Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Car of the Future, some Random Intelligence, and Defense Thoughts

A follow on from:

Some of the following technologies are obviously extremely far off into the future while others are very easily adaptable and can be implemented basically immediately.

- a variation on shield technology I've been thinking of is pulse wave shields (we probably haven't reached energy density levels in small enough packages to enable medium/long term/time shields so I've been thinking of using super capacitor technology in combination with conventional projectile interceptors to send shock waves/ pulses as missiles come in). Obvious issue is altitude and also efficiency issues related to
May also be used in combination with constructive interference to break through accelerate through to supersonic speeds more quickly (possible to offset onset of sonic booms through destructive interference?). My preference is to power once more on environmental technologies. Peltier modules will once gain use the air temperature differential between engines and the external atmosphere in order to power shield/pulse wave generators. They could serve to give off decoy radar signatures (especially in the case of low RCS aircraft), may also reduce the IR signature of the aircraft by converting heat into electricity, slow down/reduce/stop the range of incoming missiles, concussion waves (similar effect to so called flash bangs) for non-lethal combatant control, etc...
- a lot of renewable energy systems such as street lighting shorts to ground/wastes energy when not in use. Would like to send this back into grid whereever possible/reasonable. All lighting systems must have an output. May require an open standard here?
- would like car manufacturers to reconsider seating format. 2+3 or 2+2 seems to be standard nowadays but as previously stated would like to see other lower seat capacity options/configurations. Single seater with 'Transformatech' capabilities, 1+2, 1+3 configuration also. Obvious reasons include reduced weight, easier export to alternative markets, etc... However, since we're removing so many extraneous parts it also means that we can have more room to move ballast. In this case, I'd probably try to move the front passengers directly over the front wheels for better traction (this is likely to be a rear mid engine configuration but numerous alterations will be made to aide safely because we'll me making more alterations to the front end of the car as you'll discover shortly)
- move towards plastic windows. Obvious issues regarding shatter/safety though for emergency services. Propose purposely embedding weak points (grooves) or else a lattice framework within the window so that the structural integrity is weakened at known points in case of emergency
- move towards resin/glue on cars as a means of saving weight on welds, increasing strengh becoming more commonplace. Would like to see this filter down to all cars at some point
- am considering abolition of electrically based power windows/central locking systems (am unsure about efficiency/convience gain over current systems though. Will have to do some experiments). Moving to hydraulic system based on compressed air or a liquid system that is unlikely to require replacing we use high quality parts/fluids. Would be controlled through a central reservoir with a series of vales which would open/close and a pump which would dispense the required air/fluid to deal with each door/window
- have also considered moving towards a braking system that is basically based on air but it's clear that there are compression/latency issues. Moreover, since I envisage moving towards superconducting brakes which don't generate heat (but are more effective and are used on Jetcars) it's likely that if we use high quality parts/fluids the brake fluid may never deteriorate/require replacing
- considered using ride height changes/dynamic rake (see Formula 1) but am concerned about reliability cost
- considered dyed plastic which means that if there is a scratch you can buff it out most of the time. Moreover, it saves the cost/time associated with painting parts
- consider using Coanda style aerodynamic solutions/vortex generators to clean up airflow around rear end (used on many super/hypercars). Air inflow will come from 'gill' like serrations that will open/close on the side of the car
- consider using hinged flaps over door hinges in to further clean up aerodynamics (these will seal the air flow flat to the side of the door with no indentation)
- mandate minimum drag coefficient levels?
- have considered using HUD's but am worried that they aren't easily readible in daylight. Have concerns that modifications to screen required to maintain good visibility may make price of screen prohibitive
- it's likely that I'll try to reduce the size (or get rid of) the dashboard (I'm only likely to keep a small portion of it for redundancy safety purposes) or get rid of it completely where possible. It will be replaced by a tablet like computer which will replace many of the onboard electronic systems and other functionality such as the ECU, security system, stereo system, etc... This will obviously result in large weight savings. It will also add a lot of extra functionality which I will details alter on which may have a dramatic impact on the way we drive in the future
- conventional speakers will be replaced by flat panel speakers. The difference in sound fidelity/quality is problematic but is diminishing based on what I've been reading
- I previously said I'd like to get rid of rack and pinion steering. I've changed my mind for safety reasons. Gears will be replaced by a circular superconducters that are sliced up like pizza slices. Each slice will alternatate the polarity with the ratcheting mechanism on the steering arm. It may be suppemented by extra electromagnets that would allow you to adjust the amount of power steering assitance that you require. I'd like my version to have the same system on the back end as well while being connected with a central pole? This would reduce turning circles considerably (consider abolishing differential?)
