Detroit--Here's another nifty electronics-based safety
technology shown last week at Ford's "Cleaner, Safer, Sooner" event. Based on
sensitive geophone technology developed by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, Ford's SecureCar system detects the heartbeat of any person
or pet left in a car after it is locked.
According to Sam Ebenstein, staff technical specialist at the Ford
Research Laboratory, two moving-coil/magnet micro-accelerometers pick up
vibration signals. These are then filtered and an algorithm looks for a
heartbeat pattern. Thus vibrations such as from traffic, construction, or wind
are eliminated. The system is sensitive enough, he notes, as to have detected
the presence of someone leaning on the car or a person in a heavy vehicle such
as a truck or fire engine fully tanked with water.
In operation, the system would be activated when the driver locks
the car. After a few seconds, the system determines if someone has been left in
the vehicle. If a heartbeat is detected, the alarm could be sounded or the key
fob vibrated (the exact final operation mode is still to be determined). If no
person or pet is detected, the system shuts down to preclude an alarm from
someone leaning on the car. Upon returning to the vehicle, when the driver
remotely activates the unlocking system, heartbeat-detection is again done to
search for a possible intruder lurking in the car. If a presence is detected,
the driver would receive a silent indication not to proceed to the vehicle.
Ebenstein says the Ford engineers are determining the best sensor
to stand up to the automotive environment (including pulses to 40g), where best
to place the sensors on the vehicle frame, and how to minimize false alerts.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
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.