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Discovery of huge fuel-can stash reveals 500 rare artifacts

By General Posts

from https://www.hagerty.com by Charlotte Vowden

A shedload of surprises: Discovery of huge fuel-can stash reveals 500 rare artifacts

Editor’s note: In the interests of preserving the authentic whiff of petrol that pervades this remarkable story from our U.K. colleagues, we have made only slight concessions to an American lexicon. All quotations remain untouched.

Alan Pooley’s pursuit of petroliana was purely sentimental, but the collection of more than 500 automotive artifacts that he amassed during three decades of buying for love not money is so remarkable that it could fetch up to £65,000 (roughly $88,600) at auction. Including over 250 oil cans, 60 two-gallon fuel canisters, and dozens of enamel signs, oilers, and pourers, it is set to go under the hammer later this year.

“The important thing about this collection is that it is completely fresh to the market, but the exciting bit about it is that no one really knew about it,” says Tom Godsmark, an associate and vintage specialist at Cheffins auction house, the agency managing the sale.

“It’s a big collection in terms of scale, but it’s the extensiveness that’s so interesting because it ranges from little items such as lapel badges, old match boxes, and advertising pencils for Rudge bicycles to a fully restored petrol pump.”

Among the pieces which the late Mr. Pooley carefully stored, restored, and displayed in sheds at his home in Norfolk is a two-gallon fuel can that, to the untrained eye, stands out because of the large lightning bolt and bold lettering embossed on its side. Those in the know will recognize it as one of the few surviving examples of a limited-edition run of Shell Racing cans that were produced in the 1930s. With an estimated value of £400 to £600 (approximately $545–$818), it’s one of the rarest pieces of memorabilia to have been discovered in its original condition.

An automotive body finisher by profession, Alan, who passed away in 2020, was equipped with the skills and patience to rejuvenate items in a state of distress and spent a great deal of his spare time doing so. “It could be quite a long process, but he was a master of the art and was able to bring them back up to a really good standard, it gave him a huge buzz,” explains Alan’s partner, Karin Burleigh.

His penchant for rescuing fuel canisters from ruin (originally known as “motor spirit” cans) extended to vessels produced by the Scottish Oil Agency, Mobiloil, Alexander Duckham & Co Ltd, and Anglos Taxibus Spirit. “If it wasn’t for him, some of those cans wouldn’t be in existence anymore, they would have just rusted into a little heap on the floor,” says Burleigh, who considers the “best” of the three sheds Mr. Pooley used to house his automotive memorabilia is the one in which he arranged his favorite pieces—on every available surface.

From to floor to ceiling—where oil pourers, Shell-branded hard hats, and Castrol Racing baseballs caps hung on hooks that he had fastened into the timber beams supporting the roof—Alan had curated his own at-home exhibition that showcased the containers, canisters, tins, tools, and signs that he treasured the most. “You name it, it was all there,” says Godsmark. “My first thought was Crikey! I imagine he liked going in there and just admiring it. I suspect it was a bit of a sanctuary for him.”

As a boy, Burleigh reveals, Alan cherished the time he spent with his grandfather, and as a man, the tools and Francis-Barnett water cycle that he inherited from him held huge nostalgic value. It’s this relationship and those heirlooms—which are not for sale—that she believes sparked Alan’s passion for automobilia and subsequent apprehensiveness to let any of it go. “He may have sold one or two things, but the majority stayed here,” she says. “Looking at the collection it looks like we spent our whole time at boot sales and auto jumbles, but honestly, we didn’t.”

With so many items in need of a new home, the collection will be divided into lots and auctioned gradually so as not to flood the market. “Collectibles such as gas pumps, fuel advertisements, enamel or tin signs are continually seeing a growth in value as the market continues to gather pace,” says Godsmark. “Values can be hugely varied, ranging from a few hundred pounds for a good example of an oil can right up into the tens of thousands for the best of class in petrol pumps.”

Of the six vintage motorcycles found in Mr. Pooley’s collection, Godsmark tips the 1937 499cc Norton Model 18 and 1966 649cc 650SS Norton as the ones likely to attract the highest bidders due to their condition, low mileage, and thorough documentation.

