Automechanika Frankfurt 14 – 16 September 2021

I recently attended a press briefing about the upcoming automechanika show in Frankfurt. For those of us in the UK it is a fairly short flight to attend but this event is hybrid! This means that a digital version almost mirrors the actual event. C19 or otherwise the time taken to visit can be much reduced by attending digitally – I think I will be there however for the German beer (and ll the interesting technologies of course)… More details below:

Tom

=====

What are the current issues and trends in the aftermarket? What are the future challenges for car repair shops, e.g. due to the fast increase in alternative drive systems? This year’s Automechanika Frankfurt Digital Plus will be held in a more compact form, with a different model adapted to suit the prevailing situation, and also with a wide range of online products and services. There is a strong demand for personal interaction, as around 75 per cent of the approx. 200 exhibiting companies want to have physical stands at the exhibition. What’s new is that Automechanika will take place at the same time as Hypermotion – the tradeshow of the logistics industry – at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre. This will give the automotive sector valuable inspiration, e.g. with regard to resilient supply chains, fleet management and IoT systems.

The aftermarket sector will finally be meeting face-to-face again at Automechanika, from 14 to 16 September 2021. Olaf Musshoff, Director of Automechanika Frankfurt, says: “I’m really pleased that our ‘plug & play’ offer of fully equipped stands has been so well received and that so many companies who’ve signed up want to meet in person again in Frankfurt. However, even those who are not coming to Frankfurt can take part in our wide-ranging complementary programme. Thanks to our new online features, we’ll be providing additional options for presentation, for networking and for a wide international reach.” There has been considerable interest from other countries these days: exhibitors will be coming not only from Germany, but also from Belgium, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, the United Arab Emirates, Korea, China, Taiwan and Australia.

The following companies, among others, will be exhibiting at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre: Schaeffler, Hunter, Liqui Moly GmbH, SATA, Mercedes-Benz Gebrauchtteile Center (Spare Parts Centre), Snap-on Equipment GmbH, Alfred Kärcher Vertriebs GmbH, Otto Christ, WashTec GmbH, AVL DiTEST GmbH, Hengst, Heinrich Eibach, ABBT Arnott, AJUSA Auto Juntas, Audatex, Adriateh d.o.o., BBT Automotive Components GmbH, AUTOonline GmbH, MAPCO Autotechnik GmbH, DINEX A/S, Glaubitz GmbH, Saxon Junkalor, Inficon, ATH Heinl, Schumacher, Auger Autotechnik, Erich Jaeger GmbH, Nissens Automotive A/S together with AVA Benelux, Inforserveis S.L., Visomax Coating, TÜV Rheinland, ZDK (Central Association of the German Motor Trade), and many others. And here are some of the companies that will be participating entirely online: Continental with four business units, including the tyre division, ElringKlinger AG, Mahle, Mol-Lub KFT, Body Shop News, Vogel Communications Group GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, who are also supporting the Workshops for Car Repair Shops, and BMW AG with its Original Spare Parts division. The latter will be exhibiting at Automechanika Frankfurt for the first time.

Programme highlights at Automechanika Frankfurt Digital Plus
As an innovation showcase, training centre and test lab for car dealerships and repair shops, the Future Repair Shop 4.0 will be working with the Institute for the Automotive Industry (IfA), demonstrating tomorrow’s technologies, processes and business models at the trade show. There will be eight learning stations on the customer journey with a focus on aftersales, giving visitors a hands-on experience of technological change. Motor industry professionals can gain valuable expertise and fresh inspiration for their own business in the future. Digitisation and new technical developments are posing new challenges to car repair shops on a daily basis. To keep up with it all, it’s important to engage regularly in professional development.

