December 10, 2016
City Traffic: Audi networks with Traffic Lights in the USA
Photos: “Time-to-Green”: In the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display, drivers see whether they will reach the next light on green while traveling within the permitted speed limit. Image provided by & copyright © AUDI AG.
If you know in advance when a traffic light will switch from red to green, your driving is more relaxed and efficient. Audi is the first automobile brand to connect the car to the city infrastructure - an important step towards autonomous driving. In Las Vegas, starting immediately, the Audi A4 and Q7 models can display traffic-light phases directly in the car. Further U.S. cities will follow, and introduction of the system is planned in Europe. Traffic Light Information optimizes traffic flow, saves valuable time and reduces environmental impact.
Audi of America is cooperating with several cities in North America to upgrade the infrastructure for V2I technology. “For the first time, our cars are exchanging data with traffic infrastructure in real time. Drivers can adapt their behavior to the situation and move through city traffic in a much more relaxed and controlled way,” says Andreas Reich, head of Electronics Pre-Development at AUDI AG. “We increase energy efficiency when we connect our Audi models to smart cities. Further V2I services will follow, making the car into an interactive mobile device. We see autonomous driving as the end of this development.”
As a first step, all Audi A4 and Q7 models produced for the U.S. market since June 2016 and equipped with Audi connect will have this function on board. In the USA, municipal traffic management centers will communicate the traffic-light data to Audi’s project partner Traffic Technology Services TTS. Here the data are prepared and sent to the on-board computer in the Audi via a fast Internet connection, for example 4G/LTE, in real time.
The first function of the Traffic Light Information V2I component is called Time-to-Green. In the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display, drivers see whether they will reach the next light on green while traveling within the permitted speed limit. If not, a countdown is provided of the time remaining until the next green phase - and drivers can take their foot off the gas pedal in good time. Pilot projects in Europe have shown that drivers exercise more foresight thanks to this information about traffic lights. This has a beneficial overall effect on traffic flow. “In our tests the the number of cars that had to brake to a standstill in traffic fell by around 20 percent. This saved time for the driver and also made fuel savings of about 15 percent in the pilot project,” says Michael Zweck, project manager for Audi Traffic Light Information.
First of all, Audi customers will use this service. The development work that Audi is investing in traffic-light systems will also benefit customers of other brands in future. The increasing spread of the technology will help city traffic planners to understand the causes of hold-ups and optimize the phasing of traffic lights.
In future Traffic Light Information could be linked up to smart navigation and used for new powering concepts. For example, “green waves” in traffic-light sequences could be incorporated in route planning. It is also conceivable that Audi e-tron models could make greater use of braking energy by charging the battery as they decelerate at a red light.
Audi also intends to introduce the technology in Europe. In Berlin, Ingolstadt, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Verona there have already been extensive pilot projects. In Berlin alone, some 700 traffic lights in the inner city have been connected to the service. Across Europe, however, unified data standards and digital infrastructure do not exist: “In Europe highly diverse traffic technology is in use, as the infrastructure has developed locally and decentrally. We are working on harmonization of the data that have been prepared. After that has been done, we can provide Traffic Light Information in Europe too,” Michael Zweck announced.
May 26, 2011
Road Safety: Renault celebrates the 10th anniversary of its “safety for all” program
Photo: Renault Dacia Duster. The Renault Group brand Dacia has decided to take on the world’s most famous and most challenging hill climb - the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - which will take place in Colorado, USA, on June 26. Dacia will enter the American event with a purpose-built 850hp prototype, Dacia Duster ‘No Limit’. The car will be driven by three-time Trophee Andros champion Jean-Philippe Dayraut whose ambitious target is quite simply to challenge for the win. (Photo Credit: B.Bakalian/Renault).
Photo: Renault — Road Safety for all 2011, in a school in Morocco. (Photo Credit: Mustapha Ennaimi/ Renault).
On Friday, May 27, Renault is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its “Safety For All” program.
Starting in the 2011-2012 school year, program content will include a section on eco-mobility.
More than 12 million children, as road users and future drivers, have taken part in Renault’s international “Safety For All” program, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. “Safety For All” is the biggest road-safety awareness-raising operation ever undertaken by a car manufacturer.
For this edition, the Renault teams and the schools willing to participate implemented the “Safety For All” program in 11 countries. 7 of them will come to Renault’s Technocentre outside Paris on May 27 for a program of festive activities. Around 100 children from Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, France and Switzerland will present their drawings and take part in a performance and road safety activities before spending the weekend at Disneyland.
From September this year, Renault is expanding the content of the awareness-raising kit to include the environmental awareness alongside road safety issues. The educational kits, which Renault supplies to teachers, will be adapted to cover renewable energy use during vehicle manufacture, types of transport that reduce carbon emissions like electric vehicles, and responsible group actions such as “walking buses”. The kits will also be redesigned to be more modular for teachers and better suited to the different age groups of pupils.
Through the new decade that is opening up for “Safety For All”, and in connection with the Decade of Action for Road Safety launched by the United Nations on April 11, of which Renault is a partner, the company is pursuing its commitment in favor of road safety.
Based on an approach both educational and fun, the “Safety For All” program consists of two separate courses developed specifically for school pupils of different ages. The countries participating choose one or both of the courses.
May 13, 2011
"Decade of Action for Road Safety" Launched
Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (at podium) speaks at a press event to launch the Decade of Action for Road Safety, alongside Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Jeannette Sadik-Khan, New York City Transportation Commissioner, in Manhattan, New York. May 12, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) receives a helmet and campaign pin from Michelle Yeoh (right), actress and Global Ambassador for the Make Roads Safe campaign, who met with Mr. Ban to promote the “Decade of Action for Road Safety”. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
April 3, 2011
Goodyear Highway Hero
Photo: The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tire has sidewalls with high sidewall puncture resistance and its wraparound tread offers enhanced traction in deep mud, sand and rocks.
