A new standard is here! I can hear a collective groan, but I suggest we quiet down and see what this new direction has to offer. When Audi AG, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Porsche AG, and Volkswagen AG get together to work up a document, there is a shift happening. Although this standard is not out-of-the-oven-fresh, it will mean a change in the industry in the near future. But before I continue, I want to backtrack to establish the background story first. There are two types of automotive companies, the ones that buy components and the ones that make their components. The ones that make their components can tailor them like an Italian suit; the others have to use verification to qualify a new component. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, it leads to the same result: reliable, application-driven components, and tests. The automotive industry has extremely high reliability standards – perhaps because a car is the most complex consumer good on the planet … [Read more...] about The Auto Industry Taking Things Into Their Own Hands
Consumer reports auto test center
Connected cars and the Internet of Things go together like peanut butter and jelly. But realizing the future of autonomous vehicles will demand close attention to be paid to cybersecurity, functional-safety standards, and other critical factors.IoT will advance the era of self-driving cars, which currently is dominated by Tesla Motors. At the same time, it will change some of the dynamics in this market. On one hand, it will turn automotive manufacturers into technology companies, which could provide new revenue streams for carmakers. On the other hand, it will open the door for new players that have never had a viable entry point in the automotive market.Consider the case of Velodyne LiDAR, a Morgan Hill, Calif.-based company, which last month opened a factory in nearby San Jose to manufacture its LIDAR product. The company sees the plant making 1 million LIDAR sensors a year in 2018. It also has opened a research and development facility, Velodyne Labs, in Alameda, Calif.“IoT … [Read more...] about What’s New In Connected Autos
Corporate spending on research and development remains the driving force behind innovation. Indeed, the five corporations with the largest R&D budgets alone spent $33.6 billion last year, more than the U.S. government spent on R&D conducted by federal agencies. But a troubling trend that began in 2001 continues: corporate R&D spending is on the decline. Last year’s decrease of .6 percent is slight, but it follows sharper declines in 2001 and 2002, after more than a half-decade of robust growth. Perhaps most worrisome, the declines were not limited to a few obviously troubled sectors, such as telecommunications, but affected a cross section of industries and included some of the world’s top spenders on R&D. In fact, three of the five largest corporate R&D spenders showed significant decreases in their 2003 budgets: the top spender, Ford Motor, cut its budget by $200 million, and Siemens, a long-time powerhouse in research and development, decreased … [Read more...] about Special Report: R&D ’04
ATSUGI, Japan (AP) – At Nissan’s new complex for technology, experimental car batteries were sitting in freezing temperatures, getting cooked in giant metal boxes and being rattled to simulate driving – part of the automaker’s efforts to catch up in the race to develop green vehicles. The lithium-ion batteries, seen as advantageous because of their smaller size compared to existing systems, were being tested to withstand extreme temperatures at the center that opened Tuesday in Atsugi, just west of Tokyo.The new facility underlines Nissan Motor Co.’s determination to develop environmental and safety technologies that are increasingly critical for riding out the tough competition in the auto industry. ”Whether products with technology that appeals to consumers can be offered in a timely manner will determine the winners and the losers,” Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said in Japanese at the opening of the Advanced Technology Center. … [Read more...] about Playing catchup in green technology, Nissan opens new resortlike tech center
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is set to hold a technical symposium in Washington, D.C. on May 18 to discuss regulatory and safety issues surrounding lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-powered vehicles, Bloomberg reports.The meeting comes almost a year after General Motor’s Chevrolet Volt caught on fire following a crash-testing – causing consumers to raise questions regarding the Volt’s safety. The incident also came less than a month after an extreme testing of a battery prototype lead to an explosion at General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan that injured several people.Advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems announced last month it would recall electric batteries made for Fisker Automotive following a very public and embarrassing shut down of Fisker Karma during a Consumer Reports testing of the extended-range plug-in hybrid.According to recent data, electric vehicles were the fastest-growing segment in the US auto … [Read more...] about NHTSA to hold a lithium-ion battery safety forum next month in D.C.
