Queensland Team Powers Up For Race To Chase The Sun

Clenergy TeamArrow, which includes seven current QUT students and seven alumni in its ranks, will race teams from across the world to be the fastest car under the sun at the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The biennial challenge tasks 46 teams from 25 countries with completing a gruelling 3,021km journey from Darwin to Adelaide while showcasing the latest advances in solar technology.

Clenergy TeamArrow, one of three Australian teams in the ‘Challenger’ class, will leave Darwin on Sunday (October 18) in their $250,000, 220kg vehicle, capable of reaching a top speed of 126km/h. The solar panels of the solar electric vehicle power a battery pack or can solely power the car, which runs on less power than a toaster.

QUT Mechatronics Engineering graduate and one of the drivers, Amy Gunnell (pictured), said the team were setting their sights high despite their underdog status.

“The 2013 race was the first time we had entered and we were the first Australian car to finish, placing seventh overall. We completed the course in 43 hours last time so this year we’re aiming for under 40 hours and hopefully a top five finish,” she said.

Amy Gunnell and the Clenergy TeamArrow car. “We know it will be tough – some of the top international teams have budgets more than 10 times what we have. We are just a bunch of students and graduates who have built a car that can go really fast but is really efficient.”

Gunnell said the slog across Australia would see the team drive from 8am to 5pm with a cruising speed of about 85km/h.

“You have to be strategic and work out how much time to spend charging versus driving to get the optimal output,” she said. “Last time we had to stop and charge the car on the home straight to Adelaide and crossed the finish line with only enough juice to travel another 250 metres. Our biggest challenge last time was inexperience. We spent two hours on the side of the road after we blew a tyre and other teams would have fixed that in five minutes.

“But we feel better prepared – the car is running brilliantly and we have a great team.”

Aussie Supplier To Build Carbon Fibre Wheels For Shelby Mustangs

Ford and Carbon Revolution are providing a glimpse into what is possible for the Australian automotive industry as the Geelong-based innovator begins production of the world’s first mass-produced carbon fibre wheels for the Shelby GT350R performance car in North America. The project is an example of the work Ford is doing with about 63 suppliers who will continue operations beyond 2016, including 17 who now have earned new business with the company’s global operations.

”While many people believe the auto industry is closing in Australia, Ford is actually investing $300 million in R&D in Australia this year alone – and our partnership with Carbon Revolution is an example of what can happen as we continue to innovate here,” according to Ford President and CEO, Graeme Whickman. â€œAs we move to a new phase in the Australian automotive landscape, enabling our supplier network to grasp new technology opportunities will be good for Australia, including our existing manufacturing team members who are seeking new opportunities and those tertiary students wishing to have a career in the auto industry.”

Ford has been working for around 18 months to ensure its employees are able to transition to the next phase of their lives through several Geelong supplier fairs, providing a $10 million contribution to the Federal and Victorian Governments’ Geelong Region and Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Funds. Carbon Revolution was a recipient of the investment and innovation fund and now employs several former Ford workers at its Waurn Ponds plant in Geelong.

“Geelong will continue to be important for the auto industry as we shift to a business model that is based on ideas and innovation more than hands-on work,” Whickman said. “This type of development shows that there is potential for the ongoing sustainment of a high-tech supplier industry here in Victoria.”

By the end of 2017, Ford expects to become the country’s largest auto employer with around 1,500 highly skilled employees across professions such as engineering and design.

Ford engaged Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus research centre to accelerate already aggressive research and development of advanced light-weight materials for lighter, more efficient mainstream vehicles that also maintain leading safety and quality.

“Consumers today want better fuel efficiency, but they also want more technology and features in the car, which usually adds weight to the vehicle,” said Dave French, director, Asia-Pacific Vehicle Programs. “A focus on light-weighting will be fundamental to our industry for years to come, and we are investigating many advanced materials applications as possible solutions for weight reduction in our vehicles.”

