By T Murrali
Recently I had the opportunity to travel in an autonomous car in Paris, courtesy Valeo. The drive was very interesting and intuitive, maybe because of the convergence of digitalisation’s high profile applications. Reports say this technology has over 1,200 patents registered by key industry players between 2012 and 2016. Surprisingly, more than a third of them were granted to high-tech companies that did not exist even a few years ago and had no automotive manufacturing background. Indeed such companies are blazing the trail of futuristic innovations.
I was in Stuttgart last month to attend exhibitions on testing, and on engines and autonomous vehicles. Some of the trailblazing innovations fascinated me.
Messring Active Safety debuted a dynamic pedestrian target for the training of Autonomous Vehicles and pedestrian avoidance systems. The ASTERO (Active Safety Test Robot) is designed to replicate accurately the motions of real pedestrians, with the feet resting on the ground (unlike most soft targets) and realistically moving joints operated through pneumatic ‘muscles.’
Nostrum Energy introduced a revolutionary water injection control system that enables developers to meet the upcoming Euro-7 emissions targets while maintaining the engine performance without over-fuelling.
Aimsun Auto launched a new software platform for large-scale design and validation of path planning algorithms for self-driving vehicles. Weiss Technik presented an innovative refrigerant for climate test chambers.
Meanwhile MTS announced the commissioning of a Flat-Trac Handling Roadway at the Research Institute for Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines, Stuttgart.
The innovations unfolded last month include the announcement by Bosch that within a few years skies could offer a tangible solution to traffic jams. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that people around the world will take one billion flights in air taxis in 2030, once sharing services establish presence on fixed routes above the ground. Most of these air taxis will be pilotless. Bosch is working on state-of-the-art sensor technology to make these flights safe, comfortable, and convenient. The first flying taxis are set to take off in major cities by 2023.
Realising that partnerships are vital in a connected world, the Bosch Group recognised Code Intelligence GmbH (Code Intelligence) and Hesai Photonics Technology with the ‘Open Bosch Award’ for the best startup collaboration. This is for the first time that a supplier of technology and services honours the outstanding performance in open innovation between Bosch and startups.
Code Intelligence, a startup based in Bonn, Germany, provides automated security-testing solutions for software. Hesai is a Shanghai-based startup that designs and manufactures sensor technology which allows automated vehicles to see their surroundings in 3D with high resolution. The company has reached the next milestone on the road to be a global IoT supplier by selling 52 million web-enabled products in 2018, 33 percent more than in the previous year. Using its open-source-based Bosch IoT Suite, the company has connected more than 10 million devices from various manufacturers. It is now working with partners to enable these things to communicate and interact in secure ecosystems.
The German company is also entering the market for mobile fuel cells and paving the way for the breakthrough of this technology in trucks and cars. One crucial component here is the stack. As the core of the fuel cell, it converts hydrogen into electrical energy. To further improve and manufacture these stacks, Bosch has formed an alliance with Powercell Sweden AB, the Swedish manufacturer of fuel cell stacks. They will work jointly to make the polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell ready for production. Bosch will then manufacture this technology under license for the global automotive market. The stack will complement the Bosch portfolio of fuel cell components, and is to be launched in 2022.
At the 40th Vienna Motor Symposium held last month, Continental presented ring catalyst turbocharger that offers more benefits than installing individual components. In conventional turbochargers, the exhaust gases quickly expand as they leave the turbine leading to loss of fluid dynamics and efficiency. This is solved by the ring catalyst turbocharger, where the conical mixing pipe permits controlled expansion and reduces back pressure. The exhaust gas from the waste gate is fed through an annular gap around the mixing pipe, facilitating low-loss mixing with the exhaust gas flow leaving the turbine impeller. As a result, the exhaust gas temperature distribution is homogeneous when it reaches the catalyst. This has a positive impact on both the efficiency and the service life of the catalyst.
See you next month with more Trailblazing Trends . . .…………..