AIMing for Automated Vehicles
The U.S. armed forces have had smart weapons for a long time now. It is just recently that they realized they need smart supply trucks. Hi, I am Paul F. Grayson, Team Leader of American Industrial Magic (AIM), one of last remaining teams of the 390 teams that worked on vehicles for the DARPA Grand Challenge series of unmanned vehicle races. AIM is working to save soldiers lives by searching for ways to make driverless Army supply trucks affordable. AIM is funded by donations from individuals like you who want to speed up the fielding of this life-saving technology. With this blog, you can look over my shoulder while I and my team work on this important technology. You will get a chance to look into the world of unmanned robotic vehicles, see some of the things that I see, and puzzle over the challenges of making vehicles driverless. Welcome to my world!
Shell Eco-Marathon offers thousands of MPG
Engineering on the cutting edge of energy efficiency means going well beyond hundreds of miles per gallon to thousands of miles per gallon. Look at these efficiencies. How are advanced automation technologies helping?
The vehicles in the 27th Shell Eco-marathon are getting fuel efficiencies so far beyond the legendary 300 mpg carburetor, challenging high school and college student teams from around the world to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles. In Americas, Europe and Asia winners are the teams that go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. Would automating these vehicles to optimize performance push the figures “astronomical” fuel efficiencies even higher? Several teams have hinted that they “are perusing anything that gives them an edge.”
I think I should build one, just for practice... and maybe try to get around the neighborhood in one using just a thimble full of gasoline.
2011 Shell Eco-marathon > EUROPE > Winning scores for Fuel Economy
Prototype > Electrical mobility
Hydrogen : 367 miles/kWh
Plug in : 524 miles/kWh
Solar : 688 miles/kWh
Prototype > Internal combustion
Diesel : 4,196 mpg
Ethanol : 6,926 mpg
FAME : no entry
Gas to Liquid (GTL): 326 mpg
Gasoline : 8,677 mpg
UrbanConcept > Electrical mobility
Hydrogen : 64 miles/kWh
Plug in : 145 miles/kWh
Solar : 114 miles/kWh
UrbanConcept > Internal combustion
Diesel : 557 mpg
Ethanol : 1,199 mpg
FAME : no entry
Gas to Liquid (GTL): no entry
Gasoline : 934 mpg
IN THE AMERICAS
Prototype > Internal Combustion Engine
First Prize: 2,564.8 mpg, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada won $5,000.
Second Prize: 1,798.7 mpg, Mater Dei High School, Evansville, IN won $2,500.
2,564.8 mpg, Université Laval won $1,000.
574.8 mpg, Wawasee High School in Syracuse, IN won $1,000.
> Alternative Gasoline
First Prize: 871 mpg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign,IL won $1,000.
Second Prize: 758.7 mpg, Alden Conger High School, Alden, MN won $1,000.
> Alternative Diesel
179.1 mpg, St. Paul’s School, Covington, LA won $1,000.
Prototype Category > Electrical Mobility
> Fuel Cell/Hydrogen
First Prize: 44.1 mi/kWh, Cicero North Syracuse High School team from Cicero, NY, won $1,500.
Second Prize: 29.3 mi/kWh, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, won a $1,000.
> Plug in
First Prize: 386.2 mi/kWh, Mater Dei High School won a $1,500.
Second Prize: 237.7 mi/kWh, Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, MI, won a $1,000.
> Solar Power
89.7 mi/kWh, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, won $1,500.
UrbanConcept Category > Internal Combustion Engine
First Prize: 646.7 mpg, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, won $5,000.
Second Prize: 586.6 mpg, Mater Dei High School won $2,500.
646.7 mpg, Louisiana Tech University won $1,000.
186.5 mpg, Granite Falls High School in Granite Falls, WA, won $1,000.
> Fuel Cell/Hydrogen
13.8 mi/kWh, University of Missouri team from Columbia, MO, won $1,500.
> Solar Power Energy
64.5 mi/kWh, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, won $1,500.
Special Awards for Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2011
People’s Choice Award - University of Houston’s Solar JECT got the most votes by the public!
2011 Eco-Design Award Sponsored by Autodesk - was presented to Durand High School for their reuse of so many vehicle parts. Their special design contributed to the fuel efficiency of their vehicle, and incorporated repurposed materials in production process.
Safety Award - This award went to three teams: Louisiana Tech University; Granite Falls High School; and Durand High School. Safety was top priority in their vehicle design, construction, and onsite behavior at Shell Eco-marathon Americas.
Technical Innovation Award Sponsored by Southwest Research Institute - California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, for their onboard electronics with custom data acquisition and monitoring system.
Design Award - Louisiana Tech University for their vehicle entry “Roadster,” was based on a 1930s hotrod.
Communications Award - Purdue University made outstanding communications efforts.
Best Team Spirit - University of Missouri, long term planning for the present and future structure of their team.
Perseverance in the Face of Adversity - Polytechnic Institute of New York. Their vehicle that was damaged in transit to Shell Eco-marathon Americas and after much work the team was able make it out onto the track.
This fuel-efficiency contest looks like it is a lot of fun to be in or to mentor. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Are you already on a team and can share some of the details with us? Do you have any ideas that could be used on the next car? If you cannot see comments area below, click on this blog link for the Shell Eco-Marathon and scroll down to leave your comments. Thanks.
GO ROBOTS !
Paul F. Grayson - Chief Engineer
American Industrial Magic
390 4-Mile Rd. S.
Traverse City, MI 49696
Online extra image
At the link above, Polytechnic Institute of NYU student Ankur Vishwakarma is on the track on the final day of Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2011 on Sunday, April 17, in downtown Houston. (This looks like something someone would want to buy.) Courtesy Shell Eco-Marathon, via Flickr.
Read other AIMing for Automated Vehicles blog entries at: