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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Transportation for future cities!!!

By 2030, what would be the urban population? Do you have any statistics! More than 60 percent of the world’s 8 billion peoplewill be living in urban areas after 20 years! Wow! Even today the citties are overcrowded with people and vehicles. Then what would be the case of the future?! This increase will put tremendous pressure on a public infrastructure that is already struggling to meet the growing demand for transportation and basic services.

General Motors and its strategic partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group (SAIC), share a common vision for addressing the need for personal mobility. They are exploring several solutions for tomorrow’s drivers. Among the most promising is a new vehicle form called EN-V.

The new electric concept car was unveiled at the Shanghai Pudong Expo in China on March 24, 2010. This is designed as a non-polluting car suitable for the crowded mega-cities of the future. EN-V, short for Electric Networked-Vehicle, is a two-seater designed to alleviate concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow’s cities. Three EN-V models were unveiled named, Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic) and Xiao (Laugh).

EN-V’s platform has evolved from the platform of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) prototype that was developed by Segway and debuted in April 2009. EN-V is propelled by electric motors in each of its two driving-mode wheels. Dynamic stabilization technology empowers EN-V, giving it the unique ability to carry two passengers and light cargo in a footprint that’s about a third of a traditional vehicle. It can literally “turn on a dime” within its own operating envelope. In addition, everything in EN-V is drive-by-wire, supporting its ability to operate autonomously or under manual control. The motors not only provide power for acceleration, but also bring the vehicle to a stop.

Power for the motors is provided by lithium-ion batteries that produce zero emissions. Recharging can occur from a conventional wall outlet using standard household power, allowing EN-V to travel at least 40 kilometers on a single charge. By combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) with vehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance-sensing technologies, the EN-V concept can be driven both manually and autonomously.

Its autonomous operating capability offers the promise of reducing traffic congestion by allowing EN-V to automatically select the fastest route based on real-time traffic information. The concept also leverages wireless communications to enable a “social network” that can be used by drivers and occupants to communicate with friends or business associates while on the go.

The ability to communicate with other vehicles and with the infrastructure could dramatically reduce the number of vehicle accidents. Using vehicle-based sensor and camera systems, EN-V can “sense” what’s around it, allowing the vehicle to react quickly to obstacles or changes in driving conditions. For example, if a pedestrian steps out in front of the vehicle, EN-V will decelerate to a slower and safer speed and stop sooner than today’s vehicles.

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