As before, hands-on workshops will be held at the trade fair. They will take place in cooperation with well-known partners and will be directed at car repair shops, in particular. There will also be several live accident repair demonstrations, hosted by FabuCar and the Car Doctors (Die Autodoktoren). In addition, the Automechanika Academy will be running a wide-ranging programme on all three days. Recent developments on the topics of Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility, Electromobility, 3D Printing and Car Wash will be presented in several visionary talks, given by professionals, and will be debated in panel discussions. Anyone who runs a car repair shop will be particularly interested in Schadentalk (a vehicle damage chat show) as well as a range of talks and panel discussions on the day-to-day business of a car repair shop. In times of climate change and environmental protection, the topic of a circular economy and remanufacturing is becoming increasingly relevant.

The first Automechanika Remanufacturing Day will be therefore held on 15 September, in cooperation with APRA (the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers’ Association). On this occasion, several professionals will be presenting the topic from various angles, with opportunities for questions.

Hypermotion Frankfurt at the interface of mobility and logistics
Hypermotion Frankfurt is all about smart solutions in mobility and logistics, with numerous conferences in addition to the traditional exhibition. For example, one exciting feature for an audience from the automotive industry at Hypermotion will be the new container system of GH System GmbH. It will be presented at a special show and also in the Future Mobility Park. The new system can be used throughout the supply chain, right down to the regional and local levels. Using a small standardised container, the innovative system focuses on the end-to-end shipment of goods. RepairFix, a start-up company, is set to present a software application that smartly networks drivers, fleet managers and repair shops in dealing with damage and servicing.

www.automechanika.com

Engine Carbon Cleaning from FlexFuel

Flexfuel Energy Development UK (FFEDUK), launches its latest class leading engine carbon cleaning via hydrogen injection machine, Hy-Carbon Connect. Hy-Carbon Connect is a fully automated, intelligent and digitally connected carbon cleaning machine. It is the only carbon cleaning machine that includes integrated diagnostics. Hy-Carbon Connect uses hydrogen gas to break down carbon deposits from key engine components. These carbon deposits are responsible for low returning fuel economy, reduced power, increased emissions and the premature failure of engine parts.

The Hy-Carbon Connect station is a connected hydrogen injection cleaning system, eliminating carbon deposits found in combustion engines – Cylinders, DPF, EGR valve, turbo etc). It is entirely chemical free, requiring simply deionised water to produce hydrogen gas that acts as a natural solvent on carbon.

The Hy-Carbon Connect station comes with a touchscreen, which acts as a wireless user interface. The carbon cleaning station, Hy-Carbon Connect®, is simple to use, fast and totally automated.  Through its patented technology, Hy-Carbon Connect analyses the vehicle’s state of health – number of miles driven, fault codes and driver habits.

By using its OBD connection, a third patented technology, Hy-Carbon Connect enables automatic control of the engine and its key components allowing engine parts to be automatically ‘set in motion’.

The Hy-Carbon Connect builds on the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence. Hy-Carbon Connect learns characteristics of engine makes, fault codes, model, age and number of miles driven from all the Hy-Carbon Connect machines in use around the world. The more data on engine types it collects, the more targeted clean can be applied. Put simply, the machine gets better the more it gets used, better understanding the treatment specific engines will need.

Hy-Carbon Connect produces a treatment report showing levels of carbon build up in the engine pre clean and post clean. Additionally, automated emails and SMS reminders can be sent to the customer every 12 months or 15,000 miles, whichever comes first.

By removing carbon deposits the Hy-Carbon Connect gives the engine renewed life, power, saves consumers money and provides garages with an incremental revenue stream.

Jerome Loubert, Global Business Development Manager for FlexFuel comments: “Our machines produce industry leading concentration levels of hydrogen gas. The greater the concentration, the more effective the engine clean will be. Through years and years of investment, employing the sharpest minds in the industry and constant evaluation and research and development competitive products do not get anywhere near the volumes of hydrogen production that we do. Our carbon cleaning solutions are entirely chemical free, simply using deionised water – and a lot of science – to restore engines to their near factory condition.”

Since coming to the UK in 2018, FFEDUK boats in excess of 300 garage partners. FFED UK also has distribution agreements with Point S, part of the world’s largest Independent Tyre & Autocare Group. This year FFEDUK is looking to increase its market share by building additional agreements and partnerships with the UK Motor Factors and by targeting the currently untapped commercial vehicle sector in the UK.

