Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Power distribution solutions towards more efficiency

CESA 2012 abstract

The well established 12V automotive power distribution system is facing some major changes. The main drivers for these changes are better energy efficiency and CO2-reduction. 12V Start-stop and 48V Mild-Hybrid solutions are seen as enablers for better efficiency.
With the innovative 12V start-stop functions, there are two new upcoming challenges to be solved, powernet stabilization and increased activation cycles.
The presentation will show semiconductor solutions for powernet stabilization, like dual battery switches, as well as solutions for replacing mechanical relays. Special interest is here also given to electronic fuse function, weight reduction by improved wire harness and a more flexible power distribution partitioning, as well as a reduction of electric power losses.
Finally the presentation will cover the 48V powernet requirements for semiconductors in Mild-Hybrid systems. Different system architectures will be discussed with their specific application needs and first 48V semiconductor families like MOSFETs, driver ICs, Voltage regulators and transceiver devices will be proposed.

By Dr. Alfons Graf, Principal System Architect for Body Electronic at Infineon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trends and Innovations in Safety Domain Architecture

CESA 2012 abstract
Since years the demand for Driver Assistant Systems is continuously growing. Forward looking camera and radar applications are gaining popularity. Not only in the luxury car segment, but also in mid end car segments and migrating further into low end cars. In addition the merge of active and passive safety applications towards cognitive safety is progressing rapidly, supported by upcoming changes in the safety rating of cars. Additional radar and camera sensors are going to be equipped around the car for side and rear looking applications migrating towards 360 degree environmental sensing. Taking advanced development programs at vehicle manufacturer into consideration first semi autonomous driving applications can be expected within this decade.
All these trends will lead to a change in the safety electronic architecture.

More and more sensor data need to be processed, data fusion has to be done on a much higher level and software functions to align and arbitrate chassis actuators need to be integrated. Furthermore, vehicle manufacturer have identified DAS function software as an important vehicle brand related selling point and started to develop this SW on their own, which has to be integrated by tier 1 supplier as black box or gray box SW.
Beside these new electronic systems, which are entering the car, we will see a lot of new technologies enabling the way towards cognitive safety. Safety systems are going to have open, Autosar based SW architectures according to ISO26262, need to support various network communications like CAN, FlexRay and in the next step Ethernet and have to provide very flexible and scalable micro processor architecture.
While flexibility and scalability do have in general an impact on the cost of the electronic systems - standard safety systems with high fitment rates are meanwhile much cost driven - a simple integration of the above mentioned functions and technologies would lead to a not acceptable cost burden in standard systems. Safety domain controller which acts as flexible, open integration hubs being additionally equipped to the car as optional electronic systems, hosting DAS or vehicle dynamic functions are ideal solutions to follow the rapidly changing market as long as above mentioned market requirements are linked to fitment rates below 30-40%. With such a controller the functions can be integrated and added very easily by allowing the standard electronic systems to stay cost optimized. TRW has developed a safety domain controller which enables the integration of a number of chassis, safety and DAS control functions. Using open, ISO262626 compliant Autosar architecture, the Saftey Domain ECU (SDE) has the flexibility to include software from vehicle manufacturers and third party suppliers and its first generation is scheduled for launch in 2013.
For its second generation SDE, TRW is exploring the application and benefits of Ethernet as a network technology – offering considerably higher data throughput speeds than current communication protocols.

By Dr. Hans-Gerd Krekels, Global Director Technology Strategy & Core Electronics, TRW Automotive

Monday, November 26, 2012

Developing embedded user experiences - challenges and success factors in automotive environment.

