Category Archives: Automotive

First Autonomous Car to Drive (Most of the Way) Across Country

Peter Lobner

American automotive supplier Delphi modified a 2014 Audi SQ5 to make it capable of driving autonomously and then had it drive 3,400 miles on highways from San Francisco to New York City. The human “co-pilot” took control for about 1% of the distance on city streets.

image Source: www.wired.com

Read the story, including details on the car’s autonomous driving features, at the following link:

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/delphi-autonomous-car-cross-country/?utm_source=howtogeek&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

An important point made in this article is the great speed with which autonomous vehicle technology has advanced. In the first DARPA Grand Challenge in March 2004, all 15 competing autonomous vehicles failed to complete a very difficult 142 mile off-road course from Barstow, CA to Primm, NV. The greatest distance completed by the “winner” was 7.32 miles. In September 2005, five vehicles completed a 132 mile Grand Challenge course in southern Nevada. The third Grand Challenge in 2007 was held in an urban street environment in Victorville, CA. Six of 11 competing teams completed the course. SAIC supported a team in all three Grand Challenges.

For more information, check out the 2014 article, “The DARPA Grand Challenge – 10 Years Later,” at the following link:

http://www.darpa.mil/newsevents/releases/2014/03/13.aspx

Read details on the 2004 Grand Challenge at the following link:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/robotics-software/dusted-no-winners-in-darpas-1-million-robotic-race-across-the-mojavedesert

And details on the 2005 Grand Challenge at:

http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Erik_Blasch/publication/2961674_Unmanned_Vehicles_Come_of_Age_The_DARPA_Grand_Challenge/links/0deec525dbe44b0bea000000.pdf

And details on the 2007 urban challenge at:

http://archive.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/TechPapers/Sting_Racing.pdf

The BLOODHOUND Project – Creating a 1,000 mph Land Speed Record Car and Inspiring a New Generation of Engineers

Peter Lobner

Updated 4 July 2016

This land speed record project has gained national attention in the UK, not only for it’s ambitious goal of setting a 1,000 mph speed record on land, but also as a source of inspiration for a new generation of engineers.  The “car” is propelled by a Rolls-Royce jet engine + a rocket engine.

Bloodhound lsrBLOODHOUND cdf

I think you’ll find the main website for the Bloodhound Project to be well-designed and very engaging,  Check it out at:

http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/project

On the BLOODHOUND website, click on the “Education” tab to see how the project team is working to engage young engineers.

4 July 2016 Update:  BLOODHOUND announces date for world record attempt in October 2017

On 3 July 2016, the BLOODHOUND team announced:

“We’re delighted to announce that the target date for BLOODHOUND’s 800mph world land speed record attempt in October 2017, 20 years after Thrust SSC set the existing record. Funding has been secured, with major deals recently signed, and race preparation is underway for high speed runs at the Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa, in Autumn next year.

BLOODHOUND SSC will travel under its own power for the first time at Newquay in June 2017, in a slow speed shakedown test at around 220mph (354km/h). This will also be an opportunity for the team to practice live-streaming data and imagery from the car.”

You can read their complete announcement at the following link:

http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/news/bloodhound-supersonic-first-record-attempt-october-2017

If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up for newsletters from the BLOODHOUND team at the following link:

http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/newsletters

Also check out my 8 September 2015 post, “Just How Flat is Hakskeen Pan?”.  This will be the venue for the world land speed record attempts.

“Flow cell” Battery Technology Being Tested as an Automotive Power Source

Peter Lobner

Here’s a great looking new German all-electric car that was introduced at the March 2014 Geneva Auto Show.  It’s a “research” car, not for sale, but an interesting preview of a possible future application of this battery technology in production cars.  The flow cell battery capacity in the e-Sportlimousine is reported to be 120 kWh.  Compare this to current all-electric cars using lithium-ion battery technology: the Tesla Model S has an 85 kWh battery and a Nissan Leaf has a 24 kWh battery.

 Flow-cell battery-powered carImage credit: aetherforce.com

Check out the article on the e-Sportlimousine at the following link, which includes two short videos:

http://aetherforce.com/electric-car-powered-by-salt-water-920-hp-373-milestank/

See many more details on this car and power system at the following nanoFLOWCELL AG YouTube site:

https://www.youtube.com/user/nanoflowcell

A 2014 press release from NanoFLOWCELL AG describes their battery technology and it’s operational use in the e-Sportlimousine, including a description of the power train and how the car is refueled.  See the following link:

http://mediacenter.nanoflowcell.com/mediacenter/press-release/news-detail/2014-03-04-introducing-the-nanoflowcellR/

Regarding the nano-network technology, Wikipedia reports:  “In August 2014, the Quant e-Sportlimousine was approved for testing on public roads using the nanoFLOWCELL® system with a claimed energy or power density of 600 Wh per kilogram (per litre of salt water electrolyte).”

If you are interested in the Tesla lithium-ion battery, check out the Nov 2014, “The Tesla Battery Report”, at the following link:

http://www.advancedautobat.com/industry-reports/2014-Tesla-report/Extract-from-the-Tesla-battery-report.pdf