Mercedes is augmenting its hybrid vehicle offerings with an S Class luxury car that will be a highlight of its 2009 line. The S Class 400 hybrid will use electric motors and a battery pack to augment its 3.5l, six-cylinder engine. That battery pack will be supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft, a joint agreement between the suppliers of automotive components and batteries, respectively. The battery supplier will also provide the control system that makes sure its lithium-ion batteries operate safely over a long lifetime. Initial performance specifications for the 400 claim mileage in excess of 40 mpg, a high level for a luxury vehicle.
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.