Ford and Deakin researchers have been focusing on the key challenge of manufacturing carbon fibre more affordably for mainstream vehicle production. The research focuses mainly on reducing energy costs whilst increasing production throughput. Energy represents up to 20 per cent of the cost of producing carbon fibre. Ford and Deakin University have a long history of collaboration dating back to the early 1990s beginning with work around technology management and training of company employees.

The university established the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) in 2012 to address some of the major challenges facing society through innovations in materials science, design and performance. In 2014, Deakin University established Carbon Nexus, a globally unique carbon fibre and composites research facility, to specifically focus on carbon fibre and composites research.

Supported by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments, the AUD $34 million Carbon Nexus facility located at the Waurn Ponds campus of the University has two carbon fibre processing lines, one of which can manufacture various types of industrially relevant quantities of carbon fibre up to aerospace grade. Scientists also are conducting research into the chemical, mechanical and nano-scale characteristics of the carbon fibre materials produced on-site.

In 2014, Ford approved several university research project grants with Deakin enabling the company to draw on IFM’s research capability, along with the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) and other relevant areas of expertise within the university.

World’s Largest Fuel Cell Plant In South Korea

Fuel cells are often mentioned in the context of hydrogen-powered cars, but they can also be used to power homes. The world’s largest fuel cell power plant in South Korea’s Hwaseong city is home to what could be the next best source of renewable energy. Just an hour’s drive south of Seoul lies Gyunggi Green Energy producing 440 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Each 2.8 MW fuel cell takes up the space of one basketball court each. And 21 of them produce enough electricity to power 135,000 households in Hwaseong city.
Fuel cells produce electricity through the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Nothing gets burned, which means only steam comes out of the chimneys, making the plant ideal for locations closer to densely populated cities. And unlike other renewable energy sources, they can run 24/7, 365 days a year, unaffected by the weather. POSCO Energy, South Korea’s largest private energy producer, partially-owns and operates the energy park. The company’s invested significant resources into developing the technology, and later this year, it will become the first South Korean company to fully localise the manufacturing process of fuel-cells, a project that is worth more than 86 million US dollars. “The global market size of the fuel cell is from 5 billion to 15 billion US dollars per year. I think may be Korea is the only country who is intensively supporting fuel cell technology. Once fuel cell power plants and technology gets more familiarized throughout this country, we foresee this technology can be evaluated in a different level,” said Vincent Ghim, team leader of Fuel Cell Business Division of Posco Energy.
Experts agree that fuel cells can be an eco-friendly alternative. “So far, natural gas has been used as a fuel to generate electricity. But it’s also possible to use bio-gas from waste to run fuel cell plants. So, this is a great solution to solve two challenges: energy and environmental protection,” said Professor Kim Kyung-Nam, Green School of Korea University.
By the year 2035, South Korea hopes to produce 11 per cent of its power using new and renewable energy sources, and experts hope fuel cells could play a pivotal role in meeting that target.

Study Confirms Effectiveness Of Autonomous Emergency Braking

Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate, ANCAP, announced findings of a study into the effectiveness of low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in reducing rear-end crashes. Findings from the research project jointly commissioned by ANCAP, the Department of Infrastructure & Regional Development and ANCAP’s sister organisation, Euro NCAP:

    -Revealed low-speed AEB technology lead to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes; and
    -Concluded that low-speed AEB needed widespread fitment for maximum benefits.

AEB is one of the more promising safety assist technologies that is becoming available on new cars – more commonly overseas than in Australia and New Zealand. The low-speed version – referred to by ANCAP as”AEB (City)” – usually consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30km/h or 50km/h. “Previous studies have predicted significant benefits from AEB technology in low-speed rear-end crashes and current research is now demonstrating its effectiveness,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Clarke. “ANCAP and the Department, together with Euro NCAP, established an expert group of representatives across governments, industry, consumer and insurance organisations to determine the effectiveness of AEB in reducing real-world crashes.”

