Thursday, May 31, 2012

CLEPA supports automotive technologies against road accidents

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers gives its firm support to the FIA’s Action for Road Safety. The campaign of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile has been launched in May 2011, in response to the challenges raised by the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. The goal of the Action is to prevent five million deaths and countless serious injuries on roads around the world over the next ten years.
In 2011, in Europe the number recorded accidents reached 1.1 million in total.
CLEPA reminds that the automotive suppliers invest € 15 Billion per year in R&D and produce by far most of the equipment that saves lives. These include, among others, systems for electronic stability control, collision warning, emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and adaptive headlights. The association supports as well the implementation of the life-saving eCall system being fitted in all new models of cars and light duty vehicles from 2015.
Jean-Marc Gales, CLEPA CEO says : “It is difficult to accept the figures associated with road deaths and injuries when effective safety technologies are available at affordable prices.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

California Highway Patrol switching to SUVs

When you think of a highway patrol car, you instantly think Ford Crown Victoria. And usually in California Highway Patrol black n' white trim. Since the Crown Vic went out of production last year, you see a few older models out on the roads that have been slowly replaced by the Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, or the Chevrolet Caprice (I know we haven't seen one yet either). But Ford also produces the new Explorer in a police package, and that's what the California Highway Patrol is leaning towards to replace their fleet and to keep it in the Ford family. The CHP maintains a fleet of 4,000 vehciles (give or take a few) and each year, they replace 1/3rd of that fleet with new vehicles.

Due to the ammount of gear that a trooper has to car with him or her on any given day is always increasing. And now with gear mandated by the Department of Homeland Security, the smaller patrol cars offered by the big three just won't cut it.

Of course they'll still be black and white....

Source: California Highway Patrol.

Meet the Evanta Aston Martin DB7

Coming to us from across the pond in the U.K. comes the re-imagined Aston Martin DB7 by Evanta Motor Company. Founded in 1995, Evanta specializes in the rebuilding, restoration, and in a case like this, the building of classic British sports cars. This DB7 has been completely built from the ground up wearing the body of a distant relative, the DB4. While it may look like a DB4, it is still powered by the DB7's V12. It also carries many modern essentials like air bags and air conditioning.

This is a very exciting twist on a very beautiful car to begin with. If you want it, you'll have to act fast as this is the only one made, and like the only to ever be made.

Media release:
The proportions and lines are breathtaking. Its impossible to tell that this is in fact a modern ECU driven, Tiptronic, V12 monster with air conditioning and air bags. Full race roll cage is hidden underneath the stunning interior, which is finished in luxurious Oxblood red leather.

The flawless paintwork is finished in correct Aston Martin solent silver, which has a delicate hint of blue. Wheels are 16" wires with appropriate race tyres.

The car retains the modern instruments of the DB7, yet the fusion of a vintage DB4 dash, DB4 seats and period trim. The blend where old meets new is a stroke of genius. This rare,elegant yet powerful car is the only one available on the planet.

Source: Evanta Motor Co. Ltd.

Italian auto industry rocked by earthquake.

Northern Italy was rocked by yet another earthquake today. One that has literally shut down the Italian auto industry. At least for the next couple of days. The quake was centered about 40 kilometers north of Bologna Italy. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, and Maserati all are either headquartered or have factories in that area. So far, Maserati is the only manufacturer that is showing damage at their factory. All have ceased operations for the day to allow workers to go home and be with their families. Details are still emerging, so we will keep you posted on this as more details come out.

