Gopal Singh Rathore

This is Gopal Singh Rathore. I have done my B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from VIT University, Vellore. I am an auto enthusiast and remain curious to learn about automobiles. I have participated in BAJA SAE INDIA in 2012 and 2013 where I was involved in a team from my college for making an off-road vehicle. I was in the suspension department of the team. I love writing about automobiles and is always curious to learn about them at anytime.

Increasing Hyundai Recalls in United States

Everyone is aware of the General Motors recall of around 1.5 million vehicles due to the faulty ignition switches which can shut off the engine at any time and the vehicle can end up in a crash. Even reports of several deaths across the United States were received due  to the fault switches. Now its Hyundai, which has recalled its various models which includes Sonata sedans, Santa Fe Crossover and Veracruz SUV’s.

All these recalls are made for several issues which involves defective transmission shift cable, corrosion of suspension springs, oil leakage from engine and brake problems. All these things are related to the safety aspect of the passengers driving the vehicle. It is good to know that Hyundai has not received any report of crash accidents happened due to the malfunction in the above mentioned systems.  Recall will ensure that all the issues in the vehicles will be solved at the dealerships with no cost form the customer. Now, we will look at various Hyundai vehicles which are recalled and the issues reported in them.

8,83,000 SONATA SEDANS RECALLED FOR TRANSMISSION ISSUES:

Hyundai has recalled about 8, 83, 000 mid-sized sonata sedans due to problems with the the transmission shift cable. The vehicles manufactured from 2011 to 2014 will be inspected and repaired at the dealerships. As per U.S safety regulators, the transmission shift cable might get detached from the shift lever and thus would not provide the gear given by the driver and which might result in improper handling of the vehicle and finally to a fatal crash.

A driver can select the park position but as the gears are not matching, the vehicle might just roll down. According to NHTSA( National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), around 8,80,000 vehicles were sold in United States and rest in Puerto Rico. Hyundai is notifying all the affected vehicle customers through e-mail.

Hyundai Sonata recall
Hyundai Sonata (Source: yahoo.com)

1,33,075 SONATA RECALLED FOR BRAKE LINE ISSUES:

About 1, 33, 075 Sonata Sedans manufactured between December 11, 2009 to September,1  2010 are recalled by Hyundai for problems in the brake lines. There are chances of brake fluid leakage from the brake lines connected from the master cylinder to the Hydraulic Electronic control unit due to insufficient sealing. Brake fluid leakage will result in longer stopping distance and would raise the safety concern of the passengers. Brake hoses will be replaced by a new part free of cost.

2, 25, 000 SANTA FE CROSSOVER SUV’S RECALLED FOR COIL SPRINGS REPAIR:

According to NHTSA, Hyundai has recalled 2,25, 000 Santa FE Crossover SUV’s from the 21 salt belt states. The models manufactured from 2001-2006 are being recalled. Road salt which is used in winter can lead to the corrosion of the front suspension coil springs and finally break them. Broken springs can lead to tire puncture which might cause a fatal crash. The vehicles are being recalled from various districts like Columbia, Indiana , Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New jersey, Ohio etc.  Hyundai will be notifying the customers and the coil springs will be replaced at free of cost. The recall is expected to start by September 2014 ending.

Hyundai Santa Fe recall
Hyundai Santa Fe (Source: google.com)

61,222 VERACRUZ RECALLED FOR OIL LEAKAGE:

Veracruz manufactured from December 26, 2012 -July 24, 2012 are being recalled by Hyundai due to oil leakage from the engine cylinder head. If oil gets dropped on the alternator, operation of the charging system might become non-operational. This would resulting in loss of power from the engine and finally the vehicle would stop down. The trailing drivers might get panicked by the sudden slowing down of the vehicle.

Hyundai Vercaruz recall
Hyundai Vercaruz (Source: yahoo.com)

BOTTOM LINE:

All the above mentioned recalls are majorly associated with the safety of all the occupants in the vehicle. It is important that the issues are found out very early and thus avoiding any fatal accidents. There has been huge number of recent recalls in United States with the General Motors recall being the most talked about. General Motors was also fined for the same. In India, also there have been recalls by Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, Ford India etc.

The recall policies are being examined by the transport ministry. Also there are possibilities of strict norm against the recall by the vehicle manufacturers. The vehicle manufacturers need to take appropriate steps in order to avoid such recalls. This can be done at the early stage of the complete vehicle validation and testing. They can also approach customers who are the final users of the vehicle. Addressing of their issue through dealers help them identify the problems which might be region specific, part specific etc. In short they can obtain the details regarding any continuous faults being faced in the vehicle. NO recall will ensure higher levels of automotive safety from the manufacturers point of view and will certainly help in avoiding fatal accidents.

Air Car’s to hit the roads in 2015 !

Everyone knows the iPod, but do you know about AirPod ?