Making the decision to part with Mr. Pooley’s collection has been incredibly difficult for his three grandsons, who were entrusted with its care upon his passing, and the family’s biggest hope is that each of the items will find their way to “someone who will love it like Alan did.”

Political Agendas on Electrical Vehicles Charge Up Emotions

By General Posts

by Colby Martin from SEMA Action Network (SAN) at https://www.semasan.com

GROUNDING THE “EV” BUZZ

Political Agendas Surrounding Automobiles Charge Up Strong Emotions

The impending arrival of electric cars and trucks has caused quite a stir. Sure, everyone shares the well-intentioned notion of a healthier environment. But constant announcements about the potential phasing out of new gas-powered vehicles have enthusiasts worried about the future of the hobby. Thanks in part to a 24-hour news-cycle, the automotive-minded are forced to ponder this great unknown with greater frequency. With the topic weighing heavier on many minds, the question arises: what’s to become of the tailpipe—and when? Clearly there are crossed wires needing to be untangled.

Acronym Soup

First, we must understand the common lingo used in automotive discussions. The gasoline-sipping internal combustion engine (ICE) has long been the motivator of choice. However, the low- and zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) categories have emerged and made significant improvements in recent years. There are several different models of these cars and trucks such as electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids, and those running on hydrogen fuel-cells. With such competition, it may seem like traditional rides could have a tougher existence in a yet-uncertain future of alternative powerplants.

Government Directives

The latest update in the automotive world came from the nation’s top office: the Biden Administration. President Joe Biden signed the “Executive Order on Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks” in August. In short, the measure calls for 50% of all sales of new cars and light trucks in the US be ZEV by the year 2030. “It is the policy of my Administration to advance these objectives in order to improve our economy and public health, boost energy security, secure consumer savings, advance environmental justice, and address the climate crisis,” said President Biden.

Biden’s action was preceded by California Governor Gavin Newsom’s controversial notice last year. That order instructed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to draft regulations requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state be zero-emissions by 2035. Once drafted, CARB’s proposed regulations will be subject to a lengthy regulatory process, including legal, economic, and environmental analyses, public comment, and hearings. The Governor’s order is also expected to face numerous legal challenges from opponents.

Cause for Concern?

The concern surrounding EVs is understandable, but premature. Many of the proposed rules and legal mandates are far more symbolic in nature. For example, President Biden’s actions were merely issued as an Executive Order, meaning it is not a federal law and has no binding authority. In fact, the following disclaimer is included at the end of the Order:

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Directives like President Biden’s also tend to be highly aspirational with ambitious time frames for implementation. For example, many of the President’s proposed benchmarks extend beyond his time in office, giving him little say on the final product.

Realities: Supply vs. Demand

Perhaps the most direct impact to personal transportation will come from the automakers themselves. The evolving market is already experiencing highs and lows. While seeking to boost ZEV sales, major brands have been subject to factors beyond their control. Supply chain shortages and logistical issues have impeded production schedules, causing delays, and price surges. Additionally, massive investment of resources will be required for materials and retooling throughout the entire manufacturing process.

Many fundamental issues need to be resolved before any major shift to “clean” vehicles is feasible. Most importantly, more than 281 million rides share US roads—a small fraction of which are EVs. Such a massive fleet won’t be replaced anytime soon. Of course, the lion’s share are newer vehicles, which often have a life spanning a decade or longer. Also, the urge to trade-in for an electric model decreases without widespread options for “refueling.” Charging woes include long recharging time, charger availability, and standardization of hardware between brand offerings. Additionally, the U.S. electrical grid can hardly handle its current strain—let alone an entire nation needing to recharge at home or on-the-go. At this point, clear solutions appear far from sight.

Informed & Involved

Although the future of EV adoption remains to be seen, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) believes a balance can be achieved and has made this fight a top priority. Our community’s rich history of innovation should be celebrated as it continues evolving with emerging technologies. As always, the SAN opposes proposed efforts to ban the ICE and other such mandates impacting vehicles of all kinds—vintage collectibles and their fuel supply included.

With the ever-growing voice of advocates from our hobby, politicians are increasingly aware of how many passionate voters are paying attention to their actions. SAN contacts like you will receive details direct to inboxes as opportunities to act arise—stay tuned for further updates.

Meantime, please spread the word to get others involved in the good fight: CLICK semaSAN.com/Join

–IGNITED WE STAND!

