Company’s leadership supplying 3G/4G LTE modems for automotive, the reference platform is designed to allow carmakers quickly and easily to integrate the broad range of additional wireless and networking technologies required in today’s vehicles, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), with optional support for DSRC and Cellular-V2X. The platform also includes a module reference design for the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to help automotive suppliers accelerate development and improve time-to-commercialization.

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Rinspeed Oasis autonomous electric concept first to be built on ZF Intelligent Rolling Chassis

December 30, 2016

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas next week, Rinspeed will unveil its Oasis autonomous electric concept vehicle. The two-seat runabout—somewhat reminiscent of a modern interpretation of famous Star Wars icon R2D2—can turn on its wheels with almost a zero radius due to a special steering angle, two in-wheel electric motors and torque vectoring, all developed by ZF on Lake Constance.

The “Intelligent Rolling Chassis” (IRC) from ZF offers a highly flexible platform for urban electric vehicles and features ZF’s all-electric drive based on the electric twist beam (eTB) rear axle. The aluminum electric motors at the rear axle are integrated with a single speed transmission that enables the Oasis to accelerate to 100 km/h in roughly nine seconds and, if needed, up to a speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

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Sandia Labs forms Spray Combustion Consortium to improve engine design

December 22, 2016

Sandia National Laboratories has formed an industry-funded Spray Combustion Consortium to better understand fuel injection by developing modeling tools. Control of fuel sprays is key to the development of clean, affordable fuel-efficient engines.

Intended for industry, software vendors and national laboratories, the consortium provides a direct path from fundamental research to validated engineering models ultimately used in combustion engine design. The three-year consortium agreement builds on Department of Energy (DOE) research projects to develop predictive engine fuel injector nozzle flow models and methods and couple them to spray development outside the nozzle.

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New Mercedes-Benz lab procedure shows MB car filters trap even finest allergenic particles

December 20, 2016

A new testing procedure developed by Mercedes-Benz, for which a patent application has been filed, has shown that even the minutest of allergenic particles are trapped by the charcoal fine particle filters in the vehicle. The results were confirmed by a medical study conducted by ECARF Institute GmbH in an innovative, mobile pollen chamber in the grounds of the Charité university hospital in Berlin.

Allergies are now the commonest form of chronic illness in industrialized countries. In Europe, around 30% of the population is affected. Airborne pollen, emissions given off by materials, or skin contact with them, can lead to a strong immune reaction with symptoms such as swelling of the nasal passages and bronchial tubes or swollen, itching eyes.

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LeddarTech showcasing 2D and 3D solid-state LiDARs for mass-market autonomous driving deployments; Leddar Ecosystem

December 16, 2016

At CES 2017, LeddarTech will be showcasing 2D and 3D high-resolution LiDAR solutions for autonomous driving applications based on its next-generation LeddarCore ICs and developed with the collaboration of leading-edge suppliers and partners from the newly-established Leddar Ecosystem. (Earlier post.)

Presented publicly for the first time, these systems demonstrate the scalability of Leddar technology and its ability to meet the high levels of performance, resolution, and cost-effectiveness required by Tier-1 and OEMs for mass-market autonomous driving applications. These LiDAR systems’ production versions will offer resolutions of up to 512×64 on a field of view of 120×20 degrees, and detection ranges that exceed 200 m for pedestrians and over 300 m for vehicles.

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Faurecia acquires Amminex to accelerate efficient NOx reduction for passenger and commercial vehicles

December 14, 2016

Faurecia has increased its participation in the Danish company Amminex to 91.5% through a share purchase. (Earlier post.) Amminex has developed an Ammonia Storage and Delivery System (ASDS) which has demonstrated its efficiency to almost completely eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants from diesel engines. (Earlier post.)

Faurecia has worked closely with Amminex since mid-2009 and previously owned 42% of the company. At the recent Paris Motor Show, Faurecia showed the Amminex solution for commercial vehicles, as well as an ASDS system in a new format for passenger cars. In increasing its participation to 91.5%, Faurecia expects to intensify the development of this technology for both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

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New Lexus LC 500h with Multi Stage Hybrid System

December 08, 2016

Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2016, Lexus introduced its hybrid variant, the new LC 500h. (Earlier post.) The LC is a new flagship 2+2 performance coupe for Lexus’ global model range, and will go on sale in the US in Spring 2017.

The LC 500h is the first model to feature the new Multi Stage Hybrid system. (Earlier post.) Adding a multi stage shift device to the 3.5-liter V6 hybrid powertrain delivers greater torque, more usable power across a wider range of engine speeds and rhythmic, linear acceleration that gives the driver the sensation of working with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

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Toyota unveils new TNGA-based engines and transmissions and improved hybrid systems; deployment begins in 2017

December 06, 2016

In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled new advanced engines and transmissions and further evolved hybrid systems based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota intends to deploy these new powertrain units in a rapidly broadening range of vehicle models, starting in 2017. The new units will feature in 60% or more of vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China in 2021, reducing CO2 emissions in those markets by 15% or more.

Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine new engines; 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission; and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.

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New ORNL hardware-in-the-loop capability to integrate advanced combustion, new fuels, and electrification pathways

December 02, 2016

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a new testing capability which integrates a driver model, full vehicle model, and hardware to explore the synergies of advanced combustion, new fuels, and emerging hybrid vehicle architectures over real-world drive cycles. This new facility is focused on low temperature combustion engines but builds upon the powertrain-in-the-loop expertise established with the Vehicle Systems Integration Laboratory (VSI) at ORNL.

