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New Georgia Tech MPPI technique controls autonomous vehicles at edge of handling limits

24 May 2016

Researchers from Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE) and the School of Interactive Computing (IC) have developed a new control technique for autonomous vehicles that can help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits.

The Georgia Tech method—model predictive path integral control (MPPI) using covariance variable importance sampling—was developed specifically to address the non-linear dynamics involved in controlling a vehicle near its friction limits. The approach could help make self-driving cars of the future safer under hazardous road conditions. A paper covering this research was presented at the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Stockholm, 16-21 May.

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GKN launches new e-axle all-wheel drive technology on global C-segment vehicle platform with BMW

24 May 2016

GKN is launching electric all-wheel drive technology on a global vehicle platform. A series of new C-Segment vehicles will offer the option of adding plug-in electric all-wheel drive using GKN Driveline’s latest electric axle drive (eAxle) technology.

GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV. (Earlier post.)

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Study finds 80% reduction in atmospheric CO as a result of gasoline car emissions policies

24 May 2016

New research published today (23 May) in Scientific Reports has found a marked and progressive 80% decline in atmospheric CO (carbon monoxide) in SE England since 1997, following adoption of strict controls on gasoline vehicle emissions begin in the 1990s. The decline is strongest (approximately 50 ppb per year) in the 1997–2003 period but continues post 2003.

The successful reduction of carbon monoxide in the UK is also matched by high percentage reductions across Europe over the same time period. This suggests that recent rises of carbon monoxide in newly developed countries can be reversed in a 20-year time frame with similar technological and policy implementations. The open-access study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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UMTRI: US driver preference for automation about the same as last year; most prefer retaining control

24 May 2016

Despite greater coverage of driverless technology advancements the past couple of years, most Americans still prefer to drive themselves—at least partially, according to a new report by Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). The new report is a follow-on to their study last year of motorists’ preferences for vehicle automation, including their overall concern about riding in self-driving cars.

Sivak and Schoettle found that 45.8% prefer to retain full control while driving, while 38.7% prefer a partially self-driving vehicle with occasional control by the driver. Just under 16% (15.5%) would rather ride in a completely self-driving vehicle.

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Amprius demonstrates new tool for roll-to-roll manufacturing of high-energy batteries with Si nanowire anodes

24 May 2016

Amprius, a manufacturer of high-energy lithium-ion batteries using silicon nanowire anodes (earlier post), has demonstrated a novel tool for high-volume manufacturing. The new tool, a first-of-its-kind system for inline, continuous, and roll-to-roll production of three-dimensional silicon nanowire anodes, will enable Amprius to scale manufacturing and deliver lightweight and long-lasting batteries for unmanned vehicles, wearable technologies, and electric vehicles.

Amprius developed its new tool in partnership with Meyer Burger (Netherlands) B.V., a world leader in high-throughput deposition systems and processes. The tool uses a multi-step, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process to produce Amprius’ silicon nanowire anodes. Amprius will unveil its new manufacturing tool to a select group of industry partners on 29 June 2016, at a Meyer Burger facility in the Netherlands.

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CCM: China Li-ion industry booming; domestic outputs triples in 2015 to 15.7 GWh

23 May 2016

In China, the development of alternative energy vehicles and the Li-ion battery sector are booming with the support of promotional policies from the Chinese government, according to new report from CCM, a leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets. In May 2016 alone, nearly RMB2.6 billion (US$400 million) flowed into the Li-ion battery market, with Tianqi Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium and GEM CO., Ltd. putting in the most capital.

Over the past five years, the growth of electrochemical energy storage market in China has outpaced that of the global market, with a CAGR (2010-2015) of 110%—six times as high as that of the global. Among it, the installed capacity of Li-ion battery captured 66% of the market share in the electrochemical energy storage market.

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ULEMCo delivers first hydrogen-diesel dual-fuel refuse trucks to Fife Council in Scotland

23 May 2016

ULEMCo, the developer of a hydrogen-diesel dual fuel conversion system for commercial vehicles, has delivered its first hydrogen dual-fuel refuse vehicles to Fife Council in Scotland. The trucks, which deliver reduced CO2 emissions as well as improving air quality for the local community, are planned for use in densely populated urban areas, where improving air quality is a major concern.