Photo: The Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor Pro-Grade is a tire for heavy-duty pickups, offering a new tread compound and enhanced toughness for those who regularly haul or tow heavy loads.
Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the often unnoticed, life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across North America.
The 28th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero is an Olympia, Washington truck driver, Tilden Curl, who helped save the lives of two people in a car that had come to a stop on railroad tracks, including pulling the unconscious driver from his car before it was struck by an approaching train. Tilden Curl accepted the 2010 Goodyear North America Highway Hero award from among four finalists.
• Just after noon on October 27, 2010, Curl was driving southbound on Highway 99 near Tulare, California, when a vehicle appeared to lose control and cross traffic, leaving the highway and finally coming to a stop with its front wheels lodged over the railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Curl stopped his truck to check on the car and noticed a train was coming. An elderly woman exited the passenger side of the car, and Curl yelled for her to get clear of the tracks. He then noticed that the driver was unconscious and trapped inside. At first, the door couldn’t be opened, but Curl was able to squeeze his arm inside and unlock it. Working quickly, he was able to unfasten the man’s seatbelt and drag him out of the car and away from the area just seconds before the train collided with the stranded vehicle.
“We are grateful to Tilden Curl for his quick thinking and brave actions, which ultimately led two strangers to safety. This is a clear example of the selflessness and professionalism of many of today’s professional truck drivers, who are out on our highways every day to deliver the goods and services upon which we all depend,” said Joseph Copeland, Goodyear’s vice president of commercial tire systems.
“Each of these finalists is a true Highway Hero, and their efforts to help others should be applauded. In honoring Tilden Curl, specifically, we acknowledge that he witnessed a dangerous situation and immediately pulled his truck to a stop as a way to provide help. He then reacted quickly and put himself in harm’s way, in order to help rescue strangers who were in peril. Because of that decision, lives were saved. For this, he has earned the right to be called a hero,” Copeland said.
June 25, 2010
First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules for India in Full Color
Photo: The first Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules for India has completed painting at the company's Marietta, Georgia, facility. The aircraft now enters flight test in preparation for delivery at the end of the year. The program for India includes six C-130Js, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spare parts, ground support, and test equipment. Also included is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities.
Photo: The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules airlifter pictured here flies over Niagara Falls on a test flight.
Photo: This aircraft is a Lockheed Martin C-130J, operated by the U.S. Coast Guard at Elizabeth City, N.C.
• Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
Source: Lockheed Martin
April 19, 2010
City Traffic Management: IBM Helps Stockholm, Sweden, Predict Better Commuting Options
Photo: IBM SMARTER ROADWAYS: IBM is creating smarter roadways for cities around the world using streaming analytics. While streaming analytics may seem highly complex, in reality, it is just a way for people to make sense of all the data in the world in real-time. In the case of traffic congestion, this means better commuting and travel options and better traffic management.
• IBM has announced a new collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology to give city of Stockholm residents and officials a smarter way to manage and use transportation.
Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden are using IBM's streaming analytics technology, to gather real-time information from the Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on nearly 1500 taxi cabs in the city and will soon expand to gather data from delivery trucks, traffic sensors, transit systems, pollution monitors and weather information. The data is processed using IBM's streaming analytics software, InfoSphere Streams, giving the city and residents real-time information on traffic flow, travel times and the best commuting options.
For example, a resident could send a text message listing their location and desired destination. The technology would instantly process the real-time traffic, rail and weather information and provide anticipated travel times via car and public transportation, giving people an accurate and instant view of the fastest way to get to their destination.
For the past year, IBM has worked with the city of Stockholm to monitor traffic flow during peak hours. The congestion management system has reduced traffic in the Swedish capital by 20 percent, reduced average travel times by almost 50 percent, decreased the amount of emissions by 10 percent and the proportion of green, tax-exempt vehicles has risen to 9 percent.
The value of InfoSphere Streams is its ability to analyze and integrate any type of data input continuously: text, voice, images, video, databases, weather reports, news, sounds, market feeds and application data in real time. The software automatically determines what information is relevant to solving a particularly problem and continually refines results as new data "streams" in giving organizations instant insights.
Harnessing the power of information with real-time analytics is going mainstream. This year alone, more than 1200 exabyles of digital information will be created. Just one exabyte is equal to one trillion novels. From predicting and managing traffic congestion to determine faster routes for commuters -- people are seeking ways to turn this explosion of data from a problem into an opportunity.
Additionally, IBM announced a new version of its streaming analytics software that includes enhanced processing speeds of up to three times faster and real-time Predictive Analysis for Data in Motion.
Photo: Dr. Greg Richards, professor of performance management at University of Ottawa Telfer School of Management, discusses the importance of business analytics for the 21st century workforce, Thursday, April 15, 2010, in Ottawa, at the launch of a new international centre of excellence for business analytics announced by IBM and the University of Ottawa.
• Streaming analytics software is a part of IBM's more than $10 billion investment in business analytics which includes organic innovation and acquisitions. In addition, IBM has assembled 4,000 analytics consultants with industry expertise, and opened a network of seven analytics centers of excellence.
• Annual Time Wasted by a Commuter in Traffic Jams: INRIX Traffic Scorecard for USA's Top 10 Most Congested Cities
March 1, 2010
Airbus showcases its latest products at Singapore Airshow
Photo: Singapore Airshow 2010 - A330-200F on display. (© AIRBUS S.A.S. 2010)
Airbus had a major presence at this year's Singapore Airshow, showcasing both its commercial and military transport products. The highlight was the first public presentation of the new A330-200F Freighter. The aircraft, which is currently undergoing its certification program, was on static display throughout the show.
The new freighter is the latest addition to the highly successful A330 Family and will enter service later this year. According to Airbus, offering the lowest operating costs in the medium sized freighter category, the A330-200F can carry more than 69 tonnes of cargo on non-stop flights of 3,200 nautical miles. The aircraft features a versatile main-deck cargo loading system, which can accommodate both pallets and containers, enabling operators to serve the freight lift needs of varying markets.