Source: Autoblog.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Top speakers already confirmed at CESA 2012

The congress will welcome top executives from OEMs and suppliers. At this point, CESA 2012 is delighted to announce the presence of :
Christophe PERILLAT, chief operating officer at Valeo on automotive electronics in general
Marc DUVAL-DESTIN, R&D Director at PSA on new mobility (picture)
Beatrice FOUCHER-SYBORD from Renault on Electric Mobility
Liam BRESLIN for the European Commission
Wolfgang RUNGE, ex-CEO of ZF and chairman of Baden-Baden conference on automotive electronics
Pierre GATTAZ, CEO of Radial and President of the French federation for electronics industry (FIEEC) Joachim MATTHES from Valeo on Driver Assistance
Heinz PFANNSCHMIDT, ex CEO of Honsel and ex-VP of Visteon as representative for Roland Berger on electric mobility in Germany
Laurent MALIER, CEO of CEA-LETI on new technologies in power electronics
Hans-Georg FRISCHKORN, ESG and ex-VP Electronics at GM and BMW on consequences from mobility needs on technical solutions
Other speakers from BMW, Nissan, Continental, CLEPA, BIPE, Ademe and Orange are also announced. CESA 2012 is a very promising edition...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Deadline is May 29 th for call for papers

CESA 2012 reminds that the submission for abstracts is opened until May 29th.
At this point, the congress has already confirmation of more than 60 participants for key-notes and round table discussions including representatives from the automotive industry and adjacent industries such as electronics in general, railway, communication, city representatives and market research organizations from Europe, France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.
This year, the top level roundtable discussion format will be enhanced by more in depth sessions, detailed presentations and discussions of technical papers. CESA will be held on December 4th and 5th in Paris with the support of the PFA and Automotive Clusters. It's the most important automotive electronics conference in France.

Link :

Monday, May 21, 2012

PFA : a task force for the french automotive industry

In french, PFA stands for Plateforme de la Filière Automobile (Automotive Industry Platform). This organisation has been created in 2009, in order to facilitate the relationship between OEMs and suppliers and to prepare the migration towards a more efficient industry.

Headed by former Michelin chairman, Michel Rollier, the PFA has several working groups.

In a recent report, transmitted to public authorities, the organisation has listed 5 top priorities :
- To move towards a mobility focused industry with a new R&D tool (which is VeDeCom Institute, a place dedicated to software development, energy management, automated driving)
- To prepare the factory of the future, more flexible in order to meet requirements for a much more segmented demand
- To better share the "high tech best cost" vision, in order to improve France's competitiveness with Techno Parcs and clusters
- To have clear priority roadmaps for R&D with a better coordination at the national level
- To reshape the R&D eco system with a simplified access and an efficient financing

Link (in french) :
PFA website :

Thursday, May 17, 2012

PSA Peugeot Citroën leader of e-Call in Europe

French OEM has sold over 1 million cars equiped with an e-Call system, under the brands Citroën (e-Touch) and Peugeot (Peugeot Connect). Since 2003, 5000 persons have been rescued in 10 countries in Europe.

In case of accident, a SMS is sent (either by the driver by pressing the SOS button, ou automatically when the airbag is activated), with the vehicle location and its ID to a dedicated platform*. Then, an operator can call the driver in his native language to ask him questions about the situation. If there is no response, the platform will then warn the rescue services with all the relevant data. The PSA system can save precious minutes, and then lives.

A location based assistance service is also available, in case of breakdown.

In 2010, PSA introduced a new on board device. This box separates e-Call services from other telematics functions, such as hands free communications.

Anticipating 2015 european e-Call, the PSA system is a no fee subscription, available for the whole vehicle lifecycle. The french OEM has received a Euro NCAP Advanced award for this innovation.

*IMA, which is a structure owned by insurance companies

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Safeplatoon : driverless cars running in France in 2013

CESA 2012 partner, the cluster Véhicule du Futur backs an innovative project called Safeplatoon.
Involving the university of technology of Belfort-Montbéliard, this project aims to develop strong algorithms in order to enable driverless cars to run in real life traffic. Automated vehicles could then drive in the streets and park by themselves. The technology could be used by the automotive industry, and also for military and agriculture applications.
3D simulation will be used, thanks to Pro-Sivic platform from Paris based company Civitec, before practical tests.
Started in 2011, Safeplatoon is a 36 months project. All partners, such as LASMEA and Ligier, have already developed automated vehicles.
A showcase is scheduled in 2013 in the streets of Belfort, in the eastern part of France.