Growing environmental degradation day by day, has led to the development of green technologies for keeping the mother Earth alive and also making it safer for the generations to come. Automobiles contribute the maximum share of pollution and thus there is a serious need of coming up with clean, safe and efficient technologies. The presence of limited amount of petrol and diesel is making the global automotive industry to think on alternative fuels.

One such concept named ” One CAT Air Car was shown at the New York Motor show in 2008. It was proposed by Motor development International (MDI) , a French Company founded by Guy Negre.  As the name suggests,unlike conventional cars , this vehicle is driven by compressed air. In petrol and diesel engines, on combustion the chemical energy of the fuel is converted into the mechanical energy.Thus, it is the energy from the fuel that drives the piston of the engine. However,  in Air Car the energy of the compressed air is used to drive the engine.

CONCEPT OF AIR CAR:

MDI AirPod AIR CAR
MDI AirPod at Geneva Motor Show, 2009 (Source: wikipedia.org)

Air Car has a compressed air engine which works on the basic principle of using the energy available from compressed air. The compressed air is stored in high pressure tanks or cylinders installed on the vehicle. The cylinders are filled by plugging the compressor for generating high pressure air. The high pressure air drives the piston which result in the rotation of crankshaft and further the power is transferred to the wheels..

The filling of air is similar to the charging of the electric batteries in electric vehicles. This takes time of around two hours for complete filling and can be avoided by installing the compressor in the vehicle itself with a penalty of its weight.The MDI Air Car fills about 90 kg of high pressure air and can give speeds upto 56 kmph . For attaining higher speeds upto 80 kmph, a motor will start the compressor for producing more high pressure air. Pre-heating of the air using for engine drive, increases energy density of air and produces more power.In order to accelerate, a valve is positioned in the cylinder and during accelerator press, the valve allows more amount of air to go into the cylinder for producing more power.

MDI AirPod Engine Bay
MDI AirPod Engine (Source: howstuffworks.com)

On comparison , the amount of energy available in one kg of air and one kg of conventional fuel like petrol or diesel, the air has very less energy. Keeping this in mind , the weight of the vehicle plays an important role . Thus, MDI initially came up with a single seater concept suitable for urban driving. MDI has many range of products to be run by Compressed air, some of which includes the Ai rMulti-Bus (Urban Transport), AirVan (Transport Utilities),Air Transcontainer and AirBom (Waste Collection).

Pros:

The major advantage of Air Car is that the vehicle produces no pollution. The only source of pollution can be during usage of compressor for producing high pressure air and that could also be removed by using in-built solar panels for providing electricity to the compressor. The cost of air is very less when compared to the prices of petrol and diesel which are increasing day by day. Air being an abundant source such vehicles can be significantly effective. The vehicles are every light with aluminum chassis and keeping the weight to be around 900 kg. The small vehicles being compact can easily maneuver and will cause less traffic in the city. The vehicle can be easy parked in very small spaces.

Cons:

The disadvantage of Air Car is that it might not be used for long drives. It is due to the less availability of compressed air pumps and thus would be beneficial to go for urban drives only for initial stages. The prototype has shown to be driven for 120 miles in one complete filling of cylinders. If the vehicle proves out to be more efficient and fruitful, there are strong possibilities for increasing high pressure compressed air pumps.

MDI AirPod at Parking
MDI AirPod in Parking (Source: www.mdi.lu)

In their latest release , MDI( has come up with a prototype of AirPod and is optimized for parking in the city. The doors on the flanks are removed and can be easily parked perpendicularly to the pavement. They have also introduced joy stick for driving in the AirPod and the vehicle is extremely light.

BOTTOM LINE:

In India, TATA Motors will likely go for the production of Air Car. The compressed engines designed and developed by MDI will be integrated in to the TATA Motors vehicles. TATA Motors Air Car is yet to be produced. Major automobile makers are keeping their eye on compressed air vehicle. The market can be understood only after the customer response for the first models of Air Car. Zero Pollution Motors will be producing the AirPod vehicle of MDI and will be on sale by 2nd half of 2015.

Continental’s Head-up display technologies is a boon for drivers

During driving, in order to read information available on the dashboard the driver takes it eyes off the road. In situations of rush hour traffic, this causes an anxiety, overload and finally he compromises for safety. Thus all the information should be available in the line of sight of the driver. This method of display is known as “Head-up display“(HUD).

WINDSHIELD HEAD-UP DISPLAY:

Head-up display comfort
WINDSHIELD HEAD-UP DISPLAY

 

In windshield head up display, a floating image over the hood is seen. HUD helps avoiding driver distraction and makes driving safe.  Drivers get the necessary information like indicator signals, speed without looking on the dashboard display. The driver feels in control of the vehicle and can respond to critical situations faster. Few examples like speed limit can be displayed on HUD and the driver can be warned for crossing it, adaptive cruise control will allow the driver to see on HUD, the distance from the car ahead and in case of violation warning can be shown on HUD. Also the display can be customized in terms of brightness, contrast, configuration of required information and thus provides flexibility to the driver. Navigation can be coupled with HUD and will provide a convenient way of following the directions. All these information on HUD results in a safe driving environment. HUD’s are available in Audi A6/A7 series, BMW 3 series and Mercedes Benz C-class and are manufactured in a precise environment in Germany.