The transient advanced combustion laboratory is initially supporting research on the potential of low temperature combustion modes with new fuel and vehicle technologies. The hardware-in-the-loop setup includes a transient dynamometer cell (AVL 300 kW AC) with a low-temperature combustion (LTC) multi-cylinder engine instrumented for combustion and emissions analysis. The light-duty diesel engine used in these experiments (earlier post) was modified for dual-fuel use for port fuel injection of low-reactivity fuel (i.e. gasoline, ethanol etc.) and a high-reactivity fuel (i.e. diesel, biodiesel etc.).

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Ford to offer cylinder deactivation for 1.0L EcoBoost in 2018; 6% fuel economy boost; global first for a 3-cylinder

November 30, 2016

Ford will offer the multi-award-winning 1.0‑liter EcoBoost gasoline engine with innovative cylinder deactivation technology for further reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency by up to 6%. Ford had been investigating different cylinder deactivation approaches for the 1.0L EcoBoost in collaboration with the Schaeffler Group. (Earlier post.)

The 1.0L EcoBoost with cylinder deactivation will debut in early 2018, becoming the first production three-cylinder engine with that fuel-saving feature. The accomplishment is delivered through innovative engineering by Ford engineers across Europe, and counters industry opinion that a three-cylinder, variable capacity engine could not deliver the refinement needed for passenger car applications.

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GKN expands electric all-wheel drive program with BMW; eAxle for PHEV X1 in China

November 28, 2016

GKN Driveline is expanding its global electric axle (eAxle) drive partnership with the BMW Group, supplying eAxle technology for a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X1 for the Chinese market. The system is part of the same scalable family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe (earlier post).

Early adopters of GKN’s electric axle drive used the technology to create plug-in hybrid sports cars with electric all-wheel drive that enhanced performance and efficiency. Automakers are now equipping a new generation of compact vehicles with GKN electric drive technology.

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BorgWarner launches its first integrated electric drive module for the EV market; first application in China

November 16, 2016

BorgWarner will launch an electric drive module (eDM) with integrated eGearDrive transmission in two pure electric vehicles from a major Chinese automaker. Production is expected to begin in summer 2017. This is the first electric drive module from BorgWarner following its acquisition of Remy in 2015. (Earlier post.)

BorgWarner’s eDM provides primary or secondary propulsion for pure electric or P4-type hybrid vehicles. The integrated design of the electric motor and transmission enables weight, cost and space savings. Since both functions are combined into one housing, installation is also easier.

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Dana introducing Spicer Electrified family of e-axles for hybrid, electric vehicles

November 09, 2016

Dana Incorporated introduced the Spicer Electrified family of fully integrated motor, control, and e-drive technologies that advance electric propulsion systems for light-duty, commercial, and off-highway vehicles.

Currently in production, the Spicer EV Drive for electric vans manages speed and torque from the e-motor to the wheels. Planned for launch in 2018, Dana’s new e-axles for electric transit buses and city delivery vehicles feature a fully integrated motor and gear box and leverage the company’s experience in chassis drivetrain applications.

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Groupe Renault announces strategic partnership with computer vision innovator Chronocam

November 08, 2016

Groupe Renault has entered into a strategic development agreement with Chronocam SA (earlier post), a developer of biologically-inspired vision sensors and computer vision solutions for automotive applications. This agreement will focus on further developing and applying Chronocam’s innovative approach to sensing and processing visual inputs to Renault’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving developments.

Renault previously announced an investment in Chronocam’s Series B round of funding, which raised $15 million for the Paris-based start-up and includes a group of international venture capital funds including: Intel Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, iBionext, 360 Capital and CEA investissement.

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Daimler and Valens partner to bring HDBase T Automotive to vehicles in near future

November 07, 2016

At Electronica 2016 in Munich, Israeli HDBaseT chip maker Valens and Daimler announced their collaboration to bring HDBaseT Automotive into cars in the near future. Daimler has selected HDBaseT Automotive as the technology of choice to guarantee high performance of advanced infotainment, ADAS, and telematics systems.

Valens, as the inventor of HDBaseT and founder of the HDBaseT Alliance, brings the technology and expertise to accomplish the goal of commercializing HDBaseT-enabled vehicles in the near future. (Earlier post.)

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Infineon introduces new switch family supporting trend towards decentralized intelligent vehicle power net

November 04, 2016

Infineon Technologies AG is supporting the trend towards decentralized, intelligent and cost-effective vehicle power net architectures. Infineon now launched Power PROFET, a new ultra-low ohmic smart high-side switch family. These protected switches offer the lowest on-resistance and the highest energy capability on the market. They enable the replacement of electromechanical relays and fuses in power distribution and junction boxes up to 40A DC.

At the system level, Power PROFET switches enable a more accurate system sizing. Also, they simplify significantly the wire harness architecture by reducing the lengths of many wires or removing them completely.

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ICCT-led analysis of turbocharged, downsized engine tech finds lower costs and greater benefits than 2012 EPA/NHTSA analysis; 48V, e-boost, Miller

October 31, 2016

A new white paper published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), in collaboration with Eaton, Ricardo, JCI, BorgWarner, Honeywell, and the ITB Group, analyzes current turbocharged, downsized gasoline engine technology developments and trends.