Link :

Friday, May 11, 2012

Breaking news: Carroll Shelby passes away at 89

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of racing and sports car legend Carroll Shelby who passed away today in Dallas Texas at the age of 89. Shelby, a racing legend in his own time. A winner of the 24 hours of LeMans. He was father of the legendary Cobra and the line of Mustangs that carried his name. Details of his death have not been released at this time, but Shelby has been hospitalized recently.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Renault adopts ADAS technologies from Valeo

Valeo is supplying Renault with two driving assistance systems. The BeamAtic lighting automation and LaneVue lane departure warning applications will equip the new mass-market Scenic, Grand Scenic, Mégane, Mégane coupé and Mégane estate facelift vehicles.

These applications are embedded in the Valeo multifunctional camera, located between the windshield and the rearview mirror.

The BeamAtic lighting automation system takes over the lighting commands to optimize the use of high beam. It switches back to low beam as soon as an oncoming or leading car is detected by the embedded camera. The system alleviates the stress of constantly switching the headlamps on and off, thus improving nighttime driving comfort and safety.

The LaneVue detection system alerts the driver if the vehicle drifts into the adjacent lane. The front camera detects the lane markings on the road, and compares them with the vehicle's trajectory. If the vehicle drifts into the adjacent lane without having activated the turn indicator, LaneVue™ immediately alerts the driver through sound and visual signals. This application may anticipate critical situations, e.g. in the event of driver drowsiness or lack of attention.

With these two applications, which combine innovative vision technologies and software developments, Valeo is making leading-edge driving assistance functions available to the widest possible markets.

No new Top Gear until 2013!

This is absolute rubbish news coming from the U.K. Some say that it just can't be true, but Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson (shown here in a file photo) has confirmed via Twitter that outside of an annual Christmas special, there will be no new Top Gear episodes until sometime in early 2013. Why no new episodes? Well, Jezza is blaming that on Simon Cowell and one of his TV shows. I guess this is what happens when two BBC TV powerhouses go head to head. Or could it be that the Stig has been asked to be a judge on one of Cowell's shows? And on that bombshell, we'll keep vigil and enjoy our hard drive of prior seasons shows.

Jerry Seinfeld working on a car show?

Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Adam Carolla, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld. These are just a few of the names of big time Hollywood car guys. Rumors are swirling that Jerry Seinfeld is working on a new show revolving around cars and some of his comedic friends. Details are scarce, but this photo of Seinfeld and Larry David with one of Jerry's cars, a vintage split window Volkswagen Beetle have started flying around the net. 

Volkswagen setting records again.

Volkswagen is no stranger to setting records. Be it sales volume records or having a car swim across the English channel or the Panama Canal. Here's a new world record notch for the belt. An American built 2012 Passat TDI has set the world record for longest distance on one tank of gas. The trip started by mileage guru's John and Helen Taylor left Houston, TX on May 3rd and arrived in Sterling, VA on May 5th. A typical three day trip, simulating a typical trip. The Passat was bone stock, and carried over 120 pounds of luggage and drove only during daylight hours. What was the world record distance? 1,626 miles beating the previous record of 1,526.6 set by a BlueMotion Passat in Europe. Over the course of the trip, the Taylor's averaged just over 84 miles per gallon. Who says you need a hybrid?

Source: Volkswagen of America

Press release:



Mileage experts John and Helen Taylor complete 1626-mile drive in Chattanooga-built Volkswagen Passat TDI®—without stopping for fuel!
  • Record set using a stock 2012 Passat TDI SE with six-speed manual transmission
  • Average of 84.1 miles per gallon during three-day trip
  • Shows mileage benefits of VW Clean Diesel technology

Herndon, VA -  The world’s most fuel-efficient couple has done it again. John and Helen Taylor were determined to break the record for the farthest distance traveled on a single tank of fuel. They decided to attempt the record in the U.S. with a stock 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE TDI Clean Diesel vehicle equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The previous record for the most miles covered on a single tank of diesel was 1526.6 miles, achieved with a VW Passat 1.6 BlueMotion® diesel in Europe.