Neil Chapman, owner at Offmore Road Garage in Kidderminster and one of the very first adopters of Hy-Carbon in the UK comments: “I have been a FlexFuel customer for nearly two years. In only a few months, I could see that this would be the most profitable machine in my workshop. It is near autonomous, it does not take a mechanic away from other jobs and can run in the corner and do its job. Importantly, there are no consumables or chemicals which reduces running costs and stops toxic emissions associated with traditional chemical engine cleaning. The feedback from customers has been fantastic to date. 

I have a strong service customer base and many are now having an engine clean as part of their annual service plan. They are all reporting improved mpg, better engine performance and generally smoother running. At a curative level, it is being used on sticky EGRs, turbos and blocked DPFs. For vehicles failing emissions on their annual MOT test, it is also proving to be highly effective in reducing emissions and ensuring a successful pass.”

The Hy-Carbon Connect is available to the UK from March 1st at £499 per month, but is being offered at £399 per month for the first 1,000 customers to sign up. FlexFuel provides full training, a full marketing pack, 5 year warranty and continued ongoing support whenever required.

Battery breakthroughs

Now that much more research is going into EVs, rather than ICE vehicles, the developments will keep coming – IMHO! For example:

A new fabrication technique could allow solid-state automotive lithium-ion batteries to adopt nonflammable ceramic electrolytes using the same production processes as in batteries made with conventional liquid electrolytes.

More here: https://www.electrichybridvehicletechnology.com/features/researchers-discover-breakthrough-solid-state-ev-battery-manufacturing-technique.html

Volvo Cars initiates first ever over-the-air software update on XC40 Recharge

Volvo Cars is rolling out its first ever over-the-air (OTA) software update on the XC40 Recharge, the company’s first fully electric car. Starting soon, XC40 Recharge drivers in Europe will receive a range of updates, including new features and improvements to the car’s infotainment and propulsion systems. The introduction of OTA updates means that customers no longer have to visit a workshop in order to enjoy the latest software and new, updated features on their electric Volvo.

It also means that a new Volvo is no longer at its finest when it leaves the factory, but keeps improving over time as additional OTA updates are launched. “The benefits of over-the-air updates are obvious,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “Yesterday, you still had to drive to the workshop to get the latest updates to your car; today, you simply click OK and your electric Volvo takes care of the rest. It couldn’t be easier.”

Features included in this latest software update are a new base software for the car’s main electronic systems, an increase in charging speed and an improved driving range. There are updates to the Android Automotive operating system that powers the car’s infotainment system, too. The software package also includes updates to a variety of items such as Bluetooth connectivity, climate timers, the car’s digital owner’s manual and the 360-degree camera. The update is available automatically and XC40 Recharge drivers only have to accept the download and installation.

Avia Autos wins The Motor Ombudsman’s inaugural Garage Star Award for Wales

A well-deserved award for my friend and colleague Hayley Pells and her team at Avia Autos.

Tom

  • Avia Autos in Bridgend claims the regional trophy for Wales in The Motor Ombudsman’s inaugural Garage Star Awards after making it on to the shortlist of 24 finalists from over 800 consumer nominations that were submitted for individuals, teams and garages across the UK
  • The independent garage was chosen by the judging panel for the award in recognition of the high level of support and care shown by the business when assisting customers
  • The awards have been designed by The Motor Ombudsman to recognise those who have gone beyond the call of duty to help others during the last 12 months

Bridgend, 24 November 2020 Avia Autos in Bridgend is pleased to announce that it has won The Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star Award for Wales. The Garage Star Awards were introduced by the Ombudsman dedicated to the automotive sector for customers to be able to nominate individuals, teams and garages accredited to its Motor Industry Codes of Practice for Service and Repair and Vehicle Sales, that have gone above and beyond to assist them during the past 12 months.

