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  • Electric cars may be the future, but they're still critically flawed in a key area

    Electric cars may be the future, but they're still critically flawed in a key area

    2019-12-09
    Studies have shown that in the US, Europe, and in China, producing an electric vehicle creates more greenhouse-gas emissions than producing an equivalent gas-powered vehicle. The biggest reason for that disparity is an electric vehicle's battery, which can account for about a quarter of its weight, Colby Self, the managing director at the Automotive Science group, told Business Insider. Electric-vehicle batteries are bigger than those used in gas-powered cars and feature a different kind of chemistry. While vehicles that run on gas tend to use lead-acid batteries, electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, like those found in cellphones and laptops. Lithium-ion batteries require a lot of energy to produce. So, too, does the extraction and refinement of metals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt. They're also harder to recycle than lead-acid batteries, Self said. "The CO2 emissions from making a battery are higher than what you save from not making the engine and transmission," David Reichmuth, a senior engineer in the clean-vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Business Insider. A 2015 study from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that manufacturing a midsize electric vehicle would produce about 15% more emissions than the process of building a similar gas-powered vehicle would. For a bigger electric vehicle with a larger battery, that gap could grow to 68% or more, the nonprofit organization found. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) came to the same conclusion based on a review of 11 studies published between 2011 and 2017. The nonprofit organization said that the electricity used in the battery production was the single biggest factor in explaining the emissions gap, which means using cleaner sources of energy would be the most impactful way to reduce the emissions that come from the production process. Volkswagen, which has perhaps the most ambitious electric-vehicle investment plans of any major automaker over the next decade, said that part of its agreement with LG Chem, one of its battery suppliers, requires the chemical company to use only environmentally friendly sources of electricity. And Tesla intends for its battery factory in Nevada to one day run entirely on renewable energy. Tesla and BMW are also engaging in battery-recycling programs, which the ICCT cites as another way to reduce the emissions from battery manufacturing. Overall, decarbonizing electric grids, recycling batteries, and increasing battery-energy density could decrease the emissions produced by battery manufacturing by up to 49%, the ICCT estimates. Looking beyond the battery Automakers are taking other steps to reduce the use of environmentally harmful forms of energy in their vehicle plants. BMW may be the most ambitious, saying it will use only electricity from environmentally friendly sources when making vehicles starting in 2020. Daimler plans to use only renewable energy in vehicle production starting in 2022, and...
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  • 2020 CES Las Vegas Booth 2821

    2020 CES Las Vegas Booth 2821

    2019-11-21
    Meet FIC in CES 2020 It's always exciting and can't wait to meet all friends during this period every year in Vegas. In 2020 CES, FIC will not only be introducing special design solutions but also bringing fabulous technology to optimize and upgrade your automotive electronic products, such as digital cluster, smart fleet for truck, AR HUD, Gateway ECU, BMS..etc. First International Computer will be proudly presenting at booth# 2821, see you all on 7th-10th Jan. Please click here to find out FIC location at the show: https://ces20.mapyourshow.com/8_0/floorplan/?hallID=F&selectedBooth=2821
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  • Smart Homes of Tomorrow – This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

    Smart Homes of Tomorrow – This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

    2019-10-28
    Privacy, vulnerability and reliability are the three main issues almost every connected device currently on the market faces, yet consumers are still choosing to automate their homes at an incredible rate. Currently we are seeing a huge growth in products and systems designed to improve and transform the way we live our lives inside of our homes. Demand for these devices is becoming something that we have never seen before as they become incorporated and standardized in the home of the future. Statistics forecast that the global smart home market will grow to around 40.9 Billion in 2020 with an estimated 12.86 Billion devices used in the consumer segment. Should these devices or their supporting networks in the future fail, the consequences could be serious. At the moment we are already seeing these devices targeted for the purpose of launching denial-of-service attacks, mining for cryptocurrencies, click fraud and data theft. The problem is the growth of IoT devices and digital technologies continue to evolve at incredible rates but manufactures are failing to produce secure and reliable products. Every day there is a story in the news about how these emerging technologies are abused by cyber criminals and the risks these devices present, yet everyone is still adopting this emerging technology at a rapid rate. So we have to ask ourselves the question, why do we continue to automate our homes with connected devices? Why are people automating their homes? Many people automate features in their houses because it solves a need, can be more efficient, helps contribute to life improvements and creates an intelligent ecosystem. Some home buyers are even looking to purchase more connected homes or are looking for homes in an area that provides faster internet connections. Another issue is presented when purchasing a house in the future with smart home equipment already baked in. This results in the possibility of hand-me-down vulnerabilities in anything from entertainment systems and lighting to security products and home appliances. In the same fashion that you would inspect the siding of a house before buying it, the same should be done for the devices installed in a connected home. The top three reasons why a homeowner chooses to incorporate connected devices tend to side with user experience, energy efficiency or home security. But at the same time most users write off the posed security risk due to novelty or disruptiveness of the technology. In short, users want something that will understand their identity, emotions and social life with limited impact and ease of use. Risk involved with automation Given the growth in the threat landscape by connecting everything to the internet, architects, designers and owners of connected homes are presented with three core issues: Privacy, vulnerability, and reliability. These issues are often overlooked because the users and those recommending the products do not understand how the technology works or the ris...
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  • AR in Your Car: How HUDs Are Changing Driving