The result? A new record of 1626.1 miles, achieved on one tank of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel under real world driving conditions. That’s an incredible 99.5 miles better than the old mark. Over the course of three days and driving through nine states, the couple averaged 84.1 miles per gallon, spending only 4.65 cents per mile. The three-day drive commenced on May 3, 2012 in Houston, TX and ended on May 5, 2012 in Sterling, Virginia. To make the drive as realistic as possible, the couple included 120 pounds of luggage and drove during daylight hours to experience normal traffic situations. Additionally, the couple took turns driving and didn’t travel more than 14 hours per day.

“We’re excited to have broken the record for the longest distance driven on one-tank of fuel,” said John Taylor. “The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip. It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record.”

The Passat’s 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel inline four-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and with a manual transmission delivers an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 43 mpg on the highway. The TDI engine is equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR) that fulfills emissions requirements in all 50 states. The Passat—built at the world’s only LEED Platinum certified automotive factory in Chattanooga, TN—was named Motor Trend’s 2012 Car of the Year.

“The Passat was engineered and designed to be a comfortable yet fun to drive alternative in the midsize segment. The TDI Clean Diesel version unites driving dynamics and fuel efficiency that isn’t found in the competitive set,” said Rainer Michel, Vice President of Product Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We’re honored that the Taylors chose the 2012 Passat TDI as the vehicle to set this outstanding distance record. Their record shows just how economical the Passat TDI can be in the right hands.”

Prior to the drive, the speedometer and odometer were calibrated by a state certified testing station in Houston, Texas. Law enforcement officers from the city of Houston, Texas oversaw validation of mileage, fuel fill-up, and gas tank sealing at the beginning of the drive. A Loudoun County, Virginia Sheriff’s Deputy verified completion of the drive and mileage prior to removing the fuel tank seal.

The Taylors have made a career out of driving efficiently and conducting workshops globally on fuel-efficient driving techniques. They have collected more than 90 world fuel economy and vehicle-related records from drives around the globe.

Back from hiatus.

Ok, I'm finally getting back in to the swing of things after having my computer crash on me. Even though it's been quiet here on the main page, our facebook page has been jumping. So if you log on here and you don't see any new posts, check out the facebook page. Something is always posted there.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

79 GHz takes the lead in Europe

On 10 May 2012, the 79 GHz consortium will hold its first Plenary Meeting in Boras, Sweden. It will be the opportunity to give an overview of the achievements and of the work that has been carried on at global level.

This event will present the activities with vehicle manufacturers and automotive supplier associations, the latest results from the MOSARIM EU Project, as well as radar bandwidth requirements for new ADAS functions.

79 GHz is a European research project under the Seventh Framework Programme. The aim is to establish a global, world-wide available and harmonized frequency allocation for vehicular radars. Today, the 79 GHz radar equipment is only authorized in the 27 EC member states, in most of the further 21 CEPT countries, in Singapore and Australia. In all other countries the operation of 79 GHz radar devices is not possible due to the lack of any regulatory framework for this frequency band.

Link :

Thursday, May 3, 2012

48 V, what is so interesting this time?

By Jochen Langheim, STMicroelectronics

Most of us remember the discussion on the 42V in the nineties. There was a lot of excitement around the introduction of a second voltage level for on-board power supply besides 12V in passenger cars. With an ever increasing need for electric power, the fear was to reach too soon the limit of the on board generator to supply power to the devices such as air conditioning, heating or electric steering.
However, 42V didn't succeed, because engineers found ways to limit power consumption, implement intelligent power control, install buffers and Increase the capacity of on board generators to levels sufficient for a long time to supply energy.

What is different today?

There are needs for more power far beyond the present on-board needs of around 5 kW. Start-stop systems already push 12V technology to its limits with some kW. But they are only the beginning of further electrification towards mild hybrids. There, it will need something more powerfull in the range of 10 to 15 kW.

