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Automated, Connected, and Electric Vehicle Systems



Beyond Smart Cities: Emerging Design and Technology



- Connected Vehicles

  • [Auto Connected Car]: A connected car is the presence of devices in an automobile that connect the devices to other devices within the car/vehicles and or devices, networks and services outside the car including other cars, home, office or infrastructure. Internet access is usually connected to a local area network. Many experts are saying that connected cars are part of the giant Internet of Things. Internet connections can provide connections that warn of traffic, collisions and other safety alerts. Concierge services from apps or automakers alert the driver of the time to leave to arrive on time from a calendar and sends text message alerts to friends or business associates to alert them of arrival times.  
  • [Center for Advanced Automotive Technology]: Connected vehicles are vehicles that use any of a number of different communication technologies to communicate with the driver, other cars on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle [V2V]), roadside infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure [V2I]), and the “Cloud.” This technology can be used to not only improve vehicle safety, but also to improve vehicle efficiency and commute times. 


- Automated Vehicles

[National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Policy on Automated Vehicle Development]: "Fully automated (sometimes called autonomous) or “self-driving” vehicles are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.” Further, the NHTSA has defined vehicle automation into five levels; the higher the level the more automated the vehicle is. Listed below are the NHTSA’s five levels of automation:  

  • No-Automation (Level 0): The driver is in complete and sole control of the primary vehicle controls – brake, steering, throttle, and motive power – at all times.
  • Function-specific Automation (Level 1): Automation at this level involves one or more specific control functions. Examples include electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes, where the vehicle automatically assists with braking to enable the driver to regain control of the vehicle or stop faster than possible by acting alone.
  • Combined Function Automation (Level 2): This level involves automation of at least two primary control functions designed to work in unison to relieve the driver of control of those functions. An example of combined functions enabling a Level 2 system is adaptive cruise control in combination with lane centering.
  • Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3): Vehicles at this level of automation enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions and in those conditions to rely heavily on the vehicle to monitor for changes in those conditions requiring transition back to driver control. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with sufficiently comfortable transition time. The second-generation Google car is an example of limited self-driving automation.
  • Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4): The vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles. The third-generation Google car is an example of full self-driving automation. Vehicles with level 4 automation may also be referred to autonomous vehicles.


Note: Vehicles with automation levels above 3 must also incorporate connected vehicle technologies. 

Of these five levels, only up to level 2 is currently available to the public. However, the federal government and manufacturers are now researching, developing, and testing level 4 automation technologies on public roads in certain states that have passed enabling legislation. The states that have passed legislation allowing higher level automated vehicles include California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada. Several other states are also working to pass similar legislation.


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[Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah - dinosaur802]

- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) 

[Center for Advanced Automotive Technology]: "HEVs are vehicles propelled by more than one power source such as an engine and electric motor. They are classified by type and level. Advantages of HEVs are improved fuel economy, efficiency, and reduced emissions. The disadvantage of HEVs is cost. The cost aspect may be offset in years to come due to higher gas prices and improved HEV technologies. For more information on types and levels of HEVs, visit their respective pages in the menu on the left."


- Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) 

[Center for Advanced Automotive Technology]: "BEVs run only on electric power stored in the batteries and do not have an engine. They emit zero emissions from the vehicle and are more energy efficient than HEVs. However, BEVs must be charged from a plug, have a shorter driving range, and expensive batteries. Although some BEVs, such as the Tesla Model S, have a range as high as 265 miles on a full charge, most are limited to around 100 miles per charge. Despite this low range, in a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “100 miles is sufficient for more than 90% of all household vehicle trips in the United States”(Link). Examples of BEVs on the market today are the Ford Focus EV, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi MiEV, and the Tesla Model S."


- Automotive Batteries

[Center for Advanced Automotive Technology]: "The purpose of a battery is to store chemical energy and to convert this chemical energy into electrical energy when the need arises. An electric or hybrid car battery is like any other battery - except that it is rechargeable and has enough power to move a large heavy vehicle down the road for a few feet or a few miles.  

The automotive battery is actually a battery pack that houses many individual cells that work together. There are several types of advanced batteries being used for electric, hybrid, and conventional automotive use. The most popular types are: Lead Acid, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium-ion (Li-ion). Some of the emerging battery types that are being heavily researched are: Aluminum-air, Lithium-air, Sodium-air, Zinc-air, Liquid Metal, Tin Nanocrystal Lithium-Ion."


[More to come ...]

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