New technology can detect black ice before drivers
A new system has been developed which can warn drivers of slippery roads in advance, providing drivers with a database to give vehicles in the area immediate warning of slippery conditions nearby.
Developed by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the automatic system makes use of an entirely new real-time method of obtaining information on a road’s actual slipperiness.
Based on a method developed by VTT, the slipperiness detector monitors changes in road conditions in real time, based on data collected by the car's own sensors.
“The method entails estimating the difference in the speeds of the drive shaft and freely rotating axles in various driving situations, which enables deduction of the level of friction”, says Senior Scientist Kimmo Erkkilä.
Thanks to the new system, it is possible to obtain direct information on road conditions, which allows much more accurate road warnings to vehicles via, for example, SMS messages, where previous technology relied on estimates derived from sources such as weather forecasts.
The system is capable of determining the slipperiness of a road on the basis of a drive of a few kilometres. The information is then passed on to the driver, before he or she has even noticed the change in road conditions. After this, observations collected from all cars and the related coordinates are transmitted wirelessly to a background system, which maintains a real-time slipperiness map and generates a log of the road conditions. For each car that joins the system, the background system produces and transmits an individual data package on road conditions, allowing drivers to prepare in advance for slippery stretches of road.
According to VTT, widespread implementation of the system would create significant savings for transport operators, other road users and society at large
Information on the level of slipperiness can be transmitted to drivers by means of warning lights, voice signals, text or symbols, according to the possibilities offered by the terminal device. As well as through vehicle terminal devices, this information can be utilised via many other communication channels, such as smart phones, the national media, weather forecasts or roadside signs.
Various vehicle terminal devices can be used to join the system, as long as they have sufficient capacity to carry out the slipperiness detection calculations, have a link to the vehicle's data bus, are equipped with a location tracking system and are able to connect to the background system.
Fits all makes
Developed by VTT, this system fits all cars, irrespective of their make. At present, the system has been used in heavy lorries, but is also directly compatible with other heavy vehicles. Using the current method, passenger cars can also make use of the slipperiness data produced by the system. In the future, the system can be expanded to make use of observations collected from passenger cars. More information can be found at: http://www.transeco.fi/en/transeco
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany