By: Matthew Beecham
Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.
Concerned that the traditional car model segmentation is an outdated means of describing target groups, Johnson Controls Automotive Seating worked with researchers from Concept M institute for market psychology to define a set of more meaningful categories that pinpoint the diverse needs and wants of today’s European drivers. The supplier used a recent press gathering in Berlin to explain its approach, findings and practical relevance to automakers.
The aim of an active grille shutter (AGS) is to respond to the driving environment in order to reduce drag and improve fuel economy. During motorway driving, for example, the louvres would close thereby pushing the air around the vehicle to improve aerodynamics. If the car is towing a load or slow moving in traffic, the louvres would remain open to help maintain the best engine temperature. Given that an increasing number of cars now have an AGS, here is our round-up of the market.
As automotive engineers push back the boundaries of combustion, an increasing number of studies are being carried out in the virtual world. The use of in-cylinder computational fluid dynamics (CFD) provides insight on what is happening as the combustion process takes place, shedding new light on everything from thermal efficiency to pollutant formation. Software developer Convergent Science was formed in 1997 by a group of combustion specialists. The company’s Converge CFD code has been developed with combustion simulation in mind. Convergent Science’s director of global marketing, Rob Kaczmarek, gives us his take on what the future holds for combustion modelling.
SRG Global Inc, a subsidiary of Guardian Industries Corp, provides high value coatings on plastics for a number of applications, including automotive. It also makes active grille shutters which respond to the driving environment in order to reduce drag and improve fuel economy. SRG Global Inc’s vice president of engineering, tooling and advanced development, David Dunford explains its Integrille system and how the market for active grilles is developing worldwide.
US-based Arxan Technologies specialises in application security. Its solutions are used to protect a number of applications across a range of industries, including automotive. With an increasing number of cars fitted with wireless connectivity, Matt Clemens, security solutions architect at Arxan Technologies explains the security risks and what a driver can do to stay safe.
A clear trend in the shock absorber sector is integrating more and more electronics. Electronic dampers adjust instantly to ensure ride comfort and firm vehicle control. Tenneco Inc is among those leading players in the electronic suspension market. At a recent company event, the supplier updated us on its product portfolio and scope.
Bang & Olufsen branded audio products are available in a range of Audi, Aston Martin, BMW and Mercedes-Benz car models. Greg Sikora, manager acoustic systems engineering, Bang & Olufsen automotive audio at Harman lifestyle division explains what such OEMs expect, how it is staying premium in an increasingly commodity market and whether the rise of electric and hybrid cars will impact our listening habits. The automotive business of Bang & Olufsen was acquired by Harman in May 2015.
While self-driving cars are not yet available to the public, there are a number of models offering some form of advanced assistance to the driver. These include adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning systems that require a camera to be fitted, typically behind the windscreen. Upon replacing the windscreen, the camera typically needs to be recalibrated. To learn more, we spoke to Hella Gutmann Solutions GmbH’s managing director Björn Rietschel about the company’s camera calibration tool and the prospects for self-calibrating systems.
A car fitted with an autonomous emergency brake system (AEB) can scan the road and apply the brakes independently of the driver to avoid a collision. Given this critical piece of car safety technology, a voluntary pact was recently agreed between 20 OEMs to make AEB standard on all vehicles sold in the US by 2022. In the light of this, UK-based Thatcham Research is calling on European automakers to follow the example set in the US.
We hear a lot about the increased use of virtual development processes, so it may come as a surprise to hear an expert in simulator software argue the case for the importance of input from a real driver. Chris Hoyle, technical director of UK simulator software company, rFpro explains what a driver can contribute to this process.
In theory, the wiper blade is a service replacement item. In reality, some of us prolong the moment until the squeaks and juddering of a worn out wiper blade force a pit stop. It has been suggested that the European wiper blade aftermarket could double if motorists appreciated what a safety-critical component it is. While some believe that wiper blade manufacturers have a way to go to change consumer habits and achieve market growth, Champion reports that its latest marketing efforts have shown "great promise for future growth." Continuing just-auto’s series of interviews with tier one suppliers, Matthew Beecham spoke to Jerry Banks, Federal-Mogul Motorparts senior product manager, wipers about trends in the automotive wiper blade aftermarket.
Driveline expert GKN recently increased its all-wheel drive (AWD) production footprint in Mexico. GKN Driveline's senior director, global AWD, Ed Kwon, explains the reasons for this investment, market prospects for AWD and opportunities that alternative powertrains bring.
Until recently, the use of carbon fibre in car manufacture has been confined to high-end, low-volume vehicles. Joe Laux, Magna Exteriors director advanced engineering, tells just-auto why demand from OEMs for the lightweight material is now growing.
With car connectivity comes a dark side. While you are driving, a hacker could put your life in danger by taking over the car’s steering, brakes and transmission from a remote location. Help is at hand from a rising tide of tech companies, including TowerSec. Originally founded in Israel, now headquartered in Michigan and owned by Harman, TowerSec’s cyber security solutions protect vehicles from outside intrusion. To find out how, Matthew Beecham spoke to Harman-TowerSec’s vice president of automotive cyber security, Saar Dickman.
With the powertrain world reeling from a series of emissions-related revelations, ‘compliance’ may seem a brave subject to choose for a keynote speech at the recent Vienna Motor Symposium. Delphi’s vice president engineering, Delphi Powertrain, John Fuerst tells just-auto why he believes this is the right time to take a deeper look at the topic.
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