Hyundai takes to the sky with Uber Elevate

The Hyundai Motor Company and Uber have announced a partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis for a future aerial ride share network and unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, America.
In this partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network. Both parties are collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles.
Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative, bringing automotive-scale manufacturing capability and a track record of mass-producing electric vehicles.
The air vehicle concept that Hyundai displayed at the CES was created in part through Uber’s open design process, a NASA-inspired approach that jump-starts innovation by publicly releasing vehicle design concepts so any company can use them to innovate their air taxi models and engineering technologies.

“Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation,” said Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division. “We expect UAM to vitalise urban communities and provide more quality time to people. We are confident that Uber Elevate is the right partner to make this innovative product readily available to as many customers as possible.”
Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said Hyundai was their first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale. “We believe Hyundai has the potential to build Uber Air vehicles at rates unseen in the current aerospace industry, producing high quality, reliable aircraft at high volumes to drive down passenger costs per trip. Combining Hyundai’s manufacturing muscle with Uber’s technology platform represents a giant leap for launching a vibrant air taxi network in the coming years.”
In preparation for this announcement, Hyundai worked with Uber Elevate to develop a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model, S-A1, that uses innovative design processes to optimise electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes.
The Elevate initiative based this process on NASA’s historical approach of putting design concepts out publicly to inspire innovation among multiple companies, spurring the development of common research models to investigate novel aerodynamic concepts and catalysing industry progress in wing design, noise, aerodynamics, and simulation verification.
As a result, Hyundai’s S-A1 model unveiled at CES reflects previous eVTOL designs Uber Elevate has released in the following ways:

  • It is designed for a cruising speed up to 290km/h, a cruising altitude of around 300 to 600 metres above ground, and to fly trips with a range of up to 100km.
  • The Hyundai vehicle will be 100% electric, using distributed electric propulsion. During peak hours it will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
  • The distributed electric propulsion system drives multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe. This enhances safety by decreasing any single point of failure. Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise associated with large rotor helicopters with combustion engines, which is very important in cities.
  • The S-A1 is designed to take off vertically, change to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then revert back to vertical flight to land.
  • The Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous.
  • The cabin is designed with four passenger seats, allowing riders to board and disembark easily and with enough space for a personal bag or backpack.

Ushering in the era of seamless mobility, Hyundai’s exploration of future urban transportation incorporates the electric PAV concept with a new ground transportation, the Purpose-Built Vehicle (PBV) concept.
Hyundai’s vision for creating communities from future transit systems comes into focus with yet another new infrastructure concept, called the Hub. When many PBVs and PAVs are docked and connected to a Hub, they make a new public space where diverse groups of people can come together.

Bosch is searching for African Smart Mobility start-ups

Bosch Africa is offering the first of its kind smart mobility competition. In conjunction with Founders Factory, a corporate-backed technology accelerator and incubator, Bosch is inviting smart mobility start-ups within Africa that are engaged in solving mobility issues on the continent to compete in the Smart Mobility start-up pitch. The winners stand a chance to win a share of a cash prize of 30,000 US dollars and the opportunity to join a Bosch accelerator programme.

The leading global supplier of technology and services, Bosch is looking for early-to-growth stage start-ups that have the potential to scale and deliver innovative smart mobility solutions across the specified themes, including: connectivity and IoT solutions, vehicle renting and ride sharing, city infrastructure, logistics and distribution, clean energy and electric vehicles, and insurance and data tracking systems.

The top 10 Smart Mobility start-ups finalists from Africa will have the opportunity to showcase their smart mobility solution in Johannesburg on 4 November 2019. The areas of collaboration with Bosch could include receiving support on technology and product design, accessing data and analytics sets, in addition, accessing Bosch’s wide network of customers and piloting and testing facilities.

Yves Nono, Vice President – Mobility Solutions, Sales Region Africa at Robert Bosch Ltd, says: “This exciting initiative enables us to showcase smart mobility innovation across Africa. We are looking forward to selecting and potentially collaborating with businesses that align with Bosch Mobility Solutions’ strategic focus areas, so that the company assets could help the start-ups to ramp up productivity of the business.”

Roo Rogers, CEO of Founders Factory Africa, says: “We are incredibly proud to be selected and trusted by Bosch. There are enormous opportunities within the mobility and transportation space in Africa, and a rising number of exciting businesses that are solving challenges in this sector. We are happy to be able to showcase some of these through our collaboration with Bosch.”