Loud voices are taking sides on self-driving cars, that’s for sure. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t want development to stop or even slow down, presumably because overwhelming evidence shows humans are the cause of almost all — 94 percent — fatal crashes.Consumer Reports, meawhile, has called on Tesla to disable Autopilot mode in all its vehicles. Tesla, which has offered to share all autonomous data with the NHTSA, for its part refuses to disable Autopilot, arguing that this data collection process is essential to improving the technology.Now three U.S. legislators from Michigan are proposing that automakers take testing off public roads and onto a national testing location, preferably in their home state, according to the New York Times.U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and U. S. Representative Debbie Dingell met in Detroit with NHTSA head Mark R. Rosekind and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to make … [Read more...] about Do we really need a national self-driving testing facility?
Consumer and auto safety groups are concerned that drivers place too much confidence in driving-assistance features. During July there’s been a lot of pushback about whether carmakers should even activate driver-assist features until they’re further along in development, following reports of a fatality involving a Tesla S in Autopilot mode in May. A recent Mercedes-Benz television ad that appears to let the driver take his hands from the wheel has prompted groups to send a joint letter to the FTC claiming the ad is misleading, according to Automotive News. Updated 7/30/16 – The television ad called “The Future” has been withdrawn.A Mercedes TV commercial for the 2017 E300 with Drive Pilot caused the complaint. The E-Class Drive Pilot option combines advanced adaptive cruise control and a lane-keeping feature. Both are rated to function at speeds of up to 130 mph. The commercial shows a driver moving through city streets at night and removing his hands from … [Read more...] about Consumer groups tell FTC that Mercedes E300 Drive-Pilot TV ad is misleading, ad withdrawn
In the film "The Recruit," Colin Farrell portrays a CIA agent who escapes a double agent by removing a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag placed on him and surreptitiously placing it on the collar of a dog he stops to pet on the street.Alhough most of its uses are not as dramatic as those shown in "The Recruit," RFID tags are being used today by corporations to track people and products in just about every major industry. They transform everyday objects -- like cargo containers, car keys and even clothes on the rack at your local shopping mall -- into mini nodes on a network. Databases then can record the location and status of these network nodes to determine product movements.Researchers say that the market for this technology might top US$3.1 billion within five years and that the technology will eventually replace bar codes for inventory tracking as manufacturers place RFID chips in their products to track them without human interaction.Supply chain management is perhaps the … [Read more...] about TECHNOLOGY SPECIAL REPORT RFID Emerges to Threaten the Bar Code
An experiment conducted at the University of Alabama (UA) indicates graphene could be beneficial for car companies.A student team at UA taking part in a national competition called EcoCar3, developed a fully functional hybrid car that simultaneously uses less energy and emits less pollution without sacrificing factors like performance, safety, and consumer appeal. As part of this project, the team successfully fabricated a lighter hood created from graphene into a Chevy Camaro, proving the cutting-edge material can work on a consumer car.The graphene was created by a venture called Graphenics, founded by Dr. Rachel Frazier, who served as the assistant director of the Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs Center at UA.“The business model of Graphenics is that we incorporate graphene into existing products. We’re basically an advanced materials company focused on developing and testing the product for clients,” explained Frazier to R&D Magazine in an … [Read more...] about How Graphene Could Help Auto Manufacturers
America Online (NYSE: AOL) said Monday it has launched a revamped automobile channel that now includes local targeted resources, as well as content from online auto sites such as Autofusion, Consumer Reports and Edmunds.com.As part of the content distribution deal, Consumer Reports -- the well-known63-year old magazine that is published by the nonprofit testing organizationConsumers Union -- will supply AOL with its top automotive selections, featurearticles, warranty comparisons, advice on safety features and information oncar electronics.AOL members will also be able to purchase Consumer Reports' premium studies on safety ratings and product specifications and guides to buying and selling cars.Edmunds.com will provide AOL users with information on currentaverage transaction prices for vehicles in a particular market, as well aspersonalized car loan finance rates based on specific geographic areas. Edmunds.com will also supply product reviews on all automakes and models.AOL's … [Read more...] about AOL Launches Revved-Up Auto Channel