• How to avoid collisions in automatic driving? Scientists study locusts to find answers.

    How to avoid collisions in automatic driving? Scientists study locusts to find answers.

    Now the automotive technology has entered the era of semi-automatic driving, and full-automatic driving or unmanned driving is close at hand. In the development and research of full-automatic driving, how to ensure that all vehicles can run safely and actively avoid accidents is the primary task of major research institutions. Pennsylvania State University found that locusts have special anti-collision sensing ability It is possible to find out how automatic driving can prevent collision. Even if locusts flying in groups are very close to each other, they will not collide. This advanced ability is quite special. The R & D team believes that this ability can be applied to the active safety system of vehicles. By studying the locust avoidance mechanism, the car can also have the ability of locust like and reduce vehicle accidents. There is a special neural structure in locusts, which can be used as sensitive sensors. The operating principle is very simple. When two locusts fly too close, or the flight path may collide, the locust's eyes will reflect the approaching body and send out stimulus signals. The closer they get, the more intense the stimulation will be. At this time, the nerve will calculate the Avoidance Trajectory as a dodge Predict and make actual response. Pennsylvania State University uses the characteristics of locust neurons to develop sensors. This sensor will sense the approaching objects and send out responses. Then, the driving computer can quickly calculate the strain mode to avoid danger. Although the response of the sensor is very fast, it will take time to accurately sense various objects, people or animals. If the research and development is completed, it will be from semi-automatic driving at present to fully automatic driving in the future. There may not be a serious accident caused by the failure of the system to predict in time. ——Source:
  • Porsche is upbeat on China sales as automakers bet on luxury electric vehicles

    Porsche is upbeat on China sales as automakers bet on luxury electric vehicles

    BEIJING – Luxury and electric vehicles emerged as bright spots at this year’s Beijing Auto Show, which kicked off this weekend in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic with about 200 fewer vehicles than previous shows. China is the world’s largest auto market, but car sales have slumped in the last three years amid a nationwide slowdown in growth. The economic shock of Covid-19 earlier this year further hit the auto industry, which in 2018 accounted for about 10% of China’s retail sales and one-sixth of jobs, according to official figures. Now in a sign of some recovery, global and domestic automakers alike are reporting increased demand – at least in the high-end or electric vehicle segment. Despite a 60% year-on-year drop in sales in February, German luxury brand Porsche predicts its sales in mainland China and Hong Kong this year can at least match that of 2019, or even set a record, China CEO Jens Puttfarcken told CNBC. Porsche said China sales climbed 8% in 2019 to a record high of over 86,000 vehicles. Covid-19 has affected consumer psychology, increasing the popularity of private transport while prompting many Chinese to splurge, Puttfarcken said. He added that consumers are now spending more on luxury cars instead of travel. He expects demand to remain strong through at least the first half of next year. Orders in the country already hit a monthly record in June of nearly 10,000 and have since held above 9,000, Porsche said. China is the brand’s largest market, accounting for 34% of global sales in the first half of the year. Rapidly growing EV market Like many international automakers at the Beijing Auto Show, Porsche is also getting into the Chinese electric vehicle market. The company’s China offerings in the segment have so far held in the high price range of well over 1.1 million yuan, or about $160,000. By the end of the year, Porsche plans to offer a base version of its electric sportscar Taycan for 888,000 yuan. That’s closer to the price range of Tesla vehicles in China. “The electrical market in general is, like the whole automotive market, is a highly competitive market,” Puttfarcken said, “especially here in China where we see here a lot of brands that are unknown to the rest of the world, building up very interesting products and very highly sophisticated technologies.” When the coronavirus outbreak stalled, the Chinese government quickly announced support for electric vehicles, which are strategically key for national innovation. “This market is going to grow fast because in the end, the EV penetration in China is going to rise, (and) the high-end segment is going to be the first to be penetrated,” said Jing Yang, director of corporate research at Fitch Ratings. She pointed out that battery cost needs to come down further before electric vehicles can really become a mass market product. New York-listed Chinese start-up Nio claims its battery rental plan, which was launched in August, already makes operating its electric ...
  • Crowds in face masks pack out China auto show after COVID-19 delay

