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automotive electronics their performance is declining significantly. “The reason for the excessive ageing effect lies in the micro structure of the electrodes, which is not yet optimal”, says Dr. Martin Bram from the Jülich Institute for Energy and Climate Research. “Other factors are the interplay of the electrode material with impurities of the process gases as well as inter-diffusion and oxidation process at the boundary surfaces.” In the Christian Doppler lab (CD Lab), the scientists will explore these mechanisms in detail and develop solutions that at the institute is already a success story, it currently is passing a long-term test run with already more than 60.000 operating hours. The new variant, the Metal Supported Cell (MSCSOFC) C M hybrid vehicle functionality. The research is conducted at the new Christian Doppler Lab Y in the Jülich research centre. And this is the other innovation in this story: Those who are familiar with the CD Lab network know that this is an Austrian institution, with their applicationoriented to be developed is not even required to CM MY research approach to some extend comparable to Germany’s CY Fraunhofer institutes. The CD Lab in Jülich, inaugurated CMY these days, is the only the second one established at a German research institute. K Fuel cells in trucks: silent power instead of idling motors By Christoph Hammerschmidt Researchers of the Jülich research centre are developing a new type of fuel cells. Running on diesel fuel, it will be robust enough to serve as auxiliary power supply in large trucks. The research also represents a new type of collaboration between German and Austrian entities. With a power consumption of several kilowatts, large trucks consume as much electric energy as a multi-flat house. To supply HVAC, refrigeration plant, auxiliary heating or the driver’s coffee machine the vehicles often let their engines idle on motorway stations or overnight. Electric generators based on fuel cell, so called Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) could help saving energy and avoid noise and harmful exhaust fumes. High-temperature fuel cells with solid electrolyte (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell or SOFC) could be commercially interesting, since they do not need platinum. By means of a reformer interposed between fuel tank and fuel cell, SOFCs can turn usual diesel fuel into electricity. Full-ceramics cell types are already quite mature, but they suffer from a critical drawback - their brittleness prevents their usage vehicles; they simply do not survive vibrations and shocks in their location in the vehicle floor for a very long time. Metal-based versions as devised by scientists from the Jülich research centre along with Austrian companies AVL List GmbH, Plansee SE and the Vienna technical university perform much better; in addition they offer the perspective to lower production cost. Currently these cells however have another weakness: Already after several hundred hours of operation, prevent premature ageing. The anode-based high-temperature Solid Oxid Fuel Cell developed run that long - about 12.000 operating hours would be sufficient. In the long run, these fuel cells could also serve as APU during driving - they could provide additional electricity for Driver assistance becomes predictive By Christoph Hammerschmidt A 360 degree surround sensing system today creates a virtual image of a car’s environment, enabling the electronic systems to keep the vehicle in the selected lane and to hit the brake if an obstacle emerges. Now Honda has added a predictive element - their Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) system can tell if a fellow car driver has the intention to cut in. Has Honda the proverbial crystal ball? No - the i-ACC uses camera and radar to sense the position of other vehicles on the road. The system runs an algorithm that can determine the likelihood of vehicles in adjacent lanes cutting-in. For this purpose it evaluates the relation between the vehicles in the surroundings and how they change. According to Honda, the predictable time horizon is about 2 seconds. And of course the outcome of the computation is not a 100% sure prediction, it is more like a guess, albeit a rather good one. The system has been devised by European and Japanese developers and is based on real-world research of typical European driving styles. It will make its debut this year on the new European CR-V, building upon the traditional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system. Traditional ACC systems keep a preselected longitudinal velocity, which is only reduced for maintaining a safe distance to a car in front. However, if a vehicle cuts in from a neighbouring lane, the traditional ACC system reacts later thus requiring stronger braking. The new i-ACC system is able to compute the likelihood of a cut-in before it occurs, and is therefore designed to react more smoothly so as not to startle the driver, who might not yet be aware of the imminent cut-in. In this case the system applies just a mild brake initially, with an icon appearing on the driver display, informing the driver why a slow-down occurs. It then proceeds to apply a stronger brake to adapt the velocity to keep a safe distance. i-ACC recognises the side of the road one is driving on whether in the UK or on the continent and automatically detects which neighbouring vehicle is the most critical to be aware of at any given moment. 20 Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE FEB 2015
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