Who gets protected by automated vehicles - the driver or pedestrians

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Driverless cars pose a quandary when it comes to safety. These autonomous vehicles are programmed with a set of safety rules, and it is not hard to construct a scenario in which those rules come into conflict with each other. Suppose a driverless car must either hit a pedestrian or swerve in such a way that it crashes and harms its passengers. What should it be instructed to do?

A newly published study co-authored by an MIT professor shows that the public is conflicted over such scenarios, taking a notably inconsistent approach to the safety of autonomous vehicles, should they become a reality on the roads.

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June 24, 2016 · Hans Kuipers

Fungus-inspired improvements in battery performance

Carbon fibers derived from a sustainable source, a type of wild mushroom, and modified with nanoparticles have been shown to outperform conventional graphite electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers at Purdue University have created electrodes from a species of wild fungus called Tyromyces fissilis.

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June 24, 2016 · Hans Kuipers

Truck turns its own waste heat into power

A 195-year-old discovery is behind a new system that will save vehicles hundreds of liters of fuel and reduce their carbon emissions by as much as 1,000 tons per year.

Working with automotive manufacturer Scania, researchers from Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology have been testing semi trucks equipped with a system that converts exhaust heat into power – through a process called thermoelectric generation (TEG). The voltage produced by the system can power the truck and reduce the strain on the engine, explains researcher Arash Risseh.

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Technique improves efficacy of fuel cells

Fuel cells, which generate electricity from chemical reactions without harmful emissions, have the potential to power everything from cars to portable electronics, and could be cleaner and more efficient than combustion engines.

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May 25, 2016 · Hans Kuipers

New technique controls autonomous vehicles on a dirt track

Researchers have a created racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars that runs at the equivalent of 90 mph. The technique uses advanced algorithms to keep the driverless vehicle under control at the edge of its handling limits.

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