    Crowds in face masks pack out China auto show after COVID-19 delay

    BEIJING: Crowds packed a mega motor show in Beijing on Saturday (Sep 26) – the only major international auto event this year – as manufacturers hope to boost the world's biggest car market despite the coronavirus battering demand. Delayed for five months because of the pandemic, the 10-day event opened as China has largely brought the virus outbreak under control, although travel restrictions mean most overseas executives appeared virtually to introduce their new motors. But this did not stop a packed audience in mandatory face masks from cheering as new cars were driven on stage to be shown off. The fact the glitzy gathering was going ahead marked "a symbol of hope" in the industry, BMW China CEO Jochen Goller told the crowds on Saturday morning. Tickets were limited this year in a bid to reduce crowds, although crowds surged through the exhibition centre shoulder-to-shoulder. China's auto industry is showing signs of recovery after passenger car sales collapsed by around 80 per cent in February, when consumers stayed home and the economy came to a near-standstill to curb the virus outbreak. Sales have picked up after a painful first quarter, up 8.8 per cent year-on-year last month according to the China Passenger Car Association. Saturday's sprawling displays of almost 800 vehicles include 82 world premieres, with automakers jostling to gain market share and revive consumer interest after a long slump predating the pandemic. In a year where global auto sales are expected to fall by 20 per cent, rating agency S&P expects China may be the only market to catch up with 2019 volumes in the next two years. Electric vehicles were also a prominent feature of the China show as Beijing pushed the sector and targets a 25 per cent adoption of energy-saving vehicles by 2025. There were 160 on display on top of concept cars from makers including luxury brand Audi, Japanese giants Honda and Nissan and Chinese electric vehicle start-ups like Nio and XPeng. China's electric vehicle firms have seen a surge in interest from investors as they search for the next Tesla – also hosting a stand drawing large crowds – with XPeng and Li Auto both going public in the US this year. Meanwhile, established players like Volkswagen and BMW made commitments to their own electric future, with all-electric models to be produced in China. Although China's auto sales are still expected to fall by up to 9 per cent this year overall, new energy vehicles are likely to pick up in the second half, S&P predicted. ——
  • Tesla announces ‘tabless’ battery cells that will improve range of its electric cars

    Tesla announces ‘tabless’ battery cells that will improve range of its electric cars

    Tesla unveiled plans Tuesday to develop a “tabless” battery that could improve an electric car’s range and power. The company will produce its new batteries in-house, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicts will help dramatically reduce costs and allow the company to eventually sell electric vehicles for the same price as gasoline-powered ones. The battery is expected to lower Tesla’s cost per kilowatt-hour, the unit of energy most commonly used to measure the capacity of the battery packs in modern electric vehicles. Many experts believe that lowering these costs would allow Tesla to dramatically lower the price of its cars, thereby making them far more accessible. The news of the new battery was announced during the company’s much-hyped “Battery Day” event in Palo Alto, California. Musk said Tesla achieved this breakthrough by removing the tab, a part of the battery that forms a connection between the cell and what it is powering. These new tabless cells, which Tesla is calling 4860 cells, will give the company’s EV batteries five times more energy capacity, make them six times more powerful, and enable a 16 percent range increase for Tesla’s vehicles. The tabless cells were among the first announcements from Tesla’s Battery Day. The new cells are bigger than Tesla’s current cells, measuring 46 millimeters by 80 millimeters (thus the name, 4680). In addition to more energy and power, the new cells will result in a 14 percent reduction in cost per kWh at the cell form factor level only, Musk said. Tesla’s new cell manufacturing system is “close to working” at the pilot plant level. During the event, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s vice president for powertrain and energy, offered more insight into the new cells. He said that Tesla’s engineers “laser patterned” the existing foils in the cell to create a “shingled spiral” that results in a shorter electrical path length of 50 mm, versus the existing 250 mm length in the current cells. “You actually have a shorter path length [for the electron to travel] in a large tabless cell than you have in the smaller cell with tabs,” Musk added. “So even though the cell is bigger, it actually has more power.” Like most car companies, Tesla sources its batteries from major producers so it can focus on its core mission: building electric cars. The company’s 2170 cells, which are currently used in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, are produced by Panasonic at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada. But those supplies have become strained. In 2018, a shortage of cells at Panasonic added to Tesla’s “production hell” woes just as it began ramping up its big push to make the Model 3. Musk has criticized Panasonic’s pace of battery production as constraining the Model 3 and the Model Y. And Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga has predicted that its batteries will “run out” if Tesla continues to expand its business. Musk’s announcement that Tesla will begin manufacturing its own batteries is aimed at alleviating those bottlenecks. But it wasn’t exactly...
  • Connected car market forecast sees over 14% CAGR to 2027

