Author Archives: valerieiqpc

Follow up: How Social Media creates Brand Awareness in the Automotive Industry

A recent study by Text100 about how automotive brands were perceived within social media channels during 2011 shows that it is quite clear that the automotive industry is not alien to social media. In fact, it is just as forward moving as any vertical market out there!

There are many great examples of how different brands have utilized the advantages of social media campaigns. We have listed a few below:

One example of a successful campaign launched just this week is the new promotion for the Volkswagen Polo in Spain. The campaign is built as a competition on Twitter as a way to promote and publicize the new VW Polo, which is also 1st prize in the competition. Each time a participant writes a tweet using the correct hashtags, you will increase your chances of winning the VW Polo. The end of this promotion will be when Volkswagen obtains a determined amount of tweets stated or by the competition end date on May 28, 2012.

In 2011 Mercedes-Benz launched a race car that literally ran on tweets. Tweets counted for a certain amount of gas: for every tweet, each team would receive 1/4 mile to advance toward its destination.

In Norway, VW promoted its Golf Bluemotion using Twitter – they created a real time game using Google Maps and Street View. The Bluemotion Golf started with a full tank with the intention to drive until it ran out of gas. To win the game you would have to guess where the car would stop.

Alfa Romeo launched a facebook campaign in Spain: If you were able to gather 99 friends from Facebook to accompany you to an Alfa Romeo dealership, you would win an Alfa Romeo Mito.

The automotive industry is embracing the possibilities that social media offer. Thus, social media tools and user networks have become an important factor in contributing to brand awareness of auto companies. Every day, more companies are investing in innovation, and in doing so they are leading the way for other industries to use these techniques as well.

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LAST CALL: Innovative Seating Conference 2012

 >> 06 – 09 February, 2012, Maritim Rhein-Main Hotel Darmstadt, Frankfurt/Main, Germany <<

This event will combine extensive experience from industry professionals and best practise updates – do not miss out!

Registrations are still being accepted. Please visit the website for more information!

Need for Advanced Suspension Systems

Suspension systems have significantly contributed to vehicle’s safety as well as in the enhancement of its life span. A good suspension system protects vehicle from undue wear & tear, which in turn increases the life-span of the vehicle. In this context, vehicle’s application is very useful for providing its availability. Moreover, it proactively plays an active part in rendering comfort to vehicle occupants. In modern times, the significance of suspension systems is much valued than it was decades ago. Today, the manufacturers have certainly prioritized incorporating advanced suspension systems in its vehicles, in order to render controllability, stability and many other component attributes onto its vehicle occupants. Also, patenting of its suspension system design is carried out by certain vehicle makers. Future trends of advanced suspension systems could be reflected from representative patents and innovations in the arena of suspension systems.

 Achieving State of Art Suspension systems
Driving comfort and safety is one of the functionalities of vehicle suspension system. A good suspension system is the efficient carrier of the vehicle body or its framework, so as to proportionately distribute all forces between the road and the vehicle body. In order for the suspension system to suit any driving conditions, introduction of active and semi-active components is mandatory. Fixed setups of suspension should be technically enhanced by making alterations in variable shock absorber or springs so attached to it. For instilling efficacy in vehicle suspension systems, the control behavior of its components ought to be studied. Also, adapting to certain parameters in relevance to driving excitations must be understood. It is equally pertinent to identify as well as detect if any faulty components persist, in order to accommodate design of suspension system. As any discussions on suspension systems brings forth the essence of driving safety and driving comfort, it would be optimal to elaborate these two widely used terms.

Read more about suspension systems here.

Energy management in automotive green production

IQPC had the chance to speak with Frank Knafla, Energy Efficiency Specialist at PHOENIX CONTACT Electronics about the energy management in automotive green production. In this interview, he explains the importance of a clear structure for energy management within the business process. According to Frank Knafla, Management must decide on potential and investment possibilities of energy management and face the challenge of promoting sustainability within the company.