- the other steering mechanism that I had with 'fancy differentials' that dealt with each wheel would have offered some benefits though. It would mean that the tyres would never angle outwards. This meant I could create door like covers on each wheel (no more wheel flares/edges which would impact on aero. They would be flattened to the side of the car now) itself. This would benefit aerodynamic obviously
- switch to racing style/bucket like seats. Almost as comfortable but at a lower weight. Unlikely to use power seats for weight savings
- since there is no major dashboard anymore some of the safety provided from it's presense is lost. We're going to replace it with honeycomb pattern of plastic/metal which is liked to vehicle telemetry which will alter the amount of charge applied to these crumble zones. This will increase the strength/weaken the strength of doors/bumper bars, etc... depending on the speed likelihood of an accident. This means that in lower speed accidents you're less likely to incur significant damage while in higher speed accidents you'll have more crumple protection (I'm guessing that in some cases if we can make enough progress in these materials we may be able to have cars which can basically repair themselves someday)
- would like to see them offer the option of being able to remove seats from car during purchase and add later on if need be for cost reasons as stated previously
- obvious option is simply to reduce dimensions of the car but it's unlikely I'd do too much of this to remain higher levels of comfort
- want to move to steel/composite hybrid engines. My hope is that we reach the stage in superconducter/materials technology where the walls of the piston chamber and piston itself are repelled only via 'magnetic forces' and there is enough compression to be adequate for power but not enough to generate significant friction which would require a radiator
- want to see slightly more aerodynamic design of moving parts in the engine. This means that in combustion engines the top of valves and pistons will be shaped to become slightly bullet like to reduce drag. Am aware of experiments with piston shaping to increase efficacy. Would like to attempt to experiment with flexible face technology, hollow cores, as used in golf club drivers as well... Obvious issues related to lifespan though if using flexing to change shape of piston head as it moves up/down through cylinder
- as I've previously said I'd like to move towards low friction/frictionless technology across the board including engines. This obviously reduces cooling requires but also means that we can do away with a lot of other parts such as the radiator, radiator fluid, radiator fan, oil filter, oil sump, oil, power steering, power steering pump, power steering fluid, most of the transmission (I have an alternative design which is roughly based on the power steering system technology that I mentioned above), transmission fluid, etc... To give you an idea of how much this changes the car weight equation as it stands we use about 300-400kg for many current engine/transmission combinations
- would like to get rid of spark plugs as well. Achievable by altering fuel but that may require 'additives' or significant engine modifications which may detract from my desire for it to be truly 'multi-fuel'
- dirt repelling undertray which will result in less losses through lost fuel efficiency
- believe traction problems can be overcome through an array of measures. Obviously, better tyre compounds but am considering an array of other options. Among them are multi-chamber tyres, heating the rim of the types to attain the optimum temperature/pressure, tyres which have an electrical membrane/circuit (a number of independent sections) that are built into the wall. Each time the tyre comes into contact with the ground the switch/circuit is triggered metal/plastic built into the tire is flattened so that maximum tire adhesion/traction is achieved, another is a tire/rubber compound which becomes more tacky on contact with air (far off into the future), another is dynamic inflation technologies which involves a centralised inflation system working in combination with LIDAR/RADAR scanning technologies which would open up tiny pressure release valves in the wheels/tires. Once a tricky section had been bypassed the tire would be re-inflated to the original desired pressure. Another concept that I've been examining is using a concentric wheel/ball bearing configuration. The outer wheel/shell would be connected to the tire, the inner wheel/rim would be in the same configuration as a conventional ball bearing that you see in roller blades. The balls at the bottom would be significantly heavier though which means that you effectively have extra ballast pushing down at each tire which will increase it's traction
At some point though I'd like to move away completely from pneumatic tyres to tires with just the membrace structure once we achieve gains in materials technology. Either way, with the increases in traction and the reduced weight my hope is that tires will last the entire life of the vehicle itself. Moreover, if we no longer have to rely on air we can no longer have 'flat tires'
- previously I said I'd like to move towards ground effect style vehicles which make better use of aerodynamic (dynamic aerodynmamics in particular). I'm wondering whether we should use a combination of passive and active dynamic aero technologies? The front/rear spoilers and floor would be passive with active technologies such as 'winglets' added/extended out of the sides of the car if desired/required
- would like to move toward more organic technologies in cars including the air filter which is currently mostly paper
- I think one thing we should keep in mind that we shouldn't be afraid to start car design from scratch once more. We've come a long way with many technologies but sometimes it seems as though the basics of car technology haven't changed over a long time
