Researchers Take Step Toward Lithium-sulfur Batteries
A fevered search for the next great high-energy, rechargeable battery technology is on. Scientists are reporting they have overcome key obstacles toward making lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries, which have the potential to leave today’s lithium-ion technology in the dust. Their study appears in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
Xingcheng Xiao, Weidong Zhou, Mei Cai and their colleagues point out that the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries, which power many of our consumer electronics, as well as electric vehicles, have largely plateaued. Scientists have been pursuing a number of new battery technologies to topple today’s standard.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) and a supporting comprehensive research report on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology. The report includes analysis of the Department’s research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits, while the ANPRM seeks public input on these findings to support the Department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles.
The Obama administration has said it is taking a first step toward requiring that future cars and light trucks be equipped with technology that enables them to warn each other of potential danger in time to avoid collisions.
A research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the technology could eventually prevent 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year, saving 1,083 lives. The agency said it will begin drafting rules to require the technology in new vehicles.
Your next commuter car could have two seats, three wheels and get 84 miles to the gallon.
Elio Motors wants to revolutionize U.S. roads with its tiny car, which is the same length as a Honda Fit but half the weight. With a starting price of $6,800, it’s also less than half the cost. Phoenix-based Elio plans to start making the cars next fall at a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. Already, more than 27,000 people have reserved one. Elio hopes to make 250,000 cars a year by 2016. That’s close to the number Mazda sells in the U.S.
The local bus system could reduce its costs and emit significantly fewer pollutants by converting its fleet to one powered by natural gas, a cleaner fuel now in greater supply and more affordable, Purdue Univ. energy economist Wally Tyner reports in a study.
While the study was specific to the Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corp., also known as CityBus, the approach of fueling buses with compressed natural gas, or CNG, could apply to similar municipal bus systems nationwide, says Tyner, an economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics.
An ESA business incubation start-up company is helping major car manufacturers to develop electric vehicle concepts and improve safety systems by turning ideas quickly into virtual prototypes.
“Foreseeing products by modeling and simulations can provide big jump-starts for companies,” explains Johannes Gerl, founder and CEO of German start-up company Modelon GmbH. “They reduce their development efforts by saving on the number of prototypes. In addition, they often reduce the time to market.”
While Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt visited Earth’s moon for three days in December 1972, they drove their mission’s Lunar Roving Vehicle 19.3 nautical miles (22.210 statute miles or 35.744 kilometers). That was the farthest total distance for any NASA vehicle driving on a world other than Earth until yesterday.
The team operating NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity received confirmation in a transmission from Mars that the rover drove 263 feet (80 meters) on Thursday, bringing Opportunity’s total odometry since landing on Mars in January 2004 to 22.220 statute miles (35.760 kilometers).
You get into your car and ask it to get you home in time for the start of the big game, stopping off at your favorite Chinese restaurant on the way to grab some takeout.
But the car informs you that the road past the Chinese restaurant is closed for repairs, so you will not make it home in 30 minutes unless you choose a different food outlet. You select a nearby Korean restaurant from the options the car suggests, and set off on the chosen route.
Without high-tech magnetic sensors, rovers wouldn’t be able to roam around Mars. These same sensors will soon boost terrestrial travel by improving the machinery that molds parts for cars and aircraft here on Earth.
These devices will “feel” parts in exquisite detail, noting features like the width and depth of drilled holes, helping to create perfect 3D pictures of each highly complex piece.
Long distance commercial drivers who consume caffeinated substances such as coffee or energy drinks, to stay awake while driving, are significantly less likely to crash than those who do not, even though they drive longer distances and sleep less, finds a study published online by British Medical Journal.
Long distance drivers routinely experience monotonous and extended driving periods in a sedentary position, which has been associated with wake time drowsiness, increasing the likelihood of crashing.
A team of researchers in Boston Univ.’s Department of Earth and Environment have developed a new, bottom-up model for measuring on-road vehicle emissions. The model will be used in Massachusetts to more accurately analyze roadway-level traffic data obtained from the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS).
Because on-road transportation is responsible for 28 percent of all U.S. fossil-fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, accurate measurement of such emissions is critical for effective regional planning. Using methods currently available, which are based on spatial proxies such as population and road density to downscale national or state-level data, planners have been unable to effectively measure vehicle emissions at regional scales because of data limitations. Such procedures introduce errors where the proxy variables and actual emissions are weakly correlated.
Federal safety regulators are deciding if they’ll investigate a complaint that the steering can fail on the Toyota Prius.
The government says in documents that an automotive laboratory in Virginia asked for the investigation after evaluating a client’s car. The probe could affect about 561,000 of the gas-electric hybrids from the 2004 through 2009 model years.
In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Gulf Oilannounced the grand opening of its E85 (biodiesel) fueling station at the Charlton East Service Plaza on the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), ready to service travelers with Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). This station is one of four new Gulf E85 fueling stations planned for the Turnpike and represents an important milestone here in Massachusetts to provide alternative, affordable and environmentally friendly motor fuels. Gulf has three E85 fueling stations open at Service Plazas on the Turnpike – Charlton Eastbound, Charlton Westbound and at the Westborough service plaza. Massachusetts drivers are on the leading edge of alternative fuels today. There are more than 100,000 FFVs registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Researchers at the Univ. of California, Riverside believe they can extend the range of electric vehicles by at least 10 percent by taking into account real-time traffic information, road type and grade and passenger and cargo weight. The researchers, who work at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), which is part of the Bourns College of Engineering, have received a nearly $95,000 one-year grant from the California Energy Commission to develop a eco-routing algorithm that finds the route requiring the least amount of energy for a trip.
Caption: Prototype eco-routing navigation system installed in a passenger car. Image: Univ. of California, Riverside
Barrels and cones dot an open field in Saline, Mich., forming an obstacle course for a modified vehicle. A driver remotely steers the vehicle through the course from a nearby location as a researcher looks on. Occasionally, the researcher instructs the driver to keep the wheel straight — a trajectory that appears to put the vehicle on a collision course with a barrel. Despite the driver’s actions, the vehicle steers itself around the obstacle, transitioning control back to the driver once the danger has passed.
The key to the maneuver is a new semiautonomous safety system developed by Sterling Anderson, a PhD student in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Karl Iagnemma, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Robotic Mobility Group.