Data from five European countries and Australia was used with the findings showing a 38% overall reduction in real-world, rear-end crashes for vehicles fitted with low-speed AEB compared to a sample of equivalent vehicles without AEB technology. “These findings strongly support ANCAP’s push to have manufacturers fit AEB as standard across all new cars,” said Clarke. ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government, Australian state and territory governments, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation.

First 40 Ton Electric Truck For Transport On City Roads

The BMW Group is partnering with logistics company SCHERM Group to deploy a 40-ton pure-electric truck in the city this summer and become the first motor vehicle manufacturer in Germany to use an electric truck of this size to transport materials on public roads. The innovative traction vehicle, which is licensed for use on public roads, will be deployed as of this summer for just-in-time material transport over short distances. The electric truck will drive between the logistics company SCHERM Group and the BMW Group Plant Munich eight times a day, covering a distance of almost two kilometres one-way. Thanks to its alternative drive train, the truck is quiet, CO2-free in traffic and generates virtually no particle pollution for the environment. This is also reflected in the vehicle’s overall assessment in comparison with a truck with diesel engine: The environmentally friendly truck will generate 11.8 tons less CO2 per year – equivalent to a BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics driving almost three times around the world.

“Just under two years ago, our BMW i brand put sustainable mobility on the road. This pure electric truck signals that we are constantly working on innovative solutions and tackling logistics challenges,” says Hermann Bohrer, director of BMW Group Plant Munich. “We are therefore delighted with the cooperation with SCHERM.” The BMW Group and SCHERM Group are investing a six-figure amount in the pilot project, which will initially span one year. If the vehicle proves itself in everyday driving conditions, both partners will seek to expand the project. â€œAfter a long search, we have found an electro-mobility solution for the transport sector,” explains Rainer Zoellner, “e-truck” project manager at SCHERM Group. “We are certain to gain valuable experience with the BMW Group from this pilot project.”

The BMW Group pursues a holistic approach focused on implementing sustainability throughout the value chain. In addition to future-oriented mobility solutions, issues such as corporate environmental protection, efficient use of resources and reduction of CO2 emissions are firmly rooted in company strategy. Since 2014, the BMW Group has sourced more than half its global electricity needs from renewables. SCHERM Group is an international systems provider offering solutions for the logistics, transport, real estate and service sectors. As a provider of services for the entire value chain, the company employs a workforce of around 2,000 employees at 14 locations and on a mobile basis in around 500 company-owned trucks. Sustainability is an important factor the company has defined as a fundamental value.

Audi Plant Use Robots To Move Cars

Audi is testing systems for the intelligent factory of the future. In a pilot phase at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt that started in February, two robots independently transport cars from production to an interim storage area. From there, they later place the sorted Audi models into position according to their shipping destinations, so that logistics employees can load them onto railway wagons. Audi is now preparing the first industrial application. The company is also examining additional areas of application for such robots. â€œThe autonomous transport of our automobiles could allow us to eliminate long walking distances for our employees and to improve the ergonomics of their work,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at AUDI AG.

“Systems like this also have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of our processes.”

The idea for the robots with the name “Ray” came from the Bavarian company Serva Transport Systems and gained a nomination for the German Founder Award already in 2013. Ray is freely movable and highly flexible. It consists of a frame six metres long and three metres wide which uses sensors to determine the position and dimensions of a car, and it then adjusts to it. The robot then carefully grips the wheels and lifts the car up to ten centimetres. Control software allocates a space where Ray then parks the car. In this way, automobiles up to 5.3 metres long can be quickly moved and temporarily stored in a space­-saving manner. As soon as a sufficient number of cars are available on the sorting level for a certain destination, the robot moves them into place for shipment.

The “Ray” robot is further proof of the brand with the four ring’s continued innovation in technology.

