A hundred years ago, Henry Ford promised customers that their car could be painted any color so long as it was black. Today, color is the least of the auto industry’s challenges. The car of the 21st century must be fuel-efficient and robust, technologically savvy and affordable, and manufactured quickly on the line without defects. It must meet increasingly stricter government regulations. And the vehicle must incorporate fast-evolving electronic, communication and software technology that hardly existed a few years ago. Continue reading
After completing the first circuit of the globe, this year the Automotive Simulation World Congress (ASWC) 2015 returns to Detroit. The conference is now exactly two weeks away — to be held on June 2 and 3 — and I am really excited about it. If you haven’t registered and reserved your seat, please take a moment to register. You don’t want to miss this great event. And if you don’t know what it’s all about, read on for more information. Continue reading
Hyperloop – Elon Musk’s project, now venture-capital-backed, to shuttle passengers between cities via tubes at the speed of sound — is shaping up to be to the 21st century what the railroad was to the 19th century.
Both are visionary: one connected the coasts and permitted safe travel across the continent and the other could provide super-fast, efficient commuter passage between major cities. Both were rejected initially as the stuff of fiction: too theoretical to work, too expensive to build. Both were aided by the technology of their day, railways by the might of the industrial revolution, Hyperloop by the computer and simulation technology. And both, when the history of the 21st century finally is written, will be seen as revolutionary turning points in modes of transportation. Continue reading
What do Tesla Motors, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Ferrari, Denso, Panasonic, SL Corporation, Cummins, Tenneco, and Honeywell, have in common? Well, not only are they leaders in the automotive renaissance, but they all delivered presentations on leading-edge simulation at the 2014 Automotive Simulation World Congress. Continue reading
This is the third year that ANSYS hosted the Automotive Simulation World Congress (ASWC), an international conference focused on engineering simulation in the ground transportation industry. The ASWC is an annual conference that rotates between the three major regions of the world. In previous blogs, I wrote about the 2012 and 2013 ASWC’s held in Detroit and Frankfurt respectively. This year the conference was held in Tokyo on October 9 and 10. Continue reading
It sounds like something out of Star Trek or Buck Rogers, but the notion of a super-fast (think speed of sound or faster) ground-based transportation system isn’t science fiction.
About a month ago, Elon Musk, the visionary behind ANSYS customers SpaceX and Tesla, formally proposed the Hyperloop, which would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes. These pods would travel up to 750 miles per hour, shrinking travel time between cities. (A trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco would be only 30 minutes!)
But as it often happens when a true innovator steps forward with a new idea, the critics descended. They claimed the Hyperloop was nothing more than mere fantasy, that it wouldn’t be practical. Even Musk himself admitted that prototypes were needed before he could turn the Hyperloop into reality.
I’ve been personally interested in the idea of this potential mode of transportation for some time now. In my opinion, the technologies needed for implementing tube transportation are extremely simple, compared to some of the highly sophisticated machines such as commercial airliners or spacecraft that humans routinely construct today.
So, using ANSYS technology, we put Musk’s Hyperloop designs to the test. The upshot? The Hyperloop will indeed work – with some tweaks. Continue reading
The other day I read, “Fuel cell-powered vehicles are just a few years away.” We have been hearing this for the past 20 years. Fuel cell buzz has come and gone and then come again and disappeared again. It’s been quite a roller coaster. Lately the buzz is becoming louder again. Is it serious this time? Are fuel cells on a major comeback?
In the past two years, I have noticed that fuel cell research and development and investments are resurging. I attribute it to the following reasons — in no particular order: Continue reading
On October 29 through 30, 2013, ANSYS once again hosts the Automotive Simulation World Congress (ASWC).
As I announced at the 2012 ASWC held in Detroit in October 2012, the event is an annual international conference that rotates across the three major regions of the world — the Americas, Europe and Asia. Slated to move from the Americas to Europe this year, the ASWC will be held in Frankfurt, Germany at the Steigenberger Airport Hotel, with an evening event at Klassikstadt.
This international event focuses on advances in simulation technology applied to the ground transportation industry, which includes car, light truck, heavy truck, bus, off-highway, agricultural, motorsport, railway and two-wheeler segments. Continue reading
As we continue our 54.5 by 2025 blog series, we turn our attention to designing the body of the car for maximum fuel efficiency.
The body of the car provides two major opportunities for improving fuel efficiency:
- Reducing overall weight
- Improving aerodynamics to reduce drag
Much design work and ingenuity is required to reduce a car’s overall weight, and many interesting advances have been made in the field, such as the use of composites materials. Considering that car manufacturers have been working on streamlining and designing aerodynamics since the time of the Model T, we now need fresh ways to approach the issue.
The question is: What will be the most effective innovation, or combination of innovations, for the future?
Reduce weight by designing composites effectively
Replacing steel with light, strong and durable composites materials is one possible way of reducing weight in new automobiles. But the process has its challenges. Continue reading
While the auto engineering industry is undergoing a large breadth of innovation (autonomous vehicles, dashboard apps to help the driver use less fuel and drive more safely), the ambitious goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025 will require car manufacturers to focus on the fundamentals of existing technologies, such as engines, transmissions and aerodynamics.
Surely, 54.5 mpg is entirely achievable, but it is a daunting goal that will require auto makers to drastically ramp up their engineering efforts. And while 2025 seems far away, it will be difficult to finish all the necessary engineering by that time if engineers progress at today’s rate. Accelerating engineering is the burning need of the day — and of the next decade — and it can only be accomplished by taking full advantage of advanced engineering tools such as simulation. Continue reading