    AR in Your Car: How HUDs Are Changing Driving

    2019-10-21
    Head-up displays (HUDs) are the next evolution in creating a better driving experience. They can help improve car designs by displaying key information and functionality on the driver’s windshield, which can improve the driver’s situational awareness. For example, displaying a car’s speed in the driver’s line of sight can reduce the eyes-off-the-road time. And when integrated with sensors and the capabilities of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), HUD technology also enables drivers to more easily detect threats or warnings so that they can take action much more quickly. For example, instead of only having a red blinking light or an alarm inside the car, drivers can see a graphic that highlights real-world objects like a pedestrian or a roadblock. HUD system designs are starting to move away from traditional display technology, which uses thin film transistor (TFT) panels, and are instead adopting augmented reality (AR) to display images further out in front of drivers, in their natural line of sight. This projection also allows these images to represent the real world and provide more useful information, such as navigation, threat identification, and more. Why AR HUDs? While traditional HUD systems do have advanced automotive display technology, they still have limitations. For instance, they offer a small field of view (FoV) from the driver’s vantage point. A projected image is small in space—on the order of 5 to 7 horizontal degrees—and typically displayed 2 to 3 m out in front of the driver, which places the image near the front bumper of the car. This limited FoV places constraints on the types of image(s) that can be displayed and where those image(s) can appear in the driver’s view. Additionally, the limited virtual image distance (VID) makes it difficult to align, or overlay, conformal graphics onto real-world objects. As a result, the information displayed on traditional HUDs is primarily a duplicate of what is visible elsewhere from the driver’s seat, and doesn’t add additional features. An AR HUD reduces re-accommodation time by the longer VID—from around 2 m with traditional HUDs to 7, 10, or even 20 m with AR HUDs—which means that the driver’s eyes don’t have to shift focus between the real world to the HUD symbols, allowing them to more easily process and understand the information. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate these FoV and VID differences between traditional (past and present) HUDs and AR (future) HUDs. Decreasing the driver’s eye re-accommodation time becomes even more important when considering ADAS in next-generation cars, which allows critical information to be shown very naturally and efficiently on the display. With the adoption of AR HUDs, car designers now have the option to place cluster and traditional center-stack information directly in the driver’s line of sight, which could provide more dashboard design flexibility in future automobiles. Design Challenges During the design process, AR HUDs require different feat...
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  • Global Smart Fleet Management Market is projected to reach $537.53 billion by 2025

    Global Smart Fleet Management Market is projected to reach $537.53 billion by 2025

