John DayJohn Day RSS
…http://www.sae.org/congress/ April 16-18 at Detroit’s Cobo Center I hope you’ll block out time for the session I’m coordinating, Automotive Electronics Design and Systems Reliability, at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 18, in room D0-07B.
This is the first time I’ve coordinated an SAE session or, for that matter, done anything at Convergence or an SAE World Congress other than interview exhibitors to learn more about automotive electronics technology.
The invitation to participate more directly resulted from a book I wrote, “Automotive E/E Reliability – Strategies for Keeping Pace in a Feature-Rich World,” published by the SAE. Papers had already been submitted by the time I got involved, and my only regret was not joining the session-planning team earlier. Volunteering to coordinate next year’s session on automotive electronics reliability should fix that.
I hope to see you on April 18. In the meantime, if you are involved in automotive electronics reliability, please consider submitting a paper for next year’s event.
Five papers will be presented on April 18:
- “Effective Voltage Sag Ride Through Using Ultracapacitor for Armored Fighting Vehicle Application – A case study,” presented by Prabhavathy Rajappan, from the Government of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO);
- “Robustness Testing of Real-Time Automotive Systems Using Sequence Covering Arrays,” presented by Gunwant Dhadyalla, a principal engineer at the University of Warwick;
- “Technical Challenges in Implementing New Electrical Features on Existing Vehicle Architecture,” presented by Ajinkya Chinchwadkar from GM’s Technical Center in India;
- “Adaptive Test System to Improve PCB Testing in the Automotive Industry,” presented by Heinz-Dietrich Wuttke from Ilmenau University of Technology, and
- “Robustness Modeling of Complex Systems – Application to the Initialisation of a Hybrid Electric Vehicle Propulsion System,” presented by Ross McMurran, Senior Manager, Hybrid Controls, Systems & Attributes at Jaguar Land-Rover.
Two written papers were contributed to the session:
- “Manufacturing Support Design for Low-Cost Instrument Clusters,” by Sreedhar Thanthry, Systems Engineer, Diesel Electronics at Delphi Diesel Systems, and
- “Impact of Electrical Transients on Functional Safety – A Special Case of Electrification of Conventional Vehicle Platforms,” by Sreegururaj Jayachander, a manager at Mahindra & Mahindra, Ltd.
Tags: automotive E/E reliability, automotive electronics technology, Cobo Center, Convergence, Delphi Diesel Systems, GM technical center, Ilmenau University of Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., SAE World Congress, University of Warwick
It isn’t every day that a company can take a huge growth step, but AMP Electric Vehicles took one last week when it announced its agreement to acquire the Workhorse® brand, logo, IP, patents, assembly plant, and nationwide network of 440 dealers from Workhorse Custom Chassis, LLC, a wholly owned affiliate of Navistar International Corporation.
When I last tuned in, AMP was competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a $10 million competition with the goal of achieving 100 MPGe (miles per gallon or its energy equivalent). AMP didn’t win, but it did make the finals with an all-electric Saturn Sky, which AMP chief executive officer Steve Burns said was the only production vehicle in the final round of competition.
Since then AMP shifted its focus from passenger vehicle conversions to delivery trucks, where Burns says the electric vehicle revolution may well start. AMP has been re-powering fleet vehicles including medium-duty class 3-6 trucks and vans, but it lacked a major manufacturing facility comparable to the former Workhorse Custom Chassis plant in Union City, Indiana.
The Workhorse acquisition will position AMP to become the first truck OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in the United States to offer a range of alternative fuel vehicles produced in an automated assembly plant. “There aren’t many of those OEMs, and the opportunity to become one doesn’t come along very often,” said Burns. AMP’s vehicles will be sold and supported through the existing Workhorse dealer network.
AMP will manufacture gasoline-powered delivery trucks and layer-in electric and hybrid technologies, including the first all-electric integrated truck, with chassis and powertrain manufactured in one assembly line. “We want to be the leading alternative energy truck company, and we’re starting with a clean slate, a proven chassis, and years of experience in electric and hybrid vehicle technology.”
