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.

Advanced Tyre Technology To Beat Fuel Price Hike

Toyo Tires says its latest high-tech tyre could cut the cost of family motoring through fuel savings of up to 5.5 per cent compared with a conventional car tyre. Toyo’s technical manager Steven Burke said independent testing showed the NanoEnergy 3 tyre would deliver fuel savings of up to $130 a year for a typical family six-cylinder sedan – or more than six times the yearly cost of recent fuel-excise increase. Burke said the tests also confirmed that equipping cars with the NanoEnergy 3 could result in enhanced safety, including shorter stopping distances, better road-holding and improved stability. He said NanoEnergy 3’s fuel savings will easily eclipse the higher fuel excise imposed on November 10, estimated by the federal government to add $21 a year to fuel bills. Analysis released by a major motoring body suggests twice-yearly fuel excise indexing will increase fuel costs significantly.

“Considering average weekly fuel costs for a late model six-cylinder family sedan at current fuel prices, NanoEnergy 3 can save families over $130 per annum, for those driving an average of 15,000km a year,” Burke said. “That’s nearly 90 litres of fuel over 800 kilometres of combined driving, per vehicle – that’s a free trip from Sydney to Melbourne.” Toyo’s technologically advanced NanoEnergy 3 mass market tyre offers the 5.5 per cent improvement in fuel saving through low rolling resistance coupled with minimal audio intrusion and an increased tread life. NanoEnergy 3 is available in sizes to suit over 50 per cent of all passenger cars sold in Australia. Toyo Tyre and Rubber Australia managing director and CEO Michael Rudd said the NanoEnergy 3 stands out by bringing performance capabilities to a lower rolling resistance tyre. “NanoEnergy 3 gives motorists the best of both worlds by reducing fuel costs, and exceeding levels of safety and performance set by regular tyres,” Rudd said.

“If you extrapolate the fuel saved over the long life of the tyre and further fuel excise increases, the NanoEnergy 3 offers Australians significant long and short term savings.” Using a popular current model V6 family sedan and specialised equipment, performance data was captured at Sydney Motor Sport Park by V8 Supercar driver Jonathan Webb and MOTOR magazine. Comparative fuel economy testing was undertaken by Australian Rally Championship driver Jack Monkhouse and MOTOR. Comparing NanoEnergy 3 with popular predecessor TEO Plus, MOTOR results confirmed NanoEnergy 3’s shorter wet and dry stopping distances, improved traction and road holding on wet and dry roads, and improved average times on a motorkhana circuit. Over the repeated fuel economy tests, test vehicles fitted with NanoEnergy 3 tyres used 5.5 per cent less fuel than those fitted with TEO Plus.

Toyo’s Advanced Tyre Operation Module (A.T.O.M) proprietary manufacturing technology emphasises precision engineering. “It achieves consistently tighter manufacturing tolerances, resulting in higher levels of uniformity, subsequently requiring less balance correction during fitting,” Burke said. “By engineering the rubber compound at a molecular level, Toyo has been able to achieve improvements for rolling resistance, grip levels and wear resistance. “These characteristics are difficult to achieve simultaneously without application of advanced new technologies and production techniques.”

New Cordless Hammer Drill from Snap-on Tools

With a longer running time and the same great performance, the CDRA8850H 1/2” 18V Lithium Cordless Hammer Drill from Snap-on Tools is sure to make technicians more productive and efficient in the workshop.
The sleek and sturdy hammer drill has been designed to maximise performance, with the new 4.0Ah lithium battery lasting 33 per cent longer than previous models.
“The Snap-on 8850H has the features to make it more productive and powerful than ever, so it works long and hard, all day,” said Adam Scott, Product Manager for Snap-on Tools Australia and New Zealand. “But it feels easy to use, thanks to the cushion grip and ergonomic design. It’s built tough, but it’s not tough on the user.”
Features and Benefits

  • • Equipped with 4.0Ah batteries for 33 per cent longer run time
  • • 1/2″ single sleeve steel chuck with carbide jaws
  • • Heavy duty gearing designed for metal drilling
  • • Over moulded ergonomic cushion grip absorbs vibration and reduces user fatigue
  • • Digital microprocessor controlled variable speed switch that maximises performance, runtime and durability
  • • 22 position clutch with two speed gearbox which provides torque control for the correct application
  • • Super bright one watt LED illuminates work area

• Stainless steel motor screen keeps debris out of motor to extend tool life.
For more information visit or call 1800 810 581.