    2019-10-18
    A fresh report titled “Smart Fleet Management Market” has been presented by KD market insights. It evaluates the key market trends, advantages, and factors that are pushing the overall growth of the market. The report also analyzes the different segments along with major geographies that have more demand for Smart Fleet Management Market. The competition analysis is also a major part of the report. The global smart fleet management market was valued at $276.56 billion in 2017, and is projected to reach $537.53 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 8.9% from 2018 to 2025. In 2017, Asia-Pacific accounted for the highest share in the global smart fleet management market. Smart fleet solution is a fully integrated system used in automotive to simplify creation of effective maintenance plans. Smart fleet management services use software based on AI, IoT, and data analytics to enhance vehicle budget, driver management, fuel management, and vehicle telematics of aircraft & marine. Moreover, it benefits businesses that are significantly dependent on transportation of goods and services, with higher productivity and efficiency. It integrates commercial, technical, or operational requirements and restrictions. With access to real-time fleet status and fleet data, fleet managers can perform operations more effectively and increase driver productivity. The smart fleet management market forecasted from year 2018-2025 by considering all the driving factors that influence equally to the smart fleet management market applications. The global smart fleet management market segmented based on mode of transportation, application, connectivity, and region. Roadways, marine airways, and railways are studied under the mode of transportation segment. By application, the market is categorized into tracking, ADAS, optimization, and others. Depending on connectivity type, it is fragmented into short range and long range. Region wise, it is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA. The smart fleet management industry size is calculated by considering all the countries shipments and traction technologies used in vehicles globally. The growth of the smart fleet management market is driven by rise in incorporation of real-time fleet monitoring systems in automobiles, increase in use of cloud-based technology for smart fleet management solutions, and improvement in vehicle monitoring & fuel management. Furthermore, advent and integration of IoT and information, communication, & technology (ICT) into industries such as automobiles, logistics, and transportation drive the market growth. In addition, continuous tracking of driver behavior, vehicle tracking, real-time visibility, driver management, and others has resulted in significant market growth. Furthermore, introduction of effective communication network with emergence of 4G, 5G, and other wireless technologies; growth in vehicle replacement market and increase in international trade fuel t...
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  • What is a smart city? How to define a smart city

    What is a smart city? How to define a smart city

    2019-10-14
    'Smart city' has become more than just a buzzword in recent years. In fact, with the increase in Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, more cities around the world are becoming smarter than ever before. However, it's important to note that a smart city can be defined in different ways depending on the level of development, resources and aspirations of its residents. This means that a smart city in Europe may have different connotations to a smart city in India. Despite the location, a smart city is often developed using data and digital technology to improve the quality of life. The adoption of smart applications can provide a range of benefits for residents, from public safety to health and transportation. In fact, according to a report from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), smart city applications can improve some key quality-of-life indicators like health and safety, by 10 to 30 percent. What is a smart city? Essentially, a smart city is the re-development of an area or city using information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the performance and quality of urban services such as energy, connectivity, transportation, utilities and others. A smart city is developed when 'smart' technologies are deployed to change the nature and economics of the surrounding infrastructure. According to Gemalto, a smart city is best described as a framework and a big part of the ICT is an intelligent network of connected objects and machines that transmit data using wireless technology and the cloud. In essence, cloud-based IoT applications receive and manage data in real-time to help enterprises and residents make better decisions that improve the quality of life. These decisions can lead to the improvement of traffic congestion, energy disruption, internet connectivity and other services while cutting costs. The most popular example of a smart city application is connected cars, otherwise known as autonomous vehicles, which can be built to communicate with parking meters and EV charging docks to direct drivers to the nearest spot available. Car manufacturers have begun working towards the development of connected cars, with manufacturers like Tesla already ahead of the game in autonomous driving within the US. Gartnerestimates that a total of 250 million connected cars will be on the roads by 2020, this means an expected one in five vehicles will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020. Why do we need smart cities? The world’s population is continually growing, and urbanisation is expected to add another 2.5 billion people to cities over the next three decades, according to Gemalto. Already, the increase in the human population is leading to overcrowding in megacities around the world such as New York, Tokyo and London. The UK Department of Transport reported that Britain is one of the most congested countries in the world, and in London alone there were 5.4 percent more passengers than the capacity during morning rush-hour p...
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  • 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Autopilot Cars