Photo: The A380 made its first visit to Switzerland for airport compatibility tests in advance of Singapore Airlines' new service with the jetliner to Zurich, which will begin in March. (© SWISS AIR FORCE 2010)
Photo: The A330-200 Freighter completed successful cold-weather testing in Canada, keeping this new cargo aircraft programme on track for its planned certification in March. (© AIRBUS S.A.S. 2010)
Meanwhile, Airbus welcomed over 50 Spanish students at its headquarters and final assembly lines in Toulouse, South of France as part of its commitment to establish relations with the future international engineering generations. The visiting students, mainly made up of those studying aeronautical engineering at the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya in Terrassa in Northern Spain, spent a day at Airbus where they met industry experts, were given tailored presentations on Airbus products and had a guided tour of the company's A380 and A330/A340 Final Assembly Lines.
Photo: Underscoring its commitment to establishing ties with future international engineers, Airbus welcomed more than 50 Spanish university students to its Toulouse, France headquarters. (© AIRBUS S.A.S. 2010)
The Spanish students belonged to The European Association of Aerospace Students, EUROAVIA, an association which aims to stimulate contacts between students and the aerospace industry. "With over 80 different nationalities working at Airbus sites across the world, Airbus is a living example of how successful an international company with cross-cultural diversity can be," said Thomas Ehm, Head of Employment, Training and Competence management at Airbus. "As an expanding company in a highly innovative industry, it is important to support young engineers and establish strong links with universities and dynamic young people who may well go on to become innovative employees of tomorrow" he added.
Source: Airbus Headquarters, France
February 26, 2010
Goodyear's Aerial TV Coverage of Sports
Goodyear continues long tradition of providing aerial coverage of the Olympic Games.
Viewers of the winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, British Columbia may have seen some spectacular aerial views of the event brought to them by Goodyear.
According to Goodyear, it provided its first Olympic coverage almost 88 years ago.
• Goodyear, one of the world's largest tire companies, manufactures its products in 59 facilities in 24 countries around the world.
Photo: Goodyear Blimp
In 1932, the Goodyear blimp Volunteer gave a local radio station a bird's-eye view of the summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles - starting the first of nine Olympics in which the company would coordinate the aerial views.
"Goodyear works at the request of the networks and has supported the Olympic Games in Los Angeles twice, Lillehammer, Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Turin, Beijing and now Vancouver," said Sara Waldman, Goodyear's airship public relations manager. "We've used our famous blimps, planes, helicopters and tethered aerostats to provide the aerial views."
Goodyear has used a variety of aerial camera platforms due to the challenges and limitations of Olympic Winter Games in mountainous regions with heavy snow and ice, explained Waldman.
Goodyear's coverage of the Vancouver games is being provided by an airplane and a helicopter equipped with high-definition cameras and working with the production teams at the various venues around Vancouver.
For more than 50 years, Goodyear's blimps have provided aerial coverage of the most watched sports, entertainment and news events around the world, says the company.
According to the company, the partial list of events covered by the Goodyear blimps includes the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, and championships for NASCAR, the PGA, World Cup Soccer, the America's Cup, Grand Slam Tennis, Triple Crown horse races and the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four.
January 11, 2010
Toyota Unveils Compact Dedicated Hybrid Concept in Detroit
Advanced Battery R&D and Manufacturing Capacity will Rise with Scheduled Roll-out of Plug-in Hybrids, Fuel Cells and Battery Electric Vehicles.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today unveiled the FT-CH dedicated hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The FT-CH is a concept that would address Toyota's stated strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices to its customers, as it begins to introduce plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets.
"Within the next 10 to 20 years, we will not only reach peak oil we will enter a period where demand for all liquid fuels will exceed supply," said Jim Lentz, TMS president. "A century after the invention of the automobile, we must re-invent it with powertrains that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of conventional petroleum fuels. One of many alternatives is through what is commonly called the electrification of the automobile. By far, the single most successful example of this has been the gas-electric hybrid."
The CH stands for compact hybrid. According to Toyota, the FT-CH captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable.
"It's a package Toyota dealers and customers have been asking for," added Lentz.
The FT-CH was styled at Toyota's European Design and Development (ED2) center in Nice, France.
In the early 2010s, Toyota plans to sell a million hybrids per year globally, a majority of those in North America. To accomplish this, Toyota will launch eight all new hybrid models over the next few years. These will not include next generation versions of current hybrids; instead, they will be all new dedicated hybrid vehicles, or all new hybrid versions of existing gas engine models.
The heart of hybrid technology is its battery. According to Toyota, it has systematically reduced size, weight and cost of the battery while improving its energy density, quality and reliability.
Like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, battery electrics will require the creation of infrastructure for recharging on the go. This issue of range is also a challenge to overcome. Toyota believes these are hurdles that will be cleared.
December 20, 2009
Electric Drive: First Electric 'smart fortwo' Handed Over to Customers in Berlin
The first smart fortwo electric drive vehicles were handed over to customers in Berlin on December 17.
• The compact two-seater is the first emission-free vehicle in the world with state-of-the-art lithium-ion technology and an intelligent charging management system on board. This makes the smart fortwo electric drive the first environmentally and customer-friendly electric vehicle.
The very first drivers of the electric smart will be Rolf Bauer (artist and owner of a film dubbing studio) and Lutz Tamaschke (owner of a dental technology company). "I've always been a fan of smart and am proud to be able to set a new trend once again by driving the electric smart. Thanks to the smart fortwo electric drive, I can make my own contribution to preserving the environment," commented Rolf Bauer.
With the smart fortwo electric drive, these two men now own a vehicle that is suited to urban mobility and offers driving pleasure, while being locally emission-free at the same time. "I allow myself and my car a rest for the night, so that we can both recharge our batteries. After a few hours sleep, we're both good to go," said Lutz Tamaschke.