The interviews was audio-recorded, and is available as a podcast for free download. Access it here.

64th International Motor Show IAA

This year the International Motor Show IAA will take place for the 64th time, 15 – 25 September, in Frankfurt am Main/Germany!  It is the leading forum for mobility. 900 exhibitors will present their latest products, among them 75 OEMs.

The start of the IAA took place more than 110 years ago. In 1897, 8 motor vehicles were exhibited to the public at the Bristol Hotel, Unter den Linden in Berlin. Due to its high visitor and exhibitor turnout, the IAA was developed into a yearly alternating exhibition of passenger cars and commercial vehicles in 1991.

Fair topics
The Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA Cars) is the world’s most comprehensive show of the automotive industry for everybody who develops, manufactures or uses passenger cars. Special feature is the large presence of suppliers throughout the whole automotive value added chain, including special interest media, workshop equipment, engineering services, tuning and telematics solutions.

Additional attractions

  • Special action for grown ups and kids, e. g. test rides, SUV-track, kid’s cinema
  •  Symposia for trade visitors, e. g. congress “Ecosystem Electric Mobility”
  • Special interest exhibitions, e. g. Electric Mobility Hall, Oldtimer.
  • Programs for pupils and students
  • Tuning, memorabilia, model cars, e. g. Automania

Visit the IAA website for more information and tickets.

The current and future status of tire monitoring, performance, and recycling technology

We take tires for granted, perhaps too much, but if we learn that tires are at least part and parcel the cause of an accident in which we are involved, we suddenly become very interested.  Both from the designer’s point of view and the one servicing them, it is an excellent idea to be aware of recent developments in tire technology.

In this article the following topics are presented:

–         Trends and future possibilities of direct tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) 

–         From direct TPMS to the Intelligent Tire

–         Electric vehicles: New requirements for tires’ rolling resistance

–         Environmentally-friendly or ‘green’ tires

–         Requirements for heavy duty vehicle tires (embedded in other sections)

–         Test methods for rolling resistance, rolling noise & wet grip

To appreciate how far and fast tire technology (click also here to read more) has been advancing, it is worthwhile to see where tires started and what they looked like even a couple of decades ago.  Robert William Thompson invented and patented the pneumatic tire in 1846, but it was not until the 1880s that John Boyd Dunlop literally taped these tires to bicycle wheels.  So successful was this that he produced these tires in1888 and patented the product in 1889.  Numerous developments in clincher rim technology, cotton reinforcing rods, and rim beads occurred, resulting in the first automobile tire in 1895. In 1904 one could get a mountable tire that included cord reinforcement.  By 1924, pneumatic tires had completely replaced the solid ones.  Synthetic tires came on line in 1937, followed by radial tires in 1946 for Europe, and rayon belted ones, along with tubeless tires the following year.  Through the 1960s, other materials were introduced, such as nylon and fiberglass. Regulations started catching up with these advances, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) mandating an identification code be stamped on each tire.  Since then, information has become quite detailed, showing the load range, type of tire, size, conditions under which it can be used, and so forth [1]. The basic tire was about to under much further change, starting in the mid-1990s, especially with respect to how tires were to be monitored. 

Trends and future possibilities of direct tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS)

Current (2011) state of TPMS

To appreciate what the future holds for tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), we need to review what exists now.  When the first TPMS was developed for Porsche in the mid-1980s, it used a sensor-battery-receiver system, where sensors were mounted some place on the tire, such as the valve stem, rim, or tire cavity.  The receiver would be inside the car and be connected to appropriate display equipment.  Radio frequency (RF) units received the data created by the sensor and sent it to the receiver, which, in turn, activated a warning light.  More modern versions have four to five transmitters (including one for the spare), and the receiver can be integrated with other electronic equipment, such as remote keyless entry units or body control devices.  Commercial unlicensed ultrahigh frequency (UHF) normally is used (315 or 434 MHz inEurope).  Some receivers get information from tires having a unique serial number, thus avoiding confusion in picking up signals from sensors mounted on surrounding tires.  When the warning light is on in a steady state, the tire is under-inflated or not inflated at all.  There also could be a fault in the TPMS system, itself, if the tire does have the proper pressure. 