The assessment, which relies on data from publicly available sources and data and information from the participating automotive suppliers, provides an update to the technology assessments performed by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to inform the 2017–2025 fuel economy and GHG rule.

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Chronocam raises $15M in Series B; high-performance bio-inspired vision technology for autos and other machines

October 27, 2016

France-based Chronocam SA, a developer of biologically-inspired vision sensors and computer vision solutions for automotive, IoT and other applications requiring vision processing, raised $15 million in Series B financing. The funding comes from lead investor Intel Capital, along with iBionext, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, 360 Capital, CEAi and Renault Group.

Chronocam will use the investment to accelerate product development and commercialize its computer vision sensing and processing technology. The funding will also allow the company to expand into key markets, including the US and Asia.

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Daimler Buses to offer electrohydraulic power steering to reduce fuel consumption

October 19, 2016

Daimler Buses will offer electrohydraulic power steering (EHPS) to reduce fuel consumption in coming bus models. The fully integrated system replaces the conventional power steering pumps used currently in all buses with a gross weight of more than 7.5 t.

Conventional hydraulic power steering (HPS) is driven directly by the internal combustion engine via belts or gear trains with a fixed gear ratio which results in a pump speed that is directly proportional to the engine speed. To provide sufficient power for the steering in every situation, the pump must be able to deliver the full volumetric flow rate even when the engine speed is low—meaning that it is over-dimensioned for most operating situations. For this reason, higher engine speeds require a restriction of the volumetric flow rate by means of a bypass, which, however, entails unnecessary losses.

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DENSO & Toshiba partner on Deep Neural Network-IP for image recognition systems for ADAS & automated driving

October 17, 2016

DENSO Corporation and Toshiba Corporation have reached a basic agreement jointly to develop an artificial intelligence technology called Deep Neural Network-Intellectual Property (DNN-IP), which will be used in image recognition systems which have been independently developed by the two companies to help achieve advanced driver assistance and automated driving technologies.

The partners expect DNN, an algorithm modeled after the neural networks of the human brain, to perform recognition processing as accurately as, or even better, the human brain.

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UC Riverside team developing nav system that uses signals of opportunity; support for autonomous vehicles

October 14, 2016

A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside has developed a highly reliable and accurate navigation system that exploits existing environmental signals such as cellular and Wi-Fi, rather than the Global Positioning System (GPS). The technology can be used as a standalone alternative to GPS, or as a complement to current GPS-based systems to enable highly reliable, consistent, and tamper-proof navigation.

The researchers say the technology could be used to develop navigation systems that meet the stringent requirements of fully autonomous vehicles, such as driverless cars and unmanned drones.

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Aeristech develops advanced 12V electric supercharger

UK-based electric forced induction specialist, Aeristech, has developed an advanced 12V electric supercharger system, eCharger. The new system makes use of Aeristech’s motor control technology to derive maximum pressure charging utility from the power available in conventional 12V vehicle architectures. The company introduced a 48V electric supercharger capable of continuous operation at high boost levels in 2015. (Earlier post.)

Designed to provide transient boost to support traditional mechanical forced induction systems, the 12V architecture enables the system to be integrated into existing driveline technologies. The product is currently in development, with validation testing set to begin in November 2016 and prototypes available for customer trials from January 2017.

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Testing confirms Torotrak V-Charge variable drive mechanical supercharger enables more ambitious downsizing; 1.0L demo at Aachen

October 10, 2016

Independent on-engine test results have verified the simulation predictions that a Torotrak V-Charge variable drive mechanical supercharger enables more ambitious levels of engine downsizing. Compared to a current 1.5L GTDI engine producing 240 N·m torque, a 1.0L GTDI engine of the same Ford EcoBoost family outperformed the 1.5L version when fitted with a V-Charge unit.

The tests were carried out by the University of Bath Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC), using a Ford 1.0L EcoBoost engine, in a part-government funded program. The 1.0L engine with V-Charge delivered 250 N·m (184 lb-ft) torque, corresponding to a BMEP (Brake Mean Effective Pressure) of 31 bar.

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German alliance develops new active matrix LED headlights; 1,024 individually controllable light points

October 09, 2016

A German research alliance has developed the basis for smart, high-resolution active matrix LED headlights, which takes adaptive forward lighting to a new dimension.

A demonstration model was developed by overall project manager Osram in collaboration with the project partners Daimler, Fraunhofer, Hella and Infineon. Both headlights contain three LED light sources, each with 1,024 individually controllable light points. This means that the headlight can be adapted very precisely to suit the respective traffic situation to ensure optimum light conditions at all times without dazzling other drivers.

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AIMPLAS heating system for EVs reduces energy consumption by 30% relative to conventional systems

October 05, 2016

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, together with other partners of the EU project JOSPEL, funded by the Horizon 2020 Program under Grant Agreement Nº 653851, has developed an innovative heating system for electric vehicles consisting of thermoplastic heating panels which can be placed in different parts of the car, thus reducing the energy consumption in a 30% compared to conventional heating systems.

The system is based on the Joule effect in which electrical conductive materials produce heat when a voltage is applied. (Also called resistive or ohmic heating.)

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ICCT study finds that transitioning to low-GWP MAC refrigerants in China could avoid up to US$150B in costs

September 25, 2016

A new study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) assesses the feasibility, benefits, and costs of phasing out HFC-134a as the refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems in the Chinese LDV fleet, focusing on three alternatives with lower global warming potential (GWP) most likely to be adopted by automakers with a global supply chain: HFO-1234yf, HFC-152a, and CO2.

