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:
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.
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.
For more info: www.kyocera-sgstool.com
The Takumi H12 CNC double-column machining center delivers speed, accuracy, precision surface finish, and consistent performance. The ladder structure and double-column design provides rigidity and support to the head casting. The Takumi H12 features a 15,000rpm Big Plus CAT 40, in-line, direct-drive spindle. The one-piece base absorbs high cutting feed inertia and 30 components on the machine are hand scraped for alignment during assembly.
The Takumi H12 is equipped with the Fanuc 31i-MB series control featuring AICC 2 with high-speed processing, machine condition selection, and Nano smoothing. The control includes 600 block look-ahead and a 1GB data server with editing capabilities.
EASTEC 2019 Booth #1206
EASTEC 2019 Booth #1206
The 48V system high-power battery boosts the performance of mild hybrid road vehicles, with potential for 15% improvement in fuel economy. The design will enable better energy recovery and a faster charge, boosting efficiency. A more-capable battery pack boosts efficiency on the road, offering 12% fuel savings compared to new Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty vehicles test Procedure (WLTP) standards, assuming internal combustion engine (ICE) efficiency remains constant.
A liquid coolant has also been implemented to improve cooling performance and battery life.
Harting’s e-mobility technologies
Data and power connections company Harting Technology group has created fast-charging technology for Rinspeed’s microSnap vehicle.
Harting Automotive offers custom solutions and components and develops and produces charging equipment for electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs).
“Air pollution control requirements will only be met with e-mobility, especially in cities. Consequently, we’ve focused on this in our R&D and production and are also involved in all aspects of standardization,” says Marco Grinblats, managing director of Harting Automotive.
The technology group has been supplying Volkswagen with an e-mobility solution since 2016, providing charging equipment for the Porsche Panamera 4-Hybrid and other vehicles. Harting Automotive is also a Tier 1 supplier to the BMW Group.
In-wheel motor prototype
A traction motor that can fit inside wheel hubs provides higher efficiency as a result of driving the wheels directly and bypassing conventional power transmission mechanisms. This allows for lighter and more compact designs. Independent control of the wheels also opens the possibility of making further improvements to electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control systems (TCS).
Features include high power and torque density and lightweight properties. The prototype has a motor with integrated reduction gears and an oil cooling system. By leveraging the technology developed for the e-axle, a single in-wheel motor can achieve a power output greater than 100kW (134hp) – equivalent to a 1.8L class gasoline engine – while weighing 32kg and being compact enough to fit inside a 20" wheel. The motor is compatible with the rear-wheel drive (RWD), front-wheel drive (FWD), and all-wheel drive (4WD) car layouts. Mass production of the motor is expected in 2023.