Several issues arise in sensor design and location design.  First, if the sensors are mounted on the outside of the tire in plain view, such as on the valve stem, thieves can steal them, and they also are the source of unevenly distributed weight, making the tire subject to shimmying, vibration, or other malfunction.  Mounting the sensor on the back of the valve stem eliminates the theft problem, and the balancing issue can be reduced with miniaturization, such as in the development of micro mechanical systems and systems using nanotechnology.  Sensors also can be incorporated into a band mounted on the inside part of the tire’s rim.  However, RF can be blocked or negatively affected by carbon or ferrous content in a tire, making specially manufactured tires necessary.  This also limits a car owner’s range of choice in tires, making it more expensive, as is the case with most specialty items. 

Alternatives to a TPMS have more than one receiver or antenna that enables the vehicle to discern the particular wheel transmitting data.  The vehicle’s computer contains in its database information on the tire’s pressure at the time of manufacture, as well as serial number.  Other systems have a radio frequency identification tag (RFID) mounted on each tire that uses 125 KHz to send information at any time to the TPMS.  When the ignition switch is turned on, each tire is polled sequentially for information so the driver can identify any tire with problems.  This sending of data obviates the signal collision problems associated with the “low-end” systems described above.  This “high line” system uses a magnetic field detected by the low frequency (LF) antenna in the TPMS.  On-board computers will “re-learn” the data for each tire that may be changed or if there is sensor replacement.  While the high line systems tend to be more expensive, they save battery power and give information right at car start-up.  Still, other systems use the intensity of the UHF signal (such as the sensor being mounted in the front set of tires or the rear set) as a basis for unique tire identification and other data transmission. 

Sensors, themselves, transmit data regarding information not about only the tire’s pressure but also its direction, temperature, tire identification number, and speed of rotation, as well.  The pressure, temperature, and tire rotation data are sent as analog signals, which then are converted to digital data for processing.  As a note on pressure, it is not reported directly (hence, “direct tire pressure sensors” is somewhat of a misnomer), but as a result of a computation from data obtained about the slow or rapid changes in pressure,  indicated by the tire’s state, such as rotation and temperature.  Measuring the pressure directly has been deemed too complex and possibly risky, such as issues with the instability of sensor locations.

The environment in which the sensor is placed is one of changing temperature, moisture, and contamination levels, thus placing stress on sensors and batteries. Using batteries presents a number of problems associated with the use of these power storage devices, in general.  Battery saving devices, such as improved materials and computer chips that can optimize power usage (commonly about 250μW), have improved, but the problem still remains not only of battery life, which is about 7-10 years,  but the disposing of the huge number of batteries produced each year for the TPMS systems.  Changing a tire can be traumatic to the sensors and the batteries, as well, so the more times the tire is extracted from the rim, the greater chance the apparatus can be damaged, hence necessitating repair or replacement.  Coupled with the usual problems resulting from dead batteries, such as the tire going flat “old style” without the driver being warned, are liability issues.  If a driver is dependent upon the system and it fails due to battery problems, the resulting damage can be subject to litigation. 

The fact that the sensors and receiver can be made as an independent TPMS system make it amenable to being an after market package that can be installed on older vehicles.  This is in line with TPMS being mandatory in the United States for all vehicles manufactured from 2007, onward, as specified by 49 CFR Part 571 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) [2].  Europe is mandating TPMS in car models from 2012-onward.  Starting in 1 January 2013, all South Korean passenger cars will have to have a TPMS, but all existing vehicles will have after 30 June 2014 a TPMS, even if it is retro-fitted. Japan is expected to follow Europe.

In contrast to direct pressure measurement, indirect measurement of tire pressure is accomplished through the characteristics of the tire, itself, such as speed of rotation.  An under-inflated tire has to rotate faster than a properly inflated one to maintain vehicular speed, as the covered distance is the same.  On a newer TPMS, tire under-inflation can be detected by whether and how the tire vibrates.  These systems can be integrated with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and have the distinct advantage of eliminating sensors in the tires.  However, the driver must recalibrate the system by pressing a button on the dashboard.  If the tire is under-inflated, the TPMS will not give an accurate report.   The regulatory status is mixed, it complying with some laws but not others.

Problems are in store for heavy vehicles, as TPMS doesn’t work well.  Not only are there standardization issues, but the very length of trailers raises problems with long-distance transmissions.  Battery life is compromised because of the complexity in repairing flats.  That the truck loads have to be distributed safely requires more tires, thus raising equipment costs.  Retreading is done more on tractor-trailers, another factor limiting sensor life.  Truckers will allow for slow leaks, thus affecting accurate tire pressure monitoring.  Currently a lot of monitoring is done by pass-through truck stations that report issues to truck drivers. 

An issue with TPMS is how accurate it will be with “run-flat” tires, those on which a vehicle can be driven at greatly reduced speeds and distances – enough to get to a repair station.  How accurate will the TPMS be in reporting the need for tire repair?  Research is ongoing with respect to this question.

Future of TPMS

A primary development will be more countries adopting regulations requiring vehicles have a TPMS system as well as strengthening existing ones [3].  Aside from regulations and standardization, work will proceed in making batteries more efficient, as well as extending the power and range of transmitters so as to guarantee accurate data transmission.  As to power requirements, batteries have been a stumbling block, but there is nothing to say that solar power cannot be used.  Properly mounted cells can supply that power directly or recharge the batteries.  RFID tags are found everywhere and are easily mass produced at low cost.  Hence, it can be expected that they will supplant sensors whenever possible, or sensor technology will be further miniaturized and integrated with RFIDs. 

To date, the primary emphasis on TPMS has been on passenger vehicles.  TPMS will work on heavy vehicles, and systems are marketed, but tire changing complexities and conditions reduce sensor life.  Increasing the range of receivers because of the length of the trailers involves more efficient power generation and battery life.  Research is progressing on how to make TPMS more amenable to heavy vehicles [4].  However, there does not seem to be a rush for truckers to fit TPMS because of the cost versus benefit [5].

The primary focus on new development of TPMS is energy efficiency and self-regulating, or “intelligent” tires, covered in the next section. 

References (Subject is indicated by URL – accessed 11 June 2011)
[3] [4][5]

Intelligent Tire Technology
Don’t miss the “7th International Conference Intelligent Tire Technology”,
26-28 September 2011 at the Maritim Rhein-Main Hotel in Darmstadt, Germany.

How To Be a Green Driver Without Buying a New Car

I have come across an interesting blog post on which I would like to share with you. No longer will you have to buy a new car to be a green driver! Learn how you become a green driver without buying a new car:

Driving is an inevitable part of day-to-day life for many commuters. The impact of vehicle related CO2 emissions can no longer be ignored. There are more than 250 million cars regularly operated in the United States. In total, these cars make 365 billion trips with a combined mileage of 2.3 trillion miles per year. No matter which way you look at it, this is hard on the planet. It is time to go green, regardless of your income. Fortunately, there are many impacting ways to be a green driver without having to buy a hybrid or electric car. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and some commitment to the greater cause.

Giving up driving all together would be ideal, but is too unrealistic for most Americans. Instead, you can start with a few simple steps to living a greener, commuter lifestyle.

Step One: Get a handle on your skills and seek to practice smooth and steady driving. Smoother driving with less time spent on the gas or the brakes can equate to substantially less carbon emissions. How is this so? One second of flooring it can make the same CO2 emissions as a full thirty minutes of travel. It takes a lot of energy to get that engine to go, so work on smoother transitions.

Don’t idle your car. Nine minutes of idling is double the pollutants of turning the car off and then on again when it is time to go. Despite the myths, you will not waste gas by restarting your engine. Try to avoid rush hour traffic. If you do wind up in traffic, be sure to turn off your engines if you are at a standstill for more than 30 seconds.

