AUTONOMOUS-CARS RACE SERIES
Imagine a future race series where there are no drivers... Sounds far-fetched, right? Not to mention odd. Well, the rst race between two autonomous vehicles took place earlier this year on a Buenos Aires street circuit set up for the Formula E championship that ran on the same day. The autonomous electric racecars, Devbots, were developed by company Roborace to ultimately create a new autonomous-car series. You might argue that racing is all about the drivers, but this series gives software engineers the chance to pit their skills against each other on the track. It should speed up the advancement of the technology we need for autonomous production vehicles and a racetrack is a safe environment to learn. So, how did the race go? Unfortunately, one of the Devbots crashed. Roborace says it isn’t concerned, though, as the test provided valuable information and no drivers were injured. Developed by Castrol and BP, the Nexcel fuel cell promises to change how our car engines interact with oil. In a dry-sump engine (mostly found in racing or high-performance vehicles), the oil is stored in a separate container and fed to the engine only as needed. This prevents cornering forces moving the oil away from the oil pump pick-up point that leads to oil starvation in the engine (as would occur in a wet sump).
Nexcel has taken this idea further and made a self-containing oil unit that holds not only the oil, but also the lter, a pump and control unit. This oil cell can be paired with a wet-sump production engine and removes the lubricant from the sump during start-up to accelerate the warm-up process, thereby reducing friction, wear and emissions. When it is time for an oil change, all the liquid can be moved into the unit, whereafter it’s replaced by a new sealed unit containing the new oil. This can be done in less than two minutes with no spillage and allows the easy recycling of old oil. It sounds interesting, but we’re unconvinced the bene ts outweigh the added complexity and cost.