Good point, MyDesign. I can see that hybrids will continue to improve and continue to come down in price. They will come down in price partly because of increased volume over the next decade and because of competition. I can't see this path for EVs.
Engineers from both Ford and GM have told me they expect the cost of lithium-ion battery packs to dip to $250/kWh some time after 2020. If that's so, it would probably cut about $8,000 out of the price of a Volt battery. That would be a huge boost for the Volt and for every plug-in hybrid, especially those with larger batteries.
Cost is a major factor, ChasChas. Automakers are expecting a lot out of their customers. They're expecting customers to buy a car with limited performance and high costs. And as Chuck mentioned, these cars may have low resale value if they need a new battery.
Good points, jhankwitz. It's not just the automakers investing in the EV/hybrid technology. It's the tier 1 suppliers as well. Some companies such as Lear are engineering the entire drive train for their customers.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
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.