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Engineering the world's fastest tractor

SAE Truck & Off-Highway Engineering: February 2020

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 20TOFHP02_05
Published 2020-02-01 by SAE International in United States

JCB worked with design and engineering specialists to build a spectacular speed record-breaker that topped 150 mph.

For farmers in a hurry, JCB's Fastrac series agricultural tractors are capable of speeds up to 43 mph (69 km/h) in stock form. But the British company believes in challenging its engineers to improve the breed, and in doing so they've taken the concept of a high-speed ag tractor to new heights.

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Prodrive, Volta Trucks develop electric truck for urban driving

SAE Truck & Off-Highway Engineering: February 2020

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 20TOFHP02_10
Published 2020-02-01 by SAE International in United States

Mention the name Prodrive and most people will think of motorsport together with all the advanced technology that goes with it. But as an automotive consultancy, the company is now applying its capabilities to an advanced pureelectric truck project that has an added design aspect: to keep vulnerable road users safer in crowded environments.

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‘Laxatives’ may ease challenge of lithium-ion alternative

Automotive Engineering: January/February 2020

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP02_10
Published 2020-01-01 by SAE International in United States

The R&D dimension of the automotive industry often reveals novel solutions and cross-linking between materials, but a team of international scientists has come up with something truly unusual: boosting supercapacitor power and efficiency using newly developed “laxatives.” It's all about developing improved electrolytes as part of a program to enhance supercapacitor performance, making them more practical with enhanced energy storage for use in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

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Autonomy's ‘Pirouetting’ Future

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: January 2020

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP01_06
Published 2020-01-01 by SAE International in United States

Protean Electric's novel 360-degree steering and in-wheel drive systems add new potential for urban mobility.

Designing and engineering a 360-degree steering capability for a production electric autonomous road vehicle's four wheels is no mean achievement. But Protean Electric also combines this pirouetting capability with an in-wheel electric motor, “innovative” suspension and pneumatic ride height control into an all-in-one package. Its adroit wheel-at-each-corner module, called Protean360+, is designed initially for next-generation urban mobility pods. But it could also be applied to a wide variety of other autonomous vehicles.

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Platinum nanoparticles for fuel-cell catalysts may cut cost

SAE Truck & Off-Highway Engineering: December 2019

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 19TOFHP12_11
Published 2019-12-01 by SAE International in United States

Fuel-cell technology is a big subject with some very small but vital aspects, one of which is the size of platinum atoms. Reduce these and the cost of platinum-one of the major drawbacks of current fuel-cell systems-would also fall. So, establishing and creating the optimum size for platinum fuel-cell catalysis for cars and heavy-duty trucks is one of the ongoing research areas for future alternative energy solutions.

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ACeDrive consortium plans more-efficient EV powertrain

Automotive Engineering: November/December 2019

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP11_03
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

Led by GKN, the ACeDrive consortium is developing lighter and more-efficient EV propulsion, targeting volume production in 2023.

It's called ACeDrive, which may sound innocuous for an auto-industry project. But the consortium that formed it has announced that it seeks to develop the world's lightest and most efficient volume electric vehicle (EV) powertrain. Involving two major suppliers, a research university and the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the aggressive targets for the ACeDrive (Advanced Cooling and Control of high speed e-Drive) include a 25% reduction in cost, a 25% reduction in packaging size and a 20% reduction in weight combined to deliver a 10% increase in efficiency.

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You've Lost That Queasy Feeling…

Autonomous Vehicle Engineering: December 2019

Stuart Birch, Bill Visnic
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP11_06
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

Transcontinental research aims to understand the complexities of motion sickness to help improve the automated-vehicle experience.

As concerns mount regarding how occupants of automated vehicles (AVs) will react to being detached from the actual driving experience, researchers are trying to better understand how and why humans are affected by motion sickness. Aided by sophisticated tools and measuring apparatus, multinational research efforts are quantifying the causes of motion sickness - while grappling with the intensely individual nature of the problem.

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Is the camshaft being timed out?

Automotive Engineering: November/December 2019

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP11_12
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

The development of electric vehicle motors, power controls and batteries tend to dominate today's industry's headlines, but R&D of internal combustion engine technologies in its many forms continues. That is underlined by the U.K.'s Brunel University establishing a new future-powertrain research program centering on “intelligent” valve technology and the eventual replacement of the conventional camshaft by electric actuators.

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Mahle reveals modular, scalable integrated hybrid powertrain

Automotive Engineering: November/December 2019

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP11_10
Published 2019-11-01 by SAE International in United States

Mahle is developing a complete “fits all, off-the-shelf” modular hybrid-drive propulsion system for a wide range of automakers' models, designed to cut costs, improve packaging and provide a level of electrified-vehicle commonality not seen before in the auto industry.

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CASTING AROUND FOR lightweight solutions

Automotive Engineering: October 2019

Stuart Birch
  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP10_02
Published 2019-10-01 by SAE International in United States

The United Kingdom's Grainger & Worrall is introducing and perfecting “new and imaginative” casting-technologies.

“Get more [efficiency] from less [weight, time, cost],” is a mantra that will be chanted sotto voce by many an automotive designer and engineer facing the latest list of a new vehicle's “requirements.”

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