The first two vehicles were handed over on December 17 in Berlin by Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, and Harald Schuff, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Sales and Marketing Organization.
"Environmental compatibility and latest functionalities have been defining features of the smart fortwo ever since it was launched more than ten years ago. Since then, its innovative concept has combined pioneering technology with individual, urban mobility. The smart fortwo electric drive is just as convincing as its siblings with conventional drive when it comes to suitability for everyday use, safety and driving pleasure. In terms of environmental compatibility it sets a new benchmark with its emission-free electric drive. In addition, with just 12 kwH consumption and its purely electric drive system, it is the most economical and environmentally-friendly way of driving," stated Dr. Thomas Weber.
The electric smart will be delivered to selected fleet, business and private customers around the world as part of various "e-mobility" projects. These customers will receive a complete service package for their vehicle. "Beside state-of-the-art vehicle technology, we also want to provide our customers the best service possible - for us, this is an integral part of the concept of groundbreaking mobility," commented Harald Schuff.
• Key objective of these projects is to evaluate customer behavior and specific support services. In addition to Germany, the electric smart will also be made available to customers in Italy, Spain, England, France, Switzerland, as well as the USA and Canada.
A 30 kW electric motor operates in the rear of the smart fortwo electric drive, which ensures good acceleration as soon as the car is started. When fully charged, the highly-efficient lithium-ion battery guarantees a range of 135 kilometers. In order to charge the battery if required, the smart can either be hooked up to a public charging station, a wall box in the garage or simply to any standard household socket.
The smart fortwo electric drive is equipped with an intelligent charging management system. The on-board electronics allow for the permanent exchange of information with the grid. As such, electricity billing, for example, can be arranged in a very convenient, simple and secure way. Irrespective of where and from whom the smart fortwo electric drive has obtained electricity, the customer will only receive one electricity bill from his own energy supplier. By using a smartphone or other internet interfaces, he can also check the charging status and the current range of his electric smart in any place and at any time.
• With the smart fortwo electric drive, smart is continuing its success story as the founder of the intelligent city vehicle. The new electric smart has redefined urban mobility by focusing on a purely emission-free way of driving.
• Hybrid/Plug-In/Electric Battery Development for Detroit.
The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC) is seeking Requests For Proposal information (RFPIs) for four projects related to advanced battery development for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and electric vehicles.
USABC (United States Advanced Battery Consortium) is a consortium of USCAR (United States Council for Automotive Research). Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, USABC's mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid and electric vehicles.
USABC's four RFPIs, for consideration of contracts that will include a 50 percent minimum cost share by developers, are for:
1. Development of advanced high performance batteries for electric vehicle (EV) applications;
2. Development of advanced energy storage systems for high-power, lower energy-energy storage system (LEESS) for power-assist hybrid electric vehicle (PAHEV) applications;
3. Development of advanced high-performance batteries for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) applications; and
4. A technology assessment of proposed advanced battery technologies for EV applications.
--- Statement issued on December 23, 2009 by USCAR (United States Council for Automotive Research). [USCAR is the collaborative automotive technology organization for Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company.]
GM Announces Battery Assembly Production:
"On Thursday, January 7, 2010, exactly three years to the day the Chevrolet Volt concept car was revealed, General Motors takes another historic step in mass production of the vehicle and a giant leap for the auto industry from a petroleum-filled past to a potentially gas-free future.
At 10:00 a.m., GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre, along with Gov. Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, leading government officials and honored guests will witness the start of battery production at the GM Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant. The plant, located in Brownstown Township, Michigan, is the first lithium ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker."
-- General Motors (January 5, 2010).
Batteries for Electric Cars: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Outlook to 2020. (New Study by The Boston Consulting Group).
"For years, people have been saying that one of the keys to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels is the electrification of the vehicle fleet. The reality is, electric-car batteries are both too expensive and too technologically limited for this to happen in the foreseeable future..."
"Although electric-car battery costs are expected to fall sharply over the coming decade, they are unlikely to drop enough to spark widespread adoption of fully electric vehicles without a major breakthrough in battery technology..."
"The long-term cost target used by many carmakers in planning their future fleets of electric cars--$250 per kilowatt-hour (kWh)--is unlikely to be achieved unless there is a major breakthrough in battery chemistry that substantially increases the energy a battery can store without significantly increasing the cost of either battery materials or the manufacturing process..."
(Despite this cost challenge, the report projects steady growth for electric cars and batteries.)
"Under the most likely scenario of the industry's evolution, it is estimated that 26 percent of the new cars sold in 2020 in the major developed markets (China, Japan, the United States, and Western Europe)--or approximately 14 million cars--will have electric or hybrid power trains. That same year, the market for electric-car batteries in those regions will reach $25 billion..."
"This burgeoning market will be about triple the size of today's entire lithium-ion-battery market for consumer applications such as laptop computers and cell phones..."
"Beyond costs, other key challenges facing the electric-car battery market are energy storage capacity, charging time, and infrastructure needs..."
(Of the roughly 14 million electric cars forecast to be sold in 2020 in China, Japan, the United States, and Western Europe, the report projects that some 1.5 million will be fully electric, 1.5 million will be range extenders, and 11 million will be a mix of hybrids.)
--- The Boston Consulting Group. (The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and is an advisor on business strategy. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 67 offices in 39 countries.)
August 19, 2009
Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max Tires Help Couple Shatter Fuel Efficiency Guinness World Record
Photo: Helen & John Taylor (of Melbourne, Australia), holders of more than 80 fuel economy and driving world records, finish the Goodyear Fuel Max Challenge journey through the United States by crossing the ceremonial finish line at Virginia Tire & Auto in Ashburn, VA. After a three week, 9,505 mile drive touching all 48 contiguous U.S. states, the Taylors arrived Tuesday, August 18, having set a new Fuel Efficiency Guinness World Record of 67.9 mpg, shattering the 58.8 mpg they set last year.