    Connected car market forecast sees over 14% CAGR to 2027

    A new report from market research firm Verified Market Research finds that the global connected car market, which was valued at $72.68 billion in 2019, is projected to reach $215.23 billion by 2027 - growing at a CAGR of 14.56% from 2020 to 2027. According to the report, the increase in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) features in cars is driving the connected car market as it ensures enhanced levels of safety. Other key factors contributing toward the growth of the connected car market are the rising demand for connectivity solutions, an increase in dependency on technology, and an upsurge in the tech-savvy population. In addition, technological advancements, an increase in the production of vehicles, and an increase in demand for luxury and comfort in vehicles are expected to support the growth of the market. Also, the report finds, automakers are nowadays following new vehicle safety norms to both encourage the safety of the vehicle and to make them more secure from hacking and malfunctioning, which, in turn, is also likely to foster the demand for connected car systems. The following trends, says the report, are reinforcing the shift towards a fully developed connected car industry: New technological innovation in the field of the network is accelerating at a fast rate. High-speed computers help make the car aware of surroundings, which can transform maneuvering a self-driving vehicle into an increasing reality. The Internet of Things (IoT) provides mobile services in the car with high-speed internet, enabling real-time traffic control, interaction with the car manufacturer service for remote diagnostics, and enhanced company logistics automation. The increase in demand for lightweight suspension systems and the development of technically advanced suspension systems are expected to provide a favorable opportunity for the growth of the market. The report segments the connected car market based on services, form, network, and geography. Major players in this market include Bosch, Continental AG, Delphi Technologies PLC, DENSO Corporation, Harman International Industries, Infineon Technologies AG, NXP Semiconductors N.V., Toyota Motor Corporation, Valeo, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG. ——
  • Japan's Big Four To Start Testing Their Swappable Batteries Soon

    Japan's Big Four To Start Testing Their Swappable Batteries Soon

    In April, 2019, we told you that Japan’s Big Four motorcycle manufacturers—Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki—were forming a consortium to work on swappable battery tech for electric two-wheelers. So far, so quiet—but as of September, 2020, we’re seeing some encouraging forward movement from the team. The four companies are running a large-scale demonstration test in collaboration with Osaka Prefecture and Osaka University, and it’s starting sometime in September, 2020. They’re calling it “e-Yan Osaka,” and will be providing electric two-wheelers to students and staff at the University to ride and use in the course of their daily activities. They’ll also be setting up charging stations and monitoring how well things work together, as well as any pain points that need to be addressed. While avid followers of electric two-wheelers and/or Honda are probably already aware of the Benly:E (Shoulda called it the Benl-E. Bad move, Honda. - JM) and/or the PCX Electric scooters that Big Red already developed, it’s unclear whether this will have any bearing on the Consortium’s work as a unit, according to Young Machine. The group is looking to analyze convenience, usefulness, and how a shared common specification can work in the real world. The question of what two-wheelers will be involved is an interesting one, though. Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki all appear to have brought electric scooters to the party—but can we take this image to mean that Kawasaki is finally moving ahead with the Concept J? After hinting about it possibly not being consigned to the dustbin of forgotten concepts with a promotional video in 2018, we hadn’t heard or seen anything else about it until now. Now, it could just be a placeholder image, and we admit that’s a possibility. Still, it’s kind of a hilarious comparison, and you can see that Kawasaki’s representative looks pretty pleased with himself. I mean, wouldn’t you be? If that is a real thing that Kawasaki has somewhere in the pipeline, it will definitely stand out from every other electric vehicle on the market—and they’ll all go (team) green with envy, even as they grudgingly stop to swap batteries. ——
  • VW believes it can catch up to Tesla with 1.5 million EV capacity by 2023 ‘or sooner’

    VW believes it can catch up to Tesla with 1.5 million EV capacity by 2023 ‘or sooner’