About SAN: https://www.semasan.com/about

EDITOR’s NOTE:
“Here’s the wildest truth. Climate Alarmism or Climate Doom IS misinformation. Oops.” –Bandit

The 3D Printer Market Is Being Driven By 3D Printed Products In Automotive Industry

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The Business Research Company’s 3D Printer Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth And Change To 2030

The growth in the use of 3D printed products in the automotive industry is a key factor driving the growth of the 3D printer manufacturing market. The manufacture of lightweight vehicle components is possible with the aid of 3D printing that reduces vehicle weight, boosts car performance, and increases fuel economy, and greater productivity can be achieved in injection molding equipment manufacturing using 3D printing technology.

For instance, in 2019, General Motors collaborated with Autodesk to produce 3D printed lower cost and lighter vehicle parts. Therefore, the growth in demand for 3D printed products in the automotive industry drives the demand for manufacturing 3D printers and contributes to the growth of the 3D printer manufacturing market.

The 3D printer manufacturing market consists of sales of 3D printers that are used in automotive, healthcare, industrial, consumer electronics, aerospace and defense industries. 3D printing is the method of creating three-dimensional objects by transferring consecutive material layers through a 3D printer.

The global 3D printer market is expected grow from $8.62 billion in 2020 to $11.1 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.8%. The growth is mainly due to the companies resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal while recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges. The 3D printing market size is expected to reach $25.26 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 23%.

TBRC’s 3D printers market report is segmented by printer type into desktop 3d printer, industrial 3d printer, by technology into stereolithography (SLA), fused deposition modeling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), polyjet/multijet printing (MJP), inkjet printing, electron beam melting (EBM), laser metal deposition (LMD), direct light projection (DLP), others and by end-use industry into automotive, aerospace & defense, healthcare, food, construction & architecture, others.

The major players covered in the global 3d printing industry are Stratasys, GE Additive, SLM Solutions, Voxeljet, Arcam AB, Hoganas AB, Groupe Gorgé, Renishaw PLC., Markforged Inc., Made In Space, Proto Labs Inc., and Tiertime.

3D Printer Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth And Change To 2030 is one of a series of new reports from The Business Research Company that provides 3D printer market overview, forecast 3D printer market size and growth for the whole market, 3D printer market segments, and geographies, 3D printer market trends, 3D printer market drivers, restraints, leading competitors’ revenues, profiles, and market shares.

Self-Driving Vehicles – Available Soon? Part 2

By General Posts

From https://www.motorists.org By Gary Witzenburg, Automotive Senior Writer and Contributing Editor, President of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year, and NMA Member.

Editor’s Note: HOUR Detroit Magazine has graciously permitted the NMA to publish this piece, which initially appeared in a slightly different version on its pages. Please Click Here to Read Part 1.

Missions and Issues

“Automated vehicles’ potential to save lives and reduce injuries is rooted in one critical and tragic fact: 94 percent of serious crashes are due to human error,” contends the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Automated vehicles have the potential to remove human error from the crash equation, which will help protect drivers and passengers as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Another mission will be to provide much-needed mobility for the aged and disabled, though ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are already serving many Americans. “Roads filled with automated vehicles could also cooperate to smooth traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion,” NHTSA continues. “With automated vehicles, the time and money spent commuting could be put to better use. In many places across the country, employment or independent living rests on the ability to drive. Automated vehicles could extend that kind of freedom to millions more.”

But major hurdles lie ahead.

To be as safe as envisioned, AVs will need to see, understand, analyze, and react to everything around them through a complex system of sensors, radar, LiDAR (radar-like, using laser light), and visual and thermal cameras.

All that will add a lot of cost.

And how effective will those systems be in darkness and nasty weather? When dirt covers their lenses? When snow blankets lane markers and road edges?

“Inclement weather is a challenge,” says GM engineer Jason Fischer, “We are working with suppliers on advanced cleaning systems that will help us solve those problems.” Ford’s John Rich says, “All varieties of weather are being tested, and there will be a learning curve with capability expansion over time.”

