In the nearest future there will be cars in our country which will have no steering wheel, will feature smart anti-theft systems and will work on new green fuels. Scientists from the leading Russian universities are currently working on these projects. Izvestiya have collected data on the most promising research studies aiming to make Russian transport better.
Scientists from the leading Russian universities – participants of the federal program Project 5-100 are working in their laboratories to make cars ride better, have less failures, and cost less. The promising scientific developments of these researchers cover the whole field of automotive engineering, as well as creation of alternative types of fuel.
Get Rid of the Steering Wheel
Scientists from Lobachevsky University (Nizhny Novgorod) believe that a steering wheel is an optional element in a car of the 21st century. The neuromobile, that is being developed, in prospective will be operated by the power of thought.
Through special sensors in-built into a driver’s hat, the on-board computer will read his intent in the process of movement and will react accordingly. To turn right or left, a Nizhny Novgorod neuromobile’s driver only has to think about it.
“The system of neuronavigation is a symbiosis of image-recognition algorithms (using artificial neural networks), movement planning and means of detection and classification of bioinformatics signals of a human being,” shares the Head of the Laboratory of Smart Biomechatronic Technologies of Lobachevsky University Vasily Mironov. “Despite the possibility to detect the driver’s intent to make a move, for instance, turn right, modern level of non-invasive interfaces brain-computer does not allow to detect the gradual element. In other words, this interface is not capable of detecting to what degree a turn should be made to complete the required manoeuvre. Here, as we see it, a driver’s assistance system built into the neuromobile should come to rescue. The general idea is that its function will be to analyze the road situation and predict the variants of the vehicle’s movement in a highly dynamic environment. The computed variants are visualized, and the user chooses from among them.”
The neuromobile is being created first of all for people with disabilities, but in the future these may be of use for everyone. Testing is being currently in process. According to the developers’ plans, the first neuromobile will appear on the Russian roads in 2020.
New Engine Oil Formula
Scientists of South Ural State University (SUSU) have discovered a way to improve quality of lubricants for car engines. A team of researchers has come up with a special formula of an engine oil additive acting as a friction geomodifier. A friction geomodifier is a special complex of finely-dispersed minerals, which allows in the process of the unit’s operation to form a new friction structure featuring most optimal properties. When added to a lubricant, this geomodifier forms of film on the friction surface providing protection against wear. Associate Professor at the SUSU Department of Cars and Car-caring Service Igor Levanov reports that the process of obtaining a patent for the developed tribotechnical compound is already underway.
“Our team of scientists keeps working on developing an additive based on natural minerals. But we do not limit our research only to automobile oils. For instance, an additive compound was produced for gearbox oil which is used for hydraulic fluid.”
The scientists have succeeded in bringing Russian hydraulic oil АМГ-10 up to the level of imported oils of the most well-known brands as per its antiwear properties, what may be a good import-substituting solution.
Improve Welding — Speed-up Assembly
Scientists of MISIS National University of Science and Technology (NUST MISIS) are working in speeding up the process of car assembly. Under guidance of Associate Professor at the Department of Semiconductor Electronics and the Physics of Semiconductors Petr Lagov a new type of power diodes with optimized silicon pattern has been developed. Research shows that using such diodes as part of a manual or robotic welding machine significantly improves energy efficiency of the process and quality of a welded seam due to double increase of the operation frequency.
Moreover, it becomes possible to weld metals and alloys which cannot be welded in other conditions. According to the scientists, such diodes are more resistant to electrical overloads, what prevents unit failure and shutdown of the whole assembly line.
This innovation also allows to reduce the size and weight of the transformer-rectifier unit of a welding machine which is fixed on the robotic “arm”, and reduce power grid losses to almost zero. This boosts energy efficiency of an automated production in general. Thus, according to calculations of NUST MISIS scientists, thanks to their development car assembly will be twice quicker.
Within the frameworks of collaboration of South Ural State University and PJSC KAMAZ the scientists of SUSU have undertaken development of the method of implementing the system of analysis of a car’s full life cycle.
In the course of the research description was given to the main details and parameters of a car’s functioning, such as cooling liquid temperature, line pressure, brake shoe wear, and other. After that, based on experimental data, a mathematical model was created which described the process of parts wear.
Doctor of Sciences, Professor, Scientific Advisor of the SUSU Center of Computer Engineering Andrey Keller reports that their team, jointly with the corporate group’s specialists, managed to solve the task on significant reducing of the enterprise losses caused by premature putting a car out of order. The expenses on reestablishment of its good working order are also reduced by means of creating and verifying a car’s digital twin.
“The approach is quite simple in its essence. When a car is being designed, a mathematical model (digital twin) is created both for the car in general and for its separate units, aggregates and systems. In the process of movement of a car its control unit receives information from all sensors and control elements. First and foremost regular sensors, and additionally vibration detectors are used, which are installed in a car’s key aggregates (engine, gearbox aggregates, and so on), and which allow to assess wear of friction pairs and mechanical defects,” explains Andrey Keller.
Students of Ural Federal University have come up with a way to improve anti-theft systems. Most of these are based on GSM and GPS technologies, which work on the principle “detected theft — sent car coordinates via GSM to the dispatcher center”. The main problem for these systems are the so-called jammers. By switching on a jammer a thief easily mutes both satellite and GSM signals.
To solve this problem, the developers suggest to use the concept of the Internet of Things and unite all the cars connected to the system into one network, where they can all interact and trace each other. Such development, as the experts believe, will make life harder for thieves and will secure cars parked on car parks.
Fueled with Cans
The scientific team of the NUST MISIS Department of Non-ferrous Metals and Gold under guidance of Professor Aleksandr Gromov has developed a way to produce alternative green fuel (hydrogen) from waste aluminium and non-ferrous metals.
According to the researcher, in the suggested scheme aluminium acts as a reactive chemical for the hydrogen-generating system: “metallic alluminium ‑ water”. When aluminium reacts with water, free hydrogen is generated, which can then be combusted or oxidized producing electricity in a fuel cell. Chemical energy stored in each 0.33 l soft drink can equals 255 kJ. Calculated as petrol, 255 kJ of energy is the equivalent of 20 meters of a car running with the petrol consumption of 5 liters per 100 kilometers.
The scope of the Russian market of aluminium cans is estimated approximately as 2–3 billion cans a year. One 0.33 l can weighs about 15 grams. Thus, the amount of the consumed aluminium reaches 30–45 thousand tonnes of pure metal a year, and that could be recycled into fuel. The suggested technology is fire- and explosion-safe.