Head-up display
HUD FOR AUDI A6 and A7

 

AUGMENTED(Virtual) HEAD-UP DISPLAY:

Continental has come up with a prototype of its evolutionary Head-up Display technology named “Augmented reality head-up display”. The motto of this technology is: Seeing is Understanding ie. whatever the driver sees from the display can be directly converted into functionality. The Augmented Head-up vehicles will be seen in vehicles from 2017.It is much more advanced and driver friendly when compared to the windshield HUD. In this, all the information  are displayed in such a way that it makes itself a part of driving. During driving, the information gets reflected on the exterior traffic view. For example when Adaptive cruise control(ACC) is active, the vehicle detected for safer distance can be detected on HUD. Thus all of the information is self- explanatory and makes the driver much more comfortable, relaxed and even tackling critical situations in a better manner. Initially HUD was made for better human ergonomics and now with this technology it has come to a new level of human interaction.

The technology involves insertions of color graphics on to the real road view at 130 cm and 60 cm high section of the driver’s vision. It is due to the use of digital micro-mirror device technology ( which is also found in a digital movie projector ). In the continental demo vehicle three major things were considered. First, the AR-HUD helps the driver to come out of danger in case of getting out of lanes. It supports Adaptive cruise control (ACC) and a crescent shape marking is observed on the road view over the detected vehicle for safe distance. The navigation information helps driver to know which turn needs to be taken without looking for the real world. All the mentioned methods develop trust in the driver for its vehicle and goes to a new level of human interaction with the vehicle.

CONTINENTAL AR-HUD
AUGMENTED REALITY HEAD-UP DISPLAY

It is not at all easy to show all the required information on the road view display. It requires knowledge in various automotive domains. After all data collection from vehicle dynamics, camera images and sensors, the control unit models the real road view display for the driver, thus it basically shows the complexity of the system and would be of great help in modelling of such systems for driver less cars.

COMBINER HEAD-UP DISPLAY:

combiner hud
COMBINER HEAD-UP DISPLAY

It refers to a HUD system similar to windshield HUD but requires less space for installation. It has a small disc shaped device called the combiner which is used as a mirror for displaying the information. This is advantageous for sport vehicles where the cockpit is smaller. The distance of display from the driver is slightly shorter and is around 1.5 m-2 m and thus the driver needs to adjust himself for better view. The optical path can be passed through the combiner itself by changing its optical properties.

BOTTOM LINE:

The need for all these technologies is because of the safety issues during driving due to the driver distractions while checking the dashboard displays. HUD has the potential of reducing the accidents caused due to driver distractions. The role of sensors and other units involved in the system needs to be precise  and accurate in order to give proper informative data . Since the driver understands things based on what he sees. More research in this field, might also come up with cost effective systems and thus making them available for every range of vehicles.

Electric Micro super car- an overview

The usage of the conventional sources of energy like coal and petroleum is growing at a rapid rate and since they are perishable, the world would finally end up with no more such resources. The majority is being used in the transport sector. On- road vehicle population is increasing rapidly and is expected to grow higher and higher. Thus there is a need of  driving vehicles by using resources like bio fuels, electric drive, solar energy and many more.

Electric Micro Super Car:

In one such initiative by EU(European Union) an electric micro super-car concept has been developed.This concept is a product of three years, million dollars of investment between industry and academia along with lot of hard work form the designers team. Electric cars are powered by energy from batteries and which are further charged by power generated by power plants. Thus these vehicles are also not completely clean because pollutants are released during electricity generation.

The electric micro super-car concept is an all green car as it is powered by solar energy. The project named P-MOB is focused on development of light weight electric vehicles with harvesting of solar energy for mobility and  low aerodynamic drag. The vehicle is designed considering the urban driving conditions.

Electric Micro Super Car

The vehicle is a three seater, solar powered with a mass less than 600 kg without batteries pack.    It has top speed of 100 kmph and fully charged battery range of 100km. However when powered by solar energy alone, it can manage 20 km based on testing done on Fit test tracks in Italy. 20 km distance is found to be more than the average distance by daily commuters in Europe.  This makes it suitable for short city drives and will not be able to cope up with the long highway drives. It has a kinetic energy recovery system during braking and is claimed to have 30 percent less aerodynamic drag when compared to the vehicles of same class.The little car has a good deal of style, four wheel drive, good handling and swift acceleration.

The vehicle is made from a low-cost tubular steel frame with sheet metal forming in order to comply with the crash worthiness based on regulations. It has two doors on one side which makes it safe and ergonomic for passengers. In order to make it compact, the designers have installed an integration system technique which simultaneously works with several operating systems like magnetic controls, solar cells and power management devices. The system allows two motors and two differentials to function simultaneously for achieving four wheel drive capability. It also helps in providing better control on sharp turns, higher grip in wet and icy road conditions, faster acceleration without drawing large  power.  In this type of vehicle’s where the output power is small such integration system  helps in the energy management of the vehicle. Mono-crystalline solar cells with self control systems are installed.