CESA 2012 abstract

Automotive product development is based on proven processes and development time that allows carmakers to respond to drivers needs in regards to quality, feature availability and look and feel of the device in the car.
When talking about user experience, driver’s expectations are influenced by consumer electronic devices, from interaction point of view (speech and/or gesture recognition) as well as content (graphic attractiveness, apps). Drivers are expecting the same seamless, simple, easy to use phone and tablet features in their car, while still requiring automotive quality in term of system stability, low driver distraction and updateability during automotive life-time.
With over a decade of experience in developing multimodal HMI, EB GUIDE – industry recognized HMI development products suite and speech dialog platform - has been proved reliable in more than a million vehicles on the road and in the upcoming year more vehicles will come to market using the EB GUIDE HMI technology.
During the presentation, you will learn about market trends in HMI, the market interest for a modelbased approach, quick UI simulation for user-acceptance evaluation, how to easily enable early and agile development, as well as integrating latest technologies to handle gesture/speech recognition and graphics challenges into the vehicle.

By Bruno Abou, director Elektrobit France SAS

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Join the CESA Congress VIP Business Tour

In partnership with the SIA, the Paris Region Economic Development Agency is organising the CESA Congress VIP Business Tour of 3 of the Paris region's most innovative locations for new mobility. The tour is scheduled on Monday, December 3rd.
Here is the agenda :
- 11.30 am to 1 pm : Welcome lunch at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport.
- 2 pm to 3.15 pm : Visit of the Autolib operational centre.
Autolib is the first public-private service plan with more than 1,700 electric vehicles to be developed in a large European metropolis. It enables Paris Region inhabitants to rent electric cars for a few hours from interactive terminals located in the streets. Thanks to the VIP Business Tour, you will have the unique opportunity to visit Autolib's hub in Vaucresson and to experiment the electric Blue cars !
- 3.45 pm to 4.45 pm : Visit of the command post of the recently completed A86 motorway tunnel.
This location demonstrates how an information technology software system is used to manage France’s largest road tunnel.
- 5.15 pm to 6.15 pm: Discover the INRIA Research Centre in Rocquencourt. INRIA is a public research organization, dedicated to science and digital technologies. Its experts will present you their research on the autonomous vehicle with demonstrations of autonomous driving cars.
- 7.30 pm: Evening buffet with the CESA operational committee in central Paris.

Link : http://fr.amiando.com/KOKOTIG

Friday, November 23, 2012

The thermal management of electrified vehicles

CESA abstract

When running on pure electric mode, electrified vehicles offer a very efficient energy conversion. Less than 3 kW in average is needed to drive an EV over an urban cruise. Consequently, the management of additional power demands of thermal functions, e.g. the cooling or the heating of the vehicle passenger cabin, or that of battery and power electronics, has a major impact on the overall vehicle power balance. A new system approach for thermal management, combining an innovative architecture, dedicated technologies and relevant control strategy, becomes decisive to offer a significant cruising range, secure the battery life time and also ensure quick engine response.
Within the scope of Vega/Thop, a cooperative project including six partners (Valeo, Renault, Saint Gobain Sekurit, Hutchinson, INSA/Cethil, LINC) funded by Ademe, a new thermal architecture was designed, prototyped and tested on benches and lab cars in order to assess the potential of such innovative thermal concept.

This paper outlines the main challenges and the outputs of this project:
- the review of thermal needs, with a focus on the passenger cabin requirements for comfort, and their associated impact on vehicle performances at system level;
- the way to drastically reduce the cabin thermal needs with same perceived comfort, combining cabin treatment, advanced air management and alternative comfort strategy;
- the setting up of a new thermal architecture that combines heat networking, recovery and storage capabilities, looking for synergies between thermal needs and heat losses so as to minimize consumption.
- the implementation of a heat pump to leverage “free” low temperature heat sources, such as ambient air or internal heat inertia and losses
- the benefit of a transient control strategy, in order to manage different operating modes and related “ramp up” or cycling phases, according to the vehicle usage profile.
As a conclusion, typical power savings compared to current serial EV will be presented on different scenarii, based on the results from tests campaigns and simulations analyses.

