DetroitóKeeping passengers cool in the 2001 PT Cruiser was a design challenge involving efficiency. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine taking up only 148.2 inch3 total volume necessitated designing a special air conditioning accumulator that would fit into a confined area.
The accumulator from Parker Hannifin Corp. (Lyon, NY) uses a patented helix design that improves oil circulation. "The helix design provides a swirling and stirring motion that helps keep the oil and refrigerant mixture consistent," says Cary Horamoto, engineering manager of Parker Hannifin's refrigeration and air conditioning division. Keeping the mixture consistent reduces the amount of oil needed for charging the system, creating a cost savings for DaimlerChrysler.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
With support from National Instruments, a group of dedicated students from Connally High School in Austin, where more than 50% of the students are at risk of not graduating, have created a successful robotics team that is competing in the FIRST World Championships.
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