The self control helps in compensating for the shadow falling on the vehicle. The solar panels are installed on the vehicle roof and windshields under an area of around 2 square meters. The panels have smart diodes to minimize energy loss during low light conditions. The concept also showcases the distribution of the battery modules. The photo voltaic can be used to power front axle motors and the batteries for rear axle. The batteries (8 kg pack)can also be swapped very easily for driving only over solar power. With minor changes the vehicle can comply with the regulations for micro electric vehicles as well as for M1 vehicle category. Such concepts are being seen as business booster’s by manufacturers. All the concepts of this vehicle are patented.

BOTTOM LINE:

Electric micro super car’s have met the safety aspects, lowest footprints, very low energy usage, which would make this vehicle ideal for urban roads. Green vehicles definitely have the potential of taking a large share of automotive markets across the globe. They will be supported by the subsidy from the respective Government authorities of every country.

In India, the government has a plan of National electric mobility mission plan which will provide a subsidy of around 14, 000 crores for electric vehicles. Thus there is huge potential of business in this range of vehicles. At present intensive research is going on to find the ways for future mobility. All this is because we are getting depleted of the conventional resources at a fast phase.

Land Rover- Discover your Vision

Land Rover is a brand of Jaguar Land Rover and is known for its rugged, premium and luxurious SUV’s. It was acquired by TATA Motors in 2008. All the SUV’s from this brand have been a huge success in the automotive markets across the globe. Land Rover has showcased its discovery concept at 2014 Newyork Auto show and will come with a sport model early next year. It will join the family of SUV’s built on the Land Rover platform and has new features, keeping customer- vehicle interaction in mind.

New Land Rover
Land Rover Discover Vision Concept

Land Rover discover defines itself as a rugged SUV with luxurious space for seven along with premium exterior styling.  Discover is unique in the technologies which are applied to easily surpass the off-road challenges often faced during adventure rides. Now, we will go through the latest technologies installed in this concept SUV.

TERRAIN RESPONSE LASER SCANNING:

Being a SUV, it is important that this car should easily pass through all type of road conditions. It is important for the driver to interact with the vehicle during off-road conditions, be it sand or snow. Land Rover has already pioneered this in its previous SUV’s where a knob can be adjusted by the driver in order to change the suspension and power train settings depending on the road surfaces. In the discovery sport concept,  laser scanning technology has replaced the knob. The infrared lasers are installed in the fog lamps to view the terrain ahead and automate the terrain response settings. Also, in addition to that a high resolution screen is installed for getting a topographical look ahead and finding a best possible way out of it.

The next generation response system which will involve road surface texture detection. A water depth sensing system making use of lasers will help in identifying the depth of water bodies and thereby giving the green signal for the under body clearance available for crossing it. Other technologies include the wet grass traction control and high or low speed steering assist.

Land Rover Discover features

A more sophisticated cruise control feature for off-road drive is introduced. If the off-road terrain is not predictable, a semi- automatic cruise control will take over, where the vehicle will be operated at low speeds with appropriate torque vectoring. A guide mode is also installed which will allow the driver to select the type on in-built off-road conditions like muddy, sand, snow, rocks etc. Thus there will always be a  balance between the automatic off-road cruise control and the driver’s involvement in it.

TRANSPARENT HOOD:

A new technology named “Transparent Hood” is introduced in Land Rover Discovery. As the name suggests , you might think of it as a transparent body but is not. The transparency is due to the projection of the images captured by road texture detecting cameras. The images are projected on the heads up display on the windshield. Thus the driver sees the road and not the hood. It makes him feel as if the hood is transparent. The projection can also be made onto the exterior windows. These glasses are named as smart glasses, hence all the glass surfaces actually behave as a multi screen display.

GESTURE CONTROL:

Gesture controls have the tendency to impose risk while driving and are thus under the development stage.As of now they are commonly used for infotainment systems. The motion sensors capable of recognizing the finger and hand movements. Apart from infotainment, they will be made to sense gear shifting, opening and closing of doors and activating lights. These technologies are surely going to take human-vehicle interaction to a new level.

OTHERS:

Four of the interior seats have infotainment screens. The vehicle is equipped with laser headlamps and are 10% in size of LED’s. Thus there is huge potential in exploring the front end design of the vehicle. There is no compromise in terms of light output range which is upto 300m. In order to prevent the blinding of the drivers in the coming cars, smart automatic dimming is added to the laser headlamps. Cameras will detect the traffic and accordingly activate dimming of the light and proper visibility will be maintained for driving.