By Daniel Neveu (R&D program manager, Valeo Thermal Systems) and Osoko Shonda (Innovation Project Leader, Renault).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Individual E-Mobility Solutions for Automotive and Off-Highway Applications – A System View by Bosch

CESA 2012 abstract
Only a couple of years ago there were many doubts on a possible implementation and realization of hybrid and electric vehicles as an alternative for vehicles with an ICE powertrain.
Today we are in the position to see this differently. “The future automotive powertrain will be electric” is a prognosis of Bosch. The conversion of the powertrain to be electric assisted or become all electric was pushed through significant development effort over the last couple of years.
Today we see the hybrid technology being used in many different platforms of almost any OEM and the first all electric vehicles are available from series production. But the electric powertrain is not only revolutionizing the automotive industry.
At Bosch Engineering we are getting more and more requests for hybrid and electric powertrain solutions for off-highway applications. This includes for example fork lift trucks, municipal multi-purpose carriers, and also marine applications. These applications could benefit from the system and sub-system development efforts for automotive solutions and from the mature and high quality of powertrain components.

For any application it is important to make sure, that the requirements and the duty cycle are well understood and that the system, sub-system and the components are very well fitted together for their individual usage. High efficiency plays an important role, especially for the electric powertrain, since energy storage systems are still very cost effective. High performance simulation tools are used to support the effort of finding an overall optimized solution. Safe and environmental friendly solutions are a must for Bosch. However cost, efficiency, function, weight and packaging are also important requirements. Often, the first system development solution found is not the best to meet all these criteria. Iterations have to be made using simulation tools and measurements in order to find out what is best for each individual system layout.
What has to be kept in mind: “The optimum of each subsystem and component is not necessarily the overall optimum of the entire system“.


By Heiko Weller, Bosch.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hurricane Sandy vs Collector Cars

Ok, first it's Hurricane Sandy, not Super Storm Sandy. No matter how you slice it, it was still a hurricane that rocked the east coast of the U.S. in October. And the one thing that drives any car guy crazy is to see vehicular damage. We cringed at a photo floating around facebook that was also the cover shot of Automotive News magazine last week of a fleet of Ford Crown Victorias and a few Transit Connect taxis sitting in a lot flooded with water. Turns out they were brand new cars sitting at a Ford owned dealership in Manhattan. So it turns out not only were they Crown Vics, they were some of the LAST Crown Vics built.

From our friends over at Hemmings comes these photos snapped by a reader of two Aston Martins that weren't so lucky last month. Makes you want to cry.


See all the photos here.

Source & Photos: Hemmings Blog


Sunday, November 11, 2012

High performance magnets: which properties? which prospects?

CESA 2012 abstract
High performance permanent magnets are a vital component of today’s clean energy technologies (e.g. hybrid vehicles, wind turbines) as well as many consumer appliances and accessories. The recent pricing pressure on the raw materials of rare earth based magnets, owing to the near monopoly of Chinese production of rare earth metals, has driven renewed interest in the study of permanent magnets.
In this paper we will recall the fundamentals of permanent magnetism, and outline the essential link between extrinsic properties and microstructure. We will describe the evolution in the properties of permanent magnets over the last century, linking the spectacular improvements achieved with the discovery of new phases and the development of improved processing.
We will explain the present dependence on the use of heavy rare earth elements such as Dy and Tb, in the production of Nd-Fe-B based magnets suitable for operation at the relatively high working temperatures of the motors and generators used in clean energy conversion (below 180°C).
We will discuss prospects for the development of heavy rare earth free Nd-Fe-B magnets, based on recent results from literature, and our own work on model thick film structures.
Finally, we will outline expected future developments of both rare earth containing and rare earth free high performance permanent magnets.

By Dr. Nora Dempsey, CNRS Grenoble.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The exhibition almost completed at CESA 2012

CESA 2012 will also be the opportunity to showcase the know how of french and european companies, in the field of electronics.

Here is the list :

Advancy, Applus IDIADA, Bertrandt, Continental, dSPACE, ESG Group, Henkel, IPG, MathWorks, Methodpark, NXP Semiconductors, Robert Bosch, STMicroelectronics, TE Connectivity and Vector.

Last but not least - Advantage Austria will be there too with high tech companies.
If you want to be there too, please hurry : there is only one booth left.

PSA Peugeot Citro├źn and Renault will present outside demo vehicles.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Suzuki files for Chapter 11 protection, no more U.S. car sales

What can I say. I saw this train wreck happening 2 years ago. American Suzuki Motor Corporation announced late this afternoon that it was filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to their press release, this is being done in order to realign the company to focus more towards their motorcycle, ATV, and marine operations.

