Credit is due to former-Intel chairman, Andrew Grove, who, according to the Wall Street Journal, is pushing Intel Corp. to diversify itself and become a manufacturer of batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Grove’s idea isn’t just smart, it’s in the best interest of the country. Many in the auto industry are currently worried that by breaking our oil dependency and moving toward electric cars, the U.S. may be exchanging one imported dependency for another. The reason: Japanese and Chinese companies appear to be positioning themselves to dominate the emerging EV battery market.
The only downside to Grove’s idea is the difficulty of the task. Scores of companies have tried and failed over the past 80 years. MIT-based battery expert Donald Sadoway has described EV battery design as “the scientific equivalent of quicksand, deceptively simple, yet enormously complex.” Still, Grove’s idea is apparently to target the plug-in hybrid market, rather than the pure EV market, which makes the task decidedly easier.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.