Among the findings of the report, “HFC-134a phase-out in the Chinese light-duty motor vehicle sector”, was that, considering the social cost of CO2e, up to 1 trillion RMB in costs (US$150 billion) required to address climate change could be avoided through 2050 by transitioning to low-GWP alternative MACs.

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GD Tech delivers prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for 13L IVECO engine; HDGas project

September 24, 2016

GDTech Engineering s.a. has developed and delivered prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for heavy-duty long-haul LNG mono-fuel engines.

This injector will be applied in the future IVECO Cursor 13 DI-CNG engine being developed as part of the HDGas project in Europe. GDTech is the injector supplier to Fiat Powertrain Technology Industrial (which is in charge of the development of new IVECO engines for coaches, buses & industrial applications).

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Celeroton launches its first turbo compressors with gas bearings; applied in fuel cell range extender for Fiat 500

September 23, 2016

Celeroton AG, a leading manufacturer of ultra-high-speed electrical drive systems with speeds up to 1 million rpm, has launched its first turbo compressors with gas bearings—unique in their weight and performance, being wear- and oil-free, and obtaining the highest levels of energy efficiency. The developed technology widens the horizon for application areas, where the operation of miniaturized turbo compressors has been either limited or not even possible including the oil-free air supply of fuel cells as well as low-maintenance air conditioning and heat pumps with the highest performance (in stationary as well as mobile applications e.g. hybrid and electric cars).

The gas bearing turbo compressors CT-17-700.GB and CT-17-1000.GB, with a rated speed of 280,000 rpm in air offer 100% oil-free and lubricant-free compression of air, with infinite bearing lifetime in continuous operation, a pressure ratio of up to 1.65, a mass flow of up to 24 g/s, maximum isentropic overall efficiency of 59% and a rated maximum power of 1 kW with a volume of just 530 cm3.

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Cypress sampling new Traveo MCU solutions for secure, high-speed networking for automotive body electronics

September 19, 2016

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. is sampling new devices in its single-power-supply Traveo automotive microcontroller (MCU) family that provide secure, high-speed networking for body electronics applications.

The new S6J342xxx series supports the Controller Area Network Flexible Data-rate (CAN FD) standard for high-speed, in-vehicle networking, enabling large amounts of data to be exchanged between each CAN node. The MCUs address the critical need to secure data on in-vehicle networks with enhanced Secure Hardware Extension (eSHE) support, preventing unauthorized connections to electronic control units (ECUs).

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Volkswagen’s Golf Alltrack challenges the Subaru Outback; directions for 4MOTION and vehicle dynamics

September 16, 2016

With the arrival of the new Golf Alltrack, the all-wheel-drive derivative of the Golf SportWagen, in US dealer showrooms in October, Volkswagen of America is offering an affordable, upscale and very fun-to-drive (more on this below) entry into an underserved market segment: all-wheel-drive wagons. More specifically, Volkswagen is directly targeting the Subaru Outback.

The Alltrack uses Volkswagen’s EA888 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine (170 hp and 199 lb-ft/270 N·m @ 1600 rpm) coupled initially with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual transmission available later in the model year. The latest generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive system (based on the fifth-generation Haldex coupler) features a fast-acting center differential.

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CALSTART survey of major auto suppliers finds 70% don’t want US to change CAFE targets; split on amount of electrification needed

September 15, 2016

Major automotive suppliers see national fuel economy standards as important for long-term planning and investment and don’t want to see them altered by US policymakers, according to a first-of-its-kind industry survey commissioned by CALSTART and conducted by Ricardo Energy & Environment.

The firm polled and interviewed 23 suppliers, almost all of them global Tier 1 suppliers that sell parts directly to automakers. According to the survey:

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GKN Driveline develops new e-drive system for PHEVs; starts production on global platform in 2019

September 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed a new, complete electric drive system for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The system will start production in 2019 on a global platform from a European vehicle manufacturer.

Tighter integration of electric drivelines improves system efficiency and gives automakers more packaging and assembly options. The new module integrates a water-cooled electric motor and inverter with a single speed eAxle reduction gearbox. The system generates a maximum 65 kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000 N·m (1,475 lb-ft) of torque to the rear wheels.

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Final testing confirms ADEPT 48V diesel hybrid reduces fuel consumption 10-12% at low incremental cost

September 13, 2016

The three-year ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) project (earlier post) in the UK set the target of developing and validating a range of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V “intelligent electrification” utilizing an advanced lead carbon battery. These have been applied to a Ford Focus project demonstrator which, for the first time, will be made available for public ride and drive evaluation by delegates at the Low Carbon Vehicle event (LCV2016), at Millbrook, UK.

Final testing has confirmed ADEPT’s key achievement of 10-12% reduction in fuel consumption (NEDC)—equivalent to sub-80g/km of CO2 emissions. According to the latest updated analysis of the potential cost of production implementation of ADEPT—conducted independently by Ricardo—the system would represent an incremental cost of in the region of €60 per gram/km of CO2 reduction. This is a result that makes the ADEPT powertrain architecture very competitive with other fuel economy solutions such as full hybridization, where costs of implementation can be significantly higher.

