Not All of Our Self-Driving Cars Will Be Electrically Powered — Here’s Why


via The Verge : Hybrid or electric? That’s the big question in current self-driving car development. Do you build your autonomous vehicles to run purely on battery technology, or can some hybrid of gasoline and electric suffice? Some automakers are already staking out their positions, and as self-driving cars move closer to reality, it’s quickly becoming a hotly debated question that doesn’t lend itself to an easy answer. In an investor call last week, General Motors reaffirmed its commitment to battery-electric propulsion. “Zero emissions. Zero crashes. Zero congestion” was the message delivered by GM CEO Mary Barra, as the company offered journalists their first rides in the battery-electric Chevy Bolts outfitted with a suite of sensors and software developed by its subsidiary Cruise Automation. For GM, the future is both autonomous and electric. This week, Ford offered a bit of a rejoinder to its crosstown rival. In an essay published on Medium, Ford executive vice president James Farley wrote that hybrid-electric technology presented the best way forward for his company’s self-driving efforts: Applying hybrid-electric technology to our self-driving vehicles delivers several benefits to our service partner companies, including maximum mileage to keep the vehicle on the road. Plus, hybrids help provide the significant amount of electrical power required for self-driving sensors and computing systems without having a significant impact on the mileage. Other companies have also staked out positions. Tesla is obviously pursuing an all-electric program for its “fully self-driving cars,” while Alphabet’s Waymo is using Chrysler Pacifica minivans that are… Read more

Engineers Could Learn A Lot From Dance When Designing Transport


via Independent : Choreography could offer city planners a new perspective on designing for patterns of movement within spatial constraints, says John Bingham-Hall. There is little more important for the sustainability of cities than the ways we move around them. With transportation estimated to account for 30% of energy consumption across the majority of the world’s most developed nations, reducing the necessity for energy-reliant vehicles is fundamental to addressing the environmental impact of mobility. But as cities become the predominant habitat for most people in the world, it is important to think about other kinds of sustainability too. The ways we travel impact our physical and mental health, our social lives, our access to work and culture, and the air we breathe. Engineers are tasked with changing how we travel round cities through urban design, but the engineering industry still rests on the assumptions that led to the creation of the energy-consuming transport systems we have now: The emphasis placed solely on efficiency, speed, and quantitative data. We need new approaches in order to help engineers create the radical changes needed to make it healthier, more enjoyable, and less environmentally damaging to move around cities. And my colleagues and I think that dance might hold some of the answers. That is not to suggest everyone should dance their way to work, however healthy and happy it might make us. But rather that the techniques used by choreographers to experiment with and design movement in dance could offer engineers with tools to… Read more

Amazon Drone Designed To Self-Destruct In Emergencies. Here’s Why.


via MACH : In brief: Amazon has been granted a patent for drone technology that allows the craft to strategically self-destruct in the event of an emergency. The system uses the drone’s onboard computer to determine the safest course of action. SECRET AGENT DRONE Amazon is taking a page out of the spy genre in a newly-patented feature for its future fleet of delivery drones. Filings for a patent granted to the internet retailer show a self-destructing drone that is able to strategically disassemble in the air during an emergency to mitigate any potential damage from an otherwise fully-formed delivery drone, or as the patent describes it, “direct fragmentation for unmanned airborne vehicles.” Perhaps the self-destructing drones will find a home in the recently-patented hive-like structure approved this past summer. While programming a self-destruct sequence may seem like a curious safety feature, having a crashing drone break into pieces before impact can reduce the chances for significant property damage or injury to people on the ground. The feature would use the onboard computing system to analyze conditions to determine the best course of action. An illustration included with the patent filing shows the device disassembling to drop pieces on empty patches of ground, in a small body of water, and safely crashing into a tree. DRONE TECH Amazon has big plans for its delivery drones that don’t involve ripping themselves apart in mid-air. The company was granted a patent in mid-October to allow drones to recharge electric vehicles, which would effectively… Read more

