Future is now: rays, wheels, and automobiles
What does 2009 hold for those watching automotive news?
BMW was the first auto maker to design FlexRay into a vehicle, (current X5) and it was predicted that as many as 20% of cars sold in the U.S. would be using that networking standard by 2012. But, due to the economic downturn, (mildly stated), that may not happen. Automakers will probably have to put their research resources to emphasis on increased fuel economy, (especially since the U.S. restrictions will force auto makers to increase the MPG). Audi also plans to use FlexRay in A8’s, if it hasn’t already.
At the Paris Motor Show, Michelin introduced the “Active Wheel”. This is pretty cool. It is an electric drive system. Basically, it is a wheel that incorporates a drive motor, an active suspension system and brake disc. It is designed to use either 2 or 4 wheel drive and the application will allow for use with either batteries or fuel cells or some combo. On display, it was featured in 2 different vehicles; the Venturi Volage and a WILL. Advantages of this system will be that fact that it does free-up space in the front of a car and would also allow for a lighter weight vehicle. Awesome.