As part of the wind down operations, ASMC will discontinue all U.S. automobile sales. However, unlike Saab's bankruptcy, all warranties will be honored for owners. Suzuki, states that "low sales volumes, a limited number of models in its line-up, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the high costs associated with growing and maintaining an automotive distribution system in the continental U.S. and the disproportionally high and increasing costs associated with stringent state and federal regulatory requirements unique to the U.S. market." as the reasoning behind their decisions. I am curious as to why it has taken them this long to reach that decision as their sales performance has been slipping for the last several years. Their marketing was at times puzzling, comparing the Kizashi against cars like the Mercedes C class and Audi A4.

As we receive more details about Suzuki, we'll keep you updated here. 

Source: American Suzuki Motor Corporation.

Press release:

American Suzuki Motor Corporation ("ASMC") Announces Restructuring and Realignment to Focus on Motorcycles/ATV and Marine Divisions

ASMC to wind down and discontinue new automobile sales in continental U.S.
Consumers will be protected and all warranties will continue to be fully honored


BREA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- American Suzuki Motor Corporation ("ASMC" or "the Company"), the sole distributor in the continental United States of Suzuki Motor Corporation ("SMC") automobiles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and marine outboard engines, today announced that it plans to realign its business to focus on the long-term growth of its Motorcycles/ATV and Marine divisions. Following a thorough review of its current position and future opportunities in the U.S. automotive market, ASMC will wind down and discontinue new automobile sales in the continental U.S. The Company has determined the best path to achieve this realignment in an efficient and orderly manner is to restructure its operations under chapter 11. The case will be filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California in Santa Ana.

Consistent with ASMC's long history of standing by its products, owners of Suzuki automobiles will be protected. All warranties will continue to be fully honored and automobile parts and service will be provided to consumers without interruption through ASMC's parts and service dealer network.

ASMC remains firmly committed to Motorcycles/ATV and Marine products, and these divisions are competitively positioned in their respective markets, allowing for long-term growth as economic conditions improve. The realignment is intended to better position ASMC for long-term success and is a return to the Company's roots in the U.S. market, which began with motorcycles and has grown to include ATV and marine products. ASMC remains very proud of its high quality, high performance motorcycle, ATV and Marine products. The Company will continue to bring ASMC products to market, including its full lineup of sportbike, cruiser, touring, scooter, dualsport, motocross, off-road motorcycles and KingQuad ATV line, as well as its flagship DF300AP, state-of-the-art DF20A, and DF15A, among other models. Additionally, ASMC is working to further build its market share through continued investment in additional support for dealers through marketing and advertising activities and sales promotion. Suzuki will continue to have a strong presence as a sponsor of teams in supercross, outdoor motocross and road racing.

In evaluating its position in the highly regulated and competitive U.S. automotive industry, ASMC determined that its Automotive division was facing a number of serious challenges. These challenges include low sales volumes, a limited number of models in its line-up, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the high costs associated with growing and maintaining an automotive distribution system in the continental U.S. and the disproportionally high and increasing costs associated with stringent state and federal regulatory requirements unique to the U.S. market. While the decision to discontinue new automobile sales in the U.S. was difficult to make, today's actions were inevitable under these circumstances. ASMC is dedicated to honoring its commitments to Automotive customers through and after the wind down of new automobile sales in the continental U.S.

An Orderly Process to Serve Consumers
ASMC intends to work within its current U.S. Automotive dealer network to help structure a smooth transition from new automobile sales to exclusively parts and service operations, or, in some instances, an orderly wind down of dealership operations. ASMC intends to market and sell its remaining U.S. automobile inventory through its Automotive dealer network. Through and after the restructuring, all warranties will be fully honored and automobile parts and services will be provided to consumers through the dealer network. ASMC intends to honor any automobile buyback agreements that are currently in place with financial institutions.