There is an obvious difference between a driver’s conscious decision to cross a lane marker – to avoid an obstacle on an otherwise clear road, for example – and an unintentional swerving caused by a driver not paying sufficient attention. Can or should a car’s ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) respond differently to either situation? Continental Automotive believes the answer is yes.
Continental developed a Driver Focus vehicle equipped with active safety features including:
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) – a camera-based system designed to detect when a driver is veering out of their lane;
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Takeover – a forward-looking radar-based system activated to keep a desired time gap between vehicles, and
- Forward Collision Warning – a forward-looking sensor-based safety technology.
Besides those, the car has an infrared (IR) camera in the steering column that monitors the driver’s face for eye and head movements to detect where the driver is looking. The car “knows” whether or not the driver sees a dangerous situation or is distracted.
HALO – a 360-degree LED light strip
And then there is Halo, a 360-degree LED light strip inside the car that is integrated with both the interior IR camera and the ADAS technologies. If the IR driver analyzer camera detects that the driver is looking away from the road while approaching a potential traffic hazard the Halo will be activated, creating a light trail that brings the driver’s eyes back where they belong.
Situation-dependent light signals guide the driver’s line of vision toward the source of danger. Warnings and ADAS activation are directly tailored to the driving situation and the driver’s state of attention.
So the LDW will alert only if the driver is not paying attention to the traffic situation. Continental believes that eliminating unnecessary alerts has the potential to minimize additional driver distractions while maintaining overall trust in the LDW alerts.
The ACC Takeover often includes a visual alert in the front of the interior but if the driver is looking to the left, right, or rear, the alert may be missed. The Driver Focus vehicle illuminates all 360 degrees of the Halo for an ACC Takeover.
A forward collision warning can be minimized or suppressed If the driver is paying attention or initiated early on if not.
“Human error is the single cause for about 80 percent of traffic accidents. Among these, driver distraction is a serious issue and plays a major role,” says Dr. Ralf Cramer, executive board member and president of Continental’s Chassis & Safety division.
“The integration of surrounding and in-cabin safety technologies gives us the ability to create a very real relationship between the driver, the vehicle and the environment,” adds Helmut Matschi, executive board member and president of Continental’s Interior Division. “With the Driver Focus vehicle technology we are for the first time able to communicate to the driver based on both the driving situation and in relation to his ability to react at this point in time. It represents the ultimate in HMI, delivering the integration of technology, information and safety systems in a way that supports and assists the driver toward a safer and more enjoyable experience.”
Tags: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Takeover, ADAS (advanced driver assistance system), Continental Automotive, distracted driving, forward collision warning, infrared (IR) camera, Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
You might think that a wireless phone company would be well-equipped to create exciting new ways for customers to use their smartphones in cars, but that’s not the direction Verizon and its wholly owned subsidiary Hughes Telematics are taking.
“The smartphone has a place, but the driver will have a better, richer experience with systems embedded in the vehicle,” says Thom Russell, associate director, Telematics Marketing and Business Development for Verizon.
“The best driver experience is ‘hands on the wheel and eyes on the road,’” Russell says. “There are things that can be done with a smartphone but also a number of things that shouldn’t be done – that are better done by integrating with the head unit to provide a seamless connected experience with safe operation of the vehicle.”
Russell notes that texting while driving is a huge social issue for both the automotive and the wireless industry says it’s an issue that Verizon is addressing. “We are not going to create new solutions on smartphones to replace what should be done by the automaker with an embedded system – especially anything having to do with interacting with a mobile device. Hughes’ expertise puts us in a position to develop well-thought-out embedded apps.”
Hughes is the developer of Mercedes-Benz mbrace telematics system. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Verizon and Hughes touted mbrace 2, introduced at CES last year. The revised system features a new control module; 3G network connectivity; Internet apps such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp!; remote access capabilities including Route2Benz and Remote Horn & Lights; Family Driver Monitoring (Driving Journal, Travel Zones and Speed Alert), and over-the-air updating. It also leverages Delphi’s cloud-based Vehicle Diagnostics connectivity service, which lets consumers monitor their vehicles from a smartphone or browser.