Digital entries will only be accepted through the following website, Applications close on 26 August, 2019, with final announcements made on 30 September, 2019.

SAPRA meets with Ghanian NPA

The South African Petroleum Retailers Association participated in the three day engagement programme with the delegation of experts from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) of the Republic of Ghana on a benchmark visit to South Africa from 12 to 14 February.

SAPRA Director Vishal Premlall

The visit by the delegation from Ghana is underpinned by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding Cooperation in the Oil and Gas Sectors, signed in 2011. The MoU provides for, among others, the exchange of visits by policy makers and technical experts responsible for the development and implementation of national oil and gas policies. This the third technical visit by the NPA to the South Africa/DoE since 2016.
The meeting was hosted by the National Department of Energy (DoE) at their offices in Pretoria.
The purpose of the NPA’s visit was to understand the licencing processes and regime in the petroleum downstream industry in South Africa.
The NPA was established in terms of Act of Parliament in 2005 to regulate, oversee and monitor activities in the downstream petroleum industry. The Ghanaian downstream sector is an onshore operation that consists of refining, distribution, and marketing of petroleum products.
Avishkar Nandkishore Chief Director of Petroleum Licencing & Fuel Supply at the DoE and his Ghanaian counterpart Daniel Addo Director for Finance at the NPA

The meeting with the delegation was co-chaired by Avishkar Nandkishore: Chief Director of Petroleum Licencing & Fuel Supply at the DoE and his Ghanaian counterpart, Daniel Addo: Director for Finance at the NPA.
The delegation of SAPRA was led by Vishal Premlall: Director of the South African Petroleum Retailers Association, supported by Viv Corinaldi. SAPRA shared on current industry dynamics, including new service station development dynamics, licensing regime, challenges facing petroleum retailers and future prospects.

The meeting also incorporated other stakeholders in the downstream industry including NERSA, Transnet pipeline and the FRA.
Currently Ghana has two oil fields in production – Jubilee field where FPSO Nkrumah (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) is located and salt pond. This follows the first discovery of oil in 2007 and initial production in 2010.
Earlier this year the country discovered an estimated 450-550 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in the Pecan field, 166 kilometres off Takaradi’s coast.

GM, NASA Jointly Developing Robotic Gloves

General Motors and NASA are jointly developing a robotic glove that auto workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
The Human Grasp Assist device, known internally in both organizations as the K-glove or Robo-Glove, resulted from GM and NASA’s Robonaut 2 (R2) project, which launched the first human-like robot into space in 2011. R2 is a permanent resident of the International Space Station.
When engineers, researchers and scientists from GM and NASA began collaborating on R2 in 2007, one of the design requirements was for the robot to operate tools designed for humans, alongside astronauts in outer space and factory workers on Earth. The team achieved an unprecedented level of hand dexterity on R2 by using leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand.
Research shows that continuously gripping a tool can cause fatigue in hand muscles within a few minutes. Initial testing of the Robo-Glove indicates the wearer can hold a grip longer and more comfortably.
“When fully developed, the Robo-Glove has the potential to reduce the amount of force that an auto worker would need to exert when operating a tool for an extended time or with repetitive motions,” said Dana Komin, GM’s manufacturing engineering director, Global Automation Strategy and Execution. “In so doing, it is expected to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury.”
For example, an astronaut working in a pressurized suit outside the space station or an assembly operator in a factory might need to use 15-20 pounds of force to hold a tool during an operation but with the robotic glove only five-to-10 pounds of force might need to be applied.
“The prototype glove offers my space suit team a promising opportunity to explore new ideas, and challenges our traditional thinking of what extravehicular activity hand dexterity could be,” said Trish Petete, division chief, Crew and Thermal Systems Division, NASA Johnson Space Center.
Inspired by the finger actuation system of R2, actuators are embedded into the upper portion of the glove to provide grasping support to human fingers. The pressure sensors, similar to the sensors that give R2 its sense of touch are incorporated into the fingertips of the glove to detect when the user is grasping a tool. When the user grasps the tool, the synthetic tendons automatically retract, pulling the fingers into a gripping position and holding them there until the sensor is released. GM and NASA have submitted 46 patent applications for R2, including 21 for R2’s hand and four for the Robo-Glove alone.
The first prototype of the glove was completed in March 2011 with a second generation arriving three months later. The fabric for the glove was produced by Oceaneering Space Systems, the same company that provided R2’s “skin.”
The current prototypes weigh about two pounds and include the control electronics, actuators and a small display for programming and diagnostics. An off-the-shelf lithium-ion power-tool battery with a belt-clip is used to power the system. A third-generation prototype that will use repackaged components to reduce the size and weight of the system is nearing completion.
“We are continuously looking for ways to improve safety and productivity on the shop floor,” Komin said. “Our goal is to bring this technology to the shop floor in the near future.”
NASA and GM have a long, rich history of partnering on key technologies, starting in the 1960s with the development of the navigation systems for the Apollo missions. GM also played a vital role in the development of the Lunar Rover Vehicle, the first vehicle used on the moon.