- curious to know whether we could create heat absorbant roads to suck up extra heat and put it back into the ground? Passive metal heatsinks/pipes? A coating? how would this impact on road car performance?
- would like to get rid of car battery or at least reduce it's influence. Will be replaced by a supercapacitor that is charged through mains, wirelessly, or via an auxiliary battery system that is carried by the driver themselves. Battery/alternator only added if extra equipment added
- more efficient tech doesn't necessarily mean less power usage overall. Recently, I heard a stat which said that with the advent of flat panel televisions people have moved to increasingly larger screen sizes. However, the size of the screens have reached the point where power efficiency gains have been wiped out
- recently a town in Spain installed sensors everywhere to turn their city into a 'smart city'. I think there may be a cheaper way of doing this but I'm not sure whether sensor technology has reached the required level as yet. If you've ever poured a glass of liquid into a cup and then 'tapped' it when empty, half empty, full, etc... you'll notice that the sound/frequency changes. The same principle can be used here. Using wide spectrum, spread spectrum radio waves over the long term and in short periods/bursts of time we can determine the frequency of what is inside of an object at any point in time (similar to biosensory technology that you see in science fiction movies but which is basically a step up from current siesmograph technology). It's likely that such technology will require a leap current sensor technology as well as extensive tuning though. This technology obviously has other uses as well especially in the arms control arena. Sufficient advancements may even allow you to gain the blueprints of any remote device by pointing and shooting just like a camera. Another way is to have a smaller number of sensors from a high point. For instance, if you have cameras in streetlights you can take pictures of many car parking spaces and detect which ones are and aren't empty. This is also less likely to be tampered because it's less likely to be reached by potential vandals
- this leads me to another point though if you have a proper computer in a car as we would here you open up a world of possiblities. Using wireless networking you can broadcast details of which spaces are empty in a car parking lot and direct drivers from one point to another using direction/triangulation. Moreover, if you get lost and your car is still connected to the car parking lot's computer you can use direction/triangulation to provide you with a 'compass' of how to get back to your car. While we're at it we could probably get rid of parking tickets as well. Collision avoidance technology is basically not too dissimilar to the logic used in games such as battleship but on a significantly more complex level so it's likely that if you have the sensors then you can add this and other functionality (such as driverless mode and automated parking) to your car anytime you desire 
- considering using a gyro which will basically swing ballast in the car to increase cornering speed or increase stability (depending on needs/requirements)
- we often use salt or other additives such as radiator anti-boil/freeze fluid as a means of reducing/increasing the freezing point/boiling point of water. Wondering whether there is a substance we can add that is non-toxic that we can use to alter freezing point in polar ice regions? Obvious issue is tidal flow but as we've seen with oil wondering whether if increased viscosity and a 'long rope' may be enough to keep the substance where you need it? Moreover, would it be possible to time things so that we can change where the ice actually lies?
- guesttimation leads me to believe that many of the measures outlined here will result in huge weight savings (about half which means road cars will approach Formula 1 race car weights of about 650 KG. We could go below Formula 1 car weights if we're willing to move toward composite construction but this would likely come at huge financial cost. I recall a documentary which stated that a carbon fibre drive train alone could cost $200,000! Moreover, it doesn't deal with the issue of dynamic aerodynamics as I'd previously envisaged). This would likely mean a switch to 1 to 4 (it's unlikely that you'd require more than two cylinders based on the weight savings and subsequent power to weight ratio) cylinder normally aspirated engines (super/turbo charging would be my preference for a sportier ride) Would like to use these savings to add independent suspensions systems, stability control, more air bags, and other extra safety features for all cars from now on
- for an idea of what such a vehicle is likely to resemble look at the movie 'Tron Legacy'. A motorocycle version is likely to look very similar to the one in the movie and the car would bear some similarities to the buggy/style car in it
- there are huge problems if we move towards to some of the technologies mentioned here in particular with the automotive industry. Cars are already becoming more reliable which has meant lower sales over the long term. This car would significantly remove wear and has far fewer fluids (my desire is for no toxic materials which need to be 'dealt with' upon disposal/service/repair), moving parts which can fail on top of this. This means less repairs/servicing (possibly/probably none if you take adequate design steps. All you'd need to do is hook it up to a computer with relevant software it would tell you what was wrong since many of the systems are centralised and are easily accessed/diagnosed). It's likely that some of the cost of these one off technologies and the overall reliablity (once perfected) would lead to an extremely expensive up front vehicle as well
- there's a lot more that I've thought about but I think these are the major points. Will leave other points regarding future/sustainability technology (including plans for making travel beyond our own planet much (hopefully) easier) for another time

Life in Vietnam 2, Data Recovery Work, and More

This is a continuation of my other post: - more Yo...