NHTSA asks for comments on GM, Nuro autonomous applications
Federal regulators are seeking public comments on proposals for autonomous vehicles from General Motors and Nuro. Automakers must submit requests for waivers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to test vehicles that don’t meet traditional safety standards.
“The Department is actively seeking public comment on proposed exemptions to federal standards and how the public can be protected as new transportation technologies emerge,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao says.
Several major automakers announced capacity expansions in early 2019.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA): $4.5 billion for new Detroit, Michigan, plant; expansions to five others in Southeast Michigan; creating 6,500 jobs; upgrades will add plug-in hybrid, all-electric Jeep models to three Jeep plants. https://www.fcagroup.com
$1.6 billion to convert Mack Avenue Engine Complex into assembly plant for next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, new 3-row Jeep SUV
$1.5 billion at Warren Truck (Warren, Michigan) for new Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer SUVs; continued production of Ram 1500 Class pickup
$900 million to upgrade Jefferson North assembly plant (Detroit) for continued Dodge Durango, next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee production
$400 million at Sterling Stamping, Warren Stamping plants to support new production
$119 million to relocate Pentastar engine production currently at Mack I to the Dundee Engine Plant
Toyota: $750 million in five states to add hybrid crossover options and boost engine and component capacity. https://www.toyota.com
$288 million for Huntsville, Alabama, plant to boost engine production 24% to 900,000 units annually by 2021; 450 jobs
$238 million for Georgetown, Kentucky, plant to add hybrid versions of Toyota RAV4, Lexus ES 300h crossovers
$111 million in Buffalo, West Virginia, for hybrid transaxle capacity boost; 123 jobs
$62 million for Troy, Missouri, Bodine Aluminum plant to boost cylinder head production for Toyota, Lexus vehicles
$50 million in Jackson, Tennessee, to boost Bodine Aluminum hybrid transaxle case, housing capacity; boost engine block capacity
Ford Motor Co.: More than $1.9 billion to upgrade Chicago, Illinois; Louisville, Kentucky, plants to boost SUV-production capacity, adding 500 jobs; electric vehicle production southwest of Detroit.https://www.ford.com
$1 billion at Chicago Stamping Plant, Chicago Assembly plant to support Ford Explorer, Ford Police Interceptor, Lincoln Aviator SUVs
$900 million at Flat Rock Assembly Plant (Michigan) for upcoming electric vehicles, updated Mustang muscle cars; adding a second shift and up to 900 jobs
Undisclosed sum to boost Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator SUV production 20% at the Kentucky Truck Plant (Louisville) by shifting 550 workers from Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP); Escape production at LAP falls to two shifts from three
Volkswagen: $800 million to upgrade Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant to make electric vehicles by 2022; adding 1,000 jobs. https://www.vw.com
General Motors: $356 million to upgrade three Michigan plants for upcoming electric vehicles; crossover, powertrain components. https://www.gm.com
$300 million in Orion Township for a new electric car based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV; 400 jobs
$36 million at Lansing Delta Township plant for future versions of Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave crossovers
$20 million at Romulus powertrain plant to increase 10-speed automatic transmission capacity for future cars, trucks, crossovers
SoftInWay, Gamma Technologies partner on turbocharger design
SoftInWay Inc. and Gamma Technologies (GT) are partnering to deliver a design and analysis solution for turbochargers and other turbomachinery components. The agreement integrates SoftInWay’s AxStream turbomachinery component and performance map software with GT-Suite simulation software.
Users will be able to iterate designs for turbines, compressors, and other turbomachinery in AxStream and optimize systems for performance using GT-Suite.
SoftInWay Chief Operating Officer Valentine Moroz says the partnership will allow customers to seamlessly integrate their tool chain, solve the pain point of lack of data, and empower them to develop cutting-edge technology using the combined power of two leading software platforms.https://www.gtisoft.com; http://www.softinway.com/en
It was a simple instruction – pull out of the garage. When you get to the end of the drive, stop, look around, then turn right onto the street.
My 15-year-old daughter looked at me like I was speaking in tongues, not a foreign language but the guttural squawks and grunts of primates in a remote jungle. She looked at the steering wheel, the gear selector, the pedals, and the mirrors. She looked back at me. “How do I do that?”