Over 800 nominations were received from consumers for garages up and down the country, which were then whittled down by The Motor Ombudsman according to a strict set of criteria to create a shortlist of just three finalists for each of the eight regions that had been earmarked for the contest. They were then passed to a judging panel, which included members of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), to determine the recipients of the winner’s trophies based on the extent to which they had excelled in providing customers with a far superior level of service and work than what would normally be expected.

Competing against other high calibre entries, the Bridgend-based independent garage emerged victorious to claim the top prize for the Welsh region. Avia Autos was unanimously chosen by the judging panel as a clear winner for the regional Garage Star Award for Wales. The trophy was bestowed to the garage belonging to Hayley Pells in recognition of the high level of support and care shown when assisting customers, which includes taking the time to give clear explanations about any issues on their vehicle, and providing practical tips on driving and car care as part of Avia Autos’ free of charge courses.

Hayley Pells, Owner at Avia Autos, said: “We are delighted to have won The Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star Award for Wales, and we are extremely grateful for all of the nominations that we received from our customers during the past few weeks. Supporting motorists beyond the work that we do, with free tips and classes, has always been a core focus. With cars being relatively complex machines, it’s important to provide vehicle owners with a good understanding of any repairs that have been undertaken and why, and any preventative action that they are able to take themselves to help avoid future mechanical issues. The trophy will take pride of place in our reception area to remind our staff that their continued hard work and dedication has been publicly recognised with what is a very prestigious award.”

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, added: “We would like to congratulate Avia Autos on their fantastic achievement. This year’s awards were a closely fought contest, but it was this independent garage that clearly stood out from the other shortlisted entries that were put forward for the Welsh regional trophy. Their commitment to going above and beyond by supporting the local motorists with educational initiatives really shone through in the customer’s submission, and this business was therefore deemed a worthy regional winner by all of the judges on the panel.”

PicoScope® 4425A: Electric Vehicle Kit

The importance of Electric Vehicles is clearly evident as part of the drive towards better use of clean and renewable energy and the reduction of harmful emissions and particulates. EV is now discussed so widely, and the investment in increasing EV deployment so great, that every workshop is increasingly aware of the need to handle EVs. Pico is working with our partners and customers to ensure that workshops can be as safe, efficient and effective working with EV as they are with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).

This PicoScope 4425A kit provides comprehensive diagnostics capability for all types of EV (BEV, MHEV, PHEV, Fuel-cell), and ICE (Diesel, Gasoline, LPG). In combination with the extensive range of Pico accessories, the 4425A covers engines/motors, sensors, actuators, communications buses, Noise Vibration & Harshness, and all basic measurements in an easy-to-use system that includes extensive guidance for technicians. The PicoScope 4425A EV Kit contains all the test equipment required to ensure it is safe to work on an EV, and to investigate any faults that are likely to cause safety issues.

PicoScope EV kit

The wide range of EV systems covered includes:

  • DC HV energy system or the AC motor/generator drive system
  • Charging behaviour and 12V/HV battery current split issues
  • CP/PP communications between charging system and vehicle
  • 3-phase current measurements to check winding balance under load
  • All 12V and 48V systems

Based on the unique PicoBNC+ connection system, the PicoScope 4425A will continue to be enhanced and expanded with ongoing investment by Pico in new technologies to ensure that PicoScope users will always have the ability to satisfy their customers.

Together with PicoScope 7 software, the system delivers ease of use for those less experienced and offers advanced features when needed. Continued benefits include free software updates and the use of large screen displays in workshops, making measurements clearly visible at all times. PicoScope is an investment that pays back quickly and generates profits for your workshop long after initial purchase.

In addition to the new EV capability, the 4425A still offers the benefits so appreciated by technicians: ConnectDetect™ , ±200 V voltage input range, floating input system, high sample rate (up to 400 MS/s), high vertical resolution (12-bit to 16-bit enhanced), SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, 20 MHz bandwidth, advanced triggers, advanced filtering, large buffer memory (250 million samples), maths channels, measurement and phase rulers, Pico waveform library, more than 150 guided tests, and the amazing free Pico software upgrades.

