Mapping tomorrow's traffic Leaders from the top design institutes believe the art of transportation design hinges on a holistic--and progressive--understanding of the relationships between people, vehicles, and public space. Sitting comfortably Seat engineers are enhancing safety, adding functions, but comfort still reigns supreme. Coming to life Bio-based materials are increasingly showcased in concept vehicles--but do they have widespread production potential? Chevrolet supercharges the Corvette Even an old dog like the Corvette ZR1's LS9 Small Block Chevy can learn new tricks thanks to a supercharger and key supporting parts. Double-duty Duratec Ford's new 2.5-L inline four for 2010 boasts advanced fuel and ignition control, and an Atkinson-cycle variant for HEVs. Coast-to-coast diesel Having held back until it could offer one in all corners of the U.S., BMW says the time is right for a 50-state diesel.
From part to plane: the fastest machine wins Next-gen machining centers and controllers brings new precision and capabilities to both metal and composite manufacturing. Files moved around the world As aircraft manufacturers distribute more jobs to contractors, streamlining the transfer of information has become an important part of both design and manufacturing. Top technologies of 2008 A look back at some of the most significant technological innovations during the past year. VLJ power Some engine programs for very light jets are full swing while certification awaits others.
Bodybuilding 101 The latest designs are pumped up with flagrant use of performance-enhancing substances, such as boron steel, for maximum strength and safety. Prize-winning plastics Lower cost, lighter weight solutions highlight the 2008 SPE Automotive Innovation awards. Mean and green More than a few companies at last month's SEMA Show heralded the eco-friendly side of their products just as highly as the performance side. Setting the standards Automakers along with their supplier partners are now embracing many interfaces and protocols to enable compatibility with consumer electronics devices as well as other advances. Readers' choice: Top technology stories of the year The editors look back at some of the past year's most significant engineering and innovation articles according to readers of Automotive Engineering International and AEI Online. Green victory? The motorsports community contemplates winning races while leaving behind the smallest environmental footprint.
Electrohydraulic engineers embrace integration Software improvements help both engineers and operators as architectures evolve. Indestructible from the start OEMs and suppliers are investing in testing equipment, facilities, and software to ensure proper performance of components prior to being placed in the field. To 2010 and beyond Engineers working on emissions-control systems for heavy-duty engines already are preparing for ever more stringent regulations later next decade. Top Technologies of 2008 The editors look back at some of the most significant technological innovations during the past year according to readers.
Managing software growth An increased emphasis on modeling and autocoding makes it easier to add software-based features and functions, driving a sea change in the way complex automotive systems are designed. Going beyond Bin 5 and Euro 5 An early look at some of the emissions-control and aftertreatment technologies and tools aimed at helping automakers meet future U.S. and European regulations. Finding flexibility Although automation is important to achieving flexibility, manufacturers cannot neglect product design, manufacturing processes, and personnel. Looking for a little help Automotive companies increasingly look outside, offshore to get complex designs finished quickly. The autonomous future Like it or not, cars that drive themselves are on the horizon. Will you trade control for safety? Dodge Ram A keen focus on fuel economy centers on improved aerodynamics, powertrain efficiency, and weight-reducing technologies.
Consumed by changes Reprogramming becomes the focus of engineers as radios become multifunction head units integrating many infotainment functions. Design insiders Packaging, comfort, 'premiumness,' and quality are keywords in the vocabulary of car interior designers, but significant changes to interior structures could lead to a design revolution. Accident avoidance 2.0 OEMs and suppliers are going to great lengths to ensure the proper performance of their next generation of active safety products. Automotive policy goes to the polls Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama stake out different positions on issues affecting the automotive industry and future vehicle engineering. Mitsubishi i MiEC Instead of focusing on hybrid propulsion, the company is hoping to be a leader in all-electric vehicles by readying a minicar for 2010 launch. Tato Nano The Indian automaker intends to overcome obstacles and deliver on its promise of a $2500 all-weather, safe family car.
Teaming up for quality Suppliers, customers, and industry groups all work together in drive to reduce problems. Next-gen nav/comm Advanced satellite capabilities revolutionize navigation, comminications, and surveillance. Composites come clean New scienceand processes are applied to next-generation materials.
Tying it all together Networks link control modules to bring more features and functions to the job site. Collaboration tools spread a wide net PLM suppliers are offering new tools that aid collaboration, expanding on core offerings in PDM, CAD, and CAE. The drive toward a hybrid transmission In-wheel hydraulic motors, hydraulic transformers, and a common pressure rail with accumulators put new meaning in the word drivetrain. A deep dive into metallurgical failure Even with the best engineering processes and quality planning, deviations can occur with the incoming material, things can go wrong during the manufacturing process, and service conditions can be different than expected. Standards and 'coopetition' In the heavy-duty vehicle arena, adoption of standards for networking benefits everyone.
Looking forward to safer highways New camera technologies, along with better algorithms and software, are enabling the move to active-safety systems that warn and then take control of vehicles in dangerous situations. Fuel-cell futures Eager to find alternative-propulsion solutions, automakers are betting that renewed emphasis on fuel-cell vehicles will pay off in the long run, with the latest examples aiming to prove higher-volume production feasibility. Consensus building ojn refrigerant type The hydrofluoro-olefin refrigerant HFO-1234yf has emerged as Europe's favored R-134a replacement, but some prefer R-744. Strengthening the link through software The next generation of simulation tools could help better synchronize manufacturing engineering and product design.
The burn factor New combustor technologies keep engine temperatures down to reduce emissions. The transparent supply chain The U.S. military and contractors work together to make parts available when parts are needed. An explosion of nondestructive testing Trends in the aerospace industry, such as greater use of composites, increase the need for tests and simulations.