By T Murrali
The uniqueness of cars that were unveiled at the recently-concluded Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) made it one of the best events that automotive enthusiasts could recall in recent years. The most spectacular among them to draw the attention of the media and visitors was Pininfarina Battista, the world’s first pure electric luxury hyper GT. Coming from Pininfarina, the top-notch organisation in design services, the sports car has many innovations in design and technologies. Developing 1,900 HP/ 2,300 Nm torque with zero emission the Battista zips to 100 kmph in less than two seconds. It can run up to 450 km on one charge with its 120 kWh Li-ion battery pack. It delivers performance that excels even an IC engine. Only about 150 Battistas will be individually hand-crafted at the Pininfarina SpA to be sold from next year.
Tata Motors is the only Indian OEM to participate in GIMS since 1998 where it launched Tata Safari, Tata Sierra and Tata Small Car Prototype. This tradition continued this year by showcasing Altroz, Altroz EV, Buzzard and Buzzard Sports.
Other sensations at the show included Fiat CentoVenti concept, Ferrari F8 Tributo and Honda’s first electric car. They were among the 151 world and European debuts.
Yet another show-related news is the change in the value of the cars launched at GIMS over a period. The London-based JBR Capital, specialists in high-end vehicle finance, has named the top 10 cars that have appreciated in value or held their worth after launching at the show over the last decade. The Lamborghini Veneno, unveiled at the show in 2013, topped the charts with 180 percent appreciated in value. Against the launch price of £2.6 million, its current value is over £7.3 million. There are only five Venenos. At the same time come cars like the sixth generation Maserati Quattroporte have depreciated by more than two thirds since debuting at the show.
Mercedes-Benz is going well beyond purely technical realisation and increasingly placing people at the centre of its deliberations. To find the most innovative concepts for completely new in-car experiences, Daimler is starting a major competition for new entertainment ideas: the In-Car-Gaming. The best idea will get an opportunity to find its way into the car.
ZF is establishing a Technology Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cyber security in Saarbrücken, Germany. With the new centre it hopes to expand its activities in the area of AI research and will coordinate and control the company’s future AI activities from there. Interestingly about two thirds of the 100 specialists based in Saarbrücken will focus on AI; the remaining third will focus on cyber security. They will complement the more than 300 engineers worldwide who are developing solutions in the fields of AI, Industry 4.0 and Cyber security.
Volvo Cars recently announced a new initiative to end fatalities in its cars by addressing the issues of intoxication and distraction. The OEM believes intoxication and distraction should be addressed by installing in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident involving serious injury or death. Examples of such behaviour include a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who are detected to have their eyes closed or off the road for long and extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times. Introduction of the cameras on all Volvo models will start with the next generation of Volvo’s scalable SPA2 vehicle platform in the early 2020s.
From industry to academia now; the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) has installed a fully integrated high-fidelity Cruden driving simulator to facilitate ground-breaking academic research in autonomous driving systems. UT-Austin’s Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering will utilise the Cruden AS1 motion-based system to add human driver input to its hardware-in-loop (HIL) test set-up, for research into the performance of autonomous vehicle control systems. The system is prepared for multi agent simulations to assess traffic scenarios with multiple vehicles, encompassing their sophisticated vehicle dynamics. They can communicate with each other for V2V applications and this combination of multi agent simulation and DIL simulator is an industry first that has significant potential in subjective and objective scenario examinations and for research into future mobility programmes.
See you next month with more trailblazing trends……