This would mean some 1000 A of current or an equivalent of cables with diameters of 10 to 15 mm. Heavy, costly, difficult to manufacture and install. In addition, each little resistance causes heavy losses according to P = R I²

And this leads to the second aspect, CO2.
Worldwide CO2 reduction and energy efficiency is a growing concern. The European Comission has adopted a very ambitious rule to reduce CO2 emissions. Limits are getting lower and lower and passing these limits will cost penalties, real money.
As an example: 3 g of CO2 above the limit of 120 g cost 45 € per vehicle. Avoiding this penalty can fund a nice efficiency improvement in an electric module leading to power savings of about 200W (or 3 g of CO2). Introduction of all sorts of innovations to reduce CO2 emissions become thus economically viable. Avoiding penalties can finance sophisticated start-stop systems, high efficiency generators, low loss air conditioning, drive train hybridization or... electric vehicles.
Finally, the definition of the 48V system specifies the maximum voltage below 60 V, which is the limit for LOW VOLTAGE, which means non-dangerous operation without specific security measures.

I want to emphasize at this point that the 12V system will not be replaced, but that there will be 2 on-board systems in parallel for 12 and 48 V linked by a DC/DC converter.

With the introduction of the 48V standard, every actor in the market can focus on the optimization of his products. Semiconductor makers can optimise their MOSFET and IGBTs, special connectors, capacitors, passives, etc. They will be able to better take into account the needs for load dump, EMC and automotive quality. Volume effects will lead to productivities that will further decrease the costs for innovation in these areas. Reuse of experience is increased.

What might be the consequence for electric mobility?

Imagine a drive system for a scooter with 48V and 5 to 10 kW. I would expect a nice acceleration for such a two-wheeler. Do you know the number of electric bikes and scooters in China? Tens or even hundreds of millions with 24, 36 or ...48V.
An ICE car with front wheel (conventional) motorisation can easily be equipped with an electric drive train on the rear wheels. Let's say 2 times 15 kW; makes 30 kW. As electric motors show more torque at low speeds, the drive feeling at low speeds can be compared to a car with 100 HP. A relatively easy and economic way to make a hybrid vehicle. Remember the cost advantage in combination with two-wheelers. Consequently one can also realise an electric vehicle with 4 units totalling 60 kW. Such cars are today studied all over the world.
 As a side effect, such a four-wheel drive system in a car can offer electric stability and anti-skid control without extra hardware. Furthermore the use of individual and small motors allows more flexibility in the desiign, which is and will be THE differentiating factor for car sales.

In conclusion, 48 V opens the door to electric driving with plenty of innovation at an affordable price.
48 V can initiate a real revolution!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It is still time to participate with a paper in CESA !

The CESA 2012 congress preparation is progressing well. As it stands today, we have already confirmation of more than 60 participants for key-notes and round table discussions including representatives from the automotive industry and adjacent industries such as electronics in general, railway, communication, city representatives and market research organizations from Europe, France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. But there is still room for presentations in the technical sessions.

As an appetizer here some names of keynote speakers:
- Christophe Perillat, chief operating officer at Valeo on automotive electronics in general
- Marc Duval Destin, R&D Director at PSA on new mobility
- Beatrice Foucher-Sybord from Renault on Electric Mobility
- Liam Breslin for the European Commission
- Wolfgang Runge ex-CEO of ZF and chairman of Baden-Baden conference on automotive electronics
- Pierre Gattaz, CEO of Radial and President of the French federation for electronics industry (FIEEC)
- Joachim Matthes from Valeo on Driver Assistance
- Heinz Pfannschmidt, ex CEO of Honsel and ex-VP of Visteon as representative for Roland Berger on electric mobility in Germany
- Laurent Malier, General Manager of CEA-LETI on new technologies in power electronics
- Hans-Georg Frischkorn, ESG and ex-VP Electronics at GM and BMW on consequences from mobility needs on technical solutions

Furthermore, there will be representatives from Nissan, Japan, SCNF, ATOS, ADEME, Amsterdam city, BOLLORE, SAFT, Schneider, VW, Audi, BMW-Peugeot-Citroen, BIPE, Renault, Conti, BOSCH, TRW, PSA, … and many more.