Opec and big oil eyeing electric cars with trepidation, says Bloomberg

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Opec, and big oil companies around the world are looking at the growing popularity of electric cars anew, and revising their forecasts, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The prospect of a massive trend that shows consumers turning away from petrol-driven vehicles would have huge implications for the oil industry.

Petrol-driven vehicles account for almost half of oil production demand, according to the US Department of Energy, while other sources say it’s more than 50 per cent.  Continue reading Opec and big oil eyeing electric cars with trepidation, says Bloomberg

China’s electric car market given a jump-start by government and looks set to boost lithium industry

open pit lithium mine
An open pit lithium mine. Picture courtesy of The Future of Energy

The market for electric cars in China is huge already and it’s growing at almost an exponential rate annually. 

Commentators in the country include electric cars in the category called “new energy vehicles”, which also refers to hybrid energy vehicles, and are saying the market will be further accelerated as a result of government backing.

Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng management consultancy, says: “With the issuance in April 2017 of the Automotive Industry Mid to Long Term Development Plan, the Ministry for Industry and Information Technology provides guiding principles for the development of China’s auto industry for the next decade.  Continue reading China’s electric car market given a jump-start by government and looks set to boost lithium industry

Roborace shows off its driverless electric racing car in the US

roborace new york 2 small

Roborace has been showing off its driverless electric racing car in New York, in the US, after organising similar exhibitions in other countries. 

Roborace organises what is believed to be the world’s first driverless electric car racing series, using vehicles based on Nvidia’s Drive PX2 artificial intelligence platform.

The car incorporates technologies such as lidar, radar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, optical speed sensors, GNSS positioning, and others, according to Engineering.comContinue reading Roborace shows off its driverless electric racing car in the US

Cheap batteries will accelerate sales of electric cars worldwide, says report

electric car illustration
Picture courtesy of Alternative Energy News

The growth in popularity of electric vehicles in China alone, even if it’s a trend not followed anywhere else in the world, is enough to drive the automotive market to make fundamental changes to the way it manufactures cars as well as the raw materials and fuels it uses. 

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says sales of new energy vehicles – which includes hydrogen – reached 507,000 units in 2016, representing an increase of 53 per cent compared with 2015.

In the previous year, the increase was similar. The steep upward trend seems to have taken off in 2014, according to analysis by BloombergContinue reading Cheap batteries will accelerate sales of electric cars worldwide, says report

Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric
Volkswagen self-driving concept car, which it calls Sedric

The Volkswagen Group is researching ways in which robots can be used in the future when cars become more electrified and computerised as a result of increasing demand for clean and autonomous vehicles. 

The German automaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands among others, is working one of the world’s largest industrial robotics and automation providers, Kuka, to research and develop a number of ideas.

The current area of interest for the strategic partnership between Kuka and Volkswagen is the area of service concepts for vehicles of the future, and the two companies have agreed a contract to jointly develop robot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future.  Continue reading Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Electric cars will change the way industrial robots are used in manufacturing, says Fanuc boss

fanuc flow drilling robot

With Volvo’s decision to go all electric in its future vehicles, combined with the French government’s decision to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and similar moves in Germany, the automotive industry is preparing for a tectonic shift in the manufacturing landscape. 

The way electric cars are made already differ considerably now, and new techniques will take the production of the new vehicles further away from traditional methods.

An interesting insight into the future was offered by a senior executive at the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, who suggested that electric cars are highly likely to fundamentally change the way industrial robots are used.  Continue reading Electric cars will change the way industrial robots are used in manufacturing, says Fanuc boss

BMW and General Electric invest in Xometry manufacturing marketplace

 

bmw i cars 2

An online marketplace which offers custom-manufactured parts using 3D printing and machine learning to generate instant price quotes has raised $15 million in its latest funding round. 

Relatively new startup company Xometry – which rhymes with geometry and is pronounced zometry – has raised a total of $38 million since it was established in 2013.

The company already generates approximately $20 million in annual revenue and has hundreds of providers and more than 5,000 customers.  Continue reading BMW and General Electric invest in Xometry manufacturing marketplace

World’s largest automotive companies and an intro to their autonomous and electric vehicle tech moves

audi
A picture of a car production line, this one in an Audi factory

In the first of a series of articles about large industrial companies, we list 20 of the leading automakers in the world in order of their last reported annual revenue amount, and highlight some of their more interesting developments in autonomous technologies. 

Automakers are have long been the largest market for industrial robotics and automation systems, but also, more recently, the vehicles they produce have become more robotic.

The design and development of road vehicles are becoming increasingly an exercise in developing computing technology – both hardware and software. Add to that the growing importance of artificial intelligence to run the advanced driver assistance systems that many new cars already have. Continue reading World’s largest automotive companies and an intro to their autonomous and electric vehicle tech moves

China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

hit robot polishing-for-each-product
A jade-polishing robot produced by the HIT Robot Group, one of China’s largest robot makers

China’s enthusiasm for new technology, combined with its paranoia about being left behind in a globally intensifying high-tech competition, sometimes leads it to create small bubbles in its economy which may or may not dissipate in the disciplined manner in which the markets they encompass may have emerged in the first place. 

