By Christopher A. Sawyer
“Many of the technologies we are using for automated driving are actually active safety systems,” says Andrew Whydell by way of explanation as to why automated driving is at the cusp of realization. As Global Director, Vehicle Systems Product Planning, ZF TRW Active and Passive Safety Division, Whydell has seen the proliferation of safety systems throughout the vehicle, as well as calls from regulators and safety organizations to make some of the necessary technologies standard equipment. As they have matured and tied in to other units in order to increase system capability, they have been joined by new features that make autonomous control of a vehicle possible.
By Christopher A. Sawyer
Over the past five years, Ford Motor Company has recycled over nine tons of modeling clay, with 5,070 lb. recycled last year alone. That five-year total is enough to build a dozen full-size clay model car exteriors, while last year’s total would be enough to do almost three full-size clays of the Raptor.
Modeling clay, which isn’t clay at all, is made up of waxes and oil with filler, and does not contain water like traditional ceramic clay. Until the early 2000s, it also contained sulfur, though that escaped from the mix when heated to a temperature that made the clay malleable. When it did, it wreaked havoc on electronics, causing numerous malfunctions in milling and other machines. And, until whale hunting was banned, it also used to contain whale blubber.
Most of the recovered clay comes when milling machines follow math data to create the vehicle’s silhouette. These chips are collected in blue bins that surround the model and recycled. Because impurities can have a massive effect on the finish of the model, only the chips collected in the blue bins are reused. All the rest (Ford uses about 90 tons of modeling clay each year) is discarded.
The clay recycling machine uses multiple blades to compress and churn the clay chips. This removes any air pockets that might be trapped within the material. It is then pushed through a heated nozzle that returns the clay to a malleable consistency, and columns are extruded and stacked for reuse. — CAS
One of the problems engineers are going to have to contend with when it comes to autonomous vehicles is motion sickness. Especially if the “driver” and passengers are engaged in reading, surfing the Internet, catching up on work or any other activity that separates their attention from the world outside the car.
Because motion sickness is triggered when the images we see are not in sync with the motions that we feel or even expect to feel, some researchers are predicting that up to 12% of Americans traveling in autonomous vehicles will succumb to motion sickness at some point during their travels. Doing things other than looking through the windshield or side windows will only exacerbate this problem. This disconnect between what we are looking at and feeling is one of the main triggers for queasiness in vehicles.
Ansible Motion, a U.K. maker of driving simulators, is giving automakers the opportunity to test different components and driving conditions in a virtual environment to determine which combinations mitigate motion sickness the best. And that is best done by determining how to induce it deliberately and in a repeatable manner, then exploring the level of sensitivity while people are engaged in different tasks inside a car. By doing so, researchers hope to discover how the shape of widows, ride motions, color and other stimuli affect riders, and help automakers get a jump on eradicating the illness-inducing items before the first prototype is ever built or the final design is signed off. — CAS
By Christopher A. Sawyer
In 1976, Audi launched the Type 43 Audi 100 sedan with something that had been tried and tested but never produced: a five-cylinder inline automobile engine. (Henry Ford toyed with the idea in the 1930s, but the design’s unbalanced firing order and the consumer desire for more power ended that project, though Ford investigated overhead cam/aluminum block and head versions up until his death. Lancia, on the other hand, produced five-cylinder engines during World War II, but only for trucks.) Because the 100 was moving upmarket at the time, Audi wanted to offer more than a four-cylinder engine under the hood. Even if that inline motor was the VW Group’s economical and powerful new EA 827.
Building on this base, company engineers investigated both five- and six-cylinder inline engines; discarding the six when it became apparent that it would require a longer front end, and adversely affect handling. Thus, work proceeded on the five-cylinder variant, with the 2.1-liter fuel injected motor debuting in the Audi 100 with 134 horsepower. Buyers also could order the EA 827 four-cylinder, the same engine used in the smaller Audi 80.