Once considered a pipe dream for radical environmentalists, the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) has gained respect in the U.S. Recent support is coming from Southern California Edison of Rosemead, CA, and San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric. The California electricity producers have joined the newly-launched Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium. Consortium officials note that the recent addition of utility members is significant because PHEVs will rely on the electrical grid to charge their on-board batteries. Once charged, these hybrids will drive their first 25 to 50 miles on electricity alone.
PHEVs rely more on battery power than conventional hybrids that have little-to-no all-electrical range. The consortium is made up of automotive manufacturers, suppliers and other organizations working to accelerate the commercial production of PHEVs. The consortium was organized to help reduce the R&D gap between component suppliers and OEMs, and coordinate the development of new solutions. Members of the consortium plan to develop compatible components and cost-effective working designs that would enable a PHEV to achieve a gasoline fuel economy of 100 to 200 miles per gallon.
Besides California electricity suppliers, the consortium has also attracted global members from the auto industry. Members include San Diego-based energy and power developer Maxwell Technologies Inc., as well as a number of Asian battery developers, including Japan's Enax and Daiken and China-based Thunder Sky.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.