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Volvo Cars and Autoliv to create joint venture for next-gen autonomous driving software

September 06, 2016

Volvo Cars and Autoliv have signed a letter of intent to set up a new jointly-owned company to develop next-generation autonomous driving software. The planned new company will have its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and an initial workforce taken from both companies of around 200, increasing to over 600 in the medium term. The company is expected to start operations in the beginning of 2017.

The new company, which has yet to be named, will develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally, with revenues shared by both companies.

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Bosch more broadly commercializing water injection system; up to 13% fuel savings under some conditions

September 01, 2016

Bosch is now more broadly commercializing its water injection system for turbocharged engines (earlier post). Bosch currently supplies water injection parts for the BMW M4 GTS—the first production vehicle to feature a water injection system. (Earlier post.) In the vehicle’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine, it offers improved performance and consumption even at full load.

Bosch’s WI system comprises a water pump; a water rail; and injectors which have been designed to handle the specific challenges arising as a result of operation with water. Particularly when accelerating quickly or driving on the freeway, the injection of additional water makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 13% in highway conditions and 4% in normal driving (WLTC).

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DARPA invests $2.7M in QinetiQ electric wheel-hub drive technology; moving to build-and-test phase

August 31, 2016

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a $2.7m investment in UK-based QinetiQ’s electric hub-drive technology.

As part of an electric propulsion system, QinetiQ’s hub-drive replaces multiple gearboxes, differentials, and drive shafts with compact and extremely high-powered electric motors contained completely within the wheels. This approach significantly reduces overall platform weight and opens up new design possibilities that improve safety and increase performance for military and civilian vehicles.

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Study suggests focusing on cold starts in gasoline cars as target for emissions reduction

August 22, 2016

A new study suggests that focusing on a gasoline-fueled vehicle’s cold start is the best target for future design changes to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants. The researchers are presenting their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that air is cleaner today than it was in the 1970s, more than 130 million people in the US still live in places where smog or particle pollution rises to unhealthful levels. Smog can cause coughing and shortness of breath, and can aggravate asthma or trigger asthma attacks. Much of this haze is formed from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and fine particulate matter from tailpipe emissions.

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DOE to award up to $137M for SuperTruck II, Vehicle Technology Office programs

August 16, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $137 million in two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next-generation technologies that will support industry in going beyond the newly announced Phase II standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post) and also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks.

One initiative, SuperTruck II (earlier post), will award $80 million to four projects to develop and to demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Through the other initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (earlier post)selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.

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Audi developing electromechanical rotary dampers; potential for energy recuperation from suspension; 48V

August 10, 2016

Audi is developing a prototype electromechanical rotary dampening system called “eROT,” in which electromechanical rotary dampers replace the hydraulic dampers used today for an even more comfortable ride. The eROT system also offers the potential for energy recuperation from the suspension.

Every pothole, bump, and curve in the road induces kinetic energy during compression and rebound of the car’s suspension, observes Dr.-Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “Today’s dampers absorb this energy, which is lost in the form of heat. With the new electromechanical damper system in the 48-volt electrical system, we put this energy to use. It also presents us and our customers with entirely new possibilities for adjusting the suspension.

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SMDI releases steel roadmap for automotive; Gen3 AHSS

August 02, 2016

Over the past 10 years, new steel innovations have reduced automotive component and sub-system mass by nearly 25%; some studies have shown mass savings up to 29% versus traditional mild steel benchmarks. The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI)—a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI)—has now released its 2016 Steel Industry Technology Roadmap for Automotive.

The roadmap outlines the long-term technology needs to support future automotive material selection decisions with advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) including, optimized design, fuel economy, strength and durability, environmental performance and value.

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Protean Electric raises $70M to accelerate adoption of in-wheel drive systems for electrified vehicles in China

July 19, 2016

Protean Electric, developer and manufacturer of in-wheel electric drive systems, has raised $70 million in new funding from GO Scale Capital, Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd., and Tianjin THSG Corporation. Existing investors Oak Investment Partners and GSR Ventures co-invested in Protean’s equity financing round.

The investment follows Protean’s announcement in May that it is setting up a manufacturing site in Tianjin, China to commercialize its model PD18 in-wheel motor in order to meet customer demand. The new funding will be used to ramp up production in China of Protean’s PD18 product line, and for new product development and formation of a manufacturing joint venture with VIE.

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Ford takes stake in Civil Maps; 3D mapping technologies for fully autonomous vehicles; AI and voxel hashing

July 16, 2016

Civil Maps, a start-up developing 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles, raised a $6.6-million seed funding round, led by Motus Ventures and including investment from Ford Motor Company, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.

Civil Maps’ mission is to make it possible for fully autonomous vehicles (SAE Levels 4-5) to drive anywhere smoothly and safely. The company’s focus is on building continental-scale maps for autonomous vehicles and providing precise localization using voxel-hashing algorithms. Although GPS and IMU (inertial measurement unit) technologies can in theory determine both position and orientation of vehicles, the accuracy is limited by atmospheric distortion, the start-up notes.

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Mazda introduces SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS control technologies; G-Vectoring Control uses engine to enhance chassis performance

July 14, 2016

Mazda Motor Corporation is introducing SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS, a series of new-generation vehicle motion control technologies. The first in the series, G-Vectoring Control, will be introduced to all new-generation models starting with the updated Mazda Axela (known as Mazda3 outside Japan), which has just gone on sale in Japan. By adopting GVC, Mazda vehicles will exhibit even smoother transitions between G-forces in all driving scenarios.