Will AVs be programmed to protect their occupants at the expense of others? Which way will they dodge if they can’t stop to avoid a sudden pedestrian hit when the alternative may be an oncoming vehicle, a tree, a lake, or a cliff? “We have to make these vehicles better than humans,” Rich says, “constantly alert with better reflexes and better ability to avoid an accident. They may never be perfect, but if they are considerably better than humans, we almost have a moral imperative to put them on the road because we will be saving lives.”

And when someone inevitably is hurt or killed despite everyone’s best intentions and preventions, who will be liable? The vehicle’s owner? Its manufacturer? The software programmer? The town or city where the incident occurs? All of the above?

“Initially, the lawyers will sue everyone involved,” says Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor. “As these cases are settled and precedent established, it will become more clear. The automakers and others must have the utmost confidence in the safety of these systems.”

And will AVs be rolling roadblocks obeying all (often too slow) posted speed limits while everyone else swarms around them at 5-10 mph faster? Will they hold up traffic waiting for openings at non-stoplight intersections while streams of human-driven vehicles take advantage of their excessive caution?

“The vehicles are programmed to obey the law,” Rich points out. “We won’t be able to speed or do a lot of things you see human drivers doing today.”

Partial Autonomy

So that scenario of Level 5 “Full Automation” for privately owned vehicles looks to be a long way off…if ever. “Level 4 is essentially here now,” CAR’s Bailo points out. “Level 5 is later pending many other non-technical parameters such as regulation, public policy, legal and insurance.”

And no current AV is intended for private ownership.

“They will be able to move goods and people in a controlled environment,” Rich says, “but you will not be able to go out and buy one. They are difficult to manage and will require professional service to run.”

The good news is that Level 2 “Partial Automation” is available today.

Many new vehicles, even at very affordable prices, offer Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which adjusts speed to maintain a set gap behind the vehicle ahead, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), which keeps your vehicle in its lane; and that combo allows hands-off cruising for a few seconds where road edges and lane markers are clearly visible to their cameras.

Some systems work better than others; you must pay full attention and be ready to take control at any time. The system will tell you when to take the wheel, and it will shut off if you don’t. One of the best we’ve tried is Cadillac’s Super Cruise, available on some models now and expanding to more, which will soon add an auto-lane-change feature. GM says its ultimate Super Cruise vision is hands-off driving capability 95 percent of the time on “enabled” (precisely GPS mapped) roads.

What we envision in the not-too-distant future is a potentially worrisome mix of driverless AVs sharing the roads with a large majority of human-driven cars and trucks. The AVs will be capable of communicating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) with each other and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) to avoid conflicts. Still, they will have to monitor everything around them continually and make assumptions (as alert drivers do) about other vehicles’ expected behavior.

Will you trust a vehicle with no driver (or controls) to shuttle you around, or will you prefer a human-driven Uber, Lyft, or taxi? Or to continue piloting those trips behind your own wheel? If you are not yet AV ready, you may be when your own capabilities someday diminish.

What the Analysts Say

“The development of autonomous vehicles continues to move forward steadily, though several automakers slowed their development in early 2020 and some commercialization targets were delayed. While there remains tremendous promise for the technology to ease congestion and contribute to reducing accidents, getting to the point where they are a fixture in the automotive landscape remains on the horizon. However, in 2021 and 2022, we expect to see deployments increase in limited situations. Waymo, GM, and Ford are among those most aggressive in this space in the US, along with the Aptiv-Hyundai joint venture Motional.”  – Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst, Automotive, IHS Markit

“Autonomous technology continues its march from test phase to widely-embraced, mainstream functionality. But the variety of circumstances facing a computer-controlled vehicle have proven far more difficult to address, delaying the 2020 arrival of self-driving cars that many were predicting as recently as 2018. Major obstacles include changing weather conditions and the impact they have on sensors, a standardized, functional communication network between cars (V2V) and infrastructure (V2X), and ensuring security against computer hackers. These hurdles will eventually be overcome, but we’re likely looking at 2025 or later before the average citizen can leverage autonomous vehicle technology on a wide scale. Look for the limited test zones in cities like Austin, Phoenix, and Miami to slowly spread across more metro areas as well as controlled environments, such as college and corporate campuses.” – Karl Brauer, executive analyst, iSeeCars