Human-Robot Cooperation In Audi’s Production Plants

At its main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, Audi has deployed a robot that works “hand-in-hand” with humans – for the first time ever – without a safety barrier and ideally adapted to the employees’ working cycles. It is the first human-robot cooperation at the Volkswagen Group to be applied in final assembly. For Dr. Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at AUDI AG, while human-robot cooperation opens up entirely new possibilities, he nevertheless doesn’t see a future of factories without people. â€œThe factory of the future will feature increasing interaction between man and machine. That allows us to automate routine operations and to optimise ergonomically unfavourable workplaces. â€œPeople will continue to make the decisions on production processes and our employees will continue to be essential for future-oriented, successful production,” Dr. Waltl said.

Peter Mosch, Chairman of the Group Works Council of AUDI AG, said, “We see the opportunities presented by the advancing interaction between man and machine. The decisive aspect for us is how this development is guided. We welcome it when it neither jeopardises jobs nor leads to people losing independence to machines.” For the employees of the A4/A5/Q5 assembly lines at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant, the new, direct cooperation between humans and robots is an enormous help. Until now, employees have had to bend over material boxes to take out the coolant expansion tanks which may seems like a simple task, but with frequent repetitions it can lead to back problems. From now on, the task will be taken over by a robot, known internally as “PART4you”. It works hand-in-hand with the Audi employees and is fitted with a camera and an integrated suction cup. This enables it to pick up the components from the boxes and to pass them to the assembly workers at the right time and in an ergonomically optimal position. â€œIn a production process with increasing diversity of model versions, PART4you provides the employees with important assistance.

It selects the correct component and holds it ready to be taken. This means that the employees no longer have to reach over long distances or bend down repeatedly,” said Johann Hegel, Head of Assembly Technology Development. â€œThe robot becomes an assembly assistant operating at the same speed as the assembly worker – and not the other way around. Thanks to a soft protective skin with integrated safety sensors, there is no danger to the employees.” Because PART4you fulfils the special safety precautions for cooperating robots, the intelligent system has received the required certificate from the employers’ liability insurance association. Since 2013, Audi employees in the A4 body shop in Ingolstadt have been working with the same type of robot equipped with an adhesive nozzle instead of a suction cup – but with fixed timing and without passing components. In the body shop, the robots support the employees by applying adhesive to bonded seams. Instead of applying the adhesive to the body parts themselves, the employees only have to put them in place and start the automatic procedure.

Audi is planning further applications of human-robot cooperation, also at its international production sites.

Cloud-Based Information Sharing For Road Conditions

Volvo Cars, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are working together on a project to enable cars to share information about conditions that relate to road friction (such as icy patches). The information will be shared through a cloud-based network – a revolutionary approach to improving traffic safety. And with the test fleet now expanding from about 50 cars to 1000 cars, the project is moving rapidly towards its goal of making the technology available to customers within a few years. â€œThe more information that can be shared on the road, the fewer surprises there are. And when you’re driving, surprises are what you most want to avoid,” says Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) at Volvo Cars. â€œIn light of that, we’ve developed a slippery-road alert, which notifies drivers about icy patches and contributes to making winter road maintenance more efficient. We’re also adding a hazard-light alert, which will tell drivers if another vehicle in the area has its hazard lights on. With these first two features, we have a great platform for developing additional safety features. This is just the beginning,” Erik Israelsson continues.

And the research project is getting closer to real-world implementation: with the technology in place, the testing and validation phase is now about to begin. In this phase, Volvo Cars will both expand the test fleet 20-fold and broaden the test area to include two big Scandinavian cities: Gothenburg and Oslo. Together, these measures will provide a more complete picture of how the system will work in real winter traffic conditions. The slippery-road alert also sends information about icy patches to road administrators as a complement to existing measurement stations along the road. The data can help road administrators and their contracted entrepreneurs to better plan and execute winter road maintenance and quickly address changed conditions.

In addition, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration will conduct an independent assessment of the system to identify additional uses for the data in aiding future winter road maintenance. Volvo Cars strategically invests in and initiates partnerships to create cloud-based solutions. The hazard-light and slippery-road alerts are the first safety features in the Volvo cloud. The development of sophisticated communication via the mobile network is part of the company’s aim to offer customers a fully connected experience.

