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Friday
Mar272015

MTS, McLaren Join Forces

Perhaps all this simulator work that the F1 teams undertake has an economic upside after all. MTS Systems Corp. has joined forces with McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) to pursue the commercialization of a next-generation vehicle dynamics simulator (VDS). According to the agreement, the VDS would be manufactured by MTS Systems and offered for sale to automakers, race teams and Tier One suppliers globally.

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Friday
Mar272015

A Cure for Speeding

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Ford has introduced a technology that automatically adjusts vehicle speed to the prevailing limit. Called Intelligent Speed Limiter (ISL) by Ford, it’s already available on the European Mondeo (Fusion) and Kuga (Escape), and will be added to the new S-Max people carrier.
   
ISL is activated via steering wheel buttons to set a maximum vehicle speed, and works from 20 mph to 120 mph. The system uses the collision avoidance system’s camera to read road signs and, when the posted limit is lower than the maximum set speed, it reduces fuel to the engine rather than apply the brakes. This makes for a smooth deceleration rate, though on downhill stretches where the vehicle can exceed the posted limit, an alarm is sounded to warn the driver he must brake to remain below the limit.

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Friday
Mar272015

Slow, Steady Progress Key to Audi’s Le Mans Success

By Christopher A. Sawyer

The 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was remarkable for the fact that it used the least amount of recovered electrical energy per lap of any LMP1-H competitor. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest  (ACO) allowed competitors to run either gasoline or diesel combustion engines, and choose the level of energy recuperation taken from the vehicle’s hybrid system per lap; 2, 4, 6 or 8 megajoules. Audi chose 2 megajoules which, including the restriction on fuel use for diesel cars, meant it could burn 4.64 liters of fuel per lap.To make the most of the fuel allotment, Audi built a new twin-turbo V6 engine with a wider bank angle. This allowed the ancillaries to be packaged on top for a lower center of gravity and use a wider, less aero critical underbody. Matching the storage capacity of the flywheel hybrid system (located next to the driver in a ballistic carbon fiber box) also made it possible to keep the R18’s weight close to the 870 kg (1,918 lb.) weight limit for the class. As the Toyota TS040 and Porsche 919 hybrids, which used more recovered energy per lap, ran into problems, the comparatively more conventional Audi moved into and never relinquished the lead.

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Friday
Mar272015

(Not) Blinded By the Light

By Christopher A. Sawyer

“We’ve been pursuing this concept of controlling the direction and intensity of light based on where the driver is looking for around two years. The more we understand the benefits of this technology, the more intensively we push ahead with our joint project,” says Ingolf Schneider, Director Lighting Technology at Opel, describing the collaboration between Opel/Vauxhall’s International Technical Development Center and the Technical University of Darmstadt. The question dogging researchers, however, is how to make the system both affordable and capable.

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Friday
Mar272015

One More Step Forward for Fuel Cells

Fuel cell vehicles may be closer than expected, if Intelligent Energy’s Motive division is to be believed. The British firm has developed an evaporatively-cooled 100 kW automotive fuel cell architecture for high-end or performance Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). Both the architecture and core technology will be available to vehicle manufacturers through licensing programs and joint development agreements.

Intelligent Energy claims a volumetric power density of 3.5 kW/liter, and a gravimetric power density of 3.0 kW/kg. Unlike conventional liquid-cooled fuel cell stacks, the IE design eliminates the need for separate cooling channels between each cell, which increases stack power density and reduces weight. The company claims to have commercial relationships in place with a number of global automakers. Then again, so did Felix Wankel, whose rotary engine only reached volume production under the hoods of Citroen, Mazda and NSU vehicles. — CAS