Until now, lateral and longitudinal acceleration (G) forces have been controlled separately. GVC is the first technology to adjust engine torque in response to steering inputs in order to control these forces in a unified way and optimize the vertical loading of each tire to realize smooth and efficient vehicle behavior.

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Ricardo: achieving light-duty diesel RDE NOx compliance in urban driving is possible, at a price

June 11, 2016

A range of aftertreatment technology options are available to automakers seeking to achieve compliance with the impending EU Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulations, according to the results of a Ricardo research project presented recently at the SIA Powertrain international conference and exhibition in Rouen, France. The SIA conference was focused on clean compression-ignition engines of the future.

Future RDE emissions legislation and fleet average CO2 targets represent a challenge for automakers wishing to provide cost-effective light duty diesel vehicles. But while the costs of implementation can be significant, a range of technologies is available which, applied in a combination and manner appropriate to needs of the vehicle, can deliver compliant performance in terms of both NOx and CO2.

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Toyota and KDDI jointly to establish global communications platform to support car connectivity

June 02, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and KDDI Corporation (KDDI) are partnering to establish a global communications platform to enable the operation of communications networks throughout the world to support car connectivity.

Toyota aims to bring greater connectivity to its vehicles throughout the world. To do so, a broad-reaching, robust communications platform and the use of a uniform data communications module (DCM) will be needed. Toyota will develop such globally uniform DCMs by 2019. DCMs will be the standard equipment in nearly all new Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Japan and the US by 2020, and will gradually be installed in a range of new vehicles in other major markets over time.

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GKN launches new e-axle all-wheel drive technology on global C-segment vehicle platform with BMW

May 24, 2016

GKN is launching electric all-wheel drive technology on a global vehicle platform. A series of new C-Segment vehicles will offer the option of adding plug-in electric all-wheel drive using GKN Driveline’s latest electric axle drive (eAxle) technology.

GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV. (Earlier post.)

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Stanford team develops nanofiber air filters for efficient high-temperature removal of PM2.5

May 16, 2016

A team at Stanford has developed high-efficiency (>99.5%) polyimide-nanofiber air filters for the removal of PM2.5 from exhaust streams. In a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the researchers report that the new polyimide nanofibers exhibit high thermal stability. The PM2.5 removal efficiency was kept unchanged when temperature ranged from 25–370 °C.

The filters feature high air flux with very low pressure drop. A field-test showed that the new nanofibers could effectively remove >99.5% PM particles from car exhaust at high temperature. Some versions of the filters removed PM2.5 with efficiency higher than 99.98%—the standard of HEPA filters defined as filters with filtration efficiency >99.97% for 0.3 μm airborne particles.

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Project FEVER to develop 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle technology; SRM-based e-axle

May 09, 2016

Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification based on state-of-the-art switched-reluctance machines (SRMs), has partnered with Ricardo, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Provector to develop a 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle system and demonstrate it in a B-segment city car.

The Forty-Eight Volt Electrified Rear-axle (FEVER) project will apply CPT’s SpeedTorq technology to an ultra-lightweight rear axle module to significantly improve the fuel economy of the target car. The objective of the two-year project is to achieve a CO2 reduction of up to 15% over the regulatory cycle while offering significant savings (around $1,400) in manufacturing cost compared to a full HEV.

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Ford invests $182.2 million in cloud-based software development company Pivotal

May 05, 2016

Ford is investing $182.2 million in Pivotal, a cloud-based software platform company with which it already has partnered (earlier post) on FordPass (earlier post), to further enhance its software development capabilities. The investment was part of Pivotal’s $253-million Series C financing round; the round was led by new investor Ford, in conjunction with Microsoft and all previous investors GE, EMC and VMware. The deal is expected to close in May 2016, subject to customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approval.

Ford intends for the $182.2-million investment in Pivotal to help drive Ford’s transition to both an auto and a mobility company.

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Qoros and FreeValve partner on camless technology; new Qoros concept uses FreeValve PHEA

April 29, 2016

At Auto China in Beijing, Qoros Auto unveiled a concept car showcasing a new Qoros “Qamfree” engine featuring FreeValve’s Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuator (PHEA) technology. FreeValve and Qoros also announced a partnership for the continued development of the camless technology. FreeValve AB is a sister company to Koenigsegg Automotive.

FreeValve’s PHEA technology replaces the conventional camshaft and associated hardware, and allows the engine management system to have full control over each valve. Where camshaft technology has been limited to the relationship between the valves and the camshaft position, FreeValve’s fully variable valve actuation allows independent control over every valve’s precise opening/closing position and timing throughout the whole combustion cycle.

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Ricardo Software to partner with Modelon to expand IGNITE simulation package capabilities

April 26, 2016

Ricardo Software will partner with Modelon to expand Ricardo’s IGNITE product capabilities. IGNITE is a physics-based system simulation package operating in Modelica (earlier post) focused on complete vehicle system modeling and simulation. With comprehensive powertrain and thermofluid component libraries, users can quickly and accurately model conventional to highly complex vehicle system models, hybrid-electric, full electric and novel vehicles.

In the upcoming 2016 product release, planned for May, IGNITE users will have instant access to Modelon’s advanced OPTIMICA Compiler Toolkit, a Modelica and Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) based computational platform for system design.