“The industry’s thinking about autonomous vehicles has evolved and focused on commercial fleets [and] delivery vehicles. AVs in the commercial vehicle space are like a laboratory experiment that will allow the opportunity to make sure the technology works and the gathering of data to glean insights about patterns of behavior of the users. The commercial vehicle business is lucrative. Automakers know how many orders they have and thus how many they need to produce versus the individual retail business that is unpredictable. – Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, AutoTrader

“Automakers have very ambitious plans to incorporate autonomous driving features into their vehicles. Most of this is a technology push rather than a consumer pull. Our data show that less than 10 percent of vehicle buyers want a fully autonomous vehicle. About 30 percent would consider some level of autonomy. Today’s ADAS [Advanced Driver Assistance Systems] are the first step that many drivers are experiencing on the road to autonomy. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering systems sometimes lets people drive for a short time, hands-free.

When we talk about Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy, the pandemic needs to be factored in. Car sharing, which was a cornerstone of some autonomous plans, looks more problematic now. How does a driver know the vehicle is clean and sanitary? – George Peterson, president, AutoPacific

“Autonomous cars that can drive anywhere and that you can buy at a dealership will not be available this decade. Maybe next decade. Tesla claims otherwise with its Full Self Driving, but it’s up to them to prove it since it’s been delayed multiple times. That said, 2020 is really the year of autonomous vehicles. They’re on the streets and running now. The technology is available, and it works. It’s expensive, but the cost is coming down fast. For now, AVs are relegated to geofenced areas that have been 3D mapped, but those fence posts keep moving. Waymo is covering a 50-square mile area in Phoenix that will soon expand to 100-square miles. For now, AVs make the most sense for fleets. They can run their vehicles almost continuously and amortize the cost of the AV equipment more easily.” – John McElroy, host, AutolineTV

“The best chance is in geo-fenced areas, not on public roads. The infrastructure is nowhere near ready for AVs, which are never going to be 100% safe. There is not enough computer code on the planet to cover all situations.” – Richard Truett, technology and engineering reporter, Automotive News

Self-Driving Vehicles – Available Soon? Part 1

By General Posts

From https://www.motorists.org By Gary Witzenburg, Automotive Senior Writer and Contributing Editor, President of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year, and NMA Member.

Editor’s Note: HOUR Detroit Magazine has graciously permitted the NMA to publish this piece, which initially appeared in a slightly different version on its pages. Part 2 will be presented in next week’s newsletter.

Ready for your family outing, to the mall, then dinner. You call your car. It backs out of the garage and waits in your drive. You pile in and sit wherever you want since no one will drive. You face front, your spouse and kids swing their seats around to face each other.

You’ve told the car where to go, so it chooses the quickest route, obeying all stops and speed limits, keenly aware of what is happening around it. Someone steps off the curb ahead, and it slows, ready to stop if necessary. It warily eyes an errant dog cavorting to one side. You’re catching up on emails, your spouse is texting, the kids are enjoying video games. It lets you out at the mall, then zips off to park.

Shopping done, you call it to pick you up. Then it’s off to your favorite restaurant. After dinner, you catch a quick nap on your way home.

That is the scenario most envision when they think of self-driving vehicles. But how far off is that scenario? Assuming that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be wonderful for ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and deliveries (which will put a lot of drivers out of work) and that folks will happily embrace them for personal use whenever they become available and affordable, automakers and others have been investing billions of dollars in developing them.

But not everyone wants to give up driving. Some of us still enjoy it and will as long as we are capable.

Detroit Hard at Work
Automakers and others worldwide are testing and developing AVs on closed tracks and public roads while governments at all levels scramble to define rules and regulations for safe AV operation. Two Michigan facilities — the American Center for Mobility next to Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti Township and the 32-acre mock city called Mcity on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus — are dedicated to AV testing and development.

General Motors’ Cruise LLC subsidiary has been testing Chevrolet Bolt EV-based Cruise AVs in San Francisco and elsewhere while developing a fully autonomous (no driver, no controls) Origin A.V. with Honda for urban passenger and delivery service. Unveiled this January 2020, the self-driving, six-passenger Origin has production approval, and development prototypes are being tested at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds.

“We feel that Cruise has all the building blocks in place to lead in self-driving vehicles,” says GM President Mark Reuss, “and the first ones will be built right here at Factory Zero, our Detroit-Hamtramck assembly facility. In October, Cruise received a permit from the California DMV to remove human backup drivers from its self-driving cars. That means Cruise can send its cars out onto the streets of San Francisco without anyone at the wheel.”