NASA Designed Indestructible Tyres That Never Get Flat


via RS-TECH : At space the regular air-filled tyres made of rubber were used but, because of uncertain conditions, the tyres used to get flat. NASA then incorporated the use of metal wheels provided with steel springs for its moon transportation, but this solution was not a permanent one as steel springs face degradation and deform with the passage of time. For countering these issues NASA used the concept of spring wheel, however with modern materials engineering. The new metal spring wheels were manufactured using Nickel-titanium alloy in place of steel. These newly created wheels by the NASA’s material engineers provide advance transportation ease over the different rough and extra-terrestrial lands. As per the reports of BGR the new material lets the atoms re-arrange themselves when the tyre is put under pressure so it is prevented from losing shape and deformation. The procedure is called “shape memory alloy” which means that the tyres could face deformation endlessly and the ability to get back to its original state quickly. Santo Padula—Material Scientist informed that the deformation could be done till the axle and still the original shape could be attained again, which was never even a possibility for the prevailing metal system. The tyres are designed and meant to be used for the transportation in outer-space, however, it could still be used on Earth. If the tyre is coated with high friction material it would be getting a stronger grip with no chances of getting flat. Colin Creager—an engineer exclaimed that this… Read more

Working Electronic Circuits 3D-Printed With UV Light


via EXTREME TECH : The cost of 3D printing has come down dramatically to the point you can set up a small printer in your home. Those printers only spit out little plastic baubles, though. The cutting edge of 3D printing involves making fully functional circuits, and researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK have devised a way to print working electronic circuits with UV light. This version of additive manufacturing is more like an inkjet printer than the molten plastic 3D printers with which you’re probably familiar. The circuits that come out of this newly designed process are fully functional, which means the printer has to put together multiple materials. The circuits are based on a conductive metallic ink along with an insulating polymeric ink. The two are applied in layers a few micrometers thick, which could lead to complex printed circuit applications. For now, the designs produced on the UV printer are fairly simple. Other teams have used similar “inkjet” printing methods to create simple circuits, but the resulting devices required finishing steps like drying or curing. What sets this one apart is the integrated UV lamp. The silver nanoparticles in the conductive ink are about 50nm in size. The team realized these particles were capable of absorbing UV light in the 380-420nm range with high efficiency. So, the printing process involves blasting the ink with 395nm UV light, which generates heat within the ink. That converts the liquid ink into a solid conductive film, essentially drying… Read more

A Workspace To Rest And Play: ‘La Fábrica De Ideas’ By Clap


via designboom : In 2016, ten partners dedicated to creating and organising various events in valencia, spain, approached creative agency, clap, with a vision to create a contemporary workspace to inspire ideas and creativity for their people. clap was shortly thereafter appointed to design the space now known as ‘la fábrica de ideas’, a space where users could work, rest, play and enjoy all three in equal measure. After several workshops with the partners, the envisioned space was seen as one that would create the perfect balance between work, rest and play. as a result a large area was first thought of, dedicated to informal meetings, alongside varying interior spaces where stories could unfold with teamwork the main protagonist. With this and three other characters in mind – comfort, rest and game – clap began creating a new type of work experience. the 300 square metre space is divided in two areas defining the rest area and the work zone, with the latter having more natural light. This differentiation of spaces is further emphasised with choices of colours and materials. in the rest area, cooler tones and materials encourage a disconnect from work. ‘la fábrica de ideas’ is highlighted throughout with pops of colour, using blue to outline areas of rest and pink for dining. In the work area the focus is teamwork, encouraged by warm materials including a muted parquet in multi-purpose spaces. this area has two offices placed next to the glazed façade, separated by a big sliding door… Read more

How Virtual Reality Can Improve Design Engineering


via Manufacturing Global : In 1899, Wilbur and Orville Wright, the inventors of the aeroplane, put their first model to flight. They faced several problems, including insufficient lift and deviation from the intended direction. Following a trial flight in 1901, Wilbur said to Orville that man would not fly in a thousand years. Since this occasion, good design has dispelled Wilbur’s theory. Here, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at industrial obsolete automation equipment supplier EU Automation, discusses how virtual reality (VR) can be used to improve the design engineering process. The history of VR With the invention of computer-aided design (CAD) in 1961, on-screen models could be explored in 3D, unlike with manual drafting. This made it easier for design engineers to visualise concepts before passing their design on for manufacturing. From there, the technology continued to develop, until we reached cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE). This consisted of cube-like spaces with images projected onto the walls, floor and ceiling. Automotive and aerospace engineers could use CAVE to experience being inside the vehicle, without having to generate a physical prototype. The latest advancements have introduced VR headsets, also known as head-mounted displays (HMDs) and haptic gloves. They enable users to visualise, touch and feel a virtual version of their design at a lower cost than CAVE technology would allow. Benefitting design engineers VR was first used in design engineering by the automotive and aerospace sectors to quickly generate product prototypes for a small cost. Using the latest technologies, these prototypes can be… Read more