To those telematics chops Verizon adds its own experience with GM’s OnStar and interaction with BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota in the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars it formed last summer, plus its global reach to more than 200 countries. “Hughes offers a generic telematics service that can be customized. Verizon adds device management, billing and other services that automakers can manage, or we can manage for them,” Russell says.
Tags: 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars, BMW, Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Delphi, Honda, Hughes Telematics, Hyundai, Kia, mbrace2, Mercedes-Benz, OnStar, telematics, Toyota, vehicle diagnostics connectivity service
You may have read the back and forth exchanges between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and New York Times reporter John M. Broder following Broder’s report of a difficult road trip in a Tesla Model S electric vehicle (Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electronic Highway) from suburban Washington D.C. along Interstate 95 to Connecticut.
Broder wrote that while driving toward Tesla’s 480-volt Supercharger station in Milford, Connecticut, he turned the car’s climate control to low and drove 11 miles per-hour below the posted speed limit. After charging in Milford he drove to Groton, Connecticut, where he spent the night. By the next morning, according to the article, the car’s range had dropped significantly. The car ran out of juice, shut down, and had to be loaded onto a flatbed truck and driven back to the Milford charging station.
In a blog post (A Most Peculiar Test Drive), Musk charged that Broder “simply did not accurately capture what happened and worked very hard to force our car to stop running.” Musk posted data logs to back up his critique. “To date, he wrote, “…hundreds of journalists have test driven the Model S in every scenario you can imagine.”
It’s likely that the decision to buy a Tesla or not has more to do with budget and intangible factors than with range anxiety but the Times review and Tesla’s response draws attention to electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The major challenge to mass market adoption of electric vehicles is in continual improvements in weight, cost and energy storage capability of the batteries, according to Erik Spek, a chief engineer for battery testing at TÜV SÜD, the global testing and certification company.
Customer needs related to batteries include:
- Stored energy to travel a long distance before refilling
- Power to accelerate and recharge quickly
- Cost of acquisition, operation and recycling
“Electric vehicles are not for everyone yet but they can already serve urban citizens and two car families,” Spek says. “Half of the world’s population lives in cities, and if you also consider that U.S. daily travel averages 40 miles per trip, it becomes clear that range is not an issue for increased market penetration in those applications. That leaves cost and safety as the main battery technology challenges and charging logistics as the electrical infrastructure challenge.”
Spek notes that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has collaborated with industry players to develop a roadmap to ensure an effective set of standards for electric vehicles and associated support requirements. “Similarly, because of its exposure to many different technologies, the battery testing industry sees trends that are encouraging,” he says.
“As an industry, it would be beneficial to demonstrate electric vehicles’ benefits and the way they meet certain customers’ needs, rather than complaining that electric vehicles have not reached expectations for every customer.”
Last week I had the opportunity to experience Visteon’s e-Bee concept car (http://e-bee.visteon.com), which is based on a Nissan Leaf but has a remarkably different interior – one much roomier than I’m used to.
The car is Visteon’s take on what a car might look, feel, and act like in 2020, by which time Visteon expects that car sharing and short-term rentals will be more common than they are today. Especially in those circumstances Visteon sees benefit in user profiles – HMI colors and layout – stored in the cloud so the car will be familiar and intuitive for each user.
Credit the roomy interior in part at least to a climate module that combines the HVAC system with the refrigerant system. It’s placed outside the cabin. Airbags are positioned in the headliner. Each occupant has access to a door-mounted module for controlling individual climate zones, and also to a personal headrest-mounted audio system. Audio content can be played from a Bluetooth® device set in a wireless charging bay in the door.
The driver interface includes a head-up display for basic information, a good-sized head-down display for navigation or other trip-related material, and two smaller touch screens on either side of the steering wheel; one dedicated to car data and the other to infotainment. In lieu of a rear window Visteon’s e-Bee has a 180-degree panamorphic rear-view camera.
A narrow band of LED lights encircles the interior. Visteon’s thought is that myriad warnings about potentially dangerous driving behaviors may create potential for confusion or annoyance. It’s conceivable that over time drivers may tend to pay less attention to warnings than a specific situation warrants. In such circumstances the LED lights can create a hard-to-miss “shooting star” effect to focus a driver’s attention.
