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.

Intel on the Numbers of Autonomy
17. November 2016

If you sometimes wonder why the automotive OEMs and Tier One suppliers have to work with or become more familiar with Big Data and the companies that are associated with handling, processing and using it, you can get your answer by listening to Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, speaking at the AutoMobility LA conference.

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Krzanich may call “data the new oil”—but it almost seems an understatement for autonomous driving

According to Krzanich, the average person, though the use of PCs, phones, smartwatches, and the like, generates 650 MB of data a day.

Intel anticipates that the amount of data daily generated by you and me will be on the order of 1.5 GB

That may be a lot (try and download 1.5 GB on your home computer and see how long it takes), but as Krzanich puts it, “it pales in comparison to what we’re about to see in autonomous vehicles.”

There’s radar. Cameras. Sonar. GPS. Lidar.

Krzanich: “Cameras will generate 20-60 MB/second, radar upwards of 10 kB/second, sonar 10-100 kB/second, GPS will run at 50 kB/second, and LIDAR will range between 10-70 MB/second.”

So, he does a little math and: “each autonomous vehicle will be generating approximately 4,000 GB – or 4 terabytes – of data a day.”

Or as much as 3,000 people per day. One car.

Multiply that by as many cars as you can imagine being out there by about 2020, and you can see there is a massive amount of data that needs handling.

Intel Capital announced this week that it is investing an additional $250-million over the next two years specifically addressing the development of autonomous driving.

Almost seems small in the context of four terabytes.

2018 Ford EcoSport: Small Is the New Big
16. November 2016

Eric Loeffler, chief program engineer for the 2018 Ford EcoSport, recalls driving home from work one day from the product development center in Brazil where work was underway on developing the vehicle that will be coming to the U.S. in 2018, having been launched in 2003 in South America and is now become available in 140 countries around the world.

EcoSport

He says that he had a 13-km drive. And in that distance he drove past 13 small sedans, all of which were at the side of the road getting their tires changed, having hit potholes along their routes.

Want to know why the B-platform SUV was developed in Brazil? That’s a pretty good reason.

The EcoSport, Loeffler says, is about nine inches smaller in length than the Ford Escape.

It is powered by a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost engine or a 2.0-liter four. Both are mated to six-speed transmissions. The EcoSport with the 2.0-liter is available with Ford’s intelligent 4WD, which is, Loeffler explains, a variant of the system that’s used on the Escape.

Loeffler has spent 28 years at Ford, mainly on SUVs. He’s been a chief engineer working on the vehicles for 16, during which time he’s been involved with the Navigator, Edge, and two generations of Escape. He says that pretty much across the board consumers of these vehicles are all looking for performance, capability, and technology. So those are the things that they focused on for the EcoSport.

The 2018 model is the third generation of the vehicle, with the second being done in 2013.

EcoSport1

According to Chantel Lenard, executive director, Ford U.S. marketing, “More people are choosing to spend their time and money sharing experiences with friends and family instead of buying more stuff.”

So, she suggests, that whether it is a young person looking for something to maneuver around in the urban environment or the great outdoors, or an empty nester who is finding their full size SUV larger than what was once necessary, the compact size of the EcoSport meets the requirements.

The vehicle is equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sync 3, and a B&O PLAY 675-watt, 10-speaker sound system.

The EcoSport will be entering a segment with a range of vehicles that includes the Buick Encore, Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3.

Is Samsung More Clever Than Apple?
15. November 2016

Admittedly, one would look at that question, think about the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, and think not.

And were Apple to make major home appliances as Samsung does, one might have additional confidence that its equipment would probably do a better job of keeping clothes clean on a regular basis, something that Samsung has also been going through the ringer about.

Apple had reportedly been working on a car. The code name: “Project Titan.” There were all manner of auto people reportedly working in Cupertino, from companies ranging from Ford to Mercedes. In its June issue Motor Trend did a story that included the work of a group of Art Center designers imagining what the Apple Car would look like.

Harman

Everyone was anxiously anticipating what sort of electric vehicle that Apple could pull off.

It was a big deal. Suddenly car fan boys and Apple fan boys could find something to agree on.