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Tula Technology reports up to 18% fuel economy gain in GM 6.2L V8 using Dynamic Skip Fire technology; emissions benefits too

April 25, 2016

In a paper presented at the 2016 SAE World Congress, Tula Technology, developer of Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF) cylinder deactivation technology, reported significant fuel economy gains of up to 18% over a conventional GM 6.2-liter V8 by operating using Dynamic Skip Fire. DSF—a software-enabled powertrain technology that integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls—reduces the pumping losses while improving the combustion stability in spark ignition engines.

GM has been working closely with Tula Technology; in 2012, GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula. (Earlier post.) In 2015, Delphi also took a stake in the Silicon Valley-based company. (Earlier post.)

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Continental showcases car tires and engine mounts with rubber made from dandelion roots; targeting series production in 5-10 years

Continental has developed and tested car tires and engine mounts with rubber made from dandelion roots. In 2014, Continental brought onto the road the first sample of a premium winter tire featuring tread made from dandelion rubber. (Earlier post.) At the end of 2015, ContiTech tested the new renewable resource, named TARAXAGUM, in engine mounts. The company is striving for series production in five to ten years.

Continental says that the plant has the potential to become an alternative, environmentally friendly resource and could further reduce dependency on traditionally produced natural rubber. Not only this, but because it grows under moderate climatic conditions, it can also generate savings in CO2 emissions and transport costs.

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AVnu Alliance members showcase the first multivendor interoperability demonstration of the AVnu AVB Automotive Profile

April 20, 2016

Members of AVnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking (earlier post), publicly demonstrated interoperability of systems designed to meet the AVnu Automotive Profile at the Automotive Ethernet Congress held in Munich, Germany earlier this year.

The demo featured products and solutions from several AVnu Alliance members: Ixia, a provider of network testing, visibility, and security solutions; Marvell Technology Group, a provider of complete silicon solutions; and NXP Semiconductors, a provider of secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications.

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GKN supplying eAxle to plug-in hybrid Volvo S90

April 18, 2016

GKN Driveline, which works as a development partner on all-wheel drive and plug-in hybrid systems for Volvo Cars, is producing an eAxle system for the new Volvo S90 plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.) The eAxle system fits in the same space as a standard rear drive module, enabling Volvo Cars to offer customers a plug-in hybrid as a simple, high-performance upgrade.

GKN’s eAxle takes power from a 65 kW, 240 N·m electric machine with a nominal maximum input speed of 13,000 rpm and, via a two-stage single speed gearbox with a ratio of 10:1, delivers a nominal output torque of 2400 N·m.

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New Buick LaCrosse upgrades computing power from 17 to 31 ECUs; new electronic control system

March 16, 2016

The all-new Buick LaCrosse, which launches this week in China, features significant upgrades in computing power and networking to advance connectivity and safety features.

There are 31 ECUs distributed in the all-new Buick LaCrosse—its predecessor utilized only 17. This 82% increase in the number of ECUs helps to optimize calculating efficiency. In order to facilitate the handling of large quantities of data, a specific data bus is arranged to connect ECUs, each of which can process data independently.

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IEEE approves 802.3bw Ethernet; 100 Mb/s over single twisted-pair driven by needs of automotive industry

March 15, 2016

IEEE announced the approval of IEEE 802.3bw, IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 100 Mb/s Operation over a Single Balanced Twisted Pair Cable (100BASE-T1). The standard is driven primarily by the needs of the global automotive industry and illustrates Ethernet’s expansion into new application areas.

Mainstream adoption of emerging in-car applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment has created the need for cost-effective, high-bandwidth connectivity. The first of several Ethernet standards especially tuned to the needs of the in-car automotive market, IEEE 802.3bw-2015 100BASE-T1 will provide 100 Mb/s Ethernet over a single twisted-pair. It is intended to enable the consolidation of these new, as well as legacy, in-car applications on a homogenous network architecture.

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New lineup of Intelligent Power Devices from Renesas contribute to reduced vehicle weight; high-current load switch applications

Renesas Electronics announced the availability of six new intelligent power devices (IPDs) for automotive motor and heater control applications. The devices provide an extremely reliable, high-performance solution compared with mechanical relays that switch the current flow on and off in electronic control units (ECUs).

An IPD is a power IC device that integrates in a single package control circuits that implement protection functions and self-diagnostic functions, in addition to power MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor) switching element(s). The IPDs are compact, lightweight, power efficient, and not subject to the contact wear and tear that affects mechanical relays, enabling highly reliable systems with self-protection functions.

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GKN Driveline introducing eAxle for mass-market C-segment vehicles

March 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed an eAxle module—derived from the technology used in cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8—that will enable C-segment vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50%.

The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimizes weight to just 20.9 kg (46 lbs) while optimizing efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications. A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2000 N·m torque and 65 kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel drive mode.

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Audi SQ7 features new V8 TDI, 48V system, electric compressor

March 03, 2016

Audi is introducing a diesel-engined S model to its Q7 model line. The newly developed 4.0-liter V8 diesel delivers 320 kW (435 hp) and 900 N·m (663.8 lb-ft), with estimated NEDC fuel consumption of 7.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (31.8 mpg US), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 194 grams per kilometer (312.2 g/mi). The SQ7 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds; top speed is 250 km/h (155.3 mph) (governed).

Among its features are an electric compressor with a supporting 48V subsytem that augments the work of the two turbochargers. Audi engineers will present a paper on the new V8 TDI at the upcoming Vienna Motor Symposium in April.

