LEDs are increasingly used in automobile headlights because of their small size and reduced energy consumption. But, though they are much more energy efficient than traditional headlights, most of the energy required is converted to heat rather than light — 70 percent, in fact. This presents a challenge to engineers and designers because, since they are semiconductor-based, the diode junction of LEDs must be kept below 120 C. Maintaining temperature below this limit typically involves cooling airflow from an electric fan combined with heat sink fins.
Developing a luxury electric vehicle (EV) from scratch with a short deadline demands organization and access to the right technology to get the job done. Lucid Motors of Menlo Park, California, met the first challenge by putting all the engineers in one room so the structural and aerodynamics engineers would know what the battery, motor and power electronics engineers were doing, right from the start. This collaborative environment has helped them to design a unique automobile with more passenger space by reshaping the battery stack, while optimizing the electric motor, the cooling system, the aerodynamics and the battery life.
Read any automotive-related article and I’m sure it discusses autonomous cars and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – the benefits, the challenges and what the future may hold. More and more auto makers are moving towards autonomous developing vehicles, but many of the systems that will eventually be integrated into these vehicles to make them fully autonomous are being developed today. In fact, you probably have some of them in the car you are driving now — Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, and Lane Keeping Assistance to name a few. These ADAS applications present a new set of challenges and require a multi-disciplinary development approach. You can read more about these development areas in a blog written by my colleague, Sandeep Sovani.
Optimizing components that must fit into tight spaces can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced designer. Consider the HVAC system of a car, which supplies air to the vehicle’s cabin. Today, air conditioning is deemed standard equipment even in entry-level automobiles, so manufacturers must build it in. Its critical components – manifold ductwork — are located under the hood amid the well-planned jumble of engine, radiator, battery, transmission, and auxiliary structures. Not much room in there … and that’s just one of the complications. Continue reading
For most of human history, our mode of mobility was feet — our own feet, or those of some domesticated animal. Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, we walked or used horses. These quadrupeds remained the dominant mode of inter-city and intra-city transport for over two thousand years. Then in the mid-nineteenth century, the mode of inter-city transport changed over from horses to railways. Another half a century later the horse also disappeared from cities and towns as intra-city transport was taken over by automobiles. In the mid-twentieth century airplanes became the dominant mode of inter-city travel in North America, with railways continuing in addition to airplanes in Europe and Asia.
And that’s where we are today — stuck with trains, planes and automobiles for nearly a century. But not for long. Continue reading
A revolution is underway in the transportation industry. The rise of autonomous vehicles will transform the industry and society itself as much as the nineteenth century shift from horse-carriages to automobiles did.
However, developing autonomous vehicle technology is a formidable challenge. It requires ambitious new developments in sensing technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence, that are not only unprecedented in the automotive industry, but in all other industries as well. Continue reading
Today’s automotive systems are more complex, smarter and more autonomous than ever before, featuring functionality that no one could have imagined 10 years ago. Advanced sensors and electronics control everything from a vehicle’s speed and position to its entertainment and communications technologies. Radar, cameras and other sophisticated electronics are increasingly being incorporated into consumer vehicles.
In fact, today, more than 60 percent of a car’s cost comes from its advanced electronics and software systems. Since many of the functions guided by electronic systems are mission-critical, it’s essential that all automotive systems work together with complete reliability. The tens of millions of lines of software code that control these systems must be flawless. Continue reading
Innovation is not just a buzzword in the automotive industry — it is a critical competency needed to transform vehicles into smart machines that incorporate numerous systems such as infotainment (phone, multimedia), guidance (GPS), adaptive cruise control, automatic parallel parking, and others.
Innovation is also indispensable in meeting new government standards that regulate fuel efficiency/emissions and drive the need for new technologies such as hybrid/electric vehicles. While accelerating these advancements, OEMs and suppliers must also control increasing product complexities and the resulting multiplication of failure modes to keep vehicles robust, reliable and safe. Continue reading
We’ve discussed the need to simulate a full system quite a bit in this blog over the years. The need is clear: as products become smarter and more complex, component or sub-system simulation alone isn’t sufficient. As automobiles become computers on wheels, as your mobile phone has more compute power than the desktops of only a few years ago, there are new ways for products to fail. In other words, systems safety and reliability analysis is more critical than ever. Continue reading
Many automotive engine designers are familiar with the 1-D powertrain simulation capabilities of Gamma Technologies’ GT-SUITE. This is a common workhorse for system exploration and optimization of overall engine performance and efficiency. In GT-SUITE a network of component models is used to test the impacts of changes to the turbocharger, manifold configuration, exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) loop, engine cylinder or aftertreatment devices on the overall powertrain performance and controllability. Engine cylinder-to-cylinder and cycle-to-cycle effects can also be studied to assess engine performance metrics.
Mutual ANSYS and Gamma Technologies customers can now evaluate fuel effects within GT-Power simulations, using ANSYS Chemkin-Pro. The interoperability of these two products gives engineers the ability to test the impact of different fuel compositions on engine performance. Continue reading