There is more, of course. Cars based on the e-Bee concept can be personalized for geographic regions (different display types and storage options) and for individual owners with various physical app accessories. The HVAC system includes a cooled shopping box in the trunk as well as a “gentle air diffusion” feature, a cluster ion generator and a fragrance auto diffusion system.
The future will be here before we know it.
Are red light cameras a positive step toward reducing traffic accidents or are they a threat to personal liberty and simply a moneymaker for the communities that install them?
Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that red light running rates declined at Arlington, Virginia intersections equipped with cameras. The decreases were particularly large for the most dangerous violations, those happening 1-1/2 seconds or longer after the light turned red.
Cameras were installed at four heavily traveled intersections in June 2010. Following a 30-day warning period, the county began issuing citations carrying $50 fines for violations caught on camera. Researchers at the Institute, which is located in Arlington, videotaped traffic during the warning period, a month after ticketing began and again after a year. Videotaping was also done at four other intersections in Arlington — two on the same corridors where cameras were located and two elsewhere — to see if there was any spillover effect from the cameras. Four control intersections in neighboring Fairfax County, which does not have a camera program, were also observed.
One year after the start of ticketing, the odds of a red light running violation at the camera locations went down. Violations occurring at least 0.5 seconds after the light turned red were 39 percent less likely than would have been expected without cameras. Violations occurring at least 1 second after were 48 percent less likely, and the odds of a violation occurring at least 1.5 seconds into the red phase fell 86 percent.
“This study provides fresh evidence that automated enforcement can get drivers to modify their behavior,” says Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at IIHS and the study’s lead author.
Study after study shows that the devices improve safety, according to the IIHS. An 2011 IIHS study of large cities with longstanding red light cameras found that cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate by 24 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17 percent.
“What these numbers show is that those violations most likely to lead to a crash are reduced the most,” McCartt says. “The longer the light has been red when a violator enters an intersection, the more likely the driver is to encounter a vehicle traveling in another direction or a pedestrian.”
The National Motorists Association (www.motorists.org) believes that with properly posted speed limits and properly installed traffic-control devices, there is no need for ticket cameras. In fact, according to the association’s Red Light Camera Fact Sheet (http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/rlc-fact-sheet.pdf), the devices can actually make roads less safe.
Among other objections cited in the fact sheet, “…there is no ‘accuser’ for motorists to confront, which is a constitutional right. There is no one that can personally testify to the circumstances of the alleged violation, and just because a camera unit was operating properly when it was set up does not mean it was operating properly when the picture was taken of any given vehicle.”
About John Day
News and commentary on automotive EE trends and topics
- Estimating wiring harness costs in seconds
- A pickup truck with park assist and a lot more
- If you’re in Europe this summer
- Okay, next time I buy a car…
- A ground floor opportunity in mobile technology
- Three ways to play the apps game
- May 2013 (2)
- April 2013 (5)
- March 2013 (5)
- February 2013 (5)
- January 2013 (5)
- December 2012 (5)
- November 2012 (5)
- October 2012 (5)
- September 2012 (6)
- August 2012 (4)
- July 2012 (5)
- June 2012 (5)
- May 2012 (5)
- April 2012 (5)
- March 2012 (5)
- February 2012 (5)
- January 2012 (5)
- December 2011 (5)
- November 2011 (5)
- October 2011 (5)
- September 2011 (5)
- August 2011 (5)
- July 2011 (5)
- June 2011 (5)
- May 2011 (5)
- April 2011 (5)
- March 2011 (5)
- February 2011 (5)
- January 2011 (5)
- December 2010 (5)
- November 2010 (5)
- October 2010 (5)
- September 2010 (5)
- August 2010 (5)
- July 2010 (5)
- June 2010 (5)
- May 2010 (5)
- April 2010 (5)
- March 2010 (5)
- February 2010 (7)
- January 2010 (7)
- December 2009 (5)
- November 2009 (6)
- October 2009 (6)
- September 2009 (4)