PicoScope is used and trusted by more authorised and independent repairers than any other measurement system because it gives them the capability, confidence and support to quickly find and prove the fix for most vehicle faults. PicoScope data can be shared across the network, and the system used for electrical, pressure, hydraulic, NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness), offering comprehensive coverage on vehicles of every type: trucks, buses, motorcycles, agricultural and construction equipment, off-highway and industrial systems.

Four channels that can also power external devoces like current clamps

The PicoScope 4425A sets a new standard in diagnostic oscilloscopes for vehicle and equipment technicians, offering unrivalled performance and usability focused on making your diagnostics faster and more accurate than ever before. When you buy a PicoScope you benefit from more than 25 years investment in the world’s best diagnostic oscilloscopes. Join us! The PicoScope 4425A/4225A oscilloscopes and kits are available now from our distributors worldwide and directly from www.picoauto.com

Bosch: the mobility of the future needs fuel cells

Climate-neutral powertrain for the long haul

This is information supplied by Bosch, and as always it includes some really useful information. My personal view is that hydrogen is the future for heavy vehicles but not necesarily for cars – see what you think.

Tom

===

Electromobility is picking up more and more speed. It is an important element in reducing CO2 emissions from traffic. But how economical is it to operate heavy-duty trucks with 40-ton payloads over long distances using only battery-electric power? Given the battery weight, long charging times, and limited range of today’s technology, electric powertrains aren’t the first choice for heavy trucks. Nevertheless, even 40-ton trucks will be able to travel more than a thousand kilometres in all-electric mode in the near future. The key to this is the Bosch fuel-cell powertrain. When powered with hydrogen produced using renewable energy, this powertrain enables the climate-neutral transportation of goods and commodities. Bosch is taking the first step in this direction by developing the fuel-cell powertrain primarily with a focus on trucks, and the company plans to start production in 2022–2023. Once they have become established in trucks, Bosch fuel-cell powertrains will then increasingly find their way into passenger cars – rightly making them an integral part of tomorrow’s powertrain portfolio.

Seven reasons why fuel cells and hydrogen are crucial building blocks of tomorrow’s mobility:

1) Climate neutrality

In a fuel cell, hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) from the ambient air. The energy this reaction releases is converted into electricity, which is used for driving. Heat and pure water (H2O) are other products of the reaction. H2 is obtained using electrolysis, in which water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen with the aid of electricity. Generating this electricity from renewables makes the fuel-cell powertrain completely climate-neutral. Especially for large, heavy vehicles, fuel cells have a better carbon footprint than exclusively battery-electric powertrains if the CO2 emissions for production, operation, and disposal are added together. All that fuel-cell vehicles need in addition to their hydrogen tank is a much smaller battery for intermediate buffer storage. This greatly reduces their carbon footprint in production. “The advantages of the fuel cell really come into play in those areas where battery-electric powertrains don’t shine,” explains Dr. Uwe Gackstatter, president of the Bosch Powertrain Solutions division. “This means there’s no competition between fuel cells and batteries; instead, they complement each other perfectly.”

Power plant using renewable solar energy with sun

2) Potential applications

Hydrogen has a high energy density. One kilogram of hydrogen contains as much energy as 3.3 litres of diesel. To travel 100 kilometres, a passenger car needs only about one kilogram; a 40-ton truck needs a good seven kilograms. As with diesel or gasoline, it takes just a few minutes to fill an empty H 2 tank and continue the journey. “Fuel cells are the first choice for transporting larger loads for many kilometres every day,” Gackstatter says, summarizing the advantages. In the EU-funded H2Haul project, Bosch is currently working with other companies to build a small fleet of fuel-cell trucks and put them on the road. In addition to mobile applications, Bosch is developing fuel-cell stacks for stationary applications with solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) technology. One intended use for them is as small, distributed power stations in cities, data canters, and charge points for electric vehicles. If the Paris climate action targets are to be met, in the future hydrogen will need to power not only cars and commercial vehicles, but also trains, aircraft, and ships. The energy and steel industries are also planning to make use of hydrogen.

