Innovation Pays

By T Murrali

The term ‘innovation’ began to gain currency as a concept associated with science and industry in the nineteenth century and it was perhaps the harbinger of Industrial Revolution. Subsequently a host of factors helped `innovation’ to evolve into a culture, at least in countries where the governments built labs for research and development. Innovation began in Universities and gradually spread to manufacturing companies in every industrial sector.
Recently IBM and Keio University announced the first clients to join as members of the IBM Q Hub at Keio University. The Faculty of Science and Technology at Keio University hosts one of the six global IBM Q Hubs: IBM Research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Oxford, the University of Melbourne, and North Carolina State University. The IBM Q Network facilitates cooperation among hubs, strengthens collaborations with IBM scientists and engineers, and accelerates a global effort specialising in the development of practical quantum applications.
The research is expected to explore quantum computing, to meet the future needs of their respective industries. This is because the growth of quantum computing promises technological advancements beyond anything the classical computers could ever achieve.
A few months ago, Daimler announced a deal with Google to research the application of quantum computers on the future of mobility. The deal allows for the collaboration to research data relating to automotive applications. While the partnership is just scratching the surface, the vehicle manufacturer has a few ideas of what it may be able to uncover. It is said that new battery cells could be developed from the selection of new materials based on quantum chemistry. Autonomous vehicles could be deployed in urban environments and made to interact with the existing transportation infrastructure in the most efficient manner. Deep learning could also lead to the advancement of artificial intelligence for vehicle technology.

Honda Odyssey

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), awarded the Automotive Excellence Award to Honda Motor Company for its advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) innovations in the 2018 Honda Odyssey. Individuals or teams from automakers, suppliers or the academic community who embrace innovation and make significant contributions to the advancement of steel in the automotive market are awarded for their innovation. The vehicle maker designed an all-new chassis for the 2018 Odyssey, based on the platform used in light duty trucks to maximise manoeuvrability and steering ease. They employed the Next-Gen Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure in combination with tailor-welded hot-stamped door rings and a new multi-connection bumper beam to enhance occupant protection. The vehicle has 58 percent high-strength steel leading to high rigidity and a lightweight body.

New Energy Vehicles

The growing use of lightweight materials for the new energy vehicles is driving demand for aluminium alloy in China and around the world. At the Auto China Show held during the last week of April in Beijing, leading brands showcased 174 new energy models. It is predicted that by 2020, the number of new energy vehicles in China will reach two million. This rapid growth in both production and sales is underpinned by government policies and high market demand.
Since lightweight design, together with electrical drive engineering and smart technologies, will define the new energy auto industry in the next ten years, China has been drawing up big plans. Already more than 30 new energy auto-related policies were announced in China in 2017. In addition, China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ strategy puts new energy vehicles at the centre of its vision of the future, committing to, ‘support electric and fuel cell automobile development; encourage low carbon emission technologies and smart auto technologies.’
As part of the initiative, there is going to be an event Aluminium China 2018 in Shanghai during July 11-13,2018. It will offer a major international platform for the growing range of new lightweight materials and production solutions. The event will highlight the vital role of aluminium in the future of the new energy automotive industry.

Clean Energy

Yet another trailblazing trend is in Mercedes-Benz Cars, which is paving the way for green production at its plants. It has decided to shift its focus to CO2-neutral energy. Accordingly, the company recently stated that from 2022, its production plants in Germany will be CO2-neutral, by using only electricity from renewable sources. The aim is to have an entirely sustainable value chain. This includes optimised resource consumption through the most efficient use of energy and heat.
See you next month with more Trailblazing Trends …..

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