The dual-fuel engines are equipped with hydrogen injection and a separate ECU control system. A diesel pilot injection initiates combustion of the hydrogen, which is stored onboard at 350 bar. CO2 emissions under dual fuel mode are approximately 70% less than a comparable diesel vehicle, according to the company.

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What Does The Next OPEC Meeting Have In Store?

23 May 2016

by Rakesh Upadhyay for Oilprice.com

The next OPEC meeting on the 2nd of June will act as little more than a forum for continued altercations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The 2 June 2016 OPEC meeting will be held amid a backdrop of oil prices near $50 per barrel, a sharp drop in Nigerian production due to sabotage, turmoil in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia operating with a new oil minister, and Iran aggressively pumping close to pre-sanction levels.

OPEC interactions have become a direct altercation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the remaining members reduced to mere observers.

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Airbus APWorks unveils 3D-printed electric motorcycle; 35kg total, 6kg bionic structure frame

22 May 2016

APWorks, a 100% subsidiary of Airbus Group, has unveiled the first 3D-printed motorcycle. Dubbed the Light Rider, the motorcycle is made using APWorks’ Scalmalloy material, and weighs only 35 kg (77 lbs). With a 6 kW electric motor powering it from zero to 80 km per hour in just seconds and a frame weighing a mere 6 kg (13 lbs), the world’s first 3D-printed electric motorcycle is 30% lighter than conventionally manufactured e-motorcycles.

Scalmalloy is one of the latest new materials developed by Airbus Group. It is a second-generation aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy (AlMgSc), and was developed for high and very high-strength extrusions, offering exceptionally high fatigue properties. Specifically developed for additive layer manufacturing (ALM)-based production, the material combines high strength with an extraordinary level of ductility, making it an especially interesting material to use for highly solicited parts in lightweight robotics, automotive and aerospace applications.

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Geely raises $400M via Green Bonds sale to develop and produce TX5 range-extended electric London taxis

22 May 2016

China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) has raised $400 million through the first Green Bond sale on the offshore market from a Chinese automobile company to support the design, development and production of range-extended electric vehicles by its UK subsidiary, the LondonTaxi Company (LTC), manufacturer of the iconic London Black Cab. The plug-in hybrid TX5 London Cab will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017 and in international markets in 2018.

ZGH is investing £300 million (US$435 million) in LTC’s new research and production facility in Ansty in the West Midlands region of the UK to develop the next-generation TX5. The new model was unveiled last October in London in the presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK. In addition to a new light-weight aluminium body structure and composite paneling, the TX5 benefits from a range-extended battery-electric vehicle system.

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Prieto Battery receives investment from Stanley Ventures to pursue commercialization of 3D Li-ion battery

21 May 2016

Prieto Battery, a company commercializing a 3D Lithium-ion battery technology (earlier post), announced a strategic investment from Stanley Ventures, the newly-formed venture arm of Stanley Black & Decker, a world-leading provider of tools and storage, commercial electronic security and engineered fastening systems.

Prieto Battery Inc. was founded in June 2009 to accelerate the shift of Prieto’s innovations from the research laboratory to the commercial marketplace. The company’s mission is to commercialize a patented 3D lithium-ion battery technology that delivers transformational performance at a competitive cost using non-toxic materials with the ability to customize shapes.

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JBEI, UCSD scientists develop systems biology-based workflow to improve biofuels productivity

21 May 2016

Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a workflow that integrates various “omics” data and genome-scale models to study the effects of biofuel production in a microbial host.

The development of omics technologies, such as metabolomics and proteomics, and systems biology have significantly enhanced the ability to understand biological phenomena. Nevertheless, the interpretation of large omics data into meaningful “knowledge” as well as the understanding of complex metabolic interactions in engineered microbes remains challenging. This new open-source workflow—which integrates various omics data and genome-scale models—drives the transition from vision to conception of a designed working phenotype.

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