Here are profiles of six of the 22 finalists for the 2005 Automotive News PACE Awards.
What: Automotive News PACE Awards honoring innovative automotive suppliers.
Cosponsored with: Capgemini and the Transportation Resarch Center Inc.
Winners announced: Monday, April 11
Where: Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit
Other finalists: Will be featured weekly through April 4
|Limiting body roll|
Tenneco Automotive Inc.
Lake Forest, Ill.
For: Kinetic RFS Technology
The handling of vehicles with high centers of gravity improves when body roll is controlled. Tenneco has created a passive hydraulic system that it calls a "reverse function stabilizer." The system limits body roll on smooth pavement but permits free up-and-down suspension travel over rough surfaces. Hydraulic cylinders on front and rear stabilizer bars replace one link of the suspension and are interlinked. In a turn, both bars twist the same direction, and the system resists the roll. Other maneuvers, which move the stabilizer bars in opposite directions, don't generate the resisting force. This decoupling of the roll and suspension modes overcomes compromises in handling found in other hydraulic feedback systems. The system is optional on the 2005 Lexus GX 470.
For: I-Beam Control Arm
An I-beam shape offers tremendous strength for control arms in car suspensions. The strongest parts of the I-beam are the parallel flanges at top and bottom, with the web of the I shape holding them in place. Control arm castings are expensive, while forgings are heavy. Making a lightweight stamped sheet-metal I-beam for car suspension arms has been difficult. Multimatic has developed a stamping that folds the flange material back on itself to create extremely strong structures. The structures then can be welded to form an I-beam lower control arm on a McPherson strut suspension that is lighter, stronger and economically feasible. The first commercial application is on the new Ford Mustang.
|Locking onto a lane|
Valeo SA Switches Detection Systems
Category: Product, Europe
For: Valeo/Iteris Lane Departure Warning System
Drifting across roadway lane markings is often the sign of a drowsy or distracted driver. Valeo has created a lane-departure warning system that consists of a camera, an image processor and software. The unit, which is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, usually is mounted between the windshield and rearview mirror. The camera tracks even the most hard-to-see lane markings, day or night. When a vehicle begins to drift out of its lane, the unit makes a rumble-strip noise to alert the driver. The noise is not made if a safe lane change is under way, indicated by a turn signal. The system has been on the road in European commercial trucks since 2000 and will be used on future Infiniti vehicles in North America.
Omron Automotive Electronics Inc.
For: New Generation-3 Lidar Sensor
Omron has created a single laser-radar (Lidar) sensor that improves adaptive cruise control, low-speed following control and pre-crash sensing. It is sensitive enough to detect pedestrians and bicyclists, something milliwave radar cannot do. With a 30-degree horizontal sweep and a 10-degree vertical range, the sensor covers a larger area than previous laser technology. The faintest light from the laser is detected, letting advanced cruise-control systems guard against vehicles cutting in suddenly from another lane even when bad weather minimizes ordinary vision. Lidar is less expensive to produce than milliwave radar sensors. The sensor has been adopted by Nissan Motor Co. for its Fuga passenger vehicles in Japan and for the Infiniti M series in North America.
|No tail-wagging allowed|
Robert Bosch GmbH
Category: Product, Europe
For: Trailer Sway Mitigation
A poorly balanced or overloaded trailer can sway from side to side behind its tow vehicle, endangering both that vehicle and other traffic. Bosch has developed a way to allow its electronic stability control system to sense and then automatically cancel out the motions of a trailer that begins to oscillate. The system uses brake pulses on individual wheels to bring the trailer and tow vehicle back under control without driver intervention. The Trailer Sway Mitigation system was introduced on the 2002 BMW X5 and since has been added to the X3 and the 5-series sedan.
Siemens VDO Automotive AG/Automotive Information Systems Passenger Cars
Category: Product, Europe
For: Color Head-up Display
Drivers should be looking at the road, not at their instrument panel, so the Siemens head-up display translates instrument panel information into an image that appears to float in space just ahead of the car. Using multiple mirrors, a color light-emitting diode array projects a clear image even under strong sunlight. The 128 ultrabright micro light-emitting diodes are printed on a silicon base that takes only a small space. A light sensor adjusts display brightness as outside light conditions change. The head-up display is programmable by vehicle manufacturers, allowing them to offer drivers the ability to customize some controls. The driver also can adjust the display to accommodate different seating positions. BMW's 5 and 6 series have the innovation.