The Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) receives one of the biggest percentage increases (22%) in the Clinton budget. A total of $277 million in federal funds is proposed for the program to develop the so-called Supercar--a vehicle with very low emissions and up to three times the fuel efficiency of today's cars. The fattest chunk of the federal budget for PNGV, $164 million, goes to the Department of Energy. The government and the Big Three automakers share PNGV costs. A breakdown of the Administration's budget for PNGV reflects a recent decision to concentrate R&D on four key systems: hybrid electric vehicle drives, direct injection engines, fuel cells, and lightweight materials. On the other hand, funding falls for projects now considered less promising--gas turbines and ultracapacitors. The budget also retracts from further federal research into areas that appear to have commercial applications and have reached a proprietary point.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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