    VW believes that it can catch up to Tesla where it matters when it comes to electric vehicles: mass production capacity. The head of VW’s worker union believes that they can achieve a production capacity of 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2023 ‘or sooner’. With Fremont factory and Gigafactory Shanghai, Tesla has two of the highest producing electric vehicle factories in the world. Other automakers are playing catch up, but Volkswagen, who has been less shy about converting existing factories to electric car production, believes it can catch up. Bernd Osterloh, the head of Volkswagen Work Council, told Germany’s Welt that he believes that catch up to Tesla’s planned production capacity by 2023 (translated from German): “If Tesla builds three factories in which you can build between 300,000 and 500,000 cars, then we’re talking about a number between 900,000 and 1.5 million. We want to achieve that in 2023, probably sooner.” Tesla had a production capacity of 690,000 cars at the end of the last quarter according to its own filing: But the automaker plans to have a production capacity of 500,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Fremont by the end of the year. The production capacity of the rest of the factories in development is less clear, but Tesla is expected to double the production capacity in Shanghai with the introduction of the Model Y next year. Furthermore, Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas are expected to each have total outputs of more than 500,000 cars per year. It would put Tesla’s total output closer to 2 million vehicles once all projects are completed. Both factories in Germany and Texas are expected to start production next year, but it will take a few more years to ramp up to full production. As for Volkswagen, the automaker has converted its entire Zwickau factory to electric vehicle production and it also started to convert its Emden factory to begin electric car production in 2022. VW is also producing electric vehicles out of a factory in China and it is building a new factory next to its Chattanooga factory in Tennessee to produce electric vehicles. Osterloh mentioned that the work council won’t be afraid to push for the conversion of their massive facilities in Wolfsburg if they see a need for it: “There is of course the possibility of converting the Wolfsburg site to electric cars. If the number of combustion engines drops sharply, then we as the works council will demand that we also manufacture a battery-powered vehicle here.” VW’s Wolfsburg factory has a capacity of over 700,000 vehicles per year and a conversion to electric vehicle production would be a major step for the company. However, the automaker will also have to secure battery cell supply, which it is trying to do through partnerships with several major cell suppliers and its own effort with Northvolt. ——
  • The future of cars is electric – but how soon is this future?

    The future of cars is electric – but how soon is this future?

    BloombergNEF (BNEF) has painted a picture of how the auto industry will evolve in its latest Long-term Electric Vehicle Outlook report. In the report, BNEF outlines that electric vehicles (EVs) will hit 10% of global passenger vehicle sales in 2025, with that number rising to 28% in 2030 and 58% in 2040. According to the study, EVs currently make up 3% of global car sales. Beyond just new sales, EVs are predicted to represent 31% of all cars on the road in 2040, making up 67% of municipal buses, 47% of two-wheeled vehicles (scooters, mopeds, motorcycles and so on) and 24% of light commercial vehicles. Compare this to 2020, where EVs make up 33% of municipal buses, 30% of two-wheeled vehicles and 2% of light commercial vehicles. In terms of gross vehicles usage, BNEF predicts that 500 million passenger EVs will be on the road globally by 2040, compared to a total passenger vehicle fleet of 1.6 billion. Unfortunately, there will still be more miles driven globally by internal combustion passenger vehicles than EVs. Sales and price parity The ramp in EV adoption will be initially led by reaching price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles. This will begin when large vehicles hit this point in Europe, which is expected to happen in 2022 and will end with small cars making the achievement in India and Japan around 2030. While this parity takes a global perspective, it will be hard-driven by the European and Chinese markets, which are expected to represent 72% of all passenger EV sales in 2030. By 2030, China and Europe are expected to achieve the feat of 50% of all cars on the road being EVs. This will be because of the other head of EV adoption, policy support, taking the form of European vehicle CO2 regulations and China’s EV credit system, fuel economy regulations and city policies restricting new internal combustion vehicle sales. The rest of the pack As for the United States, the country will be slower to reach the levels of adoption that are expected to come to Europe and China, due to limited projections of charging infrastructure availability. The U.S. does have one factor working in its favor to make a quick catchup possible by the end of the 2030s, according to BNEF: nearly 60% of U.S. households have two or more cars – and many have the ability to install home charging. On a similar adoption rate projection to the United States comes South Korea. Like Europe and China, the South Korean adoption timeline is predicated upon strong government policy support, yet the country will also get a push from its domestic auto and battery manufacturers. The report also outlines that there will be 550 EV models available from global auto manufacturers by 2022. Despite this prediction, Japan, home to a bevy of international vehicle manufacturers that already include a number of EVs, is predicted not to take off until 2025. The report states that this is when Japanese automakers launch more EV options, although the country home to Honda, Toyota, ...
  • China new-energy vehicle sales drop for first time in over two years

    China new-energy vehicle sales drop for first time in over two years

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China fell 4.7% in July from a year earlier, the first drop in more that two years, data from the country’s biggest auto industry association showed. NEV sales fell to 80,000 units last month in China. That compared with a growth of 80% in NEV sales in June. Overall auto sales in the world’s biggest vehicle market fell 4.3% in July, down for a 13th consecutive month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Monday. That followed declines of 9.6% in June and 16.4% in May, as well as the first annual contraction last year since the 1990s against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and a crippling trade war with the United States. “The main reason for new energy vehicle sales decline in July is the switch of policies,” said Chen Shihua, assistant secretary general at the CAAM, referring to China’s move to cut NEV subsidies last month. CAAM has previously said it expects China auto sales to drop 5% year-on-year to 26.68 million vehicles this year. It had trimmed its forecast for a rise in NEV sales to 1.5 million, versus a previous forecast of 1.6 million. The prolonged sales decline has made local carmakers from Geely (0175.HK) to Great Wall (601633.SS) cut expectation on sales and profit. It has also prompted some global names like Peugeot maker PSA Group (PEUP.PA) to close plant and adjust workforce. China has since January been trying to boost consumption of wide-ranging goods as the world’s No.2 economy slows further in 2019 amid the trade spat with the United States. But its measures to spur car sales have disappointed as they included no plans to relax controls over the issuance of new licences for traditional-fuel cars in major cities. The implementation of NEV emission standards earlier than the central government’s 2020 deadline by 15 cities and provinces, which account for over 60% of car sales in China, have spooked buyers too and hurt sales, according to CAAM, analysts, dealers and consumers. ——
  • Safety tech explained: a guide to the key systems (II)

    Safety tech explained: a guide to the key systems (II)

    Blind spot monitoring What is it: A piece of technology that keeps a virtual eye on traffic around your car that may be lurking in your blind spot – the areas to the rear and sides that are often invisible to wing mirrors yet big enough to hide a car, truck or motorcycle. Why it’s important:By virtue of their design, some cars have large blind spots – and it’s often the biggest and heaviest SUVs with small rear windows that are the culprits. By using the short-range parking sensors embedded in the rear bumper (or sometimes a camera-based system), blind spot monitoring will sound an alarm if you put your indicator on to merge into an adjacent lane that’s already occupied by another car, truck or motorcyclist. Reversing camera What is it:Technologically simple, a reversing camera is simply a rear-facing video camera mounted somewhere on the back of a car – often above the licence plate on the bootlid or tailgate, or housed within the rear bumper, or even behind the car maker’s logo. Why it’s important:The statistics on the number of children killed by reversing vehicles in driveways alone are saddening, but those deaths could be easily prevented by having a camera to let the driver know when the area behind them is clear. Thankfully, reversing cameras are almost universal on many modern cars, even those in the smallest vehicle segments. Lane departure warning What is it:A camera-based system that monitors where your car is relative to painted road markings or – in more advanced systems – the road’s edge. If it determines that you’re straying from your lane and you haven’t signalled with your indicators, it lets you know. Why it’s important: Driving outside of your lane is often a sign that you’re either distracted from the task of driving or you’re becoming drowsy – both of which are dangerous for obvious reasons. If the lane departure warning is being triggered frequently, it’s as good a signal as any that you need to pull over and rest so you can refocus. Fatigue monitoring What is it:Fatigue monitors vary in how they detect your state of consciousness, with some using a camera to scan your face and look for visual cues (like slowly narrowing eyelids or head jerks) while others monitor the position of the steering wheel to detect abrupt movements or other fatigue-related patterns. Why it’s important:Because sometimes you don’t realise just how tired you might be getting. Fatigue is a big killer, and just like lane departure warning, a dedicated driver fatigue monitor can be an invaluable wake-up call to prompt you to pull over and either have a powernap, or change drivers. What is it:A lesser-known feature but one that’s becoming reasonably widespread, rear traffic alert uses the car’s rear camera and its reverse parking sensors to scan the street behind and to the sides, issuing an alert if it detects vehicles approaching as you’re reversing. ——
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