Bio-based Tyres Edge Closer to Reality

Goodyear and DuPont Industrial Biosciences are working together to develop BioIsoprene, a revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. BioIsoprene can be used for the production of synthetic rubber, which in turn is an alternative for natural rubber and other elastomers. The development of BioIsoprene will help reduce the tyre and rubber industry’s dependence on oil-derived products.
Currently, the two companies have demonstrated proof of the technology through the production of a prototype tyre made with BioIsoprene monomer. This tyre is on display at the Goodyear stand at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show.
For Goodyear, a bio-based alternative to synthetic rubber is an important advancement, as the company seeks innovative approaches to addressing raw material needs. The company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, and BioIsoprene monomer produced from renewable materials will help achieve this goal.
“Finding a replacement for oil-derived materials is the right thing to do from a business standpoint, but it’s also the right thing to do for the environment,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, chief technical officer for The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company. “Since synthetic rubber is a critical component to our products and many others, we are very excited to be working on this renewable alternative with DuPont.”
The two companies first signed on to the collaboration in 2008. In May of 2011, DuPont acquired Danisco and its Genencor division which has spearheaded the research and development activities around the BioIsoprene product.
The BioIsoprene monomer is derived from renewable raw materials as well and represents a significant development within the biochemical and rubber industries where traditional isoprene is currently used. Aside from synthetic rubber for tyre production, BioIsoprene can be used in a wide range of products such as surgical gloves, golf balls and adhesives. By itself, Goodyear is one of the world’s largest users of isoprene for the production of synthetic rubber and other elastomers.
The two companies have invested jointly for more than four years to validate the project, establish the teams, and secure intellectual property assets. To date, technical progress has exceeded expectations. Additional investments to establish pilot plant operations and manufacturing infrastructure are expected.

Goodyear Innovations On Display In Geneva

Goodyear’s innovative technology and industry-leading new product engine are on display at the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show taking place this week in Switzerland.
New technologies on display include Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology (AMT), a self-inflating tyre system that can help reduce fuel consumption. Visitors to the Geneva Motor Show will see how tyres can remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps, electronics or driver intervention.
“Consumers often overlook the importance of maintaining proper tyre pressure,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer. “We believe this technology will have immediate positive impact for drivers in terms of performance and for the environment through improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and extended tyre life. Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging to the point that we are now ready to demonstrate it in Geneva for the first time.”
Additional new technologies on display include the company’s Electric Vehicle Tyre Technology developed for CityHush, a European Union-sponsored project to reduce noise in cities throughout Europe. Goodyear will show how Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology is being taken from the race track to the road to make consumer and fleet tyres more intelligent in the future, and Goodyear’s innovative Spring Tyre – an airless tyre designed originally for use on the moon. Another concept tyre on display is made with BioIsoprene, a revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. The development of BioIsoprene will help reduce the tyre industry’s dependence on oil-derived products.
Goodyear’s Europe, Middle East and Africa tyre business will highlight its latest consumer tyre technologies including RunOnFlat Technology and 4D Sipe Technology. The company will also exhibit its new 2012 product which will be available in South Africa – the Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV.
Goodyear will host a special display where the media can learn about the upcoming introduction of tyre labels in Europe this year. European consumers will see tyres in their dealerships carrying a standardised label that provides information on three key performance attributes: rolling resistance, wet grip and exterior rolling noise.
“Goodyear has always been proactive in research and development and we are looking forward to displaying a range of innovations that people will never have seen before,” said Jean Pierre Jeusette, general director of Goodyear’s Luxembourg Innovation Center. “These technologies have been specifically developed to meet the ever-changing requirements of modern consumers and society focused on performance, sustainability, the environment and convenience.”

BMW Group Opens Largest Showroom Worldwide

The BMW Group has opened the world’s largest showroom for BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and BMW motorcycles in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Motors, the BMW Group’s long-standing importer for the region, has invested around AED 300 million (approximately 62 million euros) in the new 35 000 square-metre showroom over its three-year construction.
At the opening, Ian Robertson thanked investors and owners Sheikh Mohammed Bin Butti Al Hamid and Sheikh Saif Bin Mohammed Bin Butti Al-Hamid for their strong commitment to completing the new building. “The Middle East is an important region for the BMW Group. We sold more vehicles here in 2011 than ever before. There is tremendous future growth potential in many countries in this region and in the United Arab Emirates in particular,” said Robertson. He added, “The investment in this impressive and unique facility that makes the world’s biggest BMW Group showroom, is testament to the continued opportunities that lie ahead in Abu Dhabi and in the region.”
The expansive facility in Umm Al Nar houses separate showrooms and sales areas for the three premium automobile brands, BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, and for BMW motorcycles. More than 450 staff members will work at the facility. The new showroom will allow customers to view the brands’ entire model line-up in different colours and different option packages, with more than 70 automobiles and 10 motorcycles on permanent display. This will be complemented by an extensive range of newer pre-owned vehicles and a state-of-the-art service area equipped with the latest technology. The workshop will be able to perform maintenance on up to 120 vehicles simultaneously.
A further focus will be the facility’s extensive shopping and boutique area, which will sell a wide selection of BMW and MINI fashion items and other merchandise, as well as original parts and accessories. Film fans will not be disappointed either – there is a private cinema that can also host exclusive new-vehicle presentations for special occasions. A café, a Formula One racing simulator and a children’s play area make the perfect customer service offering complete.

AAIA Opposes Anti-Aftermarket, Anti-Consumer Parts Bill

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has called on members of the Oklahoma Senate Business and Commerce Committee to oppose legislation that would require insurance companies to advise consumers, in writing, if a non-original equipment crash, emission or safety part is to be used in a repair.
Further, the bill would require a consumer to sign a consent form that would include the following statement: “This estimate has been prepared based on the use of crash parts supplied by a source other than the manufacturer of your motor vehicle. Warranties applicable to these replacement parts are provided by the manufacturer or distributor of these parts rather than the manufacturer of your vehicle.”
The bill defines an emissions part as an oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, exhaust pipe, exhaust manifold, fuel distributor, electronic emission control unit, onboard diagnostic unit or any related parts or components. A safety part under the bill means a replacement of parts or systems essential to vehicle operation, suspension, electronic control unite, brake parts, safety systems and air bags.
In a letter sent to members of the Senate Committee, AAIA’s vice president, government affairs, Aaron Lowe, said, “The legislation is without merit. If enacted, it will unfairly give vehicle owners the false impression that aftermarket parts are of inferior quality to the original equipment component that was installed in their vehicles. There is absolutely no truth to this impression. Non-original equipment parts are as good as and often of a higher quality than the original equipment parts they replace. In fact, they are often produced by the same company, but may be shipped in a different box.”
Lowe urged the committee to oppose “this unnecessary, anti-consumer, and anti-competitive legislation. Consumers in the state of Oklahoma should benefit from free and fair competition. This legislation will provide an unfair and unearned competitive advantage to one industry, the vehicle manufacturers, and significantly harm consumers and many small businesses in the independent vehicle aftermarket that provide quality parts at affordable rates.”