3) Efficiency

One of the decisive factors for a powertrain’s eco-friendliness and profitability is its efficiency. This is around a quarter higher for fuel-cell vehicles than for vehicles with combustion engines. Employing recuperative braking further increases efficiency. Battery-electric vehicles, which can store electricity directly in the vehicle and use it for propulsion, are even more effective. However, since energy production and energy demand do not always coincide in time and location, electricity from wind and solar plants often remains unused because it cannot find a consumer and cannot be stored. This is where hydrogen comes into its own. The surplus electricity can be used to produce it in a decentralized way, ready for flexible storage and transportation.

4) Costs

The cost of green hydrogen will come down considerably when production capacities are expanded, and the price of electricity generated from renewables declines. The Hydrogen Council, an association of over 90 international companies, expects costs for many hydrogen applications to fall by half in the next ten years – making them competitive with other technologies. Bosch is currently working with the startup Powercell to develop the stack, the core of the fuel cell, and make it market-ready, with manufacturing to follow. The goal is a high-performance solution that can be manufactured at low cost. “In the medium term, using a vehicle with a fuel cell won’t be more expensive than using one with a conventional powertrain,” Gackstatter says.

5) Infrastructure

Today’s network of hydrogen filling stations doesn’t offer complete coverage, but the roughly 180 hydrogen filling stations in Europe are already sufficient for some important transport routes. Companies in many countries are cooperating to push ahead with the expansion, often supported by state subsidies. In Germany, too, politicians have recognized the important role of hydrogen in decarbonizing the economy and have anchored it in the National Hydrogen Strategy. For example, the H 2 Mobility joint venture will have built around 100 publicly accessible filling stations in Germany by the end of 2020, while the EU-funded H2Haul project is working not only on trucks but also on the filling stations required on its planned routes. Japan, China, and South Korea also have comprehensive support programs.

6) Safety

The use of gaseous hydrogen in vehicles is safe and no more hazardous than other automotive fuels or batteries. Hydrogen tanks do not pose an increased risk of explosion. It is true that H 2 burns in combination with oxygen and that a mixture of the two beyond a certain ratio is explosive. But hydrogen is about 14 times lighter than air and therefore extremely volatile. For example, any H 2 that escapes from a vehicle tank will rise faster than it can react with the ambient oxygen. In a fire test conducted on a fuel-cell car by U.S. researchers in 2003, there was a flash fire, but it quickly went out again. The vehicle remained largely undamaged.

7) Timing

Hydrogen production is a proven and technologically straightforward process. This means it can be ramped up quickly to meet higher demand. In addition, fuel cells have now reached the necessary technological maturity for their commercialization and widespread use. According to the Hydrogen Council, the hydrogen economy can become competitive in the next ten years, provided there is sufficient investment and political will. “The time for entry into the hydrogen economy is now,” Gackstatter says.

(Source: Bosch Media)

How cars and infrastructure work together in urban automated driving

Pedestrians obscured from view by vehicles, cyclists passing in front of the car, buses that suddenly approach: negotiating city traffic can quickly become a difficult task. Of all things, it could be streetlights that make urban traffic safer and provide automated vehicles with an overview of the traffic situation. This was the subject of the MEC-View research project. The project required streetlights to be fitted with video and lidar sensors, which then used advanced cellular technology to provide vehicles with critical information in real time, allowing them to detect obstacles – whether other cars, bicycles, or pedestrians – quickly and reliably. After more than three years of development, the project is now ready to present its findings. Partners in the project, which received 5.5 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), were Bosch, the consortium leader, together with Mercedes-Benz, Nokia, Osram, TomTom, IT Designers, and the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Ulm. The project’s associated partner was the city of Ulm, which for the past three years has been the testing ground for the sensors on the streetlights and the connectivity technology. The insights gained in the project will now be used to further develop automotive technology, automated driving, and cellular technology. In addition, the infrastructure the project has built up will now be available for further research projects to use.