Service your car regularly. This means regular oil and air filter changes, and keeping those tires inflated. Poorly maintained engines can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Slightly deflated tires can also reduce miles per gallon. Simple updates will keep you on the green commuter track.

Step Two: Try to work from home whenever possible. You can start by telling your boss that it boosts morale, profits, and the eco-friendliness of the company. In addition, this could potentially save 2 billion gallons of gasoline per year. Telecommuting one day a week could cut CO2 emissions by 400 lbs. per year. Who would want to say no to that?

Get flexed with work. This means that if you can’t telecommute, maybe you can ask to have a schedule that is outside of the peak hours. This way you can avoid rush hour traffic and all the carbon-filled standstills that so often go along with it.

Use mass transit or use your body. Maybe you can use alternate transportation a few days a week. This could mean biking, busing, riding a scooter, or even walking if it’s not too far. This will not only save on CO2 emissions, but could also save you some gas money.

Step Three: Take the big step when the time comes. This means that when your old car dies, upgrade to an eco-friendly vehicle. While this may cost more upfront, it will undoubtedly save you in gas costs over time. With gas prices sky rocketing to nearly five dollars a gallon, this is a sound investment indeed. You could always look into purchasing a used hybrid or electric car to save a little more. In the end, you are helping yourself by helping the planet.

(Source:, written by Jenni Sunde)

Off-Highway Diesel Engines and New Emissions Standards

Off-highway engine manufacturers are getting ready for a new era in diesel design. The increasingly stringent emissions standards for off-highway diesel engines challenge engine manufacturers to an unprecedented degree. Off-highway engines need an extremely flexible engine architecture to be suitable for a large width of different applications in terms of design, duty cycles and operational conditions.

Emission reduction potential in off-highway powertrains

Get updated on the latest engine technologies for off-highway applications

  • Legislation: Upcoming EU and international regulation, to assess its impact on the off-highway market segment
  • Engine performance: New engine developments for off-highwayengines can achieve optimal performance and fuel economy for all applications
  • Alternative powertrain solutions: Comparision of innovative engine applications for new powertrain technologies to prepare yourselves for a market beyond pure diesel technology
  • Retrofitting: How to get your old fleets up to the new emissions norms through the use of intelligent retrofitting technologies
  • Exhaust aftertreatment: Insight into how to comply with future emission reduction standards using the latest exhaust aftertreatment technologies

Key engine systems of off-highway diesel engines in focus

Whereas engineers agree that the next step in emission regulation standards will not be met without exhaust aftertreatment technologies, IQPC’s 2011 conference will focus on key engine systems as the most critical components in any low emission diesel powertrain.

  • Gain insight into the latest technologies for off-highway diesel engines to meet the Tier 4/ Stage 4 legislative standards
  • Find out about new engine developments for off-highway engines to achieve optimal performance, fuel economy and flexibility for applications
  • Compare innovative engine applications for new powertrain technologies for different vehicles and markets such as marine and construction, the rail segment as well as power generation to benefit from cross industry technology advances
  • Learn about intelligent retrofitting technologies to get your old fleets up to the new emissions norms
  • Assess different exhaust aftertreatment system development to reduce emissions


Next Generation Off-Highway Engines 
Don’t miss the “Next Generation Off-Highway Engines” conference, taking place
27-29 June 2011 at the Steigenberger Hotel Metropolitan Frankfurt, Germany.

#DFF: A campaign to prevent distracted driving

Today, I would like to introduce an interesting campaign to you:  the distracted driving awareness program called Distraction Free Fridays (#DFF).

 The campaign has been initiated by the blogger Carlos Beltran (Beltran about Cars) in conjunction with fellow auto blogger, Melanie Batenchuck, of BeCarChic.