Land Rover Discovery Light features

 BOTTOM LINE:

All the above mentioned technologies are pave way to reduce driver’s work in the vehicle. If the technologies are applied with proper validation and testing in all driving scenarios, this would definitely start a new era of driver-less cars. It will also help in reduction of driver fatigue occurring during long drives. Land Rover Discovery certainly has the potential to demonstrate such technologies on road and drive a new era of human oriented engineering in automobiles.

How Computers Help To Design Automobiles?

Global competition in the automotive industry demands for a quality product within a limited time period. Computer Aided Design(CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering(CAE) have drastically accelerated the process of product development which involves concept, prototype, validation and testing. Every automobile manufacture  across the globe, which includes 2 -wheeler, 3 -wheeler , 4- wheeler, trucks, buses, construction equipment vehicles, defense vehicles and off-road vehicles- all of them have to go through CAD and CAE. Motorsports is hugely dependent on computer simulations as they have very short period of time to come up with a better vehicle to race.

Computer Aided Design involves working with vehicle and component design on design software where we can go for solid modeling, surface modeling, assembly of parts and most importantly rendering of the complete vehicle. Computer Aided Engineering is to analyze the designed vehicle or its components through virtual simulations before going to real time testing. Through CAD and CAE, a designer can go for quick changes in the vehicle or component design which results in shorter product development stage.

CAD plays an important in role in getting the feel of the vehicle by looking at it virtually on computers. It allows to provide the dimensions depending on the vehicle category and also  basic know how of cabin space and ergonomics can be understood. CAD drawings provide an ease of manufacturing through CNC (Computer numerical Control) machines where the files are fed in the form of a code through CAD and the final product is obtained.

In automobiles, almost all the areas are virtually simulated using CAE and tested before finally going for production. We would cover some important areas where computer simulation plays an important role.

Aerodynamics:

Aerodynamic Simulation
Aerodynamic Simulation

We need to know that when we are driving a vehicle, we are going through a wall of air which is actually resisting our vehicles motion. The engine spends more fuel to overcome this resistance which directly effects the fuel economy. A computer simulation of air flow over the vehicle is done to finalize the exterior shape of the vehicle. These simulations helps us to change the design on computers very easily and reduces lot of cost involved in practical wind tunnel testing. In real time wind tunnel tests, the vehicle is placed in a big tunnel and air is allowed to flow over it. In order to visualize the air motion, smoke is dispersed in the medium. Various sensors are mounted on the vehicle body for obtaining the results.

Dynamics:

Vehicle Dynamics Simulation
Vehicle Dynamics Simulation

Vehicle dynamics plays an important role in ride and handling. Computer simulations help to understand how the complete vehicle will behave during conditions like  rough roads, lane change, acceleration, braking and steering. Thus before going to the prototype fabrication, a complete vehicle behavior can be evaluated and a better prototype is manufactured. Also component level simulation like shock absorber durability are also performed.

Engine Simulations:

Engine Simulation
Engine Simulation

Engine manufacturers use simulations to refine engine in terms of power, fuel economy and emissions. There are many parameters to be controlled while operating engines. The simulations helps to optimize all these parameters and finally obtain a desired engine. Various engine simulations include air-fuel mixing, structural durability test of whole engine and components like crankshaft, connecting rods, thermal analysis and emission prediction. Engine modifications are done on computers for obtaining desired results.

Vehicle Safety:

Frontal Crash Simulation
Frontal Crash Simulation

Vehicle safety assurance for the customers play an important role in the business of the vehicle. In order to make a vehicle safe, car manufacturers use simulation tools for crash analysis, air bag activation and vehicle structure simulation. All these tests in reality would cause a huge amount of cost and time whereas through computer simulations the desired design can be achieved very easily. Crash test requires setting up of high speed cameras, bright lights, human dummy model and its testing and installation of all sensors. This takes a lot of money and time. Simulations are used to obtain an initial better design and then testing it for further optimization.

Production plant simulations:

Design of production plant is crucial from the business point of view. Every manufacturer desires to have maximum production based on demand. In order to achieve it, various simulations are run during plant design and lay out stage. It involves assembly line design, supply chain, worker ergonomics, free space for transport and testing zone. All these are simulated on computers to achieve maximum efficiency in  production.

Bottom Line:

The extensive use of computer for design and analysis has led to cost effective and better quality pro. Today, the scope of simulation is vast and is going to grow in the near future. This will also result in development of new and efficient technologies in automobiles.

Driver less Cars – will hit the roads soon

There has been drastic change in terms of the growth of automobiles from the past era. Today’s automobiles are equipped with modern technologies which makes the vehicle more refined, efficient, comfortable, safe and attractive. Some of the technologies include efficient engines, body styling and aerodynamics, safety features, light weight, improved tire industry, hybrid and electric vehicles and alternative fuels. Thus all these things point to the amount of research that has been put into the automobiles for several decades. Considering limited dependency on conventional fuels petrol and diesel, various future mobility solutions like hydrogen powered vehicles, electric vehicles , solar cars and compressed air powered vehicles are being researched in the global automotive industry.

