Category Archives: Transportation

Updates from ITU

Let’s work together to improve road safety. Technology will be key.
By Yushi Torigoe – There is great concern that road traffic accidents kill more than 1.35 million people every year and are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

Road traffic accidents cost most countries 3 per cent of their gross domestic product.

The numbers are indeed, alarming!

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was an opportunity for a dialogue on how we can provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.

It is clear that while some countries have made progress on road safety in the past decade through better road safety legislation on speeding, drink driving, seatbelt use, wearing helmets, for example, much more can be done, and we need a set of innovative solutions to save lives on the world’s roads.

Participants at the Conference agreed that intensifying international cooperation and multilateralism through engagement with all relevant actors, including the private sector, is necessary to achieve global road safety targets – including the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 – to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries by half.

We need to put an end to a silo mentality, when it comes to dealing with a global problem. more>

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Updates from McKinsey

Resilience in transport and logistics
The transportation-and-logistics sector is especially susceptible to economic shocks. Here’s how to prepare your operations for a smoother ride.
By Sal Arora, Wigbert Böhm, Kevin Dolan, Rebecca Gould, and Scott Mcconnell – The transportation-and-logistics (T&L) sector has benefitted from many of the most important business trends of the past half century. Globalization, the evolution of sophisticated just-in-time supply chains, and the rise of e-commerce have all helped the sector grow at a rate broadly similar to the overall economy.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Economic downturns tend to hit the sector particularly hard. Our analysis of the past five US recessions shows that T&L companies suffer more on average than the economy as a whole. And in recent cycles, the problem may have worsened. Truck transportation, for example, experienced little contraction in the recessions of 1980, 1982 and 1991. In 2001, by contrast, the industry shrank by 6 percent, and the 2008 recession triggered an 18 percent contraction.

As in all industries, sector averages don’t tell the whole story. Some companies ride out downturns much more successfully than others. When McKinsey analyzed the performance of around 1000 large, publicly traded companies through the 2007-2008 global recession, we identified a subgroup of “resilient” organizations that outperformed their peers by a significant margin over the cycle. The performance of these companies dipped less overall during the recession and improved faster during the ensuing economic recovery.

By 2017, resilient companies had delivered a cumulative total return to shareholders (TRS) that was more than 150 percent higher than their non-resilient counterparts. Among the logistics and transportation players in the study, the gap was even starker, at 267 percent. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Industrial design company uses NX to set new standards of performance and consumer appeal in rideable technology
Siemens – Subtle weight transfer may be the key to gliding casually through the urban environment on an electric unicycle, but thoughtful design is the key to comfort and performance. It was an industrial design ethos that prompted Uniwheel to set about transforming a generic unicycle design into one that is both ergonomic and reliable.

“We were aware that most of the electric unicycles on the market followed a rather simple design: internal electronics inside a clamshell with square pedals sticking out,” explained Steve Milton, company director and chief executive of the London-based company. “User feedback revealed that the rather boxy shape hurt the legs. We, therefore, set out to provide a comfortable, safe and enjoyable user experience.”

Uniwheel’s aim was to be the first to market with a design that was thoroughly thought through. That target was met at the end of 2015 when the company launched its first consumer product, just seven months from the first concept. The use of NX™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens Digital Industries Software was fundamental to the success and speed of the entire development project.

From first concept, the design team began using NX to create basic 3D models of elements such as the external styling of the plastic case, which has integrated lighting; the metal for the pedals and motor; and fine details such as the grip on the surface of the pedals. The main challenge was to package the sophisticated electronics and software, the removable battery packs, the motor and the wheel housing. Allocating appropriate spaces for the wiring looms was critical. With an emphasis clearly on the ergonomics of the main casing, 3D curves had a big role to play. “NX styling is great; the surfacing capabilities are really comprehensive,” comments Carson Brown, designer. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Rocket Lab to use Siemens software to explore new frontiers of space
Siemens – Rocket Lab plans to implement Siemens hi-tech industrial software to help digitally manage the lifecycle needs of the business. The software is from the Xcelerator portfolio, which is from Siemens Digital Industries Software and includes Teamcenter®, the world’s most widely used digital lifecycle management software, and NX™ software for computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing.

