Posts Tagged ‘automative’

Build your own electric car with the Trexa platform

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010


How about a DIY electric car, with one of these Trexa EV platforms and start build your own electric car! Trexa is gunning to be the first electric vehicle devlopment platform, with a battery, driveline and power electronics built-in.

The Trexa platform offers an unprecedented level of versatility because it contains an entire vehicle’s drivetrain within one low-profile enclosed structure. The platform is highly scalable, so features such as range, suspension, torque, acceleration, and top speed can all be tailored to suit the vehicle’s intended purpose. For starters, the standard platform has an acceleration of 0-60mph in 8 sec, a top speed of 100mph, a 105 mile range, and a charge time of 4 hours (based upon an efficiency of 200Wh per mile — comparable to a Prius in electric mode).

You just add the passenger compartment on top. Want a pickup truck or a hot rod? The choice is yours, provided you’ve got the chops to put it together.

Source: Trexa via Inhabitat

Cell phone based car starter, another take

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010


Dave Had been working on a cell phone activated remote start for his car for a while when we posted the GSM car starter. While both do carry out the same job, we feel that there is enough good information here to share. He’s gone a pretty simple way, by connecting the vibrator motor leads to a headphone jack. He’s using that signal to then activate the remote start by setting off an extra fob. Though it is amazingly simple, this version does have an advantage. As he points out, his cell phone has several features which could be utilized to automate some of his car starts. He can set alarms as well as recurring calendar events to get his car started without his interaction. Lets just hope he doesn’t forget and let his car run too long unattended, especially if it is in a garage attached to his house.

Source: Dave Hacks

GSM Car Starter

Saturday, January 16th, 2010


It’s just starting to warm up around here but it was very cold for a long time. We’re not fond of going anywhere when it’s way below freezing but those professional hermit opportunities never panned out so we’re stuck freezing our butts off. Fed up with his frigid auto, [Aaron] installed a remote starter to warm the car up before he got to it. This didn’t help at work because of the distance from his office to the sizable parking lot is too far for the key fob’s signal to carry. He decided to make his starter work with GSM so he could start the car with a phone call.

The first attempt involved a pre-paid cell phone for $30. The problem is that anyone who called the phone would end up starting the car. After a bit of looking he found a GSM switch that just needs an activated SIM to work. When called, it reads the incoming phone number for authentication but never picks up the phone so there’s no minutes used. He cracked open an extra key-fob and wired up the lock and start buttons to the relays in the GSM switch. Bam! A phone call starts (and locks) his car.

Maybe this isn’t as hardcore as body implants but it’s a fairly clean solution. He uses the car’s 12v system to power the switch and pays $10 every three months to keep the SIM card active. There’s an underwhelming demonstration video after the break showing a cellphone call and a car starting.

Courtesy of Hack A Day

AIDA the dashboard bot

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

In an attempt to create more interaction with our vehicles, researchers have created AIDA. AIDA is basically a car computer and GPS that has some well designed personification. That cute little face will learn your daily habits and schedules and make recommendations to keep you out of traffic. We really like the idea, and the little bit we see of AIDA already has us falling in love, but won’t the placement be a distraction? We already know some people who give their car a name and treat it like a person, we don’t want to imagine what would happen if their car actually had some interactive personality. AIDA’s motion and emotive display are worthy of the crabfu challenge for sure, but do we want AIDA on our dashboard? Yes, most emphatically. She can sit right by the little hula girl.


Brake assist with GPS data for new Nissan Fuga

Saturday, August 15th, 2009


Nissan has announced a new driving aid system called the Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal which basically uses data from the car’s satellite navigation system to help smoothen the drive when it comes to a curving road.

How many times have you approached a bend and then suddenly realised you’ve gone in too fast? Can you see ahead past a blind corner in a bend? Some bends can sharpen mid-way… and then you panic and have to deal with understeer or worse! If the system detects that you are about to do this, it sounds an audible warning.

If you persist, the system moves the accelerator pedal upwards to assist the driver to release it. Once the foot is lifted off, the system will smoothly reduce vehicle speed by braking. The system will debut on the new Nissan Fuga when it is unveiled in fall 2009. As it currently is, the Fuga is the Japanese name for the Infiniti M.

A similiar system was introduced earlier this year on the Toyota Crown Majesta, though it doesn’t work exactly the same. The Toyota system uses gear changes and engine braking to help slow the car down in anticipation of a corner (the car is aware of this via the in-car GPS system too) or a toll booth.

In addition to that, the Toyota system will activate a brake-assist function if it thinks the driver is too late in decelerating when approaching a stop sign or a junction.

RFID to test Indian driving skills

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

The Regional Transport Authority of Hyderabad, India, has announced plans to monitor its driving test tracks with an RFID-enabled system designed to automate testing for driver licenses.

The new system will be tested in a pilot program at one of the RTA’s three test tracks. The Nagole track will be equipped with a set of RFID readers buried 15 inches beneath the road surface. Applicants for licenses will drive vehicles outfitted with antennas, and the system will track variations in movement, speed limit and wrong turns within parameters preset by the RTA. Test scores, and the prospective driver’s ability, will be judged in a graph format.

The system takes human judgment out of the test administering, after accusations had been made that driving school agents and motor vehicle inspectors were manipulating test results. As additional insurance, thumb impressions would be recorded on the driving license to avoid manipulations

“No discretion is given to a motor vehicle inspector or others,” transport commissioner Raymond Peter said. “Once we see how it works, we will computerize the rest of the tracks. The system will be in place after the monsoon.”

Source: RFID News

Scientists turn car exhaust into electricity, twice as efficiently

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Scientists from Ohio State University have created a new material called thallium-doped lead telluride, which has been designed to convert car engine exhaust heat into electricity.

exaust.jpgThe research team led by Joseph Heremans said the material could also be used to help power generators and heat pumps. The new material is reportedly able to convert the wasted heat into energy without causing pollution, and do so more efficiently than was previously possible.

“The material does all the work. It produces electrical power just like conventional heat engines — steam engines, gas or diesel engines — that are coupled to electrical generators, but it uses electrons as the working fluids instead of water or gases, and makes electricity directly,” Heremans said in a statement on the OSU web site.

Its expected operating environment, between 450° and 950° Fahrenheit, is the normal range of car engines. Just 25 percent of the energy from a gasoline car engine is used to actually move the car, so the discrepancy between necessary energy and wasted energy is substantial.

Published studies previously indicated as much as 60 percent of energy loss in a gasoline engine is because of waste heat that is not disposed of properly.

Although thermoelectric materials used to generate power aren’t revolutionary, the OSU research team has made several small adjustments to make its material more efficient. They were able to double the efficiency rating from 0.71 up to 1.5.

An alloy called sodium-doped lead telluride previously was the most efficient material, which had the 0.71 rating.

The discovery by Heremans at OSU is the latest in a string of events that started after years of research by other universities. Michigan State University researchers who published a quantum mechanics report on thallium and tellurium in 2006 helped OSU better understand what they were dealing with beforehand.

Furthermore, OSU was helped in testing the material from Osaka University and the California Institute of Technology.

Moving forward with their research, Heremans and his team hope to further increase the efficiency rating of the new material.

Source: Beta News