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automotive No-lag turbo, virtual car key: Valeo drives automotive industry By Christoph Hammerschmidt French automotive suplier Valeo S.A. is rather seldom searching for the glare of publicity. Recently however it stepped into the limelight by introducing its developments and R&D activities to the press at the Hockenheim racetrack. And voilà, the tier one from Paris proved to be at eye level with the premier league of automotive electrics and electronics, and to be a serious contender to the likes of Bosch, ZF and Continental. With sales of more than 12 billion euros (2013) and almost 80.000 employees in 29 countries, Valeo is truly a global player. The company’s 51 R&D centres share out an R&D budget of €1.1 billion. Driven by strong demand in all automotive electronics segments from connectivity to powertrain and lighting, the company experiences strong growth; by 2020 it expects sales of € 20 billion, explained Alexander Ziems, Group President Germany, at the event. The tier one is committed to developing technologies that deal with reducing CO2 emissions by improving fuel efficiency. Other strategic fields of activity are the connected car as well as driver assistance systems and HMI. At the event, the company showcased a number of design and studies at all stages of development, from technology study to near-series maturity. Here are three examples I found particularly striking: InBlue: This virtual car key is a technology that facilitates car sharing, be in a business context or among friends or in the family. The system turns the smartphone into the car key, enabling car owners to share and distribute a virtual vehicle key to family members, friends, or business partners by means of a smartphone app which interacts with a backend software operated by the OEM or a service provider. InBlue also allows the owner to manage the virtual keys including defining limitations in terms of time, and to revoke the permission. The receiving persons cannot pass on their virtual key - they just get a digital token that is valid only in connection with their smartphone. “This system is already reality, it will enter series production at a major OEM in 2016”, explained Valeo R&D Vice President Jean-Francois Tarrabia. The system connects to the vehicle via a Bluetooth link and anticipates that the vehicle is equipped with a keyless entry system. Electric supercharger: in contrast to conventional turbochargers driven by the engine’s exhaust gases, Valeo’s supercharger is driven electrically, allowing car designers not only to avoid the infamous turbo lag, but also to completely change the torque characteristics of the motor. This property can be used to add extra horsepower to the engine - but also to reduce fuel consumption. At the media day, Valeo illustrated the spectrum of the options by demonstrating two vehicles that could not be more different. One was an Alfa Romeo sports vehicle, the other one the Duster SUV from low-cost vendor Dacia. In Instant horsepower, no turbo lag: the the Alfa Romeo, electric supercharger. the electric supercharger provided 70 additional horsepowers to the already vivacious standard version with 280 hp. In the Duster, the supercharger moved the torque characteristic of the gasoline engine, enabling designers to equip it with a “longer” transmission originally developed for a diesel engine, resulting in about 7 to 10 % lower fuel consumption without compromising the (albeit humble) temperament of the original vehicle. The supercharger by itself exhibits stunning technical data: Once activated, it reaches full speed of 70.000 rpm within 250 milliseconds. During this period, it however loads the supply with a whopping 2 kW. The charger can be modified according to customer requirements - be it for a 48V supply, or for a different power characteristic. In such a version, the supercharger is integrated in Audi’s V6 Biturbo engine developed for the RS5 TDI Concept. Lidar sensor: Valeo has developed a lidar sensor that offers an aperture angle of 140°, enabling it to use in automated driving schemes like a “parking lot assistant” that autonomously drives the vehicle to a parking lot. As to the price of the sensor, Valeo was not overly talkative, just saying that it will be “much Valeo’s Lidar sensor offers high resolution in a compact form factor. Who gets the car today? InBlue manages vehicle usage rights by an app. 16 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE DEC 2014
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