New Audi tech emergency swerve steering & CarPlay

2015-Audi-A8Audi is gearing up for CES Asia (Shanghai) and released a new video with some interesting demonstrations.

The first noticeable feature seen in the video is CarPlay shown in the Audi with an iPhone connected to the entertainment system. There are also back seat entertainment screen with high speed Internet Wi-Fi hotspots, a digital customized cockpit and a self-driving Audi on a curved highway ramp.

At CES Asia, Chairman Rupert Stadler, Head of Development Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg and Sales Director Luca de Meo will be present a keynote on electronics and megatrends of mobility. Also Audi is showing concept car.

Automotive News reported that there is a new ADAS feature coming from Audi using the powerful zFAS system. The next phase of ADAS safety is that the car is programmed to automatically swerve around an obstacle to avoid collisions.

In order to accomplish such a complicated task, the technology used will have backup systems and sensors in place in case of problems. The new approach will use with the zFAS central controller when it goes into production in two years in the Audi A8.

The zFAS controller incorporates technology form Dephi, NVIDIA Tegra KI and Mobileye.

Audi is also working with leading suppliers such as Bosch, Continental, Valeo and Delphi on the sensors and actuating elements, such as braking and steering systems. Audi wants to develop common standards.

The zFAS electronics board that is about the size of a tablet, is upgradeable and will eventually communicate with the cloud via 4G LTE. The zFas is a central controller while other current driver systems use separate  controllers. zFAS intakes sensor data that the controller uses to compute a view of surroundings and sends the information to different driver assistance systems.

Soon, Audi claims that Audi connect will enable the piloted cars from Audi to also learn continuously as they drive.

An Audi SUV was the first car to drive without a driver across the United States.

The Audi 8 currently can be equipped with adaptive cruise control with stop and go, Audi side assist that alerts when there is vehicle in a blind spot.

This technology is similar to Audi’s swerve technology is Continental’s Emergency Steer Assist (ESA), which automatically brakes and pumps power to the steering torque to help the driver to avoid a collision. TRW developed a similar system with the Technical University of Dortmund. ZF Friedrichshafen AG recently bought TRW. TRW will be incorporated into ZF as a new division called Active & Passive Safety Technology. Hyundai and Nissan are also working on steering assist collision avoidance systems.

It appears that Audi will be making some interesting announcements in Shanghai.

Yellowstone ranch uses recovered Camry hybrid batteries for zero emissions power

Bechler-Solar_Page_2Yogi the Bear and the visitors to the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park will no longer have to hear or smell electric generators. Re-used Camry Hybrid battery packs are storing power from the sun for the facility.

Previously, there was no commercial source of power for the ranger station and educational center. Solar panels now generate the electricity stored in 208 used Camry Hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs, recovered from Toyota dealers across the United States. The batteries were tested and configured with onboard battery management systems for each battery pack.

yellowstonebatterylowThe zero-emission solar system generates enough electricity to power six average U.S. households for a year, enough for the five buildings on the Ranch campus. The hybrid batteries provide 85kWh of energy storage to ensure continuous power, while the system charges and discharges. Each array provides a nominal 375 volts. The  Indy Power Systems’ Energy Router manages and optimizes generation and use of energy between solar energy, battery storage, and/or propane generators (if emergency generator is needed).

Micro-hydro turbine systems, capturing energy from a neighboring stream, are scheduled to also generate power.

Toyota claims that the Yellowstone system is the first of its kind to use recovered hybrid vehicle batteries for commercial energy storage. When hybrid batteries for cars are no longer strong enough to power the cars there is still plenty power storage capacity, left. The batteries were tested and configured with an onboard battery management system for each battery pack.

Toyota’s also provides hybrid vehicles to support park operations, and green building expertise and financial backing for the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, which opened in 2010.

Announced in June 2014, the partnership of Toyota, Indy Power Systems, Sharp USA SolarWorld, Patriot Solar, National Park Service and Yellowstone Park Foundation was formed to extend the  life of hybrid vehicle batteries.