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Volvo's Polestar: powerhouse plug-in hybrid

Automotive Engineering: January/February 2020

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP02_14
Published 2020-01-01 by SAE International in United States

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. That's why Polestar, Volvo's new electric performance subsidiary, used its first vehicle as a rolling showcase of the brand's technology. We took the $156,500, 600-plus-horse-power plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Polestar 1 coupe on a 110-mi (177-km) drive in California, where Axle Stenberg, technical concept leader, summarized the Polestar 1's extraordinary recipe.

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The Key to AV Safety is ODD

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: January 2020

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP01_08
Published 2020-01-01 by SAE International in United States

Truly safe automated driving depends on defining the exhaustive list of overlapping conditions, use cases, restrictions and scenarios an AV might encounter.

In a perfect world, an automated vehicle (AV) would be all-knowing. Its sensors, communication systems and computing power could predict every road hazard and avoid all risks. But until a wholly omniscient self-driving vehicle is a reality, there will be one burning question for AV developers and regulators - and the public: How safe is safe enough?

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Silicon Valley Summit Identifies Safety Strategies for Self-driving Cars

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: January 2020

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP01_11
Published 2020-01-01 by SAE International in United States

AV industry leaders pinpointed several effective tactics, such as limiting vehicle speeds and empowering safety operators to ground vehicles.

Until recently, leading autonomous vehicle (AV) technologists posited that ultra-safe, go-anywhere robotaxis would soon be on the road. But questions about those timelines-and the safety of testing AVs on public roads-emerged in 2018 after a series of high-profile accidents. Consumers have since been caught in the middle between promises of eliminating highway fatalities and reports about deadly crashes.

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3D Sonar Sees Objects Overlooked by Costlier Sensors

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: December 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP11_07
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

A dream of robotic fish inspires inexpensive automated-driving sensing technology that works for the critical areas close to the vehicle.

Alexander Rudoy was spending almost every hour of his free time developing a robotic toy fish that could sense its underwater surroundings. At that time a decade ago, he was studying electromechanical engineering at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, where he earned a Masters degree in 2015. Rudoy never finished his robo-guppy, but even before graduating, he founded Toposens, a company that now utilizes the guppy's underlying close-distance ultrasound technology for a wide range of vital automated-vehicle operations.

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The AV Industry Searches for a Near-Term Business Case

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: December 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP11_09
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

The TechCrunch Sessions at San Jose's Mobility 2019 conference advance the dialogue for real-world business cases for AVs.

An impressive lineup of the world's leading autonomous vehicle (AV) companies gathered in San Jose for the TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility 2019 conference. Technologists, executives and transportation experts took to the stage of the California Theater, a beautifully restored 1920s-era motion-picture house. The venue has a long legacy of presenting fantastical movies, operas, and vaudeville shows. However, the day-long, back-to-back 20-minute conversations on stage struck a note of hyper-realism.

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Tricks of the EV trade

Automotive Engineering: November/December 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP11_04
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

Why Volvo uses starter-generators and raised tunnels for its electrified vehicles.

Volvo first demonstrated its Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show. Replacing the starter-motor and alternator with the ISG allows a gas engine to shut off at will - mainly to prevent idling at a stop. For the company, it was a logical first step for fuel savings. But Volvo engineers at the time could hardly have predicted how useful an ISG would become, decades later, in the electric era.

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The Vehicle as Gaming Device

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: September 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP09_06
Published 2019-09-01 by SAE International in United States

Audi spin-off Holoride uses VR to turn the back seat into an entertainment platform.

From the moment I slipped the Oculus Rift device over my head, I was transported from a routine urban drive in the backseat of an Audi Q7 into an enchanting underwater world. The Virtual Reality (VR) experience obliterated every sight and sound of city life from my consciousness.

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Improving Lidar - or Defeating It

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: September 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP09_08
Published 2019-09-01 by SAE International in United States

The buzz at Sensors Expo pitted lidar-tech optimism against the reality of an impending shakeout.

For more than a decade, the lidar market has been led by Velodyne and its spinning towers of 64 or 128 laser beams. But the relatively high cost, delicate architecture, and beefy form factor have made it a competitive target. The growing ranks of competitors fall roughly into two camps. There are the fledgling lidar-makers with novel approaches to distance measurement, laser wavelength, and beam steering. And there are those with radar and vision systems promising lidar-level sensing capabilities at a lower cost.

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Inside VW's expanding SILICON VALLEY LAB

Automotive Engineering: September 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP09_04
Published 2019-09-01 by SAE International in United States

The pioneering California innovation hub enters its third decade on a new wave of innovation.

On July 1, Volkswagen renamed its Silicon Valley outpost. The former Electronics Research Lab (ERL) based in Belmont, Calif., is now the Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC). In its 20-year history, the list of the center's achievements includes winning the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, the first use of Google Earth and predictive models in vehicle navigation and approximately 175 patents related mostly to autonomous driving and connected mobility. The engineers and social scientists in Belmont are in the business of cracking tough nuts - but none as hard as the entrenched mindset of auto-industry veterans resistant to change.

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The Rodney Dangerfield of Automated-Driving Sensors

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: July 2019

Bradley Berman
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP07_06
Published 2019-07-01 by SAE International in United States

Radar and lidar get all the attention, but Inertial Measurement Units are the backbone of sensor fusion. Suppliers are scrambling to make IMUs more accurate-and much less expensive.

The emerging era of highly-automated driving comes courtesy of much-vaunted sensor technology-spinning lasers, penetrating radar, sonar blips. But the sensor that gets the least respect in the technology stack could be the lynchpin for the mass roll-out of self-driving vehicles: the inertial measurement unit (IMU).

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