That’s when I realized exactly how much work is ahead for the engineers working on advanced safety and autonomous drive systems. I thought I was giving simple instructions. My daughter is a great student who has a real knack for picking up complex concepts, but she’d never operated a car. And, every step I’d told her to take required an understanding she didn’t have.
Pull the car out of the garage really means:
Put the key in the ignition and turn it 45° clockwise
Press down on the brake pedal (the horizontally opposed one in the middle) with your right foot
With your right hand, move the gear selector from P to D, being careful not to go all the way to L
Look up to ensure the path is clear
Slowly lift your right foot off the brake pedal (and don’t be surprised when the car moves by itself)
Keep an eye on mirrors so they don’t hit garage walls
Steer away from obstacles if you don’t have enough room
Daily drivers forget how complex operating a motor vehicle can be. Seemingly simple things require complex hand and foot operations, blind-spot checks, and judgment calls.
Automating all those steps means carefully identifying everything a human does, telling a computer to do that, then fixing the mistakes when you tell the computer to do the wrong thing. As someone teaching a teenager how to drive, I can tell you that the last step is the most complicated.
After realizing how much she had to learn, I focused on the basics – this is the steering wheel, the brake pedal, and the gas pedal (I’m training her on my wife’s automatic Ford, not my manual Chevy). We’ve spent a lot of time in empty parking lots.
So, the second time I took her out to drive on streets, I thought she’d interpret the instruction “turn left onto the street” correctly. She almost did. She pulled into the street, then she turned left – a maneuver that might work in a video game, but cars aren’t particularly good at 90° turns. So, back to the instruction stage – begin turning as you move onto the street, imagine turns as curves, not angles.
She’s getting it. Each trip is better than the one before, and I’ve been able to stop myself from shrieking in terror when she’s made mistakes that put us in the oncoming traffic lane. Hopefully, the next generation of self-driving cars have patient programmers telling them what to do.
5 questions with Brian Hamil
Advertorial - Ask the Experts
Kyocera SGS’ vice president of product development discusses advanced uses for titanium in the motor vehicles market.
1) Is titanium used in the automotive market? It is, although I see it used more in the aftermarket, racing, or high-performance segment of the automotive industry along with motorcycles versus typical automotive production. I see it in areas of high-output engines such as valvetrain components – valves, valve springs, valve spring retainers, rocker arms, wrist pins, and connecting rods. Titanium is also used for other racing applications where high strength and light weight are desired.
2) What are titanium’s advantages in high-performance automotive applications? Any time you can reduce weight without sacrificing strength, you are gaining performance. Performance can be improving miles per gallon, increasing payload capacity, or decreasing lap or run times in racing. There are reports showing for every 100 lb in weight reduction, you can improve mpg by 1% to 2%. In high-performance engine applications, the less rotating mass you have, the less parasitic loss you have to overcome, leaving more horsepower with which to race.
3) Is there a reason it’s not used more in general automotive production? High costs and sourcing challenges are the key deterrents. Titanium, compared to steel alloys, can be 20x more expensive per pound. Combine this with machining challenges, and the cost per component can get high. For example, I looked at a racing parts catalog and a set of eight, 4130 steel-alloy connecting rods was $250. A similar set of titanium connecting rods was $6,000.
4) What are the machining challenges? High density and modulus of elasticity make titanium desirable, but these features also make it challenging to machine. Titanium can be machined efficiently if correct cutting parameters and cutting-tool geometries are used. In general, you would machine titanium at 40% of what you would machine steels. Overly aggressive machining in steel has minimal consequences except to wear out your tooling faster. If you get too aggressive when machining titanium you can develop an oxide surface layer that can lead to part failure. It takes heat and pressure to generate a chip, so when the heat gets excessive, it can generate this oxide.
Great care in the machining process with coolant placement and cutting tool geometry are contributing factors in how much heat is generated. Higher positive rake angles and higher helix angles, such as the ones in our Z-Carb series of tools, reduce the necessary pressure to generate a chip, reducing the heat. It’s challenging to maintain sharp cutting edges that reduce the generated heat with proper cutting-edge strength to be as productive as possible.
5) Are there any opportunities for increased titanium use? Yes, the titanium industry looks for new opportunities in the automotive market, including exhaust, body panels, and suspension components. Cutting tool manufacturers continue to advance the tooling used to improve the productivity and reliability of machining titanium.