    5 Things You Didn’t Know About Autopilot Cars

    2019-10-11
    There has been a lot of talk about autopilot cars in the past years, and a lot of confusion. This advancement in technology has jump-started the process of using robots to replace humans for work, and the same technique has been applied to driving as well. But, what exactly are autopilot cars? What do they do? What should we know? To shed a bit of light on the topic, we decided to list five things you could have missed since the release of Tesla’s first autopilot car in October 2014. 1. Autopilot vs. Autonomous Autopilot cars, contrary to popular belief, are not autonomous cars. Autonomous cars would mean you can give your car the name of a location, press a button, and let it drive you there without you having to lift a finger in the process. You would arrive at your destination without having to focus on the road or your driving whatsoever. Autopilot cars on the other hand, like the Tesla, can’t do that yet. Autopilot cars can adjust their speed depending on the cars that are around them, search for parking spaces, self-park, and can even change lanes and drive for long distances alone, but they are not fully autonomous. 2. Future Projects Although autopilot cars are already coming into the market, they are still far from perfect. It’s true that they have some abilities that normal cars do not, but saying they are without any flaws would be a mistake. Tesla’s autopilot cars, even though released, are considered “public” betas and require a lot of caution. Tesla autopilot failures have at times also posed questions of the future of autonomous cars, which is certainly a big problem for the future of the technology. This said, Tesla Motors’ co-founder, CEO, and product architect, Elon Musk, still advises that the driver is ready to take control of the vehicle by having his or her hands ready to take over the wheel should something go wrong. Fully autonomous cars should come into existence in about three years, but getting permission for official use could take several more. 3. Safer Roads If more autopilot cars are put onto roads, it is estimated that the streets will be much safer.How? Most accidents are caused by the driver. Whether it is by speeding, drunk-driving, drug use, hazardous or selfish driving, or an overall lack of experience. A car on autopilot cannot commit to the same faults as a human driver can. The only time autopilot cars could put the driver in danger would be if the driver themselves interfere, or if the car was poorly produced with insufficient sensory systems.[3] It is estimated that if up to 85-90% of cars on the roads today were changed to autopilot cars, 4.2 billion accidents would be avoided. 4. Safety Alerts As of September 2016, Tesla decided to implement another feature into their autopilot cars to increase safety. The feature is a pretty big and intriguing update that won’t let the driver be completely off-guard, even during autopilot. On certain occasions, the car may demand for you to place your hands on the whee...
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  • What can smart cities administrators learn from enterprise networks?

    What can smart cities administrators learn from enterprise networks?

    2019-09-23
    Urban planning is entering a new era. Breaking the mold with centuries of agricultural living, urbanisation has taken place on an unprecedented scale since the industrial revolution. Today cities are home to more than half of the world’s population, and it’s anticipated there will be a further 2.5 billion urban dwellers by the year 2050. With this dramatic shift in demographics, pressures on infrastructure systems increase exponentially, particularly with the expectation quality of life should continue to increase. That’s why we‘ve seen smart city projects make up the largest segment in the IoT space over the last few years. With hundreds of active initiatives, vendors and municipal governments around the world are paving the way for the digital cities. As an example, in the US, telecoms operator Verizon has been working with city authorities in Sacramento, San Jose, Boston, and elsewhere to roll out IoT connectivity for a variety of areas from traffic management and integrated public transport, to energy-efficient street lighting. "An interconnected smart city is certainly complex – but we can also see it as a larger version of existing enterprise networks" A smart cities programme in Singapore has been rolled out to deploy sensors and automated meters in order to improve the efficiency of the city’s power grid—and to also incrementally reduce the use of air conditioning in residential areas. Meanwhile, even closer to home, the city of Cambridge’s “Smart Cambridge” initiative focuses on improving the city’s public transport. A city that never sleeps Smart cities consist of multiple, interconnected networks of remote sensors and endpoints—both fixed and mobile—that continuously record and exchange data. This data is then stored and analysed to identify underlying patterns and trends across the ecosystem. But the sheer volume of data, plus the complexity of the many interconnected networks involved, means that it won’t just be the city that never sleeps at night; system administrators face a monumental task of maintaining this added complexity within the sensors’ underlying systems. An interconnected smart city is certainly complex. But we can also see it as a larger version of existing enterprise networks that connect offices in different locations, collect and analyse large volumes of data from different sources, and work closely with third-party partners and providers. The important difference is a smart city involves a broader scale and scope—with more network layers and endpoints. But a smart city requires the same skills needed by administrators to manage and maintain a conventional enterprise network. Connectivity is the key The features and functions associated with smart cities, such as traffic management systems and integrated public transport networks, aren’t just interwoven, they must operate in real time. They’re coordinated by, and dynamically adapt to, variable circumstances such as vehicle congestion levels or constantly changing l...
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  • Owners of electric vehicles could soon be able to charge their cars while driving

    Owners of electric vehicles could soon be able to charge their cars while driving