7 Beautiful, Family-Owned Wineries That Are Working to Save the Planet


via AD : With an ever-growing interest in the field of architecture to go green, it should come as little surprise that agricultural architecture—specifically that of wineries—has seen a surge in promoting sustainability. From tasting rooms to storage facilities to offices, new buildings at wineries across North America are being constructed with eco-friendly technology to reduce the impact of the wineries on the natural environment. And, impressively, many of these wineries are family-owned. Here are seven of our favorite wineries that have structures with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Silver Oak Winery, Oakville, California Founded by friends Raymond Twomey Duncan and Justin Meyer in 1972, Silver Oak, which is still owned and operated by the Duncan family, was the first production winery in the world to receive LEED Platinum certification—the highest level of sustainability recognition by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to features like solar panels and night-air cooling, the winery has replaced its lawn with turf, which saves about one million gallons of water a year. Silver Oak is also working on opening a second, even “greener” location, which might become the first net-zero energy, net-zero water production winery in the world (pictured here). “As an American heritage winery, we care about the message our product sends and so do our loyal Silver Oak fans. Our goal in building green was to create sustainable methods that could be replicated moving forward, to advance the green methods wineries have at their fingertips,” Silver Oak CEO David… Read more

New Supercapacitor Has 100 Times More Energy Storage


via Electronics 360 : Mouser Electronics is now stocking the DMH Series supercapacitor from Murata. The DMH series has an ultra-thin profile from just 0.4 mm and is designed for peak power assist in wearables, medical patches, e-paper devices, smart cards and other space-constrained mobile devices. The Murata DMH Series supercapacitor delivers high power with a low equivalent series resistance (ESR) of 300 milliohms at 1 kHz. The capacitor also provides a high peak voltage of 4.5 V and exhibits stable output characteristics over a wide operating temperature range of minus 40 to 85 degrees Celsius. The DMH Series supercapacitor offers more than 100 times the energy storage than ceramic capacitors and electrolytic capacitors with a longer work life than ordinary secondary batteries. The device is ideal for peak power assist in small electronics, helping to increase output and power stability. In addition to peak power assist applications, like LED flash, audio circuits and power amplifiers, engineers can incorporate the DMH Series supercapacitor into designs for high-power back up and energy-harvesting applications.

How The Construction Industry Is Using IoT And Sensor Technology

smart city and wireless communication network, abstract image visual, internet of things

via IOT Agenda : The internet of things and sensor-based technology can be used to create huge advantages on construction sites related to worker safety, cost reduction and predictive maintenance. This technology collects massive amounts of data and can provide different types of analysis: descriptive, relaying the current conditions of a specific piece of equipment or environment; predictive, to forecast the occurrence of potential malfunctions or safety risks; and prescriptive, to provide ways to optimize the workflow and avoid delays and errors. Predictive maintenance Equipment fitted with sensors can generate valuable data about elements of a construction project such as temperature, weight capacity, light and chemicals. This information can be used to influence decisions made regarding maintenance scheduling and overall safety of a construction site in terms of fire safety, worker capacity, energy use and general wear and tear. Managing the specialized machinery necessary for a project is often one of the most significant costs faced by firms in the construction industry, so maintaining these assets is vital to avoiding critical errors and expensive repairs or replacements. Timing maintenance to ensure that it can occur without affecting current projects and when it is necessary for the equipment to continue functioning optimally is a complicated balancing act. Using sensor-based predictive and preventative maintenance technology enables operators to conduct maintenance on a piece of equipment in the sweet spot: when necessary, but before it has broken down, reducing costs dramatically in terms of the depth of the repair necessary as well as avoiding… Read more