Two years ago, the government of the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion people launched a 10-year national plan to “transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power”, in the words of XinhuaNet, the state propaganda outlet.  Continue reading China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

Almarai partners with Schneider Electric to introduce smart manufacturing system

almarai farm

Schneider Electric, a provider of energy management and automation solutions, has partnered with Almarai to develop a smart manufacturing solution.

Almarai is said to be the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company. The company already uses Schneider’s industrial internet of things platform, Wonderware.

Now it has expanded its Schneider Electric deployment as part of a smart manufacturing initiative by deploying line performance suite.  Continue reading Almarai partners with Schneider Electric to introduce smart manufacturing system

Bosch reports increased sales of €73 billion. Wins massive new sensor contract from Apple

Bosch’s robotics expert, Kai Arras,
Bosch’s robotics expert, Kai Arras, with one of the company’s robots in development

Bosch – one of the world’s largest industrial companies, producing a wide variety of engineered products, from automotive components to home appliances – has reported increased sales for the year 2016. 

In a press conference last week to launch the German giant’s annual report, Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner listed the key figures:

  • sales rose from €70.6 billion in 2015 to €73.1 billion last year; and
  • earnings before tax in 2016 reached a total of €4.3 billion.

Sales in all business segments and geographical regions had increased, added Denner.

As positive as the figures may seem, Denner said the company was nonetheless undergoing “profound transformation”, partly brought about by a range of new technologies which are changing the global industrial landscape, and because diesel engines may be phased out.  Continue reading Bosch reports increased sales of €73 billion. Wins massive new sensor contract from Apple

World’s oldest consultancy claims new car tech will change auto manufacturing

auto manufacturing Geely_assembly_line

Arthur D. Little, which claims to be the world’s first consultancy company, predicts how future mobility solutions will affect automotive manufacturing.

In a new report, The Future of Automotive Mobility, the company says – somewhat surprisingly – that the future vehicle technology will depend less on consumer preferences than government regulations.

The company draws its conclusions on a global survey of 6,500 participants, including customers, industry players and regulators. Its research examines how the megatrends of electric mobility, car sharing and autonomous driving are likely to impact on the global automotive ecosystem and future original equipment manufacturing sales.  Continue reading World’s oldest consultancy claims new car tech will change auto manufacturing

Volkswagen launches its first autonomous and electric concept car

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric
Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric

Volkswagen has unveiled what it says is its first autonomous concept car, describing it as a “comfortable lounge on wheels”. 

The company claims to be the first automobile manufacturer to present an integrated mobility concept for mobility of the future in road traffic, including a concept car developed from scratch for autonomous driving.

Volkswagen says “Sedric”, the name of the new self-driving car, provides an insight into the future of individual mobility that can be used by everyone, but which can be geared to personal needs.

Volkswagen says Sedric highlights the major importance of fully automated driving in the future strategy of the company.  Continue reading Volkswagen launches its first autonomous and electric concept car

ABB and Nova Bus announce collaboration on electric transportation

abb nova buses electric charging
ABB links up with Nova Buses for electric charging. Picture: Anna Rehnberg for ABB

ABB and Nova Bus have partnered to meet what they see as the “growing need for electric buses and charging infrastructure in North America”

ABB, an engineering company specializing in automotive energy technologies, and Nova Bus, the North American buses manufacturer and division of Volvo Buses, have entered a business collaboration that consists of the delivery of the first ABB’s electric bus “opportunity charger” in North America.

This is the latest development in ABB’s growing network of electric charging infrastructure.

This collaboration reflects Nova Bus plans to keep investing in climate action by offering charging stations and electrified bus solutions to major cities in the United States and Canada.

Derek Monk, general manager, ABB in Canada, says: “Transportation can be one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Supporting Nova Bus with ABB’s innovative charging solution will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Volvo Buses, it represents a major step in the advancement of electric buses in public transit in North America and it will be the first ABB electric bus opportunity charging station in the Americas.”  Continue reading ABB and Nova Bus announce collaboration on electric transportation

Slovenia backs Yaskawa with €6 million

yaskawa slovenia

The government of Slovenia has decided to back Yaskawa’s investment in the country with €5.6 million of public money. 

Yaskawa is building a factory in the country and plans to invest a total of €25 million in the European nation of just over 2 million people.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar said at the time: ““I am very pleased that our efforts paid off and that the renowned Japanese company of Yaskawa Electric decided to invest in Slovenia.”

The Yaskawa investment is forecast to create more than 170 new jobs and the industrial giant is regarded as the “most important Japanese company” with assets in the country by the Slovenian government.