Cruise should have Bolt-based driverless AVs running around San Francisco by the time you read this. “This is our moonshot,” says Cruise CEO Dan Amman. “The chaotic, gritty streets of San Francisco are our launchpad, and it’s where over two million miles of city testing will truly hit the road for the first time: an electric car, driving by itself, navigating one of the most difficult driving cities in the world.” In addition, Walmart plans to start testing automated deliveries using Cruise AVs in Scottsdale, AZ, early this year.

GM’s bold commitment to no-driver AVs, focusing first on city transportation, is one major element of its ambitious vision of a world with “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”

“We operate AVs in very clearly defined geofenced areas within the city that we have mapped,” chief engineer of the Cruise Origin Jason Fischer. “We will not go into areas that we haven’t mapped.” And while current Cruise AVs retain their steering wheel and pedals so a driver can take control if needed, the Cruise Origin does not. “There will be no ability to take control of the vehicle,” Fischer says. “The autonomous driving system will always be in control.”

Ford, partnered with technology developer Argo AI, has tested AVs (with safety drivers) on Michigan Ave. around Michigan Central Station. The automaker has established AV terminals, command centers, and high-resolution mapping for ride-hailing and deliveries in Austin, TX, Miami, FL, and Washington, DC, beginning in 2022. The company is also testing AVs in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, CA. The Ford/Argo AI program will “assess the need for a safety driver and make a decision based on several factors, including the regulatory environment, safety performance data and an appropriate level of community acceptance” before operating without one.

“We are very focused on level 4 [see graphic above],” says Ford Autonomous Vehicles and director John Rich, “removing the driver from the equation and operating within a geonet.” A geonet, he explains, is different from a geofence, within which AVs should be able to self-drive anywhere. “We will initially choose not to drive some places within that area, but our geonet will expand as we move forward.”

Ford/Argo AI’s fourth-generation self-driving vehicles are Escape Hybrids equipped with the latest advanced sensing and computing technology. “We have upgraded our sensing suite with even more advanced LiDAR, higher resolution cameras, and more capable radar sensors,” says Ford Autonomous Vehicles chief engineer John Davis. “Combined, this helps improve detection of fixed and moving objects on all sides…providing a blind-spot curtain, detecting things like a passing car or bicyclist in a nearby bike lane.” A larger high-voltage battery supports these vehicles’ heavy electrical loads. A sophisticated sensor-cleaning system with forced-air chambers and high-pressure spray nozzles keeps its sensors and camera lenses clean.

Stellantis is partnered with self-driving technology company Waymo. Launched in 2009 as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, Waymo has developed a Level 4 Waymo Driver system that powers Waymo One, a ride-hailing service, and Waymo Via for trucking and deliveries. It claims 20 million-plus miles of autonomous driving on public roads in 25 US cities and 15 billion miles of simulation testing and is now offering AV rides to the public in Phoenix.

“Our now four-year partnership with Waymo continues to break new ground,” says Stellantis CEO Mike Manley. “By incorporating the Waymo Driver, the world’s leading self-driving technology, into our Pacifica minivans, we became the only partnership actually deploying fully autonomous technology in the real world, on public roads.” Stellantis is also working exclusively with Waymo on light commercial vehicles such as Ram ProMaster vans for deliveries and plans to expand it across its product line.

“Stellantis was our first OEM partner, and we’ve come a long way together,” says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans were the first vehicles in our Waymo One fleet and, guided by the Waymo Driver, have now safely and reliably driven more fully autonomous miles than any other vehicle on the planet. Together, we’ll introduce the Waymo Driver throughout the Stellantis brand portfolio, opening up new frontiers for ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal use vehicles around the world.”

Meanwhile, a very ambitious “connected corridor” linking downtown Detroit to Ann Arbor (and Metro Airport) along some 40 miles of Michigan Ave. (US 12) and Washtenaw Ave. (M-17) is in the planning stages.