This announcement comes as Rocket Lab prepares to integrate all its design, engineering and production systems to establish an end-to-end digital thread that enables increased transparency and efficiency across various offices.

Speaking on the decision, Rocket Lab’s Vice President of Global Operations, Shaun O’Donnell, said: “As we’ve grown, so has our production capacity and the platforms associated with various products and processes. Using Teamcenter, we’ll be able to combine various aspects of data related to the same part, assembly and system to maintain a single source of truth across the life cycle of the product. Also, as we grow, NX will give our designers increased performance and stability to cope with larger assemblies.”

“Investing in the right digital platforms that allow us to easily scale with growth is critical to the sustainability of our business. With offices around the world, we rely heavily on the access of relevant information that impacts the efficiencies of our production processes,” said Mr. O’Donnell. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Why noise is one of the biggest problems with electric cars
By Steven Dom – Imagine your company is engineering the next line of electric vehicles. You create technical specifications that reduce range anxiety, you’ve perfected the colors that pop and entice customers to buy and with battery technology advancement, you’ve priced it right.

But there are problems with electric cars.

Because the electric vehicle engine emits no noise, pedestrians are more likely to be struck by an electric vehicle. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that hybrid and electric vehicles are 57 percent more likely to cause accidents with cyclists, and 37 percent more likely to cause an accident with pedestrians, than a standard internal combustion engine vehicle.

Countries are requiring the quietest cars emit a sound to warn those around the vehicle of its presence.

Now, imagine after creating the ideal electric vehicle, the customers reject it based on the noise it emits. What if your vehicle’s noise is too strange or annoying?

This is just one of the many perils facing the quiet electric vehicle.

The goal of successfully getting an electric vehicle to market, one that a consumer would be interested in and enjoying, was about improving range. In a world lacking in electric vehicle infrastructure, solving range anxiety would allow customers to feel more comfortable driving the electric vehicles to-and-from work and longer trips beyond.

Engineers focused on vehicle architecture including the number of motors driving the wheels, managing the HVAC system’s energy consumption and finding ways to reduce weight, such as using thinner panels and less sound deadening components to provide better mileage. Without the roar of a combustion engine, there was no need to reduce noise. more>

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Updates from Boeing

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg Announces Changes to Sharpen Company Focus on Product and Services Safety
New Product and Services Safety organization unifies company approach to safety. Additional actions elevate Engineering function, strengthen Boeing’s culture and will advance safety across the aerospace ecosystem.
Boeing – “Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and the recent 737 MAX accidents will always weigh heavily on us. They have reminded us again of the importance of our work and have only intensified our commitment to continuously improve the safety of our products and services,” said Muilenburg.

“My team and I embrace our board’s recommendations and are taking immediate steps to implement them across the company in partnership with our people, while continuing and expanding our ongoing efforts to strengthen safety across Boeing and the broader aerospace industry. We thank our board and the committee members for their thorough work and ongoing support. Boeing is committed to always being at the forefront, proactively leading and advocating for continuous improvements in global aerospace safety.”

In addition to the previously announced permanent Aerospace Safety Committee of the Boeing Board of Directors, Muilenburg shared that Boeing is standing up a new Product and Services Safety organization that will further strengthen the company’s safety-first focus. This organization will unify safety-related responsibilities currently managed by teams across several Boeing business and operating units. more>

Updates from Siemens

Essentra Components Achieves Cost Savings Up To 10%
By Emilia Maier – Essentra Components is a global leader in manufacturing and distributing plastic injection molded, vinyl dip molded and metal items.

The company is focused on being a low-cost producer, so they can secure revenue growth at attractive margins, and facilitate continuous improvement programs with tight cost controls and productivity gains, serving to reduce conversion costs.