    2019-09-20
    Electric cars will be charged wirelessly while on the move in an initiative designed to revolutionise transport in the UK. Coventry intends to create the UK’s first public ‘E-lane’ next year by installing wireless chargers on to a stretch of road in the north east of the city. It will, if successful, pave the way for electric vehicle use to become widespread across the UK and beyond within 10 years, experts say. “Charging batteries on the move is key to the success of electric vehicles in the UK, not least because it will take away the anxiety many people feel about finding a charging station before it’s too late,” said project leader Shamala Evans, of Coventry city council. Charging on-the-go If the scheme is successful Coventry’s authorities will ‘electrify’ more of its roads, followed closely by other towns and cities. Charging on-the-go is one of the holy grails of electric transport, especially for longer journeys, as it removes the need for drivers to stop every 100 to 250 miles, find a charging station and wait - potentially for several hours - while their battery tops up. Once charging lanes became widespread, battery sizes could be significantly reduced because they wouldn’t need to hold as much electricity. “Batteries are large, heavy and expensive - so a smaller battery makes the car lighter. That means it uses less energy, and creates space so it can carry more passengers or cargo,” said Noam Ilan, who is working with Coventry council on the city’s proposed electric lane. Shrinking batteries also makes them cheaper to produce, while their reduced weight means less wear and tear on the tyres - reducing rubber pollution - added Mr Ilan, who is head of business development at Electreon, an Israeli road technology company. E-lanes and driverless vehicles E-lanes will also smooth the way for driverless vehicles to becoming widespread, especially those designed to transport elderly, disabled or very young passengers who cannot drive and would find it difficult to locate and use a charging station. An influx of vehicles on the road if autonomous vehicles do take off would put even more pressure on roadside charging stations, further increasing the need for on-the-road-charging facilities, according to Professor Mohammad Reza Mousavi, of the University of Leicester. “Autonomous vehicles could, for example, allow you to send your kid to school without you being involved, so you can drive somewhere else. But you would need ‘inductive charging’ for them to become widely used,” he said. Autonomous vehicles It is expected that many of the autonomous lorries of the future will be devoid of people altogether, making manual recharging even more difficult. But with electric lanes, these lorries could theoretically work around the clock. The world’s first public road in the world that can wirelessly recharge electric-car batteries while they are on the move is due to open in the US state of Illinois early next year. Similar e-roads catering for buses a...
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  • Analysis finds hybrids make better use of scarce batteries than pure EVs

    Analysis finds hybrids make better use of scarce batteries than pure EVs

    2019-09-16
    In the face of growing shortages of batteries and battery materials for electric cars, one respected analytics firm says those batteries would do more good for the environment put to use in more hybrid vehicles rather than fewer all-electric cars. Per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity produced and installed in plug-in vehicles, hybrids deliver 14 times the benefit in emissions reductions that pure electric cars do, according to British analytics firm Emissions Analytics. In European terms, the company measures the grams of carbon-dioxide saved per kilometer of driving, per kilowatt-hour of battery installed in the car. The company considered 153 cars, including 59 conventional full hybrids, 7 mild hybrids, and 57 plug-in hybrids, and compared them to a theoretical electric car with a 60-kwh battery pack. It included vehicles in Europe and in the U.S., and showed even bigger benefits to drive on electricity in the U.S. than in Europe because gas cars in the U.S. are relatively less efficient than those in Europe. The average mild hybrid across Europe and the U.S., with a battery pack of 400 watt-hours, saved almost 30 grams per kilometer of CO2 emissions, or about 74 g/km per kilowatt-hour of battery. Full hybrids cut more CO2 emissions, but also had much bigger batteries averaging 1.3 kwh. Each kilowatt-hour of batteries installed accounted for a reduction of only about 51 grams per kilometer. The metric is key in an era of scarce materials. One of the biggest criticisms of plug-in hybrids is that they carry around a lot of extra weight (and use a lot of unnecessary materials in manufacturing) to include a gas engine and fuel tank that are seldom used. The same argument can apply to the large batteries in long-range electric cars. The cars aren't driven any differently. On average, cars still get driven less than 30 miles a day. Allow some extra battery capacity for driving in cold weather, running the heater, and having some buffer left when a driver gets home, and they still normally use less than 30 or 40 kilowatt-hours a day. Yet many of today's electric cars have batteries twice that size or bigger to accommodate occasional trips. Any bigger battery than that adds extra weight and accounts for extra material consumption that rarely gets used. Since manufacturers have been building internal combustion engines for more than 100 years, there's no shortage of supplies to make them. But there are increasing reports of shortages in the materials needed to make large lithium-ion batteries for cars. The Emissions Analytics report shows that plug-in hybrids that rely mostly on batteries in their daily driving cycle—the Chevrolet Volt, for instance—saved the same amount of CO2 emissions as fully electric cars in their tests: 210 grams per kilometer. But they required much smaller batteries, just over one-sixth the size. The report comes just as several automakers, such as General Motors, Volkswagen, and BMW are reducing or eliminating their efforts to...
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