As part of its chapter 11 filings, ASMC will submit a proposed Plan of Reorganization and Disclosure Statement that specifies how the Motorcycle, ATV and Marine divisions will be maintained and enhanced, and how its relationship with Automotive dealers will be largely transitioned to support consumers and dealers through continued parts and service operations. SMC or its nominee intends to purchase ASMC's Motorcycle, ATV and Marine businesses, as well as the Automotive service operation responsible for parts and warranties, through a new U.S. subsidiary that will retain the ASMC brand name.

ASMC believes it has sufficient cash on hand to operate its businesses during the restructuring. If necessary, ASMC will request permission from the Court to borrow additional funds from SMC needed during the restructuring.

Honoring Commitments
ASMC intends to operate its Motorcycles/ATV and Marine businesses as usual and is dedicated to completing the realignment process as smoothly and efficiently as possible. ASMC will continue to fully stand behind all of its products and honor all warranties from these divisions. ASMC is working with GE Capital's Retail Finance and Commercial Distribution Finance businesses to continue providing motorcycles and ATV consumer financing programs and motorcycle, ATV and marine dealer inventory financing respectively. The Company expects existing agreements with other dealer and consumer financing providers to continue as well.

ASMC has filed a series of first day motions requesting approval to continue paying employee wages and benefits in the ordinary course, offering dealer incentives and payments under customer warranties. ASMC also expects to pay vendors in the normal course of business for goods and services delivered on or after its November 5, 2012 filing. Payments for goods received before ASMC's November 5, 2012 filing will be made in accordance with the chapter 11 procedure.

SMC, the 100 percent interest holder in ASMC, is not a debtor in the chapter 11 filing.

ASMC's legal advisor on the restructuring is Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, and its financial advisor is FTI Consulting, Inc. Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is serving as special counsel on automobile dealer and industry issues. Further, ASMC has proposed the appointment of M. Freddie Reiss, Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, as Chief Restructuring Officer, and has also added two independent Board members to assist it through this period.

Additional information regarding ASMC's business realignment can be found at the Company's website, www.suzuki.com, or via an information hotline at 1-877-465-4819.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Faurecia will talk about the smart seat at CESA 2012

CESA 2012 abstract
Many comfort functions can be embedded in an automotive seat. These include basic postural comfort (cushion length, height, and tilt), advanced comfort (lumbar support, headrest adjustment, shoulder adjustment), climatic management (heating and ventilation), and wellness features (e.g. customized massage therapies or dynamic adjustments according to occupant status or to driving conditions). All those functions represent a huge amount of possible combinations of configurations and command executions, while they are not at all customizable along the time by the users (generally, just a few have programmable fixed alternatives by default).
In order to reduce the complexity of seat control for the end-user, and enable the possibility of customization, Faurecia has developed a new concept for automated seat adjustment, positioning and comfort features settings that takes out the guesswork to properly adjust the seat, while providing the end-user a powerful tool to personalize its comfort.
Utilizing a smartphone application, the SmartFit™ system automatically adjusts the vehicle’s seat wirelessly via Bluetooth, creating the ideal fit and position for each occupant. The system also allows the seat to be updated and enhanced over its lifetime. In order to control these new functions, the seat E/E system (HW/SW) has to be modular and connected to fit with customers’ expectations, and to be able to integrate future features and functions.

By Dr. Ignacio Alvarez, Seat Electronics Director at Faurecia.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's a Jeep thing: Jeep climbs U.S. border fence

If there's one four wheel drive I have always had a soft spot for, it was the Jeep Cherokee. My family had many of them during my childhood, so of course I liked them. So imagine my surprise when I logged on to MSN this morning and I saw this picture. Now what exactly is going on here? According to the short article, two Mexican suspected smugglers were attempting to drive, yes drive their cherokee over the 14 foot high border fence between Arizona and California.

Using some pretty creative homemade ramps, they abandoned the effort when the jeep got stuck. Hmmmm I wonder why that would happen? When agents spotted the Jeep, two men were on the Mexican side attempting to free it, but ran away. Nothing was found inside, but the U.S. border patrol is guessing the Jeep was being used to smuggle marijuana.


Source: MSN, photos: AP Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection