The first thing John Dodge asked me when I got behind the wheel of the Equinox was what I noticed as different – and the first thing that came to mind was “nothing.” Sure, the technology and resources powering the vehicle are revolutionary and the environmental benefits astounding – but driving with the mindset of an everyday citizen, traveling to work or a kid’s soccer game, wasn’t a hard thing to do.
For fuel cell technology to take off in the automotive market, the vehicle will need to be adopted as mainstream. GM’s choice of using the established Equinox SUV as its fuel cell candidate was a good one. When deciding whether to purchase an FCV, people will look not only at the environmental or monetary values, but also at the practicality of the vehicle. For some, there still needs to be space for sports equipment and camping gear. For others who want less space, if the technology exists in an SUV it can surely be tweaked for a smaller vehicle. And the transition from gasoline to hydrogen needs to be as seamless as possible.
And that it is. Remarkable pickup was something I noticed right away – and the regenerative braking system does offer a slightly different sensation. But otherwise, there was no outstanding tangible feature that constantly reminded me I was driving an FCV. And where mainstream adoption is concerned, I think that’s a great thing.
The refueling process is also essentially the same – take off the cap, lift the nozzle and fill ‘er up. One thing John and I both noticed while test-driving the FC Equinox was how we felt whizzing by a gas station, with prices above $4, in our hydrogen-powered chariot.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
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.