In a display of fuel economy, two drivers from Australia have broken the "48 Contiguous U.S. States Fuel Economy Guinness World Record," driving a car equipped with Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires. This three-week, 9,000+ mile drive through all 48 contiguous states in the U.S., showcased the potential fuel savings from the breakthrough fuel-efficient tread compound found in the new tires.
The couple refueled the car at Shell-branded stations along the way. Shell, a global leader in diesel technology, was the fuel sponsor of the Taylor's 2009 Guinness World Record attempt. In the U.S., Shell is the best-selling fuel brand and has the widest availability of diesel.
"While our own testing shows just how fuel-efficient these new tires are, we wanted to provide a real-world example of the difference Fuel Max Technology can make," said Mark Cherveny, Goodyear brand manager, passenger tires. "Helen and John Taylor broke their own world record set last year, using the same car, the same fuel, and traveling the same route. We believe the difference this year is the set of Assurance Fuel Max tires."
Photo: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Blimp. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has been recognized as America's most respected automotive company by the Reputation Institute (RI) and Forbes magazine. RI's Global Pulse consumer opinion survey measures the overall respect, trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings consumers hold toward the world's largest companies.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs approximately 71,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 60 facilities in 25 countries around the world.
June 12, 2009
car2go: Daimler's Innovative Mobility Concept is Coming to the USA
U.S. pilot phase is slated for start in fall 2009 with fleet of 200 smart fortwo vehicles as internal pilot for specific users.
Photo: smart fortwo passion coupe rally red with black "tridion".
Photo: smart fortwo passion coupe blue metallic with silver "tridion".
Photo: smart fortwo passion coupe with rear bike rack.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the vehicle in the United States, smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., is planting a tree in recognition of each of the smart fortwos sold in 2008. In partnership with American Forests and Daimler Financial Services, smart USA will plant trees in the Cache River State Natural Area, located in southern Illinois, about 150 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. smart USA plans to continue this initiative for every vehicle sold in 2009.
Earlier, smart USA Distributor LLC announced an agreement with Central Parking System, Inc. in New York City, which offers half-price parking for smart fortwo owners in Manhattan. With this latest partnership, four New York City companies are now offering discounted parking for smart fortwo owners -- Central Parking; Meyers Parking and Icon Parking Systems facilities in Manhattan; and AviStar Airport Parking, which has lots at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
Central Parking System, Inc. has more than 350 parking lots and garages in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and New Jersey, and is the largest parking company in the area.
Photo: car2go goes Texas.
Meanwhile, Daimler AG announced in Ulm, Germany, that it will bring its innovative car2go mobility concept to the U.S. by fall of this year. The first international pilot will start in the Texas capital Austin with an initial fleet of about 200 fuel-efficient smart fortwo cars. car2go provides a simple, flexible, and cost-effective solution for city driving.
The car2go concept is based on a fleet of smart fortwo vehicles that are available for rent to registered members at any time, 24/7.
"The results of the first, internal pilot phase in Ulm demonstrate that, with car2go, we have found an additional answer to current and future mobility needs in urban areas - our project in Austin is the next logical step," comments Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and for Development of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Contrary to traditional car-sharing programs, car2go offers the freedom to get in a car and drive at any time of day without reserving a car in advance. The vehicle can then be used for as long as required and returned to any available parking location within the defined area of operation - a mobility solution offering maximum flexibility.
"We are delighted to be chosen as the first international partner for car2go," says Austin Mayor Will Wynn. "Our city is well-known for its commitment to environmental issues and car2go is a perfect fit because it enables us to offer the citizens of Austin an intelligent mobility concept with an extremely positive environmental angle. The project has my full support."
Photo: car2go in Austin, Texas (Texas State Capitol in the background).
The goal of the Austin pilot project is to gather practical experience toward the international implementation of car2go. Initial challenges include its transferability to other cities, languages and mobility trends, as well as the adaptation of its business processes to the legal frameworks that exist in different countries. "We made a very conscious decision to go to a North American city," adds Jérome Guillen, Director of Daimler's Business Innovation Department, where car2go was developed. "The car-sharing market in the U.S. is enjoying the highest growth rate in the world, which is why we feel that this is also a very good opportunity for car2go."
"Reducing congestion, lowering emissions and providing innovative transit solutions are vital to Austin's commitment to becoming the best managed city in America," said City Manager Marc Ott. "I am proud of Austin's commitment to identifying and implementing progressive solutions to the challenges of urban mobility and environmental sustainability. This car-share program provides one more option to address some of our urban transportation challenges."
Photo: Austin, Texas, USA, Central Business District at night.
The capital of Texas with its 750,000 residents is distinguished by its open-mindedness and its very involved citizens. The positive attitude of the City administration, size and structure of the city, which boasts a progressive economic environment and is also home to one of the largest universities in the U.S., were important factors that led to the selection of Austin as the first international car2go city. The smart fortwo will take to the streets here in fall of 2009. In Austin car2go will start, like in Germany, as an internal pilot for specific users, e.g. employees for the city of Austin. But it will be extended to the public, if successful. The car2go project in Austin includes not only the vehicles, but also the associated personnel and technical infrastructure. Support from the City of Austin is integral to the success of this pilot program. This is an opportunity to establish a true public-private partnership to work together to ensure the city is a showcase for urban mobility solutions.
As Daimler further explains, the innovative car2go mobility concept was designed to foster individual urban mobility while using environmentally-friendly vehicles. Members can access a car2go from any location within a defined city area at any time of day or night.
Following the one-time registration, the car2go customer will receive a membership card that will unlock the vehicle. Customers will be able to use the car2go vehicle in a number of different ways. Available vehicles can be rented on the spur of a moment: to access the vehicle, the car2go member simply holds his membership card to the reading device located in the windscreen, climbs into the car, enters his PIN code and drives off. Vehicles can also be located quickly and easily via the internet or through the car2go service hotline. The system also allows members to make reservations up to 24 hours in advance, with customers being notified via text message about the location of the reserved vehicle.
