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 tomorrow’s car could take care of your mind, body and soul

12 May 2020 | Matthew Beecham

The importance of health and wellness has come into sharp focus in recent months. Consumer technologies such as fitness trackers have been popular for some time, monitoring our heart rates, performance and sleep, but how might the renewed focus on wellness translate to the automotive space? To understand the current technology and what we might expect in years to come, we speak with Tim VanGoethem, vice president of advanced mobility solutions at Harman X, Harman’s division focused on innovation and future-facing technologies.

Interior design and technology – Vauxhall Astra

12 May 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Built on a PSA platform, the face-lifted seventh-generation Vauxhall Astra is one of Britain’s top-selling cars. Astra is a household name with over three million sold in the UK over the last four decades. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this ever-popular hatchback to see what’s new.

Using driving simulators to navigate the ‘new normal’

28 Apr 2020 | Matthew Beecham

As COVID-19 continues to impact the global automotive industry, OEMs and Tier Ones are looking at how to minimise cost, catch up lost lead time and ultimately, create new products that will stimulate demand to buy again. Ansible Motion, manufacturers of driving simulators, explains the role simulators can play for an industry looking to catch up where it can. Matthew Beecham spoke to founder Kia Cammaerts about the possibility of a new ‘Machine Age’.

Innovative interiors de rigueur for Citroen

7 Apr 2020 | Matthew Beecham

In today’s car interior, space in front of the wheel remains a priority with the explosion of added content and features. In tomorrow’s car, the space behind the wheel of the self-driving car will be transformed into a comfortably designed control and entertainment centre. To learn more, we talked with Jean-Arthur Madelaine Advenier, head of interior design for Citroen. Minimalistic, colourful interiors using organic materials and 3D printing to personalise and customise is the order of the day.

Nio confident on prospects despite COVID-19 crisis

26 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

It’s clear that the impact of COVID-19 on China was significant and dramatic in the first few months of 2020. Factories closed, workers unable to leave their homes and a depressed automotive sales market. Despite the setbacks, Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio has looked to the positives and adopted new ways that have seen it sustain order levels to those before the crisis hit. Matthew Beecham spoke to Nio’s VP for Europe Hui Zhang about the measures it took and what the future holds for the brand.

Interview with Mercedes-Benz interior design director

23 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Mercedes-Benz interior designers break new ground with every model. To learn how they achieve it and what inspires them, we caught up with Hartmut Sinkwitz, head of Mercedes-Benz interior design. We also discussed the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Expect them to push the design envelope further with ambient lighting effects and touch functionalities.

Interior design and technology – Volvo XC90

23 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Launched in 2015 – and subtly refreshed last year - the second-generation Volvo XC90 comes teeming with semi-autonomous and connected car features. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this family all-rounder SUV.

Yanfeng is on a mission to wipe out COVID-19 germs in the car

17 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Given the accent on tomorrow’s car interior is becoming more about occupant comfort and health, how will that affect the interior? Maintaining a social distance, we put this question to Han Hendriks, Chief Technology Officer at Yanfeng Technology. The coronavirus epidemic highlights just how important vehicle hygiene is for the entire mobility industry. The supplier has developed an antimicrobial device that can be integrated into the headliner console and uses UV light to disinfect the air and surfaces in the vehicle interior. Other discussion topics put under the microscope include smart interior surfaces and Yanfeng’s Experience in Motion 2020 (XiM20) concept vehicle.

Ford puts a Spin on the micromobility market

9 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Spin, the micromobility unit of Ford Motor, is expanding its footprint from 70 markets in the US to cities in Europe. The company will launch its first international fleet of dockless electric scooters in Cologne, Germany this spring. It is also applying for the upcoming Paris e-scooter share permit and exploring opportunities in the UK. To learn more about Spin’s roll out plans for Europe, we talked with its co-founder and president Euwyn Poon.

The weight is over – Revival of aluminium matrix composites

4 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Lightweighting remains the holy grail of the automotive industry. Legacy materials such as high strength steels, aluminium alloys and carbon fibre all have their limitations and despite the promises made of hybrid composite metals, they haven’t yet managed to break into the mainstream. But perhaps that is all about to change. Recent breakthroughs in aluminium matrix composites (AMCs), coupled with a real push from the industry to reduce weight, especially in electric vehicles, could see the potential for this family of materials to finally be relevant and crucially, viable for automotive uses. That’s according to Richard Thompson, commercial director at AMC manufacturer, Alvant, who claims AMCs could hold particular relevance to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers.

A new approach to accelerating powertrain development

4 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

The UK Government and The University of Bath are making a GBP70m investment in new ways of teaching and collaborating to accelerate powertrain innovation. To learn more, we talked to Professor Chris Brace, academic director of the new institute.

Sustainable composites for the auto industry

4 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Prodrive has developed a process that enables the manufacture of recyclable composites with the potential to fulfil three or more useful lifetimes. To learn more, we spoke to John McQuilliam FIMMM, Director of Engineering at Prodrive Composites and board member of the British Composites Society.

Using a common language to develop AVs

4 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Despite some bold predictions for autonomous vehicles (AVs) of late, enthusiasm for further development has stalled. Foretellix, an Israeli based start-up, believes that verifying the safety of an AV through a miles-driven approach is time-consuming and costly. Their focus is on the quality of coverage and offer a new language for AV developers to sustain development. To learn more, we spoke to CEO and co-founder Ziv Binyamini.

Ricardo launches on-demand consulting expertise

4 Mar 2020 | Matthew Beecham

Ricardo has launched a concept that aims to break down the barriers in the conventional model of consulting, providing customers with access to a global pool of experts that would be beyond the capability of the largest consulting firms. A bold claim. To learn more, we spoke to Sam Hassall, business unit leader of Recardo’s TRNTY (pronounced ‘trinity’).

Interior design and technology – Vauxhall Insignia GSi

24 Feb 2020 | Matthew Beecham

After 25 years, Vauxhall brought back the GSi badge when it launched a high performance version of its sporty mainstream Insignia model. Exterior design updates include chrome air intakes at the front and a rear spoiler for improved levels of downforce, while on the inside, full-leather sports seats, steering wheel and aluminium pedals complete the look. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look at how the automaker has created something special from a standard package.

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