55 entries categorized "Industry News"

Making Automotive Manufacturing More Efficient with 3D Printing

We talk a lot about fuel efficiency here on PumpTalk. And that's generally in regards to driving (avoiding sudden stops and starts, removing extra weight from the car, etc.) or about car technology - things like using solar reflective paint technology or making car parts from renewable or recyclable materials. But it's not just the driving or the parts that go into cars that can be considered "fuel efficient". Fuel efficiency truly starts at the car manufacturing stage.

Even cars that contain renewable or recycled parts use a lot of energy in the manufacturing phase. In many cases, the emissions from driving the car itself pale in comparison to the emissions that occurred during the manufacturing of the car. This applies to hybrids, fuel powered, even electric cars - the overall lifecycle of a vehicle has a huge environmental impact.

One company, Divergent 3D, hopes to change that. Divergent 3D has created a 3D printed auto manufacturing platform that will allow car manufacturers to reduce their resource use and do more just-in-time manufacturing (two factors that reduce both the cost as well as the environmental impact of vehicle creation) as well as produce vehicles that are lighter, stronger, safer and more durable than traditionally manufactured vehicles.

This video, from Divergent 3D, discusses their manufacturing process using additive manufacturing techniques (more commonly known as 3D printing) and its benefits to the environment.

Divergent 3D has created a concept super-car, the Blade, that is built on their 3D printed chassis. They've also developed the Dagger, which is a concept super-bike. Through their additive manufacturing, Divergent 3D has reduced both the weight of the motorcycle by 20% as well as the number of parts needed for the frame from over 100 to just 5; both factors which have substantially reduced manufacturing impacts. Recently, Divergent 3D CEO, Kevin Czinger, spent time with noted car enthusiast Jay Leno discussing the Dagger, the Blade and the overall positive impact of 3D printing for the automotive industry.

What do you think - are we ready to change how we manufacture cars? Share your thoughts in the comments!

- Rose R.

Lab of Luxury: An SUV Designed with your Pooch in Mind

Nissan Dogue

There were a lot of exciting vehicles revealed at the New York Auto Show earlier this month but the one that really caught my eye wasn’t the crazy fast 840HP Dodge Demon. No, the shiny vehicle that I zeroed in on was a custom-fitted twist on the Nissan Rogue called the Nissan Dogue.

That’s right - it’s an SUV designed specifically with the dog-lover in mind.

The Dogue’s hatchback features spill-proof food and water dishes, a removable dog bed, a ramp to help elderly dogs climb into the vehicle, a dog shower and hair dryer system and a clip to keep Fido from roaming all over the car. If the hatchback isn’t luxurious enough - or if you have multiple pooches who like to stretch out - the Dogue also comes with a padded hammock that clips onto the front and rear headrests. Check out this video highlighting some of the Dogue’s keen features.

I can’t image a dog more spoiled than our canine Effie Trinket the shar pei, with her organic food and buddy walks and her many snoozing nooks - but the Dogue takes dog pampering to the next level. If you love to travel with your pup, a pooch paradise like this would be very tempting. Sure, there’s no room for your luggage but isn’t your dog the most precious cargo anyway?

What do you think? Would you consider buying a dog spa on wheels to cater to your beloved pup? Let us know in the comments!

Monitoring Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Space

Planet Earth, North America

Oil sands mining companies, like our parent company Suncor, annually report the CO2 and methane emissions from their tailings ponds. The current method uses a contraption called a "flux hood" which is floated onto the tailings pond to capture emissions. Operators measure the emissions in that chamber and then estimate the total number of emissions.

This method has a number of issues, including a significant degree of uncertainty in measurement, slow lag time between reporting and subsequent improvements, and even worker safety issues since measurements are conducted directly on the tailings ponds.

However, there may be a better way - one that improves the accuracy of the measurements, reduces reporting lag time, increases worker safety and potentially improves emissions reduction initiatives. A joint industry project with several COSIA (Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance), including Suncor, is testing the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from space using satellite technology.

A Quebec-based company, GHGSat, is working Suncor and our COSIA partners to measure emissions using a satellite named CLAIRE. CLAIRE is carrying a spectrometer which measures the concentration of gases like CO2 and methane. This video (EN only) explains how CLAIRE works.

GHGSat: Claire 640x480 from Stephane Germain on Vimeo.

CLAIRE launched on June 22 of this year and will be in orbit for at least a year. It will pass over Alberta's oil sands mining operations approximately every two weeks; when conditions are clear enough (estimated about 50% of the time), CLAIRE conducts the measurements and transmits the data back to earth for analysis and distribution to oil sands operators.

What do you think? Does this kind of GHG monitoring make sense? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.


How Hackable is Your Car? Here’s a Handy Infographic.

Car computer

Back when our conveyances were horses and buggies, your engine had a mind of its own and ran on oats. The gasoline-powered motorcar put the control squarely in the hands of the driver for nearly a century but as car technology advances and computers play a larger role in the running of your vehicle, there is a mounting concern that your car may once again have a mind of its own – or rather, that its mind might be controlled by someone other than the driver.

The more car systems become connected to the internet, the more opportunities there are for hackers to wreak havoc.

The idea of your car being “hacked” – i.e. someone remotely taking control of your vehicle while you’re driving – hit the mainstream this summer when Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles in order to correct a vulnerability in its new UConnect infotainment system that would have allowed a hacker who knew a specific car’s IP address to remotely control parts of the vehicle, from the environmental controls to cutting the engine.

Check out this video from Wired to see some hackers and a Wired writer demonstrating what they’re able to do to his car with their laptops.

Obviously, not every vehicle faces a huge hacking risk – some cars are more hackable than others – and there are steps you can take to keep your car as secure as possible. This handy infographic from forensic engineering consulting firm PT&C|LWG is a bit of long read, but it really lays out which cars are most vulnerable, how “hacking” works on vehicles and what we as drivers can do to help mitigate the risks. Is your vehicle on the “most hackable” list?

Car hacking infographic

But Still No Flying Car: The Coolest Cars from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Flying Car

I don't know about you, but ever since I saw Back to the Future II, I've been looking forward to 2015 with great anticipation. Hoverboards! Food hydrators! And of course, FLYING CARS.

While some of the movie's predictions, such as video calls, mobile payments and video games where you are the controller have totally come to pass, others have not and my precious dream, the flying car, is among them. And sadly, looking at the line-up at this year's Detroit Auto Show, it's as if car manufacturers aren't even TRYING to make it happen. Disappointing.

That said, there were many sleek and sexy new concept and production cars unveiled at North America's biggest auto show last month and more than a few caught my eye. From hybrids and electric vehicles to insanely flashy sports cars, from giant pick up trucks to tiny speedsters, this year's show had a little something for every auto enthusiast.

This video from AutoGuide highlights some of the top debuts at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show this year. Are any of these vehicles on your wish list?

- Rose R.