The car2go rental period can be as long as desired and the vehicle remains reserved for the customer during stop-offs. When the customer wishes to return his car2go, he simply leaves the vehicle in a parking spot within the defined car2go city area. Any space not subject to parking fees or restrictions may be used - such as those along the side of the road or within designated parking areas. Furthermore, specially marked car2go parking spaces will be available at special locations such as train stations.
A car2go service team on the ground will handle daily maintenance of the vehicles. Billing is handled with the same degree of simplicity and flexibility as for every aspect of car2go - with rates by the minute, by the hour, or by the day. Pricing is all-inclusive: taxes, insurance, miles and gas.
The first phase of the German pilot project car2go will begin in Austin with a defined group of users (city employees, for example). It is then planned to make car2go accessible to the public in Austin in the second step.
• Americans are faced with volatile fuel prices, increased urban congestion and a mindset of environmental responsibility. The smart fortwo offers a high level of comfort, agility, safety and ecology. Despite its compact dimensions, the smart fortwo offers the driver and passenger remarkable freedom of movement equal to or greater than some larger cars. This vehicle concept is highly practical - especially for people who live in cities or urban areas. Many Americans drive with just a single occupant. The size of the smart fortwo allows for faster movements in cities and one does not need to search for a large parking space.
Source: Daimler AG, Stuttgart, Germany.
April 17, 2009
Smarter, Faster Rail Systems are In Demand: IBM
According to a study released today by IBM (NYSE:IBM) , increasing demand on rail systems in the U.S. and around the world will dramatically strain existing rail infrastructure. The study, "The Smarter Railroad," analyzes new approaches to modernize and build high-speed rail networks globally, such as those announced today by President Obama.
Findings from the report indicate that the top key challenges in the development of better rail systems, cited by the world's leading global rail executives, were capacity and congestion; operational efficiency and reliability; structural and competitive issues; and safety and security. The report also highlights emerging technologies that will help rail companies better instrument, analyze and manage rail networks and equipment in real-time.
"The global rail industry in 2009 and beyond will struggle to meet the increasing demand for freight and passenger transportation, while aging systems and infrastructure complicate the problem," says Keith Dierkx, Director, IBM Global Rail Programs. "However, rail companies around the world are starting to apply new technologies that will help them build high-speed rail systems that more efficiently move people, are more cost effective, and make more intelligent use of all rail assets, from tracks to trains. IBM is already working with railroads to build these smarter systems around the world."
Data indicates that US$300 billion will be spent globally to upgrade, expand and initiate railway networks during the next five years. These investments are designed to build a new rail infrastructure that can meet dramatically increasing rail capacity demand over the next two decades. Even meeting current demand requires that nearly 40 cents on every revenue dollar is spent maintaining the rail system.
IBM developed this report to help governments and railroad companies better understand and address the challenges facing both passenger and freight rail systems. Building these modern railroad systems requires information to be shared across the rail network and among many different stakeholders, including the rail company, shippers, car owners, travel agents, municipalities, intermodal carriers and customers.
IBM says that it is building intelligent transportation systems around the world to help cities manage traffic congestion, improve urban environmental conditions and increase economic competitiveness. These systems leverage business consulting, advanced transportation analytics, Research, supercomputing and new sensor networks. These projects include smart transportation initiatives in China, The Netherlands, Stockholm, Brisbane, Singapore, Dublin, London and other locations around the world.
According to IBM, its smart rail projects involve software and services designed to collect and analyze data gathered from devices on trains, tracks, stations and other assets to improve the speed, safety, and reliability of rail service. IBM adds that, for example, Netherlands Railways, one of the busiest national railway networks in Europe, is using IBM software to manage more than 5,000 trains in the Netherlands through a network of 390 stations and 2,800 kilometers of track.
"The smart transportation system improves the on-time performance for more than one million passengers each day by more accurately matching the number of trains in service to expected user traffic. Netherlands Railways has been able to improve its operating efficiency by as much as six percent, netting the railway a cost savings of over euro 20 million annually," IBM explains.
October 9, 2008
Public Transit Usage is Rising in America
A U.S. mational survey shows that rather than wait for an electric car or better biofuels, millions of Americans are saving money and time by switching to public transportation.
According to this new nationwide survey commissioned by the HNTB Companies, more than 24 million Americans -- 11 percent of the adult population -- are using buses, light rail, commuter rail and other forms of public transportation more than they did last year. An even greater percentage of survey respondents, 16 percent, said they expect their ridership to increase in the coming year.
(The HNTB Companies is an organization of infrastructure firms. The three operating companies of HNTB Companies include HNTB Corporation, a transportation, engineering, planning and construction management firm; HNTB Architecture Inc., whose design professionals provide services to the buildings market; and HNTB Federal Services Corporation, which provides federal-sector clients diverse infrastructure services.)
"As today's Americans face increasing demands on their time and money, riding public transit is shifting from something they should do, like eating their vegetables, to something they want to do," said Peter Gertler, vice president and national director of public transit services for HNTB Corporation.
Nearly one in three Americans (32 percent) said their biggest motivator to choose public transportation over driving would be high gas prices. While conventional wisdom holds Americans would find it frustrating to give up the convenience of a car, the survey found the second most popular reason someone would choose public transportation over driving is more convenience (14 percent). Avoiding traffic (5 percent) was a distant third, followed by concern for the environment (4 percent).
"For more than 50 years, the automobile has ruled the transportation landscape," Gertler said. "Our interstate highways are aging and under tremendous strain, and we're seeing the costs of an unbalanced transportation system. Now more than ever we need to invest in multiple modes of transportation that address modern demands and preserve our quality of life."
Gertler cited several benefits in a balanced approach to transportation that includes public transit:
• Saves time and conserves fuel -- 541 million hours and 340 million gallons, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's 2007 Urban Mobility Report.