Mobility Solution:

One more interesting future mobility solution that has come into picture is the Driverless Car. The concept has come up in order to address the accidents on the roads and also the fatigue of the driver during long drivings.  Yes, these are the vehicles which will not be controlled by the drivers and rather will be controlled by automatic mechanical and electronic systems throughout your journey. Just imagine a driver less car on the road which is capable of performing various functions like braking, accelerating, identifying the traffic signals, cornering and changing lanes. It would be really interesting to notice such cars on road!!!

Thus it would behave like a robotic car which will take you to any desired location of yours and you just need to relax and enjoy the ride.Considering the road conditions in which we drive,you might be thinking that how such vehicles will recognize when to brake, when to stop at traffic signals, when to change lanes, when to steer and how much to steer, how to avoid any obstacles on road and many other things. But we need to support the type of research automotive engineers are doing to develop such concepts.Google has come up with a prototype of a driver less car. Apart from Google, car manufacturers like Mercedes Benz, Volvo, BMW and Audi are also working on automation in the driving process.

Driver less vehicles have three basic things to accomplish: Braking, Acceleration and Steering.

Braking:

The vehicle needs to brake during traffic signals, to keep a safe distance from the front car and in case of pedestrian crossing. In order to automate this process , sensors can be installed on the wheels or bumpers for detecting close cars. BMW is working on usage of ultrasonic sensors for detecting objects.  A 3D imaging device is required to get all the images of the environment which is then fed into the algorithm of braking. LIDAR(a radar set up) is used by Google prototype vehicle for capturing the images  and is mounted on the top of the vehicle. Finally the braking algorithm needs to be developed to take in all the data from sensors, LIDAR and provide output for braking.

Acceleration:

It requires the vehicle to understand the traffic patterns, maps and speed limits. Braking technologies will be reused to develop the acceleration algorithm.

Steering:

The vehicle needs to be equipped with inbuilt navigation system for guiding itself. Along with GPS(Global positioning system), the algorithms of braking and acceleration will also play important role in making algorithms for steering functionality.

Thus all these issues needs to be considered for developing driverless vehicles

GOOGLE Prototype Vehicle:

Google Prototype Vehicle
Google Prototype Vehicle

The vehicle looks like a compact city car. It has a stop-go button and no pedals, steering wheel. It can accommodate two passengers and the speed is limited to 40kmph for safe driving. The vehicle is propelled by electric motors. The front of the vehicle is made using a foam like material which will ensure safety for pedestrians. It uses a radar system mounted on the roof top for getting the images from the environment.

It also makes use of Google Road Maps for navigation of the vehicle from one point to another. Google has also announced that these prototypes have been tested for 7,00,000 miles on auto mode and are now focusing on busy street roads. They are also hoping to see these vehicles on road within a year.Also there are several cases where we need to be cautious with respect to this technology. One of which is the situation when the computer does not respond and requires human intervention for driving. The people seated in the car may not pay attention to it and this might lead to an accident. Thus rigorous testing is being done by Google for ensuring that they have covered all the possibilities in the driving scenarios.

Drawbacks of Driver-less Cars:

Bottom Line:

These vehicles have the true potential of bringing a change in the transportation system in terms of safety aspects, reduced pollution and  traffic congestion.  These vehicles have the ability to remove driving error and thereby reduce accidents.
Innovation at its best!

A look into the Safety Technologies In Automobiles

With time, a significant increase in the automobile population on roads has been observed and is likely to go higher and higher in the near future. Automobiles have become the most used mode of transport among people. Increase in the number of road accidents is also due to increased vehicle population, road conditions, driving errors and speed limit violations. Thus the vehicle safety is an important area of concern for all car manufacturers. The vehicles are designed and equipped with safety technologies for improving the crash worthiness of the vehicle.

Safety in automobiles can be classified into two : active safety and passive safety. Active safety includes those systems which are installed in the vehicle for prevention of crash. Electronic stability system, Anti-lock braking system, and traction control system are few examples of the active safety methods. Passive safety includes those systems that will protect the occupant from injuries during crash. Airbags, seat belts, rollover structures represent some of the passive safety methods.

In high end vehicles, a technology for crash information has also been placed. The crash detection sensor will trigger the GPS (Global positioning System) for locating the site of crash along with a notification all to the nearest hospital’s to the crash site.This significantly leads to less deaths during accidents.Various safety regulations are framed and it is the responsibility of the car manufacturers that their vehicles go through all safety tests.

Next lets look into the passive safety technologies in automobiles.

PASSIVE SAFETY:

Seat Belts:

They help in restricting the motion of the occupant by stretching itself. It helps in protecting the occupant by not allowing him to eject out of the vehicle during a fatal crash.Thus it is advised to wear safety belts whenever you traveling in a car. It is mandatory for all the vehicles.

