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Volkswagen MY2016: high-end driver assistance moves throughout the lineup; next-gen MIB II infotainment system

29 July 2015

For the 2016 model year, Volkswagen is offering a number of advanced driver assistance (ADAS) features that were only previously available on the premium Touareg SUV, and is also adding some new ones that democratize driver assistance for the compact sedan and compact hatchback classes. These features include: Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); the Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); and an active Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist) system.

Also, Volkswagen’s new MIB II infotainment system will be available later this year on most MY2016 Volkswagen products. MIB II not only creates the foundation for the next generation of Volkswagen’s Car-Net connected vehicle services platform, but also offers a comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features. The first 2016 models featuring the new infotainment system will start landing in dealer showrooms late July 2015.

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Qualcomm and BRUSA sign commercial wireless electric vehicle charging license agreement

29 July 2015

BRUSA Elektronik AG, an automotive Tier 1 power electronics supplier, has licensed Qualcomm Incorporated’s Halo (earlier post) patented inventions to commercialize Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) systems for Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EVs). Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm granted to BRUSA a royalty-bearing patent license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems for certain automobile manufacturers.

BRUSA, which has been working on its own Inductive Charging System (ICS) for wireless power transfer (WPT), developed its own coil geometry: FRAME technology. The coil is rectangular and enables inductive charging of electric vehicles with the integration of power electronics both in the vehicle and in the base plate, enabling a one-box system.

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UPS announces renewable diesel agreements with Neste, REG and Solazyme; up to 46M gallons over next 3 years

29 July 2015

UPS announced agreements for up to 46 million gallons of renewable diesel over the next three years, constituting a 15-fold increase over prior contracts and making UPS one of the largest users of renewable diesel in the world.

Neste, Renewable Energy Group (REG) and Solazyme will supply renewable diesel to UPS to help facilitate the company’s shift to move more than 12% of its purchased ground fuel from conventional diesel and gasoline fuel to alternative fuels by the end of 2017. UPS has previously announced a goal of driving one billion miles with our alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles by the end of 2017.

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Aclima partnering with Google to map outdoor air quality with Street View vehicles

29 July 2015

Aclima, Inc., a San Francisco-based company that designs and deploys environmental sensor networks, is partnering with Google Earth Outreach to map and better to understand urban air quality. Google Street View cars can be equipped with Aclima’s mobile sensing platform to measure nitrogen dioxide; nitric oxide; ozone; carbon monoxide; carbon dioxide; methane; black carbon; particulate matter; and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

As a pilot, in August 2014, Aclima instrumented three Google Street View vehicles to perform a month-long system test in the Denver metro area during the DISCOVER-AQ study conducted by NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The cars clocked 750 hours of drive time and gathered 150 million data points, correlated with data from EPA stationary measurement sites. EPA provided scientific expertise in study design and instrument operations as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Aclima.

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Roland Berger study explores need for consolidation in vehicle electronic architectures

29 July 2015

In a new study, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants explores the strategy of module consolidation as a solution for the feature- and function-driven increasing complexity of vehicle electronic architectures.

Consumers increasingly expect the latest and greatest in electronics and safety when purchasing a car, regardless of type. Whether it’s an instrument cluster with a graphics rich, fully reconfigurable display or a lane departure warning system, a tremendous amount of processing power and electronic communication is required. The current approach to adding these features to vehicle’s electric/electronic (E/E) architectures is generally “ad-hoc”—i.e., simply adding a new ECU every time a new vehicle feature requires processing power. This has resulted in vehicles with as many as 100 ECUs and more than 100 million lines of code in ultra-luxury cars.

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Intel and Micron begin production on new breakthrough class of non-volatile memory; 3D Xpoint memory speeds up to 1000 faster than NAND

29 July 2015

Intel Corporation and Micron Technology, Inc. unveiled 3D XPoint technology, a non-volatile memory that has the potential to revolutionize any device, application or service that benefits from fast access to large sets of data. Now in production, 3D XPoint technology is a major breakthrough in memory process technology and the first new memory category since the introduction of NAND flash memory in 1989.

The explosion of connected devices and digital services is generating massive amounts of new data. To make this “big data” useful, it must be stored and analyzed quickly, creating challenges for service providers and system builders who must balance cost, power and performance trade-offs when they design memory and storage solutions. 3D XPoint technology combines the performance, density, power, non-volatility and cost advantages of all available memory technologies on the market today, the partners said. The technology is up to 1,000 times faster and has up to 1,000 times greater endurance than NAND, and is 10 times denser than conventional memory.