“At the outset, the vision calls for one dedicated interior lane for both the east and west side of Michigan Ave,” writes editor R.J. King in the Nov./Dec. issue of DBusiness magazine. “Those two lanes will need barriers at first, to separate autonomous from general traffic including pedestrians. Several crosswalks will be needed, traffic lights must be coordinated, and all manner of hardware and software is required to connect GPS satellites, cellular arrays, Wi-Fi systems, sensors, and underground fiber cables.” An alternative plan suggests using a new lane along I-94 instead of Michigan Ave.

According to King, this project’s vision began with Ford executive chairman Bill Ford. It will be managed by Cavnue, a subsidiary of New-York-based Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, working with Michigan’s Department of Transportation, Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Economic Development Corp., and Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, along with state and local partners, stakeholders and communities.

“The project will be designed to evolve to meet transportation goals,” he writes, “but in the beginning, the dedicated lanes will accommodate linked buses and shared mobility vehicles such as vans and shuttles and expand to other connected and autonomous vehicles like freight and personal vehicles.” Phase one completion is targeted for the second half of 2022.

Click Here to Read part 2 of Autonomous (Self-Driving) Vehicles –Available Soon (Yes and No). Gary explains the critical missions and asks the experts how soon we will see AVs on the road.

Celebrating 19 Years of Dale’s Wheels Through Time

By General Posts

July 4th weekend we’re celebrating our 19th Anniversary. Celebrate With Us.

Join Us in Celebrating 19 Years.

This July 4th weekend, we’re celebrating our 19th Anniversary! Join us as we fire up some of the rarest motorcycles and machines in the world, including the newest additions to Wheels Through Time, the 1912 Harley-Davidson Twin, the 1922 Harley-powered cyclecar, and the world’s fastest Model A, all while continuing to share the history of the American Motorcycle.

We’re also proud to announce the American Motor Drome Company: Wall of Death Thrillshow will be joining us all weekend long. The Wall of Death is a vintage live-action thrill show featuring a motor drome, a silo-shaped wooden cylinder 30 feet in diameter. Inside the drome, motorcycle daredevils travel along the vertical wall performing trick, fancy, and acrobatic riding.

Our anniversary weekend will be July 1st- July 5th, 10 am – 5 pm

Visit https://wheelsthroughtime.com/

Why shortages of a $1 chip sparked crisis in the global economy

By General Posts

by Bloomberg from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

The chip crunch was born out of an understandable miscalculation as the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. When Covid-19 began spreading from China to the rest of the world, many companies anticipated people would cut back as times got tough.

To understand why the $450 billion semiconductor industry has lurched into crisis, a helpful place to start is a one-dollar part called a display driver.

Hundreds of different kinds of chips make up the global silicon industry, with the flashiest ones from Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. going for $100 apiece to more than $1,000. Those run powerful computers or the shiny smartphone in your pocket. A display driver is mundane by contrast: Its sole purpose is to convey basic instructions for illuminating the screen on your phone, monitor or navigation system.

The trouble for the chip industry — and increasingly companies beyond tech, like automakers — is that there aren’t enough display drivers to go around. Firms that make them can’t keep up with surging demand so prices are spiking. That’s contributing to short supplies and increasing costs for liquid crystal display panels, essential components for making televisions and laptops, as well as cars, airplanes and high-end refrigerators.

“It’s not like you can just make do. If you have everything else, but you don’t have a display driver, then you can’t build your product,” says Stacy Rasgon, who covers the semiconductor industry for Sanford C. Bernstein.

Now the crunch in a handful of such seemingly insignificant parts — power management chips are also in short supply, for example — is cascading through the global economy. Automakers like Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have already scaled back production, leading to estimates for more than $60 billion in lost revenue for the industry this year.

The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. A rare winter storm in Texas knocked out swaths of U.S. production. A fire at a key Japan factory will shut the facility for a month. Samsung Electronics Co. warned of a “serious imbalance” in the industry, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it can’t keep up with demand despite running factories at more than 100% of capacity.

“I have never seen anything like this in the past 20 years since our company’s founding,” said Jordan Wu, co-founder and chief executive officer of Himax Technologies Co., a leading supplier of display drivers. “Every application is short of chips.”

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The chip crunch was born out of an understandable miscalculation as the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. When Covid-19 began spreading from China to the rest of the world, many companies anticipated people would cut back as times got tough.

“I slashed all my projections. I was using the financial crisis as the model,” says Rasgon. “But demand was just really resilient.”

