The highly touted government-industry program to design a "supercar" may be concentrating on something few drivers will be able to afford or even want. So warns a committee of the National Research Council in its latest annual review of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). Last year PNGV officials picked their best candidate for an affordable, mid-size vehicle that can get up to 80 mpg, yet meet prevailing emission standards. Their selection for a concept vehicle to be built in the year 2000 is an electric car that also has a small diesel engine. The committee's report, however, doubts that the proposed design will meet either the affordability or the emissions goal. It suggests lowering the target to 60 mpg. Hybrid-electric vehicles, it adds, would require complex and costly battery, power-conversion, and electronic-control systems. The panel further notes that nearly half the sales in the U.S. automotive market today is in sport utility vehicles, minivans, and light trucks. It proposes that PNGV also evaluate these vehicles.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
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.