April is distracted driving awareness month

 Awareness should not end at the turn of a calendar page. Each Friday through June 24th, Carlos and Melanie will share their perspectives on this increasingly important topic. They will be publishing blog posts about distracted driving, the policies that may ultimately monitor it, and the technologies that exist to reduce it. Furthermore, there will be a contest supported by Sears Automotive and Got2BWireless. Visit the Facebook site to stay tuned for the details.

What is the purpose of the campaign?

As automotive enthusiasts and bloggers, Carlos and Melanie want to learn what preventative actions drivers are taking to avoid being distracted while driving. What are some solutions that individuals can mandate for themselves? They believe that a collaborative, social approach is the best way to get the answers to these questions.

How do you avoid being distracted behind the wheel? Perhaps you are guilty of taking your eyes off the road (as all of us are at times), and you want to change your behavior. Maybe you know someone who has been injured or lost a loved one due to distracted driving. Whatever your cause, Carlos and Melanie want to team up with you to define easy-to-implement solutions.

You can help by joining the Distraction Free Fridays (#DFF) movement!
Here’s how:

  • Join #DFF on Facebook to share tips, photos, and videos about distracted driving and how to take the initiative to stop this bad habit on an individual basis.
  • Make a statement on Twitter by using the campaign hash tag (#DFF) or changing your avatar to our #DFF logo. Download it here.
  • On Fridays, in lieu of (or in addition to) the typical Follow Friday (#FF) tweets, #DFF your friends and show them how much you care about driving without any distractions. Here’s a sample tweet: “I’m taking the #DFF pledge and putting down my device today – doing my part against #distracteddriving.”

You can join the campaign on the blog Beltran about Cars.

Help to prevent accidents!

( Source

HMI: The Hi-Tech Lifesaver in Road Accidents

Sticking to the previous blogpost dealing with the risks of driving and the components of a car crash, we will have a closer look to HMI. It may be THE high-tech lifesaver in road accidents.

The problem of road accidents is becoming graver as each day passes. Automotive manufacturers have been brainstorming long and hard in order to find a solution to the road safety issue. Their efforts have borne fruit and we are now looking at the Humane-Machine Interface (HMI), which is touted as the best in high-tech life saving technology. Let’s delve into the details.

Causes of Road Accidents and How HMI Can Help:

A problem well defined is half solved. So let’s first get into the root causes of these accidents before we decide what a good remedial measure should look like. All the causes that we know and have heard of can be divided into three factors, which albeit obvious, need greater understanding to arrive at solutions:

  • Human element: This essentially means the driver. A large number of accidents happen because the driver loses control of the vehicle. It could be due to negligence, substance abuse, fatigue or a combination of such reasons (read more about the reasons in the previous blogpost). Since human beings cannot be controlled, it is obvious that we need to make the machine element strong enough to avert the accident, even in cases of human error. The simple principle is to reduce dependency on what cannot be controlled.
  • Machine element: The second factor is the vehicle that you may be driving. We all know of accidents where vehicles malfunctioned, like a failed brake or the steering not navigating as intended.
    While looking at this problem we need to understand that brakes do not fail overnight. Failure is generally because of wear and tear. Therefore, it really is a problem of communication. If the machine could communicate to the user that it was in need of repair or maintenance, the driver would not have ignored it and a large number of accidents could have been avoided.
  • Infrastructure: We have all heard about roundabouts and blind turns that are notorious for accidents. Here again, communication is the major issue. Our eyes cannot see beyond a certain range but satellites can and they can give us real time feedback about the state of affairs, based on which we can modify our driving and avoid accidents.

HMI’s inbuilt communication systems reduce dependence on human judgement and build automobiles that are smart enough to prioritize and personalize relevant information for the driver. Based on this information, the driver can modify his subsequent driving inputs.

Can these problems be solved with HMI? What do you think?

2nd International Conference Automotive Cockpit HMI
Don’t miss the “2nd International Conference Automotive Cockpit HMI”, taking place 28-30 September 2011 at the Maritim Rhein-Main Hotel Darmstadt, Germany.
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