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UTRC and ANGP unveil first low-pressure conformable natural gas tank design

March 02, 2016

Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP), a pioneer in the commercialization of adsorbed natural gas (ANG) vehicle technology, and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the innovation engine of United Technologies Corp., unveiled a full-scale mockup of UTRC’s conformable fuel tank for ANG vehicles. (Earlier post.)

UTRC and ANGP held the unveiling at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit.

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Pierburg GmbH electric compressor for turbos

February 24, 2016

Pierburg GmbH, part of the KSPG Group, has developed an electric compressor for spontaneously boosting the charge pressure of engines fitted with an exhaust-gas turbocharger. This component allows pressure to be increased regardless of the exhaust-gas energy availability.

The compressor is compatible with both gasoline and diesel engines. Initial prototypes are now being tested by various customers. The electric compressor fits in well and without any constraints with the proven strategy of downsizing, the company said.

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HRL laboratories team achieves breakthrough in dynamically variable negative stiffness structures

February 22, 2016

Researchers in the HRL Laboratories Sensors and Materials Laboratory have developed an active variable stiffness vibration isolator capable of 100x stiffness changes and millisecond actuation times, independent of the static load. According to Principal Investigator Christopher Churchill, “This performance surpasses existing mechanisms by at least 20 times in either speed or useful stiffness change.”

This isolator has broad applications for makers of automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, rotorcraft, and robotics. An open-access paper on their work is published in the journal Science Advances.

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Audi introducing quattro ultra: predictive, permanently available all-wheel drive for improved efficiency

February 20, 2016

For more than 30 years, Audi quattro has been a permanent all-wheel drive system. (Earlier post.) In 2015, more than 40% of all Audi customers chose a quattro model; the Audi Q5 topped the list with more than 260,000 units.

Audi is now introducing a new “quattro ultra” technology that combines driving dynamics and safety with high efficiency. With quattro ultra, the all-wheel drive is always deactivated when it is not needed, but remains permanently available, significantly reducing the potential fuel consumption difference between front-wheel drive and permanent all-wheel drive. The system is designed for numerous Audi models with longitudinally mounted front engines. An initial variant will debut in the new Audi A4 allroad quattro in mid-2016.

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Automakers testing new GKN electric torque vectoring technology; “eTwinster”

February 18, 2016

Automakers are test-driving a new torque-vectoring electric drive system by GKN Automotive. The “eTwinster” technology is part of a range of new hybrid electric technologies GKN is showcasing to customers at its Wintertest proving ground in Arjeplog, Northern Sweden.

The eTwinster is a plug-in hybrid module that makes it simpler for vehicle platforms to offer electric all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. The driveline combines eAxle technologies proven in the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 plug-in hybrids and the twin-clutch torque vectoring technology that features in the Ford Focus RS and Range Rover Evoque.

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CPT invests £1M to industrialize switched-reluctance 48V mild hybrid technology; new durability test cells

February 16, 2016

UK-based Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification technology, has invested £1 million (US$1.4 million) to further industrialize its CO2 and NOx reduction capabilities for the global automotive and transport industries.

CPT specializes in the safe low-voltage application of switched-reluctance machines (SRMs) to a vehicle powertrain and driveline, providing intelligent electrification of the propulsion system with near full hybrid vehicle capability. (Earlier post.) The £1-million spend will support seven projects at the company’s new technical center in Coventry and at its headquarters in Laindon. A significant proportion of the funding targets product and manufacturing process maturity by capital expenditure in new durability test cells at Laindon and a low volume manufacturing facility in Coventry.

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€3.4M OmniSteer project seeks to increase urban maneuverability with highly-integrated lateral and transverse guidance systems for EVs

February 05, 2016

Automobile maneuverability is limited by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to park their vehicles frequently—such as delivery services and mobile care providers—lose a lot of working time searching for and then getting into parking spaces. New chassis types with wheels that can be steered individually and electric drives make it possible to increase maneuverability and therefore efficiency, particularly in flowing urban traffic.

The OmniSteer project, which is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is aimed at researching suitable concepts and prototypes by 2018 and has a budget of €3.4 million (US$3.8 million).

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ANGP gets exclusive license to UTRC technology for conformable natural gas vehicle storage tanks

February 04, 2016

Adsorbed Natural Gas Products (ANGP) announced an exclusive licensing agreement with United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) allowing ANGP to use UTRC’s patent-pending technology—developed with support from DOE’s ARPA-E (earlier post)—to develop and produce the first commercially viable conformable adsorbent-based low pressure natural gas (ANG) storage tank for motor vehicles.

The license applies to non-metal composite tanks containing activated carbon adsorbents at operating pressures of up to 1,000 psi.

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Pitt study reveals heat transfer mechanisms in MOF-based adsorbed natural gas storage; advancing the technology

January 22, 2016

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering are working with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to develop a new type of natural gas storage system that would adsorb the gas like a sponge and allow for more energy-efficient storage and use. In the journal Physical Review Letters, the team reports on their study of heat transfer mechanisms in such systems, work that may advance the technology.

Traditional CNG tanks are empty structures that require the gas to be stored at high pressure, which affects design and the weight of the vehicle. Dr. Christopher Wilmer and his lab are instead focused on porous crystal/gas systems, specifically MOFs, which possess structures with extremely high surface areas. However, Dr. Wilmer notes, one of the biggest challenges in developing such an adsorbed natural gas (ANG) storage system is that the process generates significant heat which limits how quickly the tank can be filled.

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