Bird’s-eye beats worm’s eye
Reaching up to six meters in height, streetlights tower above road traffic. They have a precise bird’s eye view of developments at busy intersections, say – and it is knowledge like this that automated vehicles will need in the future. While a vehicle’s sensor systems – cameras, radar, and lidar sensors – give it precise 360-degree vision, the view from the ground – from the vehicle alone – is not always sufficient for it to see a pedestrian currently obscured by a truck, a vehicle emerging from a concealed entrance, or a cyclist approaching from behind and changing lanes quickly. “Because the vehicle itself cannot see around corners or through walls, we use the streetlight sensors to extend the vehicle sensors’ field of view,” says Dr. Rüdiger Walter Henn, who heads the MEC-View project at the consortium leader Bosch. The project partners have developed the corresponding hardware and software for this purpose; the system processes the images and signals from the infrastructure sensors, combines them with high-resolution digital maps (HD maps), and transmits them to the vehicle over the air. There, the data merges with the vehicle’s own sensor information to create an accurate picture of the situation, including all relevant road users.

Wireless data transmission
Advanced cellular technology makes extremely low-latency transmission of sensor information possible. While the MEC-View project used LTE mobile communications technology with an optimized configuration for this purpose, in the new 5G communications standard, real-time data transmission is a basic function. The core task of latency-optimized mobile communications is not only the virtually instantaneous wireless transmission of data, but also the processing of that data as close to the source as possible. This task is performed by special computers, known as mobile edge computing servers (or MEC servers for short), which are integrated directly into the cellular network. They combine the streetlight sensor data with data from a vehicle’s surround sensors and highly accurate digital maps. From this, they generate a model of the surroundings that includes all available information about the current traffic situation, and make this model available to vehicles over the air. In the future, facilities such as the city traffic control centers could be equipped with such servers, so that they can share the data with all vehicles, regardless of manufacturer, and other road users.

Seamlessly merging with trafic
In Ulm, the project partners have been testing the interaction of automated vehicle prototypes and infrastructure sensors in real traffic conditions since 2018. One intersection in the Lehr district of Ulm is notorious for its lack of good all-round visibility. The streetlights there were equipped with sensors to help automated vehicles negotiate the intersection. Vehicles approaching the difficult intersection from a side road have to merge onto the main road. Thanks to the newly developed technology, the automated prototype now recognizes road users early on and can adapt its driving strategy accordingly. As a result, the vehicle targets gaps in the traffic on the main road and merges seamlessly, without stopping. Such a development will make urban traffic not only safer, but also more fluid. The infrastructure built up during the project will remain in Ulm, where it will be available for use by subsequent research projects.

 

Project website with the findings: www.mec-view.de

Mercedes-AMG Develops Electric Exhaust Gas Turbocharger

Mercedes-AMG is implementing electric exhaust gas turbochargers in its next vehicle generation. The turbocharger features an electronically controlled electric motor which drives the compressor wheel before the wheel takes over the exhaust gas flow.

Electric exhaust gas turbocharger from Mercedes-AMG

The electric exhaust gas turbocharger was developed in partnership with Garrett Motion. The technology comes from Formula 1 and is intended to combine the benefits of a small turbocharger with fast response times that achieves relatively low peak performance and of a large turbocharger with high peak performance but delayed responses.

A slim electric motor measuring around 4 cm is integrated directly on the charger shaft between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the fresh-air side. The electronically controlled electric motor drives the compressor wheel before the wheel takes over the exhaust gas flow, which significantly improves responsiveness even at idle speeds and across the entire engine-speed range. The turbocharger is powered by a 48-volt on-board electrical system and can achieve speeds of up to 170,000 rpm, which enables a very high air flow rate. Along with the electric motor and power electronics, the turbocharger is connected to the combustion engine’s cooling circuit.

(Source: Springer)