• Saves money -- Americans living in areas served by public transportation save $18 billion annually in congestion costs.
• Promotes cleaner air -- Public transit usage reduces U.S. carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons a year, equivalent to the electricity used by 4.9 million households.
Measuring transit trends across the country, the survey also found:
• More than twice as many men as women (15 percent versus 7 percent) say they're using public transit more often than a year ago.
• Young Americans are making the transition in greater numbers. Nearly one in five adults ages 18-34 have increased their public transit usage in the last year (19 percent); that's more than twice the number of Americans ages 35 and up who can make the same claim (8 percent).
• The average American who has public transportation available to them uses it once a week, in effect giving their car the day off.
• Nearly four in ten Northeasterners (38 percent) use public transportation, more than any other region in the country.
• Southerners, however, have fewer options. One in ten says they do not have public transit where they live or work.
Source: HNTB Companies
July 30, 2008
Siemens Velaro High-Speed Trains in Beijing
Five Siemens Velaro trains are to start running between the two Olympic sports venues from August 1 onwards. China Rail ordered a total of 60 Velaro trains. Three of them have been built in Krefeld in Germany, while the other 57 units are being built at Tangshan Locomotive & Rolling Stock Works in Tangshan. The above two pictures show the Velaro CN on the high-speed route near Beijing.
The Velaro high-speed train is fast, economical and safe for the environment. The Velaro is considered the most successful high-speed train in the world. By 2008, over 160 trains based on this platform will be operating all over the world, including the ICE 3 in Germany, the Velaro E in Spain, the Velaro CN in China and the Velaro RUS in Russia. According to Siemens, not only does the Velaro minimize operating and maintenance costs, but emissions are also extremely low in relation to the high transport capacity. In addition, low energy consumption and the use of environmentally friendly materials help save valuable natural resources. The Velaro is also the fastest series-produced train in the world. In September 2006, the Velaro reached the world record speed of 404 km/h.
Source: Siemens AG
March 9, 2008
A320 SelectOne Engine Test Flights
As part of Airbus' commitment to offering its customers the most eco-efficient aircraft and also to driving down aircraft related maintenance costs, the Airbus A320 test aircraft successfully performed the first in a series of test flights on 26th February.
An A320 performed the first test flight with International Aero Engine's new fuel-efficient SelectOne™ powerplant, which is designed for lower CO2 emissions and longer on-wing time
A series of test flights will validate the SelectOne™ engine's performance and handling characteristics, leading to its certification and availability on the A319, A320 and A321. |GlobalGiants.com|
March 8, 2008
Portable Smart Navigation System II for the "smart fortwo"
Smart guide through the concrete jungle.
Photo: At the 78th International Motor Show in Geneva a further special edition of the successful smart fortwo is celebrating its world premiere. The "edition limited two" will be produced as a limited series of 2000 vehicles and is characterized by exclusive coloring and a high quality mix of materials - on both the outside and the inside. An innovative start/stop function makes the smart fortwo micro hybrid drive (mhd) consume 8 percent less fuel on average, greatly reducing CO2 emissions. It has the lowest standard consumption worldwide, earning it the title "CO2 champion" amongst series production cars.
The smart fortwo's savvy concept is designed for the city. Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH is now offering a new guide for the nimble two-seater that enables smart fortwo drivers to find their way through the urban maze of an unfamiliar city. The "portable smart navigation system II" is as extraordinary as the smart principle itself: with its optimum integration into the car, clear voice output and high-resolution TFT color monitor, it makes mobile navigation a joy. It fits perfectly into the interior of the smart fortwo.
Smart solution for a smart car: the portable smart navigation system II is attached directly to the instrument panel by means of a special mount. The optimum ergonomic positioning on the dashboard enables a perfect view of the monitor. The touchscreen system is also easy to operate,
The system is integrated into the car's electronics system. The suggested routes are announced with voice instructions from the car speakers. The radio switches over automatically, meaning that the driver can always hear the information clearly. Further, as the device is fixed to the instrument panel, it is always connected to the power supply (when the ignition is on) and is therefore always ready for use.
The portable smart navigation system II was developed in cooperation with the US manufacturer Garmin, one of the most renowned producers of mobile navigation devices with many years of experience in the car, motorcycle, yacht, off-road and outdoor sectors.
Neat flatscreen: the large monitor is both the screen and the operating panel A range of well-conceived details facilitate orientation without demanding too much of the driver. This includes the zoomable or three- dimensional map display that provides different perspectives on the street. On particularly blind bends the system automatically switches to the optimum display mode. The device also has automatic day and night adjustment. An additional function enables the driver to vary the brightness individually.
The high-resolution, anti-reflection and high-contrast widescreen color monitor measures 4.3 inches (10.9 centimeters) diagonally and thus offers a considerably greater viewing and operating area than standard devices. With a depth of just 2.0 centimeters the smart system is one of the flattest units on the market. It can be integrated into the car in no time and is immediately ready for use. If it is not required it can be removed just as quickly and can be carried with you in the supplied bag.
To prevent smart fortwo drivers from unnecessarily wasting time in traffic jams, the system has a "traffic-jam avoidance function". The unit receives the necessary TMC (Traffic Message Channel) signals via the car's radio antenna, guaranteeing optimum reception. For the quickest possible drive home the portable smart navigation system II also incorporates the "home function": a push of a button is all you need and the most direct route to your pre- programmed destination is located. If you want to take in a particular shopping address or drop in on friends for an espresso, you can enter an intermediate location as an additional function.
The electronic guide always issues clear and unambiguous directions. The hi-tech device not only knows the street names, but also the turn-off points.
