Archive for the ‘Delphi’ Category

From Audi to Volvo, most ‘self-driving’ cars use the same hardware

May 26th, 2016

My actual drive from Washington, DC, to Columbus, Ohio, and back took about 12 hours in total, but thanks to the magic that is time-lapse, you can come with me in a mere 90 seconds. Video edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

On Sunday, my colleague Lee Hutchinson regaled you all with a tale of his semi-autonomous driving adventure in one of Tesla’s high-speed electric chariots. But that’s not the only semi-autonomous (Level 2 self-driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) road trip we’ve conducted here at Ars. You can read all about how we got on with Volvo’s latest and greatest XC90 SUVs in a week or so. Plus, there’s the new Audi A4, which in Dynamic mode really puts the mantra of “trust the machine” to the test as it late-brakes for exits at up to 0.5G. And finally, I was also fortunate enough to have put many miles on an Audi A7 TDI, driving from DC to Columbus, Ohio, and back when I went to visit the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3.

Much of the technology that underpins these systems is shared among the industry. A handful of companies like Bosch, Delphi, and Mobileye provide sensors, control units, and even algorithms to car makers, who then integrate and refine those systems.

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48-volt mild hybrids: A possible cure for diesel emissions cheats?

May 24th, 2016

Delphi has been testing its 48V mild hybrid system in this Honda Civic turbodiesel. (credit: Delphi)

It’s clear that we need to make our passenger vehicles a lot more efficient if we want to avoid some of the very worst effects of climate change. And it’s also becoming increasingly clear that diesel—which was once looked at in places like Europe as a panacea for this problem—might not be quite so groovy, what with rampant emissions cheating in the auto industry. Delphi, a major vehicle component supplier, thinks it has a real solution to help us with this, in the form of 48V “mild hybrids.”

Climate change is such a big problem that even Donald Trump (who says he doesn’t believe in it, publicly) is spending money to defend his properties from sea level rise. Although passenger vehicle emissions are only part of the carbon emission problem, in the US, Europe, and China regulators are taking the problem seriously, with increasingly strict fuel efficiency targets for all new cars. Here in the US, car makers have until 2025 to double their average fuel economy to 54.5mpg, but things are even tighter abroad. China has set 2020 for its deadline, by which time manufacturer averages have to be down to 117 grams of CO2 per km driven, and the following year the EU requires fleet averages of just 95g/km. And along with those targets come hefty financial penalties for missing them.

Several years ago, we took a deep dive into some of the technologies that automakers are looking at to get themselves out of this bind. These features included variable valve timing, small capacity turbocharged engines, gasoline and diesel direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and stop-start functions. But all of those features are being widely deployed across new vehicle fleets, and it’s clear that they won’t be enough. Of course, there’s also the wide world of electrification, like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery EVs, but adoption of EVs of all stripes remains insufficient to really move the needle—even accounting for Tesla’s gigantic Model 3 presales. That’s where the 48V mild hybrid comes in.

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Watch out Google: Delphi gives Ars a ride in its self-driving car

March 21st, 2015

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—On Thursday morning I met with Delphi at its Silicon Valley garage. The automotive component maker has been working hard in the high-tech scene, not just developing speakers and interactive navigation products, but also trying to perfect the complex network of sensors and software that will help auto manufacturers offer smarter cars in just a few years.

To demonstrate its progress in the self-driving car scene, Delphi asked Ars to come down and do a ride-along in its tricked out Audi SQ5—which the company will send on the world’s first autonomous-vehicle cross-country road trip next week. The trip is not a stunning announcement, but an indicator of just how far autonomous vehicles have come. Until just a few years ago, self-driving cars were the purview of science fiction. Even just last year, you could probably count the number of people who had been in a self driving car in a short tally, and automakers were heralding stop-and-go cruise control as the cutting edge of technology that would be coming to a wide range of cars in the next few years. Today, the self-driving technology is being fully realized in many labs, not just Google’s, and tomorrow is just over the horizon.

Ars takes a (bumpy) ride in an autonomous vehicle. (video link)

Purple mountains majesty taken by robot auto fleets

When I arrived at the company’s understated Mountain View workshop on Thursday, I was sweating a little bit from the unusually warm day, and I felt wilted from the hour and a half I spent in bumper to bumper traffic to get down there. I was ready to let a robot butler do the driving.

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