People stuck at home started buying technology — and then kept buying. They purchased better computers and bigger displays so they could work remotely. They got their kids new laptops for distance learning. They scooped up 4K televisions, game consoles, milk frothers, air fryers and immersion blenders to make life under quarantine more palatable. The pandemic turned into an extended Black Friday onlinepalooza.

Automakers were blindsided. They shut factories during the lockdown while demand crashed because no one could get to showrooms. They told suppliers to stop shipping components, including the chips that are increasingly essential for cars.

Then late last year, demand began to pick up. People wanted to get out and they didn’t want to use public transportation. Automakers reopened factories and went hat in hand to chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung. Their response? Back of the line. They couldn’t make chips fast enough for their still-loyal customers.

A year of poor planning led to carmakers’ massive chip shortage
Himax’s Jordan Wu is in the middle of the tech industry’s tempest. On a recent March morning, the bespectacled 61-year-old agreed to meet at his Taipei office to discuss the shortages and why they are so challenging to resolve. He was eager enough to talk that interview was scheduled for the same morning Bloomberg News requested it, with two of his staff joining in person and another two dialing in by phone. He wore a mask throughout the interview, speaking carefully and articulately.

Wu founded Himax in 2001 with his brother Biing-seng, now the company’s chairman. They started out making driver ICs (for integrated circuits), as they’re known in the industry, for notebook computers and monitors. They went public in 2006 and grew with the computer industry, expanding into smartphones, tablets and touch screens. Their chips are now used in scores of products, from phones and televisions to automobiles.

Wu explained that he can’t make more display drivers by pushing his workforce harder. Himax designs display drivers and then has them manufactured at a foundry like TSMC or United Microelectronics Corp. His chips are made on what’s artfully called “mature node” technology, equipment at least a couple generations behind the cutting-edge processes. These machines etch lines in silicon at a width of 16 nanometers or more, compared with 5 nanometers for high-end chips.?

The chip’s makers have seen their shares soar with strong demand
The bottleneck is that these mature chip-making lines are running flat out. Wu says the pandemic drove such strong demand that manufacturing partners can’t make enough display drivers for all the panels that go into computers, televisions and game consoles — plus all the new products that companies are putting screens into, like refrigerators, smart thermometers and car-entertainment systems.

There’s been a particular squeeze in driver ICs for automotive systems because they’re usually made on 8-inch silicon wafers, rather than more advanced 12-inch wafers. Sumco Corp., one of the leading wafer manufacturers, reported production capacity for 8-inch equipment lines was about 5,000 wafers a month in 2020 — less than it was in 2017.

No one is building more mature-node manufacturing lines because it doesn’t make economic sense. The existing lines are fully depreciated and fine-tuned for almost perfect yields, meaning basic display drivers can be made for less than a dollar and more advanced versions for not much more. Buying new equipment and starting off at lower yields would mean much higher expenses.

“Building new capacity is too expensive,” Wu says. Peers like Novatek Microelectronics Corp., also based in Taiwan, have the same constraints.

That shortfall is showing up in a spike in LCD prices. A 50-inch LCD panel for televisions doubled in price between January 2020 and this March. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Matthew Kanterman projects that LCD prices will keep rising at least until the third quarter. There is a “a dire shortage” of display driver chips, he said.

LCD Prices Are Surging
Aggravating the situation is a lack of glass. Major glass makers reported accidents at their production sites, including a blackout at a Nippon Electric Glass Co.’s factory in December and an explosion at AGC Fine Techno Korea’s factory in January. Production will likely remain constrained at least through summer this year, display consultancy DSCC Co-founder Yoshio Tamura said.

On April 1, I-O Data Device Inc., a major Japanese computer peripherals maker, raised the price of their 26 LCD monitors by 5,000 yen on average, the biggest increase since they began selling the monitors two decades ago. A spokeswoman said the company can’t make any profit without the increases due to rising costs for components.

All of this has been a boon to Himax’s business. Sales are surging and its stock price has tripled since November.

But the CEO isn’t celebrating. His whole business is built around giving customers what they want, so his inability to meet their requests at such a critical time is frustrating. He doesn’t expect the crunch, especially for automotive components, to end any time soon.

“We have not reached a position where we can see the light at the end of tunnel yet,” Wu said.