Air bags:

Airbags safety

These are basically cushions which are activated during a collision. The air bag gets filled with a gas as soon as the collision occurs and does not allow the occupant to hit on the steering wheel and the doors. Thus it reduces injuries by absorbing the impact of the collision. Thus an air bag wants to reduce and slow down the passenger impact speed to zero. However with stringent safety norms coming in the near future, all the vehicles will be equipped with air bags. Air bags are mounted on the steering wheel to resit the impact of a frontal crash. Door mounted side air bags prevents occupants form injuries during any side impact on the vehicle. Air bags are made of very thin nylon fabric. The functioning of the air bag depends on the crash detection sensor. The sensor provides the signal for air bag inflation. Inflation happens due to the reaction of sodium azide and potassium nitrate which results in a hot blast of nitrogen gas.

Laminated windshield:

Laminated Windshield

The lamination of the windshield helps in keeping windshield into one piece during frontal crash or even in case of pedestrian collision. When the glass breaks, unlike ordinary glasses it results in formation of granules with no sharp edges. This helps in keeping the occupants and pedestrians safe from injuries due to the glass particles. Also these laminated glasses have to undergo testing according to the safety norms before they can approved for installation in vehicles.

Crumple Zones, Safety Cell:

These zones absorb the impact of collision. Vehicles can have front, rear and even side crumple zones for protecting the occupant from high impact forces. These are made of shock absorbing materials like polyurethane.This refers to the safe design of the passenger compartment. The design needs to be made in such a way that there is a scope of survival space after the vehicle has undergone a crash. This helps in the movement of the occupants and will also help them in getting themselves out of the vehicle. High strength steels are sued for making such designs which can withstand the huge impact forces.

Roll over bars:

Many road accidents happen due to the rolling of the vehicle. The roll over structures in the chassis are made for such scenarios and are able to resit the impact forces on a vehicle roll. Roll sensors are also available in some vehicles which provides the signal of rolling tendency which results in the slowing down of the vehicle speed to avoid any roll.

Car Rollover safety

Bottom Line:

All the above methods are first virtually tested on computers. Crash simulations are performed on computers to study the impact forces, type of impact, air bag functionality and survival space. This results in the fast development of vehicles which are then simulated for real life conditions. The crash is conducted on vehicles and the results are co-related with the computer simulation results.  This allows easy understanding of the vehicle behavior during a crash.

A look into the All Terrain Vehicle’s (ATV) – by POLARIS

All terrain vehicles(ATV’s) are made to experience a totally a different type of an automobile. Polaris manufactures All terrain vehicles which are just awesome to ride on any kind of a terrain. They have the ability to overcome any obstacles in your way, thus allowing you to maneuver in extreme terrain conditions. These vehicles make riding real adventurous.

Polaris India is a completely owned subsidiary of Polaris and apart from ATV‘s they also manufacture a wide range of mobility solutions which includes snowmobiles, motorcycles, defense vehicles etc. In this post, we will focus on an ATV named [email protected] by Polaris India.

The [email protected] is categorized into a mid size chassis which is very robust and compact. The vehicle can be placed in a shed or in any small truck carrier to be transported to the desired driving location. The payload capacity is 453 kg  which makes it more reliable for a long exciting  journey. Also the dump box has a gas assist dumping system in spite of manual unloading.

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ENGINE:

The vehicle is powered by a 4- stroke, 455cc carbureted engine which gives a thumping output of 29 HP. The engine is liquid cooled. In the extreme driving conditions,  air cooled engines might not keep the engine under optimum operating temperature. Liquid cooling would help to get maximum efficiency from the engine.

DRIVETRAIN:

The vehicle is equipped with automatic transmission system which allows the rider much more comfort and easy driving. It also has an on demand four wheel drive(4WD) . This flexibility allows easy transfer from 2WD to 4WD or 4WD to 2WD. For an ATV, traction on rough terrain means the most, 4WD function has been added to increase the traction on the wheels. This allows ATV’s to go past the wet conditions where the traction is less between the wheel and the wet surface.

SUSPENSION:

Suspension in ATV’s will decide the ride quality. The wheel travel is the major parameter for all ATV’s . It tells us about the movement of the wheels during ride’s on bumps and  terrains. Mc Pherson struts are installed in the front with a travel of 8″ and double wishbone suspension in the rear with 9″ travel.  Double wishbone for ATV’s provide an adjustable ride of the wheel. They can be adjusted for varying various parameter’s like camber, caster on which an ATV’s ride depends immensely. With a ride height of 10″ the vehicle can easily run along at high speeds over rough terrains. The rear double wishbone also has a five point pre-load set up which can allow the rider to stiffen the suspension on travelling with heavy loading conditions. The handling of the vehicle is predictable all because of light weight mid size chassis. Thus the rider can enjoy the response from the vehicle.

BRAKES:

Brakes being the most important for safety, hydraulic disk brakes are installed. The disc brakes are one that sot efficient braking system and have the capability of braking in any kind of exposed conditions. The ride needs to be safe along with adventure component in it. Thus it is important to have the best brakes technology installed in it.

