Gary S. Vasilash
Gary S. Vasilash is the founding editor of Automotive Design & Production (AD&P) magazine, a publication established in 1997 by Gardner Publications with the cooperation of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). He is responsible for the editorial management and direction of the monthly magazine. Vasilash continues to write a monthly column for AD&P and contributes several stories to each issue.
Vasilash has more than 20 years of experience writing about the automotive industry, best practices and new technologies. His work has appeared in a variety of venues, ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Lightworks, a journal of contemporary art. He has made numerous presentations at a variety of venues ranging from the annual meeting of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) to the Center for Constructive alternatives at Hillsdale College.
Prior to his present position, Vasilash was editor-in-chief of both Automotive Production and Production magazines—predecessors to AD&P. He joined Cincinnati, Ohio-based Gardner Publications in 1987 as executive editor of Production magazine.
Prior to that, Vasilash had editorial positions with the Rockford Institute and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a Master of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is a member of the Automotive Press Association.
14. October 2016
So far this year in the U.S. Bentley has delivered a total 1,475 vehicles.
Given that the cars have a starting price around $200,000 and you can up that by about $29,000 to slide into the seat of the Bentayga crossover, they’re probably doing alright.
However, what’s a person to do who likes the idea and styling of Bentley yet find her- or him-self a bit strapped money-wise?
Well, perhaps a look at the new “Iconic Classics” line that’s part of the Bentley Collections.
For example, there are leather jackets for women and men that feature a “matrix grille lining” that’s said to echo the shape of the Bentley dashboard. There are cross-stitched twinned joints and hanging loop that are said to be related to the stitching on a Bentley steering wheel.
There are Italian-made silk scarfs, as well as British-made cashmere scarfs, with the material sourced—and we are not making this up—from Inner Mongolia.
"The elegant, timeless pieces of the new line are designed to be treasured lifetime companions of the owner, much like the cars that influence them," said Karin Schilcher, director of Licensing and Branding at Bentley Motors.
Advancing Autonomy: The Winners
13. October 2016
Last night at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, Automotive Design & Production and AutoBeat Daily presented the first-ever awards for Automobility to five organizations that are at the forefront of advancing the technologies associated with autonomous driving and mobility.
The categories and winners are:
Overall achievement: Google Self-Driving Cars
Vehicle: Tesla Model X
Infrastructure: Mcity, University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center
Systems Development: Continental Automotive
The organizations receiving the awards were selected by judges including Brett Smith of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), John Waraniak of SEMA, Dan Sturges (now of Local Motors), Bill Hampton of AutoBeat, and, me.
At this point the question of whether we will have, or when we will have, “autonomous cars” is somewhat moot. That is, Google cars have racked up more than two-million miles of driving with the “driver” serving as a safety monitor. The Model X features “Autopilot,” which, while in no way relieving the driver to be a driver, provides the means to use the vehicle in a semi-automated manner. NVIDIA is providing chips that allow essentially artificial intelligence programing for vehicles. Continental is putting together entire systems—from the chassis to the powertrain to the interior—that are leading to the realization of autonomous driving in the very near term. And Mcity is a place where not only can vehicle manufacturers and suppliers test vehicles and systems, but where there is an infrastructure of engineering students and professors who can supplement the companies’ efforts in advancing safe, reliable, automated transportation.
And we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of the inaugural awards.
Honda’s Sweet 3D EV
12. October 2016
Everyone loves—and not necessarily in this order—3D printing, electric vehicles and candy.
Well, maybe candy first.
Honda, working with Kabuku, a Japanese 3D printing startup, has created a short-range, micro electric vehicle for Toshimaya, a Japanese confectionery maker.
The vehicle has a chassis based on Honda’s pipe frame structure. Exterior panels and luggage space (or to be more specific, candy carrying space) were created with 3D printing.
The electric powertrain is based on Honda’s MC-β ultra-compact electric vehicle.
The printed car has a range of approximately 50 miles and a top speed of 43 mph.
The car is 98 inches long, 50 inches wide and 61 inches high. It weighs 1,327 pounds.
Toshiyama will use the vehicle for deliveries of its “Hato sablé,’’ a dove-shaped shortbread.
Crash Testing to the Max
7. October 2016
This, obviously, is not a car:
Photo: Sandia National Laboratories
But as the auto industry has to conduct physical testing of its products on a regular basis, it might be encouraging to those who conduct the tests that their colleagues in other fields do the same.
Although on objects that are somewhat more, um, potentially devastating.
That rocket is a mock B61-12 nuclear weapon.
Sandia National Laboratories sent it down a 10,000-foot rocket sled track. It rode on a test sled that separated so that the rocket, traveling 260 mph, flew 73 feet and then hit the steel and concrete wall.
The impact speed was 382 ±4 feet per second.
Explained Matt Brewer, lead test engineer, “Abnormal environment tests are performed to benchmark the performance of safety features designed into weapons.”
Setting the test up took more than a year’s worth of preparations. The test track was calibrated last December, using a “B61 trainer,” a shell with the same weight as the real thing. (You can see a YouTube video of it here.)
The test, performed in partnership with Los Alamos lab’s B61 Life Extension Program Systems Engineering and multiple Sandia organizations, was evidently successful.
Let’s hope that nothing untoward happens with the real thing.
The U.S. Military Finds New Roads: Fuel Cell Powered Pickups
6. October 2016
While it seems that fuel efficiency as related to the U.S. federal government is all about light duty vehicles, that’s far from being the case.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (who care about things like fuel efficiency), the “U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world.”
Over 100-million barrels of oil per year.
All of this is not for vehicles (trucks, ships, tanks, etc.).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the energy used by the U.S. Department of Defense is of two types: installation energy, as in buildings or driving around when not engaged in fighting, and operational energy, which is that expended in military operations. And the EIA says that 70 percent of the energy used is of an operational nature.
Which is to bring us to the point that the U.S. military is keenly interested in alternative energy. (Also take into account that a barrel of oil weighs 302 pounds so moving it around isn’t all that efficient.)
Earlier this week, at the meeting of the Association of the United States Army, General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) revealed the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, an off-road-capable, fuel-cell-powered vehicle.
GM and TARDEC collaborated on the truck and developed it from a stretched midsize truck chassis in less than a year.
There are several other benefits to the vehicle beyond running on a fuel that isn’t petroleum based.
As it is electric, it is quiet, which is undoubtedly good when in battlefield areas.
What’s more, the heat signature is smaller than that of an internal combustion engine.
In addition to which, the exhaust is water, which is useful in desert terrain.
Another benefit of the Colorado ZH2 is that it has an Exportable Power Take-Off unit (EPTO). This allows electricity generated by the fuel cell to power activity away from the vehicle.
Although the Colorado ZH2 looks like a concept vehicle, the U.S. Army plans to run it through extreme field conditions next year.