LEXUS SUSPENSION INNOVATIONS

Throughout the six generations of success, the Lexus ES has been famous for its smooth, quiet and refined ride. Now this signature quality has been taken to an even higher level in the all-new 7th generation of the luxury sedan thanks to a detailed and innovative approach to suspension design and packaging.

The attention to detail produced a new Swing Valve Shock Absorber with an ultra-low velocity valve – a world-first in the industry. In simple terms, this innovation makes sure an appropriate damping force is provided when even the slightest movement is experienced in the car’s wheels and suspension. This makes for a comfortable, unruffled ride and a stable feel, whether you’re pulling away slowly, or driving at speed on the highway.

The benefit is gained in the way the flow of oil is controlled inside a new valve arrangement. As well as a main valve, the ES’s shock absorbers have an additional ultra-low velocity valve, which allows for very low oil speed operation; at low to high oil speeds, the main valve opens to suppress the damping force, giving supple ride comfort.

Delivering superior standards of both handling stability and ride comfort is a big ask but it was a challenge Lexus was ready to meet by drawing up a new double wishbone rear suspension design. Critically, the system’s trailing arms have been located with pinpoint accuracy to give the set-up the rigidity it needs to give true, linear steering response to the driver’s use of the wheel and excellent handling stability.

Much of the testing to evaluate the new ES’s ride and handling took place in Europe where the development team could be sure of a wide range of road types and surfaces, from no-limit German highways, to winding mountain routes and urban streets with rough surfaces. Further testing was carried out on track, including at the famous Nürburgring, and in California.

At the same time as Lexus’ engineers determined the optimum suspension performance, they also took care to produce a design that doesn’t compromise the size or convenient shape of the boot. To meet this requirement, they placed the shock absorbers closer to the back of the rear seats and mounted them separately from the coil springs.

  • Lexus applies new technologies and designs to further enhance ride comfort and handling stability in the all-new ES luxury sedan
  • World-first Swing Valve Shock Absorber has ultra-low velocity valves for precision damping performance at very low speeds
  • New-design double wishbone rear suspension
  • Systems optimised for rigidity, light weight and compact design

(Source: Lexus Europe Newsroom, https://newsroom.lexus.eu/lexus-pushes-the-boundaries-of-ride-comfort-with-world-first-suspension-innovations-in-the-all-new-es/)

 

Curved instrument cluster

Bosch is putting the world’s first curved instrument cluster in the cockpit of a mass-production vehicle. What has long since arrived in people’s living rooms at home and for the smartphone is now being put on the road by Bosch as the first of its kind in mass production. “The days of flat instrument displays are over. With the world’s first curved instrument cluster, Bosch is opening up a new dimension in vehicle cockpits,” says Steffen Berns, president of the Car Multimedia division. The “curved” instrument cluster will be celebrating its debut in the Innovision Cockpit of the new VW Touareg. This means that Volkswagen is now replacing analog display technology behind the steering wheel with a freely configurable, high-resolution, curved display. Depending on what the driver wants to see at any given time, the screen is able to display large-area navigation maps, driver information or the status of the assistance systems. The secret behind the sharpness and contrast of the new displays is a new manufacturing process, with which the instrument cluster reflects more than four times less light, even in the sunlight.

The days of flat instrument displays are over. With the world’s first curved instrument cluster, Bosch is opening up a new dimension in vehicle cockpits.“
Steffen Berns, president of the Car Multimedia division

More safety, more space, more freedom

These days, everyone knows that the world is not flat. With a consistently digital, curved instrument display, Bosch is now proving that instrument clusters in the vehicle also no longer have to be flat. Its curvature mimics the natural curvature of the human eye. As a result, the driver is able to much better detect indicator lights and warning signals, even at the edge of the screen. This also gives it a clear advantage over the familiar curved monitors at home in the living room, where only one person can sit at the optimum viewing angle at any one time. In contrast, the curved instrument cluster in a vehicle always optimally accommodates the driver’s view. “Drivers benefit from curved instrument clusters in terms of safety and convenience. At the same time, this type of display gives automotive manufacturers greater freedom and more space in the design of the cockpit,” says Berns. Nowadays, automotive manufacturers increasingly want to avoid using mechanical switches, knobs, and controls. However, large-sized monitors are very high on the wish list – as is the curved instrument cluster made by Bosch. Beneath its surface, it combines a large number of digital displays, while taking up almost two centimeters less space than a non-curved screen of comparable size.

“Whatever you want” in the cockpit

Speedometer, navigation maps, and telephone list: the contents displayed on the instrument cluster with a screen diagonal of close to 31 centimeters (12.3 inches) are determined by the driver depending on the driving situation and personal preference. An intelligent control system, which – invisible to the driver – is concealed behind the cockpit on a control unit. It ensures that the driver always sees exactly the screen contents that he wants to see at a glance. There is a choice, for example, from between detailed information on the current journey, the navigation map, telephone contacts, or details on the playlist currently playing. Each piece of information can be displayed over the entire screen or shown in combination with other contents. So anyone who wants to display the navigation map and the telephone list in addition to the traditional speedometer can do so easily and conveniently by making those selections using the multifunction steering wheel or the infotainment’s touchscreen. It is also possible to perform a targeted zoom into the navigation map directly on the instrument cluster – another novel feature that will debut in the Touareg’s Innovision Cockpit.