With the integrated calculation system for component and tool costs from Siemens, Essentra Components delivers cost-effective, high-quality products in response to customer needs. Essentra is using the global costing solution in the bidding phase to deliver fast and accurate costs worldwide.

“Quote generation is done today within one hour, as opposed to five hours before we had Teamcenter product cost management, so we save 80% of our time,” Derek Bean, Manager, Divisional Engineering Solutions Essentra Components.

The cost estimators at Essentra consolidate and verify the cost results in terms of plausibility, competitiveness, opportunities and risks with the help of the Profitability Analysis module in Teamcenter Product Cost Management. more>

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Do you live in a ‘soft city’? Here’s why you probably want to

By Eillie Anzilotti – Imagine yourself sitting in your home. What’s right outside your front door, and what’s within a 10-minute walk of it? Can you make it to a grocery store or a café on foot, or do you have to drive? Is there a shared space nearby, a park or a patio, where you can mingle with the people who live around you? Do you often see people out and about, or do your neighbors mostly stay inside? What about the street: Is it filled with only cars, or do you see people biking and taking transit? Do you feel safe walking on the sidewalk that lines your front door (if there even is a sidewalk)? Are there places to sit along it?

It’s just a sample of the kinds of questions that preoccupy David Sim, creative director and partner at Gehl. Based in Copenhagen, Gehl has long pioneered the idea of human-centered urban design. Rather than thinking about cities as a collection of buildings and impressive developments, designers like Sim thinks about them as a series of relationships: between people and place, people and planet, and people and other people. “The starting point is not a big, architectural urban idea—it’s about being a little human being, and how can you connect that human being to as many experiences as possible,” he says.

Good cities, from Sim’s perspective, are ones that make these connections possible. They can look different and exist in different contexts, but they share an overarching and essential quality, which Sim calls “softness”—a stark contrast to the rhetoric of “grind” and “harshness” that’s often applied to urban life. more>

Updates from Georgia Tech

Tiny Vibration-Powered Robots Are the Size of the World’s Smallest Ant
By John Toon – Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers. Swarms of these “micro-bristle-bots” might work together to sense environmental changes, move materials – or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.

The prototype robots respond to different vibration frequencies depending on their configurations, allowing researchers to control individual bots by adjusting the vibration. Approximately two millimeters long – about the size of the world’s smallest ant – the bots can cover four times their own length in a second despite the physical limitations of their small size.

“We are working to make the technology robust, and we have a lot of potential applications in mind,” said Azadeh Ansari, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We are working at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. It’s a very rich area and there’s a lot of room for multidisciplinary concepts.”

A paper describing the micro-bristle-bots has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In addition to Ansari, the research team includes George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda and graduate students DeaGyu Kim and Zhijian (Chris) Hao. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Paragon VTOL Aerospace adopts solutions from Siemens to streamline next-generation design
By Alisa Coffey – The need for increased performance and reduced time-to-market has led Paragon VTOL Aerospace, a global vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft provider for numerous industries, to adopt solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software through its product development process. Paragon produces industry-specific drone hardware ranging from security applications for agricultural theft and commuter law adherence to human passenger drones.

Paragon is also partnering with Aerotropolis Jamaica, a national project spearheaded by the Hon. L. Michael Henry in the Office of the Prime Minister, to build an ecosystem for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The company plans to achieve positive results by reducing time and cost of its product development and testing through implementation of key technology from Siemens.

“Our vision is to provide a portfolio of intellectual property, industry specific drones, human passenger drones, and virtual highway platforms in Jamaica,” said Paragon VTOL founder and oil executive Dwight Smith, a native Jamaican and American citizen. “We currently have plans to implement software and hardware programs in 2019 and begin testing their two to four passenger drones by year-end 2019.”

Paragon has been developing their platform and much of the technology through collaboration with Siemens, major American universities, Silicon Valley experts, and ex-military personnel. Siemens is providing an integrated set of software solutions including STAR-CCM+, Simcenter, and NX for Paragon to design, test, produce, and monitor its extensive range of drone systems. more>

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