“In the future we will have increased the exchange of vital information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and infrastructure,” says Erik Israelsson. “There is considerable potential in this area, including safer traffic, a more comfortable drive and improved traffic flow,” he adds. â€œThis will bring us closer to our safety vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. And it’s another way in which the ‘Designed around you’ philosophy improves the driving experience,” concludes Erik Israelsson.

Jaguar Land Rover New Bike Sense Research Preventing Accidents

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a range of new technologies that use colours, sounds and touch inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards and prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes. Sensors on the car will detect when another road user is approaching and identify it as bicycle or motorbike. Bike Sense will then make the driver aware of the potential hazard before the driver sees it. But rather than using a generic warning icon or sound, which takes time for the driver’s brain to process, Bike Sense uses lights and sounds that the driver will instinctively associate with the potential danger. To help the driver understand where the bike is in relation to their car, the audio system will make it sound as if a bicycle bell or motorbike horn is coming through the speaker nearest the bike, so the driver immediately understands the direction the cyclist is coming from.

If a bicycle or motorbike is coming up the road behind the car, Bike Sense will detect if it is overtaking or coming past the vehicle on the inside, and an air cushion inside the top of the car seat will extend to ‘tap’ the driver on the left or right shoulder. The idea is that the driver will then instinctively look over that shoulder to identify the potential hazard. As the cyclist gets closer to the car, a matrix of LED lights on the window sills, dashboard and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red as the bike approaches. The movement of these red and amber lights across these surfaces will also highlight the direction the bike is taking. Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Human beings have developed an instinctive awareness of danger over thousands of years. Certain colours like red and yellow will trigger an immediate response, while everyone recognises the sound of a bicycle bell. â€œBike Sense takes us beyond the current technologies of hazard indicators and icons in wing mirrors, to optimising the location of light, sound and touch to enhance this intuition. This creates warnings that allow a faster cognitive reaction as they engage the brain’s instinctive responses. If you see the dashboard glowing red in your peripheral vision, you will be drawn to it and understand straight away that another road user is approaching that part of your vehicle.” If a group of cyclists, motorbikes or pedestrians were moving around the car on a busy urban street, the system would intelligently prioritise the nearest hazards so the driver would not be overwhelmed or distracted with light or sound.

Bike Sense would also be able to identify hazards that the driver cannot see. If a pedestrian or cyclist is crossing the road, and they are obscured by a stationary vehicle for example, the car’s sensors will detect this and draw the driver’s attention to the hazard using directional light and sound. If the driver ignores the warnings and presses the accelerator, Bike Sense will make the accelerator pedal vibrate or feel stiff, so the driver instinctively knows not to move the car forwards until the hazard has been avoided.

Bike Sense will also help prevent vehicle doors being opened into the path of bikes when the vehicle is parked. Bike Sense would warn all passengers of an approaching cyclist, motorbike or car through sound and light inside the vehicle. If any passenger continues to open the door, the door handle will light up, vibrate and buzz to alert them to the danger. â€œBy engaging the instincts, Bike Sense has the potential to bridge the gap between the safety and hazard detection systems in the car and the driver and their passengers,” added Dr Epple.

“This could reduce the risk of accidents with all road users by increasing the speed of response and ensuring the correct action is taken to prevent an accident happening.”

Car-O-Liner Releases handEye Measuring App For Android

Car-O-Liner, a global provider of collision repair equipment to the automotive aftermarket, announced the availability of Car-O-Liner handEye for Android, a free software application compatible with the Car-O-Tronic Vision X3 wireless electronic measuring system and software. handEye is an innovative mobile solution that communicates with the PC via wireless network technology, thereby eliminating the need to move back and forth between the vehicle and computer screen.

What the software is showing on the PC screen is also visible on the Android Smart Phone, in real time. handEye offers complete control of the measuring process making measuring vehicles faster and easier than ever before.
Download the Android version through Google Play. handEye is also available for iOS and may be downloaded from the iTunes/Apple online store.