Sauntering through Europe: over two million meeting points for smart drivers. Mobility without borders: the unit stores detailed road data as well as comprehensive maps for 33 European countries -- over two million "points of interest" are stored. These include petrol stations, hotels and tourist attractions as well as restaurants and bars. As an additional, exclusive service the driver can find the addresses of the smart Service Centers in Europe under the "smart dealers" section. The system also incorporates an integrated MP3 player and a Bluetooth interface. |GlobalGiants.com|
January 28, 2008
Siemens Light Rail USA : GlobalGiants.com
Photo: The Siemens low-floor tram S70 in Houston, driving on the Red Line between South Park and Ride and the university of Houston-Downtown. January 23, 2008.
Photo: The Siemens low-floor tram SD660 in Portland, driving on the Westside Line between Beaverton Creek and Merlo Road. January 24, 2008.
January 15, 2008
2008 Dodge ZEO (Zero Emissions Operation) Concept
Chrysler LLC unveiled the all-new 2008 Dodge ZEO (Zero Emissions Operation) concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show January 14, 2008. One of three concept vehicles displayed by Chrysler LLC, Dodge ZEO is a four-passenger, all-electric, 2+2 sport wagon that embraces the bold, emotional characteristic of the Dodge brand. With its 23-inch wheels-to-the corners, heroic proportions and muscular forms, the ZEO is designed to break the paradigm of what an electric car should look like. The advanced propulsion system powering the Dodge ZEO concept is electric-only with a 64 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack capable of at least 250 miles. Resting in a rear-wheel-drive layout, Dodge ZEO's 200 kilowatt (268 horsepower) single-electric motor contributes to a 0-60 mph time in less than six seconds. (Source: Chrysler LLC) |GlobalGiants.com|
December 1, 2007
Launch of the smart fortwo in the USA : GlobalGiants.com
Photos: smart fortwo in the USA.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley become "smart Valley" as the smart USA Media Test Drive event takes place in one of America's "smartest" regions. The new smart fortwo is scheduled to roll on the streets of America in January 2008. The shortest and most compact automobile currently in production will soon be launched in the world's largest automobile market.
The smart fortwo is the right car, at the right time for U.S. Drivers. Americans are faced with volatile fuel prices, increased urban congestion and a mindset of environmental responsibility. The smart fortwo offers a high level of comfort, agility, safety and ecology. Its unique features and attributes meet consumer wishes now and well into the 21st century.
Photo: Backstage at the Live Earth concert in New York, Petra Nemcova signs a new smart fortwo which will be used for a climate protection project.
The Media Test Drive location was carefully chosen. California is a key market in the United States. The State of California and the Silicon Valley in particular, is a leading area in the United States for design, technology and environmental awareness. These features characterize the smart fortwo. Furthermore, both the smart brand and the model have roots in Silicon Valley dating back more then ten years. The Silicon Valley also stands for an open minded America.
smart expresses the lifestyle of an enlightened and forward-thinking social class with joie de vivre that cannot be defined by age or social standing, but rather by an attitude, lifestyle and open-minded outlook on life. smart isn't just another micro-car, it's a statement by enlightened drivers of the 21st century who look at future challenges and actively and positively impact outcomes. Like owning an Apple i-Mac, i-Pod or i-Phone, smart documents the open-minded attitude of the "thought leaders", who choose innovative solutions as an existential part of their everyday lives.
Photo: Backstage at the Live Earth concert in New York, Rosario Dawson signs a new smart fortwo which will be used for a climate protection project.
The stops of the smart Media Test Drive include the renowned Stanford University in Palo Alto and visits to world-famous high-tech companies such as Intel, Google, Apple, eBay and Sun Microsystems. These locations illustrate smart's proximity to information technology that is characterized by creativity, visions and the courage to make pioneering decisions. The Computer History Museum at the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View does not only bring the history of the computer to life; a special limited exhibition also shows the development of smart with outstanding concept cars.
The comparison of the evolution of computers with the smart fortwo also clearly shows that greatness is not a matter of size. Despite its compact dimensions, the smart fortwo offers the driver and passenger remarkable freedom of movement equal to or greater than some larger cars.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the two-seater quickly became popular following its launch in October 1998. The same is expected to hold true in the United States. More than 770,000 customers opted for a first generation smart fortwo; often to replace a larger car with the lively two-seater. The smart fortwo is a special car and clearly stands out from the crowd.
Apart from this, the vehicle concept is extremely practical - especially for people who live in large urban areas. Many Americans drive with just a single occupant. The size of the smart fortwo allows for faster movements in cities. Finding a parking space will also be simplified.
The American mindset is changing. The smart fortwo proves that greatness is not a question of size. The smart fortwo has been embraced in the States long before the first vehicles are expected to arrive in the showrooms. The 24 week smart USA "street smart" road show has been touring the USA since May with three display trailers, test drive vehicles and product specialists presenting the smart fortwo from coast to coast. To date, the road show has attracted and convinced 65,000 visitors in over 50 cities across the United States.
The presentation of the brand and the road show have been very well received by the U.S. consumers and the American press. In many cities across the country, consumers waited in line for over an hour to test drive a fortwo. Many waited in temperatures over 100 ° F whilst others drove over 3 hours to attend a smart road show event. In the end road show surveys indicated the smart fortwo met or exceeded expectations.
The presentation of the brand and model has been very well received by the US public and the press. For example, in Las Vegas; here, people waited patiently for an hour in temperatures of 104°F to test drive the cars in the parking garage of the Fashion Show Mall. Some even went straight back to the end of the queue again after the short jaunt in order to drive a smart one more time.
Over 30,000 Americans have placed a $99 deposit on a smart fortwo. Dealers will begin to fill orders in January 2008. smart USA's website - www.smartusa.com - has received over 3 million visits since June 2006, over 95,000 people have signed up as smart "insiders" and visitors spend an average of over five minutes on the site.
The reaction of dealers has also been overwhelming: smart USA received more than 1400 applications. Although many were qualified, only a few were selected. Approximately 70 carefully selected dealerships will sell the fortwo in 2008 in major cities across the United States. |GlobalGiants.com|