Archive for the ‘Driverless Cars’ Category

Are automobiles killing motorcyclists and cyclists ‘by design’?

More Vintage motorcycles

According to the UK Police, many road traffic accidents are caused by “driver inattention” – pulling out without seeing an approaching motorcycle

Driver automation (driverless cars) is not the answer as it risks making drivers even more inattentive.
We know using smartphones whilst driving is dangerous, but banning their use may be only part of the solution to the problem.

Cottingham.tv is investigating car design and how it impacts on motorcyclists safety.

Modern cars appear to have front and side window blind spots, caused by increasingly large window pillars that may be causing “pulling-out errors” leading to serious road traffic accidents where the narrow motorcycle can’t be seen. Older drivers are increasingly distracted by in-car infotainment systems

http://www.hstoday.com/safety/ntsb-fatal-crash-involving-tesla-autopilot-resulted-driver-errors-overreliance-automation

 

More radical solutions are proposed, including safety aids for the elderly car driver – to be continued ..

For full details please contact nicholasrobinsondesign@gmail.com

Angels led by Donkeys: is plug-in hybrid vehicle performance still presenting a ‘race to the bottom’ for todays’ drivers in terms of enjoyment?

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid: although finally a step in the right direction and despite powered and energy-recovery flywheel hybrid IC engine developments led by 2014-5 Formula One motor racing, the driving feel remains remote and the driving experience cold and clinical.

Crankshaft

The author has been developing an alternative hybrid driving system that offers improved feel and enjoyment 

Brief history: a petrol-head’s guide

The race for alternative fuels

1990s: following on from fuel price-hikes from the previous decade, alternative fuels began to be explored with bio-fuels and LPG being pioneered as alternative dual-fuel options where your car boot was effectively sacrificed to carry the LPG in bulky pressurized cylinders above the fuel tank and spare tyre. Hybrid cars were also introduced, but they flopped as their battery technology was too heavy and expensive. It has been reported that GM’s EV-1 “was killed off by the oil and gas industry”, such was the culture of resistance to change in the industry and consumers at the time.

With the Diesel-fuelled internal combustion engine, inroads were made into the area of automotive fuel economy with Diesel fuel becoming available on the forecourts for car-drivers who were offered fuel tax-incentives to encourage them to buy cars with Diesel engines. Trucks had been using the more economical Diesel fuel for decades which helped open-up the US economy in the 1960s.

2000s: Diesel won the battle for the fuel of choice with fuel tax incentives continuing to be offered at the pumps by government. The turbo-Diesel offered performance gains over the sluggish normally-aspirated Diesel but it still didn’t compare with the petrol engine for performance. It has been said that we were duped into buying into Diesel technology because it was still inferior to the direct response offered by petrol engines. The Diesel engine along with the hybrid-powered vehicles were heavy and sluggish, requiring a ‘feather-touch’ accelerator action to bring any substantial efficiency gains. The Toyota Prius was reportedly awful in terms of performance feel and economy also but it did make a courageous first step to change an industry that was heavily-entrenched in and around the conventional petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine.

2010s: the bi turbo-Diesel offered a more lively feel and mid-range acceleration, overcoming ‘turbo-lag’.

Audi were the early pioneers of the bi-turbo Diesel technology with the other major manufacturers following suit.

Improvements in battery technology also led to the hybrid becoming replaced by the plug-in hybrids with Prius’ getting retrofits.

After we’d made the switch to Diesel, the fuel tax-incentive of diesel over petrol was phased out leaving a question-mark hanging the environmental advantages of Diesels with their high particulate emissions.

More recently,

read on ..

Despite the drive to make modern plug-in hybrid vehicles become more economical and less polluting, do they offer driving enjoyment?

For a view of current future thinking from Jaguar Land Rover, follow the link. The editor thinks that automotive design engineers have been denied a major opportunity to enhance rather than detract from the performance of IC engines! If enjoyment were a fundamental starting point for car designers and engineers rather than managed tick-box objectives, such mismatches of feel and engagement with economy and performance could be avoided in the future.

Conclusion: will new ‘designer-led’ leadership brush away all the bureaucracy?

The author thinks that with so many alternative futures being developed over the last decade including: – alternative fuels, lightweight materials, hybrid drives, flexible manufacturing, driver seating, driverless technology, automatic parking and drive by wire technology – coupled with the fall in global fuel prices and automotive sales – that the industry now needs effective leadership as it is now spending too much on in-house ‘runaway R&D’. This involves technology cramming and churning (adding horses for courses), further pushing-up showroom prices for products the customer no longer desires (quote)!

That leadership should be driven by driving pleasure and not a ‘race to the bottom’ caused by organizational bureaucracy taking-over key positions in large organizations! If organizational bureaucrats are the ‘donkeys’ and automotive engineers are the ‘angels’, then surely the angels are being led by the donkeys!

As a test you can ask yourself: if bureaucrats tend to create more bureaucracy in organizations by promoting their own kind, then look no further than the menu-driven displays and controls in modern vehicles today where you can see their mind-sets in action!

Your  comments please to Cottingham.tv

For enquiries relating  to the editor’s independently-patented IP, contact the inventor nick4182@hotmail.com

Nick

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(c) registered, Look and Learn

https://www.slideshare.net/secret/aNSOYychGrgIxi

As the demand for cleaner fuels rises, many of us will be running fossil fuel-free within the next 25 years!

Inevitably this will mean moving over to electric vehicles EVs, deploying solar rooftop energy generation with solar panels and “Home batteries” (see Tesla) and a “Packet Switched Smart Grid”.

I’m enclosing my early concept: –

Patent for a Smart Gridfpat

nationalgrid2

Nick

The editor has been working on driverless vehicle technology – a critical link in the smart grid – arguing that conventional seating is inadequate!

PresentationPSSGTraffic

http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/self-driving-cars-ps10m-punt-could-transform-uk?gclid=CPXLhuqP-8QCFe7MtAodkk8Asw

Stop Press: Vehicle Seating Patent Granted!

http://www.tilt-lean-seating.com  (under reconstruction)