Four times less glare

Vibrations, temperature fluctuations, susceptibility to malfunctions: the demands placed on vehicle displays in terms of quality and robustness are high. In addition, the driver must be able to reliably read screen displays even when the sun is shining directly on the vehicle display. That is why Bosch’s new curved instrument cluster uses a special manufacturing process. Up to now, this process was used to make screens for flat displays with high contrast, even in bright ambient light. In cooperation with partners, Bosch is now using this process for the first time in the large-scale production of a curved display for the vehicle cockpit. In optical bonding – which is what this process is called – a thin liquid is used to bond the instrument display and glass directly to each other. Thanks to the perfect connection of the two components, the instrument cluster reflects more than four times less light. For the driver, this means that there is virtually no glare and the display is rich in contrast and clear in both direct sunlight and darkness.

Automated driving in cities

Bosch and Daimler select Nvidia AI platform

  • Bosch and Daimler to source Drive Pegasus platform AI processors and software supplied by the U.S. AI computing company Nvidia
  • Systems architectures for fully automated and driverless urban driving must be versatile, redundant, and fail-operational.
  • Bosch and Daimler machine-learning methods will generate vehicle-driving algorithms.
  • ECU network for automated urban driving handles hundreds of trillion operations per second.

Stuttgart – Automated vehicles are complex computers on wheels. And they need even more computing power if they are to negotiate city traffic automatically, with input sourced from an array of disparate surround sensors. In their alliance to put highly automated and driverless vehicles on urban streets, Bosch and Daimler have specified the computing power needed for their prospective system. The two companies have selected and signed an agreement with the U.S. AI computing company Nvidia as a supplier for the artificial intelligence (AI) platform they need. AI is an important building block in fully automated and driverless vehicles’ network of several individual ECUs (Electronic control units). Under this contract, Nvidia will provide its Drive Pegasus platform powered by high performance AI automotive processors along with system software that will process the vehicle-driving algorithms generated by Bosch and Daimler using machine-learning methods. As a result, the ECU network will reach a computing capacity of hundreds of trillion operations per second. This is akin to the performance delivered by at least six synchronized, highly advanced deskside computer workstations. Bosch and Daimler will also be able to tap Nvidia’s expertise to help develop the platform.

Sensor data processed within fractions of a second
A versatile, redundant, and fail-operational systems architecture is needed to make automated driving in cities a reality. The performance bar for the networked ECUs is no lower, as navigating city traffic is a tremendous amount of work. This network handles all the information gathered and transmitted by disparate radar, video, lidar, and ultrasonic sensors. Just one video sensor, such as Bosch’s stereo video camera, generates 100 gigabytes of data in just one kilometer. The ECU network combines data sourced from all the surround sensors in a process called sensor fusion. Within fractions of a second, it assesses this information and plans the trajectory of the vehicle. This is as fast as the sensation of touch that needs between 20 and 500 milliseconds to reach the human brain. Bosch and Daimler bring many years of experience to the development of functional safety systems. To achieve maximum safety and reliability, the necessary computing operations are done by a number of circuits in parallel. In the unlikely event of a malfunction, the results of these parallel calculations can be accessed in a flash.


ECU network to be integrated into battery cells’ cooling circuit
The high computing capacity and the huge number of operations to be performed mean that the ECU network needs to be cooled. Bosch and Daimler developed an efficient concept based on liquid cooling. In this jointly developed system for highly automated and driverless driving in cities, Mercedes-Benz intends to deploy battery-powered vehicles. These cars have a cooling system on board, so engineers can make the most of this legacy technology by integrating the ECU network into the battery cells’ advanced cooling circuit.

(Source: Bosch Media)

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48V Technology in the Kia

The powertrain combines a 48V system with a diesel engine. The first mild hybrid diesel will be the Kia Sportage compact SUV, and then in 2019, in the Kia cee’d.

The 48V system of the Kia mild hybrid powertrain consists of a belt-integrated starter generator, a DC/DC converter for connecting the 48 and 12V systems, and a lithium-ion battery. This has a capacity of 0.46 kWh. Kia state that, in the new WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure), the 48V system emits up to 4% less CO2.

48V Hybrid (Source: Kia)

The starter generator can produce up to 10kW of power, and provides additional torque during acceleration, taking some of the load off the diesel engine. In regeneration mode, energy is saved while braking, driving downhill and coasting. Kia is able to combine the mild hybrid system with both manual and automatic gearboxes, and with front, rear and all-wheel drive. In future, Kia state that 48V systemswill also be available with petrol engines.