Automotive Invests

Reported by Cliff Keys, Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief, Power Systems Design



With the rise in oil prices and the heightened ecological sensitivity in the public domain, driven by the mass media, HEVs and EVs are fast becoming a commercial viability. This is great news for the power industry and great for future generations. Also, with the political uncertainty and volatility of oil production outside of the US, many are concluding that electric power is the way forward for our automobiles. There are of course, challenges. Many of them you can read on this website, aimed at giving you solutions. The visionaries are talking about infrastructure for widespread charging while power engineers working out how to design the new vehicles with all its drive, control and power issues presented by the battery management, lighting and electronic control for all the electronics. Quite a challenge, especially given the limited range - but it will get there in the end, power engineers will fix it. But what a wonderful project for any power engineer; working on a vehicle that is clean, in terms of emissions, with the new LED lighting systems and a new control system. This is a project with a wonderful legacy for mankind. I just hope they can build them cheap enough. It's no wonder that Fairchild have decided to build a R&D centre in Southern Germany, right where the big automotive firms are. After making major inroads into the desktop market, quad-core PC microprocessors now are set to conquer the notebook segment with about half of the mobile computers shipped in 2015 expected to employ these advanced chips according to IHS. The recently introduced graphics-enabled microprocessor places the graphics processor on the processor die. These microprocessors will be found in excess of 90% of notebooks sold in 2015 delivering improved power management of the on-chip graphics unit, although in terms of graphics performance, are not able to outperform discrete graphics cards. Again, power is the key. Audi has demonstrated a device along with Qualcomm and Peiker that allowed for the wireless charging of smart phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other devices. The wireless charging solution would be sold as an accessory by Audi. Meanwhile, at Volkswagen's new Electronics Research Laboratory in Silicon Valley, research is being conducted on a centre console that can wirelessly charge smart phones, similar to the power mats now on the market for home use. The project, in development with Qualcomm, reportedly could use magnetic near-field resonance to power rear-seat entertainment or ambient lighting systems as well. I do hope you enjoy the magazine, please keep the feedback coming, and do check out Dilbert at the back of the magazine. All the best Cliff Editorial Director & Editor-in-Chief Power Systems Design