Harman International has developed a cost-effective, software-based Reverse Pedestrian Detection (RPD) safety system that can detect pedestrians behind a vehicle. The unit includes a rear camera and sensor, and is capable of detecting children aged 12 to 23 months. They are the most vulnerable to being backed over.
By Christopher A. Sawyer
For the first time since the Eisenhower administration, Ford is updating its research and development facilities, as well as its world headquarter campus, both located in Dearborn, Michigan. The transformation will take 10 years, co-locate 30,000 employees from 70 buildings into two primary campus locations and create a new Design Center, while cutting energy use in half, adding green spaces, and adding a zero-waste, zero-water, zero-energy Sustainability Showcase building. If that doesn’t take top spot in “Buzzword Bingo”, Ford says the campuses will be walkable communities with paths, trails and covered walkways, as well as on-demand shuttles, eBikes, autonomous vehicles, employee services, and high-speed internet up to 10 times faster than today. The idea behind the project, says Ford, is to support its transformation into an automobile and mobility company by driving innovation and collaboration at every level of the business.
ContiTech’s lightweight engine mount system for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu increases the number of polyamide elements, and reduces component weight by about 20%. What makes the system unique is that almost all the functional components of the hydraulic mounts are made of polyamide.
ContiTech supplies three engine mounts and their attachments, including an engine and transmission mount, as well as a torque rod support. Because the 2016 Malibu offers a 1.5-liter small four-cylinder engine, the size of the engine mounts for this motor are considerably larger in order to dampen out is vibrations. “We were able to replace all the internal components with much lighter polyamide versions,” explains Florian Reinke, developer at ContiTech Vibration Control. “Only one steel component has been retained, and the crash-relevant parts are still made of aluminum because of the limited installation space.”
This isn’t ContiTech’s first use of polyamide to control vibration. The German company developed a strut mount using fiberglass-reinforced BASF Ultramid polyamide where this unit also is used as the primary structural component. Compared to parts made of steel or aluminum, the polyamide piece brings a weight reduction of up to 25%, and a longer service life. This two-section, three-path bearing design is used in the Cadillac CT6 where it enhances ride comfort, and gives more precise, low-friction rotational movement of the front struts, making the CT6 easier to steer. — CAS
“This team knows what a perfectly calibrated engine sounds like and they know the tiny sounds to listen for in case there is a problem,” said Gunnar Herrmann, vice president, Quality, Ford of Europe. “Think of it like a doctor who has the most advanced diagnostic technology but still uses a stethoscope to gather vital clues to a patient’s health.” Herrmann is talking about production workers who have been trained to conduct an auditory test on each of the 2.3-liter, 345 hp EcoBoost engines destined for fitment in a Focus RS.
By Christopher A. Sawyer
There’s a lot of money in the battery business. A lot. And it’s not just in the design and development of new chemistries. Much of the money is tied up in inventory as it takes a minimum of 30 days to go from completed battery cell to one that is capable of being packaged and installed in a car. The length (and cost) of this conditioning process puts a lot of pressure on automakers and battery suppliers to guarantee a steady volume of product as cash flow pays for product in-process. Which explains the acquiescence of both parties to regulatory policies that increase production of both hybrid and full-electric vehicles. They guarantee there will be demand for the batteries in production and conditioning today, and tomorrow.