Queensland University of Technology Leading In Panel Powered Technology

A car powered by its own body panels could soon be driving on our roads after a breakthrough in nanotechnology research by a QUT team.

Researchers have developed lightweight “supercapacitors” that can be combined with regular batteries to dramatically boost the power of an electric car.

The discovery was made by Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Jinzhang Liu, Professor Nunzio Motta and PhD researcher Marco Notarianni, from QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty – Institute for Future Environments, and PhD researcher Francesca Mirri and Professor Matteo Pasquali, from Rice University in Houston, in the United States.

The supercapacitors – a “sandwich” of electrolyte between two all-carbon electrodes – were made into a thin and extremely strong film with a high power density.

The film could be embedded in a car’s body panels, roof, doors, bonnet and floor – storing enough energy to turbocharge an electric car’s battery in just a few minutes.

The findings, published in the Journal of Power Sources and the Nanotechnology journal, mean a car partly powered by its own body panels could be a reality within five years, Mr Notarianni said.

“Vehicles need an extra energy spurt for acceleration, and this is where supercapacitors come in. They hold a limited amount of charge, but they are able to deliver it very quickly, making them the perfect complement to mass-storage batteries,” he said.

“Supercapacitors offer a high power output in a short time, meaning a faster acceleration rate of the car and a charging time of just a few minutes, compared to several hours for a standard electric car battery.”

Dr Liu said currently the “energy density” of a supercapacitor is lower than a standard lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery, but its “high power density”, or ability to release power in a short time, is “far beyond” a conventional battery.

“Supercapacitors are presently combined with standard Li-Ion batteries to power electric cars, with a substantial weight reduction and increase in performance,” he said.

“In the future, it is hoped the supercapacitor will be developed to store more energy than a Li-Ion battery while retaining the ability to release its energy up to 10 times faster – meaning the car could be entirely powered by the supercapacitors in its body panels.

“After one full charge this car should be able to run up to 500km – similar to a petrol-powered car and more than double the current limit of an electric car.”

Dr Liu said the technology would also potentially be used for rapid charges of other battery-powered devices.

“For example, by putting the film on the back of a smart phone to charge it extremely quickly,” he said.

The discovery may be a game-changer for the automotive industry, with significant impacts on financial, as well as environmental, factors.

“We are using cheap carbon materials to make supercapacitors and the price of industry scale production will be low,” Professor Motta said.

“The price of Li-Ion batteries cannot decrease a lot because the price of Lithium remains high. This technique does not rely on metals and other toxic materials either, so it is environmentally friendly if it needs to be disposed of.”

The researchers are part of QUT’s Battery Interest Group, a cross-faculty group that aims to engage industry with battery-related research.

Panel Powered Technology Expert develops better panels for body shops

Professor Nunzio Motta

Flying Car Prototype Makes Its Debut

A Slovakia-based company has managed to create a flying car.

According to Daily Mail, AeroMobil is a flying car that makes use of the existing infrastructure made for cars and planes. When in car configuration, the AeroMobil can fit into a regular parking space and also uses normal fuel from a service station.

The AeroMobil can fly 692km on a single tank of petrol and when its wings are folded down it fits into parking spaces. It can travel both on land as it is fully accustomed to traffic on the road and can take off and land at any airport worldwide. The current version AeroMobil 3 can seat both the driver and one passenger comfortably. The vehicle can reach up to 200km/h when in the air and 160km/h on the roads.

‘Our first model looked quite bizarre and it would have problems in the regular use.’ said Tatiana Veber, a spokesperson for AeroMobil.
‘That was a signal to improve the concept of the flying car in a way to become an integral part of the regular road traffic.

The wings fold into the back seat behind the driver when in car mode and while the design is still not perfect, AeroMobil third prototype will be shown to the world October 29th at the Pioneers Festival in Austria.

Audi Shows RS7 Piloted Driving Car

Audi takes the world’s sportiest piloted driving car to the starting line: A driverless Audi RS 7 Sportback will take a lap on the Hockenheim race track on Sunday, October 19, in the season finale of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).

The Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept car will tackle the Hockenheim track at racing speed. With the latest Audi developments on board, the technology platform will drive to its physical limits with millimetre-perfect precision. In the process, it will be approximately as fast as with a professional race car driver at the wheel.

Tests conducted so far indicate that on the Grand Prix track, a lap time of just over two minutes can be expected, and on this course, the technology platform should reach speeds of up to 240 km/h.

Using the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept car, Audi wants to show the great potential of piloted driving, which the premium carmaker is developing for the future.

The performance of the world’s sportiest piloted driving car will be broadcast live and exclusively on the Internet on October 19 starting at 9:45pm (AEDST) on Audi MediaTV.

BMW Home Charging Station For Electic And Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

With the BMW i Wallbox Pro – the second home charging station in the BMW i 360º ELECTRIC portfolio for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles – zero-emission electric mobility is set to become an even more attractive option. The BMW i Wallbox Pro offers a faster charging rate than the BMW i Wallbox Pure and even more user-friendly operation, as well as innovative options for vehicle charging with home-generated electricity and smart home integration. The BMW i Wallbox Pro is available as an Original BMW i Accessory. Optionally an installation service is also provided, which offers fitting and connection of the BMW Wallbox Pro in the customer’s home or garage by qualified experts.

With a charging rate of up to 7.4 kW, the BMW i Wallbox Pro supports very fast charging of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. In this case the high-voltage battery of the BMW i3 takes less than three hours for an 80% charge. The BMW i Wallbox Pro is also compatible with other makes of vehicle equipped with the European Type 2 standard connector.

The BMW i Wallbox features the familiar BMW i design and aesthetics. The front of the high-quality plastic housing has an anthracite special-effect finish with black detailing and chrome along with highlights in BMW i blue.

Reflecting the sustainable ethos of the BMW i brand, the BMW i Wallbox Pro is produced from environmentally friendly materials.

The BMW i Wallbox Pro is operated using a 7-inch colour touchscreen display, which offers optimised control and monitoring of the charging process and allows users to choose their own individual settings. The screen can show how much charge has been delivered to the vehicle so far, along with details of previous charging cycles. LED fibre-optic strips at the sides of the wallbox indicate the current charge status and are visible from a considerable distance.

Information about the charging status can also be remotely accessed from a smartphone or tablet by using the BMW i Wallbox Remote app.

The BMW i Wallbox Pro provides an administrator function that can keep a charging history for different users. Up to three user profiles can be set up, e.g. for accounting or billing purposes. For example, private and business-related electricity use can be recorded separately. Details of electricity consumption for a particular user account can also be forwarded by email if desired.

A proximity sensor activates the BMW i Wallbox Pro when motion is detected. The charging plug can be picked up and connected to the vehicle socket using just one hand. Further user-friendly features include the 3.5-metre charging cable. The cable’s entry point towards the top of the wallbox protects it from contamination and makes it unnecessary to coil the cable.

The BMW i Wallbox Pro’s integrated load management system delivers the maximum available current when charging. At the same time, overloading is prevented by reducing the charging rate as necessary during peaks in household power consumption. A clear readout on the touchscreen shows how much power is being drawn from the household electrical system at any given time.

Assisted by its intelligent charging functions and the optional energy meter, the BMW i Wallbox Pro is unique among home charging stations in the extent to which home-generated electricity can be integrated in the charging process – for example electricity from a home solar system. This option is used whenever possible. The intelligently integrated wallbox detects the availability of solar power and immediately uses it for charging. If no home-generated energy is available, power from the grid is used instead.

If the BMW i Wallbox Pro is integrated with a smart home system, the efficient charging functionality can be extended even further to reduce peak loads on the household electrical system and optimise the use of home-generated electricity. Via the touchscreen it is possible, for example, to connect the wallbox to the smart home system myGEKKO. Up to eight smart home functions can then be controlled from the wallbox display, including activation of outdoor lighting. It is also possible to display a weather report on the touchscreen, showing current temperatures, daily maximum and minimum temperatures, frost warnings and forecasts for the coming days.

The BMW i Wallbox Pro is an Original BMW i Accessory and is available in all European markets. At the end of the year it will also go on sale in markets in Asia, Africa, the American continent and the Middle East. The BMW i Wallbox Pro can be installed both in closed garages and in covered outdoor areas.