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Chevrolet introduces Colorado Duramax Diesel midsize pickup

28 July 2015

Chevrolet has introduced the diesel version (earlier post) of its 2016 Colorado midsize pickup truck. (Colorado is the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Cars.com’s Best Pickup Truck of 2015.) With 369 lb-ft of torque (500 N·m) generated by the all-new 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel, the Colorado’s maximum trailering capacity rises to 7,700 pounds (3,492 kg) on 2WD models, with estimated fuel economy projected by GM to top the already segment-leading efficiency of the gas models (27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) highway with 2.5L gasoline engine and automatic transmission).

It is also the cleanest diesel truck engine ever produced by General Motors. The new Colorado diesel goes on sales this fall, offered in LT and Z71 Crew Cab models, with 2WD or 4WD. It is priced $3,730 more than a comparably equipped 3.6L V-6 model.

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Purdue team discovery could reduce energy required to machine annealed metals by >50%

28 July 2015

Researchers at Purdue University have discovered a previously unknown type of metal deformation—sinuous flow—and a potentially simple method to suppress it. The results, reported in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could lead to more efficient machining and other manufacturing advances by significantly reducing the force and energy required to process metals by more than 50%.

Annealing is a heat-treatment process used to soften metals for machining. Counterintuitively, however, annealed metals are surprisingly difficult to cut, the Purdue team noted, involving high forces and an unusually thick “chip.” The conventional explanation for this anomaly has used a model of smooth plastic flow with uniform shear to describe material removal by chip formation. In their study, the Purdue team showed that the phenomenon is actually the result of a fundamentally different collective deformation mode: sinuous flow. Using in situ imaging, they found that chip formation occurs via large-amplitude folding, triggered by surface undulations of a characteristic size.

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Sandia Labs partnering with Red and White Fleet to develop high-speed H2 fuel cell passenger ferry and world’s largest H2 refueling station

28 July 2015

Sandia National Laboratories and San Francisco’s Red and White Fleet are partnering in a project—SF-BREEZE (San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric vessel with Zero Emissions)—to develop a high-speed, hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered passenger ferry and refueling station. The hydrogen refueling station is planned to be the largest in the world and serve fuel cell electric cars, buses and fleet vehicles in addition to the ferry and other maritime vehicles.

The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is funding a feasibility study to examine the technical, regulatory and economic aspects of the project. The outcome of the feasibility study will be a “Go/No-Go” recommendation to proceed with the actual design and build of the ferry and hydrogen station.

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Saudis Expand Price War Downstream

28 July 2015

by Gaurav Agnihotri for Oilprice.com

The undisputed king of oil and gas is making some moves that could change the face of the global refining sector. In June 2015, Saudi Arabia pumped a record 10.564 million barrels a day, a record level. As if being the world’s biggest exporter of oil was not enough, the desert kingdom is now looking to conquer the refining sector as it has quickly become the fourth largest refiner in the world.

“Saudis have moved into the product business in a big way,” said Fereidun Fesharaki of FGE Energy. With Saudi Arabia's refined fuel contributing to the global supply glut, what will be its impact on the refining markets especially those in Asia?

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BMW brings Enlighten real-time signals app into car

27 July 2015

The BMW Group is the first manufacturer to bring the EnLighten App, by Connected Signals, into the car. Drivers of BMW Vehicles with iOS Devices will be able to see traffic signal data on the vehicle’s display in real time. The EnLighten app makes driving in cities easier by helping the driver anticipate traffic signal changes, which can increase safety and help save fuel by avoiding unnecessary acceleration.

The EnLighten app shows the current status of the traffic light in front of the car in real time as well as a countdown to when the signal will change. Based on the current vehicle position, as well as its speed, the EnLighten app offers a recommendation about whether or not to stop for the traffic light or proceed through. An audio alert notifies the driver about a pending change in the signal they are approaching.

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BMW i novel drive unit swing arm powers HNF eBike

27 July 2015

In addition to developing its own innovative premium vehicles and technologies with a focus on sustainability, BMW i also serves within the BMW Group as an incubator for innovation reaching beyond the brand’s vehicles.

As one example, a drive unit swing arm, now entering production at the HNF eBike factory after development to series maturity in collaboration with BMW Research and Technology, originated from the first stage of BMW i market research and the early concept phase. As there was no longer any immediate use for the patent at BMW i, the company released it for external use.

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