Symposium Provides Vital Info To Fleet Operators

Over 170 top commercial fleet representatives, industry leaders and transportation policy makers discussed the future of the road freight sector in Europe recently. Goodyear Europe hosted an event that saw over 170 of the continent’s top commercial fleet representatives, industry leaders and transportation policy makers attend a one-day symposium in Brussels designed to open a wider debate on increased demand for more fuel efficiency from Euro’s road freight sector.
The symposium was built on a newly introduced report called “Driving fleet fuel efficiency: The Road to 2020″. The report predicts how fleets will cope with cutting CO2 and increasing fuel efficiency in an era of rising fuel costs and environmental legislation.
The symposium was opened by Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Transport, who welcomed Goodyear Europe’s ‘Driving Fleet Fuel Efficiency’ initiative. He emphasised that road freight is a key element of the economic system and its sustainable development is essential for the long term competitiveness of Europe. He also underlined that increased energy efficiency should be a bridge to alternative fuels. “To meet the policy objectives of the EU’s ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area’, the EU needs a clear and coherent vision helping to accelerate the use of alternative transport fuels”, he said.
A strong transportation industry is vital to the European economy, but at the same time, the EU has set a target for the industry to cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050.
Michel Rzonzef, Vice President of Goodyear’s commercial tyre business across Europe, Middle East and Africa was pleased with the symposium’s outcome, which saw over 170 key stakeholders debate and discuss key issues affecting the sector in an open and transparent manner. In different panel discussions, some of Europe’s largest fleets came together with industry players, experts in the latest fuel-efficient technologies, and policy-makers, to debate on the practical and political steps to take to reduce fuel use and move toward a more sustainable future.
The Symposium built on recently conducted opinion research which confirmed that the overwhelming majority of fleets already have robust fuel efficiency measures in place and that many are increasingly struggling to see what else they can do to improve efficiency and lower carbon emissions to achieve even tougher targets. Rzonzef also described how low rolling resistance tyres are one option to improve a fleet’s fuel efficiency, amongst many others, such as eco-driving training for truck drivers, improved logistics, route planning and aerodynamics on vehicles.
Goodyear’s research also indicated that many fleets don’t know the factors influencing fuel efficiency and find it difficult to know whether the cost of investing in fuel saving equipment will pay off in fuel savings. According to the company’s survey, over a quarter of fleet managers believe a tool that could predict the lifetime costs and fuel savings of equipment would incentivize them to take measures to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.
In order to answer this need and help enable fleet managers to make the right investment decisions and cut their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, Goodyear also announced it would launch a free-of-charge fuel efficiency calculator. Fleets will be trialing the free web-based tool before it is launched to the public on the 21st February.
“It was a landmark event for us”, said Rzonzef. “Every participant learned a great deal and our commitment to the sector is clear. The Road to 2020 report was very well received and our calculator is eagerly anticipated by the fleets.”

Tyre Power Added To Brityrex 2012

More big name exhibitors have been announced for Brityrex International 2012 in Manchester, joining other leading brands at the UK’s only specialist tyre and equipment exhibition.
New names recently confirmed for the show include Uniroyal Truck Tyres, the Chinese manufactured brands Aeolus and Antyre, UK-based international wholesaler Treadsetters and Profil Tyres, the Polish car tyre retreader. They join other leading brands including Infinity Tyres, Westlake, Matador, Kleber agricultural and Cooper 4×4. Treadsetters, the Telford based wholesaler will be using the show to introduce their all-new TORQUE car tyre brand. A range of TORQUE truck tyres will also be on display as the company’s House brand makes its UK debut at the show.
With Brityrex now covering the full spectrum of tyre and fast-fit suppliers, show organiser ECI International can also point to an excellent response from garage equipment specialists including Apaseal, Supertracker, Hofmann Megaplan and DQN Du Quesne. As they did at the last Brityrex in 2010, Hofmann Megaplan will once again be giving away a free machine worth thousands of pounds for a lucky show visitor to use for a year.
“We have a couple of very exciting product launches coming up during 2012”, commented Hofmann Megaplan managing director James Boon. “This year we want to keep the ‘giveaway’ under wraps until the show opens, so all we can say is that visitors will be well advised to drop by our stand as they have a genuine chance of winning a balancer or tyre changer worth in the region of £7,000 to £8,000!”
All of the company’s machines will be fully operational and expert advice will be on hand to advise tyre shops on the latest equipment and technological developments.
Paul Farrant, Managing Director of Brityrex organiser ECI International, commented: “The show is building very nicely with many leading tyre and equipment companies confirming their involvement. Negotiations are also nearing completion for a major name in the tyre industry to participate in the show for the first time. We hope to announce more details of that exciting development in the near future.”
Brityrex International 2012 will be held at a new venue, the prestigious EventCity close to the Trafford Centre. The show is again sponsored by the NTDA, which has scheduled its popular annual dinner and TAFF Awards to coincide with the exhibition on Wednesday 10 October 2012.
Brityrex International will bring together dedicated tyre and equipment trade exhibitors and buyers from across the UK and overseas. Show dates are Tuesday 9th through to Thursday, 11th October 2012. ECI’s visitor pre-registration service is now open for the show, guaranteeing hassle-free, fast-track entry to EventCity. The service is available online at