OTHER FEATURES:

It has been equipped with a very ergonomic cabin. It has been made considering the rider movement during extreme driving conditions.  Two adults can easily move in and out of the vehicle cabin. It also feature’s a speed control key where a black key can take you at high speeds and a yellow one will reduce your speed.

All the above mentioned features make this a perfect mid size ATV for a good and exciting ride. Also there is an opportunity of riding Polaris ATV’s on the tracks being made for them as a support to entrepreneurs across the country. Also when we go to any showroom of the Polaris, a feeling of a world of ATV’s come to our mind. They are customized in order to make the customer feel the love in the terrain type atmosphere there itself. Also the Polaris ATV’s are being used by Border Security Force patrolling team. They use these vehicles to easily patrol in the desert area near India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan.

 

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These vehicles have started gaining popularity among people and will definitely be able to grow further as they represent a bunch of very exciting automobiles.

Visit Polaris Website: http://www.polarisind.in

Automobiles – Emission reduction

Growing automobile population has resulted in the imbalance of the environment. Air pollution has reached a new level. Thus emissions from automobiles have become an area of concern which needs to be controlled. Major emissions released  from the internal combustion engines are unburnt hydrocarbons,  nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxides.  Stringent emission norms have resulted in various emission reduction technologies. In India , presently BS IV Emission norms are imposed in  23 major cities and also there is a possibility of future regulations on carbon dioxide emissions and  minimum fuel economy depending on the vehicle category. There are various emission reduction technologies depending on the type of fuel used i.e petrol or diesel. It is the fuel chemical composition and properties which lead to the emission formation during combustion inside the cylinder.

PETROL ENGINES:

Major emission form the petrol driven engines are unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon mono oxide. In such vehicles a catalytic converter is installed in the exhaust pipe of the vehicle.

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converter consists of an outer metal casing in which a substrate is fitted. The substrate  is made of a porous material in which huge number of cells are cut throughout the length of substrate. The exhaust from the engine passes through these cells and finally to the atmosphere. These cells are internally coated with precious metals like platinum, palladium, rhodium in a certain ratio. These materials act as oxidation and reduction catalyst. The exhaust gas on reaction with these catalysts undergoes oxidation and reduction which results in lower emissions.

In most of the modern cars, a three way catalytic converter is installed. Catalytic converters need to be cleaned at certain time intervals for allowing proper flow of exhaust without any blockage. Also if not cleaned regularly it might result in higher catalytic converter temperatures which reduces catalyst efficiency. For petrol engines, a stoichiometric air fuel ratio of 14:1 is important for least emissions. An oxygen sensor is also installed in converter for monitoring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. The signal from the sensor is then fed into the ECU(Electric control unit) and finally to the engine to maintain the stoichiometric air fuel ratio.A new technology in petrol engines is to allow petrol engines  run with a lean mixture which reduces emissions due to lower fuel content . It is achieved by stratified combustion which means a formation of a cloud of air-fuel near spark plug. This cloud being lean in mixture produces lesser emissions. Secondary air injection is also used to allow certain amount of air to enter into the exhaust pipe and allow further combustion of unburnt hydrocarbons.

DIESEL ENGINES:

Major emissions from the diesel engines are nitrogen oxides, soot. In diesel engines the in-cylinder peak temperature is higher, this results in the formation of nitrogen oxides. Heterogeneous combustion is the main cause for the formation of soot in diesel engines. In order to reduce nitrogen oxides, simplest technology used is EGR (Exhaust gas recirculation) where a part of exhaust gas is introduced into the intake air. This results in lesser oxygen content and hence peak combustion temperature reduces and nitrogen oxide levels come down. This method has a disadvantage of lowering the power output from the engine and thus requires precise control of exhaust gas flow into the intake air.

Selective catalytic reduction is another technique to reduce nitrogen oxides where reductants like urea or ammonia are introduced into the exhaust gases. These reductants get adsorbed on the catalyst where the reaction occurs and nitrogen oxides are converted into nitrogen.Diesel particulate filters are used to trap the soot particles. The filters have micron level openings placed in the direction of exhaust flow which then traps the soot particles. The filters get blocked by continuous usage and needs to be cleaned before any further usage to improve efficiency.

FUTURE:

CNG fuelled vehicles are gaining popularity among the people . However there is still lack of CNG supply to the various regions of the country and this has inhibited its growth. Today in Delhi all the buses are running on CNG fuel, such initiatives really help in emission reduction and makes cities pollution free.In order to control the emissions from the vehicles, the Government has planned subsidy for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles represent a clean mode of transport.

In India as of today, Mahindra Reva Company has been providing two vehicles in these segment: Mahindra Reva and Mahindra E2O. The electric technology is definitely among the future mode of transport. Also there have been breakthroughs in the solar car concepts, fuel cell driven cars etc. To make the environment clean we need to go for clean technologies in automobiles.

Automobiles emission exhaust