Beecham's Tech-Talk

Beecham's Tech-Talk

By: Matthew Beecham

Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.

How Harman is harmonising the millennial market – Q&A

21 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Forget 22-inch wheels, a recent study found that around one-third of new car buyers say that the audio brand in their next vehicle would have a significant impact on their purchase consideration. We caught up with Michael Mauser, EVP and president of Harman’s lifestyle audio division, to learn how the sound specialist developed an audio system for the new Toyota C-HR, why its audio solutions are increasingly found in small car platforms, and how Voyager Drive offers a high-end audio experience for millennials.

Tomorrow’s car seats – lighter, smarter, kinetic

21 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

The three megatrends impacting the global automotive industry, namely fuel efficiency, individualisation and autonomous driving, strongly influence the shape and form of tomorrow’s car seat. Continuing just-auto's series of research snapshots - pulled from its automotive research platform, QUBE – this one takes a closer look at some approaches to car seat design.

Park assist makes parallel parking a breeze

18 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

A recent survey revealed that 15 percent of drivers avoid parallel parking and three-quarters get ‘stage fright’ when trying to park in front of other drivers. Parking assistance technologies can spare any blushes and are available on a range of cars, including the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa (as seen on TV). Here we review such helpful technologies and what we can expect on tomorrow’s car.

Gordon Murray, Shell and Geo Technology co-engineer a 107mpg city car concept

13 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

The Shell Project M car is the result of a technology partnership between Gordon Murray Design, Shell Lubricants and engine specialists Geo Technology. Over the past few years, the trio has co-engineered the car’s body, engine and lubricants to minimise fuel use and CO2 emissions. It is hoped that by achieving a three-digit mpg number will inspire fresh thinking about personal mobility while minimising energy using existing technologies and materials. The space-age car recently showcased is a reengineered version of Gordon Murray’s T25 city car, produced in 2010. To learn more about Project M and its potential, just-auto were among the first group to drive it.

Interior design and technology - Lexus RC

7 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Continuing just-auto’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look at the Lexus RC. The deeply contoured body shape of the RC (Radical Coupe) gives it an edgy, extroverted stance. Offered in a choice of two powertrains, ours came in the shape of a white RC 300h F Sport with a 2.5-litre petrol engine.

Flexible OLED displays reinvent the car dashboard

3 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

If you appreciate uncluttered, simple car dashboards, then it will come as welcome news that buttons are gradually disappearing in favour of multi-functional touchscreens. Tomorrow’s cars are expected to incorporate a virtual dashboard with curved screens designed using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. This month’s research snapshot takes a closer look at OLEDs used for car information displays.

Lighter, more efficient transmissions – Q&A with Drive System Design

20 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Lightweight materials is a hot topic in automotive manufacture in the battle to reduce carbon emissions. Now a technical partnership between engineering consultancy, Drive System Design (DSD) and international chemical and advanced materials company, Solvay SA, is exploring the potential for large-scale use of plastic composites in transmissions and drivelines. To find out more, we spoke to DSD’s president, North America, Shaun Mepham.

Blueprint Acoustics on next generation audio solutions

19 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

While the automotive audio market is dominated by some well-known brands, smaller technology firms are attracting interest from OEMs. In this interview, Greg Turnidge, CEO of Blueprint Acoustics (Bluacs) explains how a niche Australian company is developing audio solutions for next generation vehicle platforms.

Car connectivity brings Big Data opportunities

16 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

With more and more cars offering some form of connectivity, opportunities are emerging for the automotive industry.  In this interview, Nilesh Auti, who is vice president and head of Auto & Discrete Manufacturing Vertical at Tech Mahindra, explains how correlating data on cars, drivers and their environment results in Big Data, pointing the way to new possibilities for car manufacturers and dealers.

Why games technology is driving automotive design - Unreal Engine Q&A

15 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

From engineering and styling to marketing and retail, real-time visualisation and Virtual Reality continue to demonstrate their potential to bring surprising changes to many functions within the automotive industry. We talked to Simon Jones, who is director of Unreal Engine Enterprise, the company that develops the core technology driving this innovation, to find out how the technology is being used and where we go from here.

DSM Engineering Plastics on solutions for future mobility concepts

14 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Continuing just-auto’s series of interviews with global automotive material suppliers, Ralph Ramaekers, global marketing director, automotive at DSM explains how the supplier’s engineered plastics and new processes can support OEMs in designing tomorrow’s car.

SABIC on the opportunities for polycarbonate automotive glazing

13 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Interest in polycarbonate (PC) automotive glazing is gaining momentum.  Compared to the shape limitations of glass, PC glazing is versatile, lighter with high impact resistance. In this interview, Umamaheswaran Venkatakrishnan, who leads global marketing for SABIC’s automotive business, explains why PC glazing remains interesting to OEMs and for which window applications.

Johnson Matthey Battery Systems on trends in the advanced automotive batteries market

12 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Johnson Matthey Battery Systems, part of the Johnson Matthey group and formerly known as Axeon, develops and manufactures battery systems for a number of applications, including performance hybrids and PHEVs. In this interview, company executives explain how the business has evolved since acquiring the battery materials business of Clariant and update us on some materials research and market trends.

Strakka Racing on why motorsport has greater relevance outside the car industry

5 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

From technology transfer through to changing perceptions of a brand, motorsport is a powerful tool for OEMs. Yet increasing costs of motorsport coupled with the relevance to today’s younger audience - who appear less passionate about buying cars - are concerns. Dan Walmsley, team principal at Strakka Racing, explains the issues surrounding reliance on motorsport for revenue can cause and the opportunities to broaden its appeal.

ADAS technology partnerships shift up a gear to make autonomous cars a reality

26 Aug 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Mobileye and Delphi stepped forward this week to announce their plans to jointly develop a complete SAE Level 4/5 automated driving solution production ready for 2019. This latest technology partnership is just one of a string of others announced this year alone in the race to offer fully autonomous cars.

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