I was out walking the dog the other morning when I saw a car get T-boned at an intersection near my house. The driver was turning left as the light turned yellow and a driver coming from the other direction decided he would hit the gas to try to make the light. The result was a resounding crunch. Both drivers walked away unharmed but the left-turning driver’s car was totaled.
One of the most frustrating things about turning left at an intersection is not knowing if an oncoming car is going to slow down as the light turns yellow or if it’s just going to roar on through. Since front brake light technology doesn’t seem to have taken off, all you can really do is use your best judgment to make the turn safely. Wouldn’t it be great if your car could communicate with the oncoming car and see if it is actually slowing down?
That’s where vehicle to vehicle communications technology (V2V) comes in. V2V allows your car to communicate with the other cars around you, within a certain range, to allow you to take preventative action where necessary. V2V uses a WiFi-like technology called DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication), which allows cars to communicate directly with each other in real time.
With V2V, your left-turning car would be able to detect that an oncoming vehicle wasn’t slowing down, allowing you to brake. If a car three cars ahead of you on the highway suddenly brakes, your car will know about it before you even see it. If a vehicle with V2V ahead of you slips on wet pavement or ice , V2V can warn you about slippery road conditions ahead, so that you can slow down.
Check out this US Department of Transportation video for more about how V2V will work:
Obviously, V2V works best when all cars are equipped with the technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that collisions could be reduced by up to 80% once the technology is integrated into all cars and light duty trucks. In the US, a regulation has been proposed that would make V2V systems mandatory in all new vehicles as early as 2023 and if that regulation passes, it’s a good bet that Canada will follow suit.
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!
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!
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.
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!