Then in late September it was reported that Apple was going to buy McLaren, the British supercar producer, a manufacturer that is as tech-oriented as any company anywhere from Detroit to Cupertino.

But then October the word was that Apple was laying off engineers who were working on the car. Perhaps, it seemed, the idea isn’t to make a physical car, but the software that would connect the car in a way that the iPhone connects almost everyone who isn’t using a Samsung device.

Which brings us back to the Korean company.

Which is buying Harman International for $8-billion.

Harman is the company best-known for his home and mobile audio systems. Harman Kardon. Infinity. JBL. Mark Levinson. Revel. And so on. According to the company, “More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with Harman audio. . .” and, importantly for Samsung, “connected car services.”

That’s right. While the magnificent audio systems get a lion’s share of the attention, the company’s engineers have been working diligently at creating software and sensors and the like that can lead to automated driving capabilities. Harman has secured space on the ever-so-important instrument cluster and it has been working to increase its share of space: beyond the audio head unit there can be all manner of functions to make a smarter, more connected car included.

Now while this may not lead to a “Samsung Car” the way there was thought to be an “Apple Car,” Samsung from the time the ink is dry on the acquisition documents is physically in cars.

Yes, there is Apple CarPlay showing up in cars at an ever-increasing rate.

But now Samsung is tied directly into the vehicle’s physical network.

And as it works toward increasing autonomous capabilities for cars, it has a revenue stream from all of those audio systems that Harman has created.

48-volt Hits Production
14. November 2016

“In 2025, approximately one in five new vehicles across the world will be equipped with a 48-volt drive,” Juergen Wiesenberger, head of Hybrid Electric Vehicles at Continental North America said last week.

And Continental is doing its part to make that happen, as it announced the volume production launch of its low-voltage hybrid drive system, which is going to be deployed in the Renault Scenic Hybrid Assist model.

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This system is a “P0” type, which means that there is an electric motor—in this case a water-cooled induction motor with an integrated converter—that’s attached by belt drive to the crankshaft of the engine. There is a DC/DC converter as part of the system, as well as a lithium ion battery.

Through the use of the belt drive, up to 150 Nm can be transmitted to the crankshaft. The system is compact, taking the place of an alternator. (One way a compact size is maintained: the inverter—which is based on a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET)—is integrated in the housing lid.

The DC/DC converter allows the 48-volt system to be connected to the vehicle’s on-board power supply such that some of the energy in the lithium-ion battery can be used for on-board applications.

That said, what’s the benefit? Fuel savings. For one thing, the engine can be switched off, not simply when the vehicle is at a stop (which is what start-stop systems can do, and know that they’re generally based on 12-volt batteries), but as a vehicle approaches a stop, at speeds of 13 mph and below. It has been found that on the New European Driving cycle, the fuel savings is 13 percent. According to Continental, in city driving, fuel economy gains are even better, as much as 21 percent, due to the fact that there is more time driving at slow (or no) speed.

And it is worth noting that the 48-volt system provides an engine restart within 0.2 seconds.

Wiesenberger noted, “Other production launches for both diesel and gasoline vehicles are in the pipeline for North America, Europe and China." Which will help move toward that 20 percent deployment of 48-volt systems.

Audi Launching Laser Lights
11. November 2016

Audi, which arguably revolutionized automotive lighting in 2004, when it brought out the A8 L W12 with LED daytime running lights, will be undoubtedly have other OEMs chasing it again as it is supplementing the LED headlights* on an exclusive edition of the R8 with laser high-beam modules.

That’s right. The 2017 Audi R8 V10 plus exclusive edition, of which 25 will be built, cars that have a starting MSRP of $229,200, are being equipped with high beams based on laser diodes.

Audi extends its lead with high-resolution Matrix Laser technology

Each lamp has four high-intensity laser diodes from OSRAM that are bundled into a beam with a 450-nanometer wavelength. The resultant blue beam is then sent to a micro-optical system from Bosch with electro-mechanical control that transforms the blue color into white light with a phosphor converter. That is then used to supplement the LED high beam when the vehicle is at speeds of 40 mph and above.

The laser lights have been available in Europe since 2014. They will be introduced by Audi on the new R8 at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

*Each headlamp makes use of 37 LEDs.




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