Automotive News - Traverse City - August 7, 2019 - 1

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AUGUST 7, 2019

A new look
at the early
form of
car-sharing
Robotaxis. Flying cars. Pods.
Hyperloops.
You name it; somebody has
proposed it as a solution to
urban mobility challenges.
But to tackle congestion and
boost mobility, Charles Knuth
wants us to take a fresh look at a
century-old idea: carpooling.
Knuth is head of commuter
insights for San Francisco's
Scoop Technologies Inc.
Employers hire Scoop to help
match workers who need a lift
with coworkers or
neighbors
who are
going the
same way.
It's an appbased
service,
but unlike
LESLIE J.
Uber or
ALLEN
Lyft,
NEWS EDITOR
drivers
aren't paid
by the companies - they're
reimbursed by riders.
"We are trying to break
down some of the barriers of
why the average person
doesn't carpool today and
provide them with a way to do
it, when they want to be able
to do it," says Knuth.
Knuth says Scoop is a bridge
to the "utopian future" of
smart mobility. He sees the
carpooling service as a way to
get people comfortable with
car-sharing. He says 80
percent of us commute in
single-occupancy vehicles.
Here's one persuasive
argument for leaving the car
at home: Knuth says
carpoolers are more satisfied
with life than the rest of us
and, relieved of the stress of
driving, many plan to channel
their energy into positive
endeavors, such as exercise.
"Making that shift, even if
it's only for one or two
commute days per week, has
significant outcomes in their
daily lives and how they
interact with the world
around them."
You may email Leslie J. Allen
at lallen@crain.com.

Honda puts V2I to the test in Ohio
One tech mission:
See around buildings

O

Leslie J. Allen
lallen@crain.com

n the road to a collision-free society, if
there's a such thing as an on-ramp,
central Ohio may be it.
There, along a 35-mile stretch northwest of Columbus called Ohio's 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, Honda is working on ways to prevent
traffic deaths by connecting cars with the infrastructure around them.
Vehicle to infrastructure technology, or V2I, is a
cousin to vehicle-to-vehicle technology, or V2V,
also known as talking cars.
Honda is working on both, but there's a challenge with V2V, says Sue Bai, chief engineer in
the automobile technology research division of
Honda R&D Americas.
"There are not many cars with this technology on
the road to talk to," Bai said Tuesday at the CAR
Management Briefing Seminars. She said that V2I
technology has the best "day one benefit."
One of Honda's key focuses in its Ohio research
is smart intersections. More than 20 percent of
traffic fatalities occur around intersections, Bai
said. "If we can fix this problem, we can save
hundreds of people's lives every year."
But even for cars with sensors, buildings at the
corners of an intersection can challenge the technology. Honda is addressing this at its experimental smart intersection in Marysville, Ohio, using
mounted cameras. The cameras work with Honda's object recognition software to enable vehicles

"

"

THE BUZZ

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"If we can fix this
problem, we can save
hundreds of people's
lives every year."
Sue Bai, Honda R&D Americas

JOE WILSSENS

to virtually see through and around buildings to
better detect approaching traffic and pedestrians.
The automaker is also using V2I technology to
give vehicles a better view of traffic as they exit
from and merge onto highways, she said.
Honda's V2I pilots use dedicated short-range
communications technology, for which a swath
of wireless spectrum in the 5.9-gigahertz range is
allocated. The Federal Communications Commission set aside this part of the spectrum for intelligent transportation in 1999, and now other

industries are clamoring for the FCC to open the
range for them to use.
But Bai said the spectrum must be preserved to
make roads safer.
"The spectrum has been allocated for a good
reason for transportation safety," she said. "And it
takes a long time for the automotive industry to
develop an automotive-grade technology.
"People need to understand these are not one
year-two year projects. These literally take decades to mature." m

Working in plants is not a 'death march'
Ford exec says factory
changes help transition

F

Michael Martinez
mdmartinez@crain.com

ord Motor Co. is bringing sexy back to
manufacturing.
Like most automakers, Ford is undergoing a transformation.
But one of the most vital shifts for Ford is making its plants more interesting places to work,
said Michael Mikula, who is tasked with that mission as the automaker's chief engineer of advanced manufacturing.
"There's an unfortunate paradigm that going
into the plants is like a death march, and once
you go in you never come out," Mikula said Tuesday during a panel on factories at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars.
"One of the things we're trying to do is teach
people that the environment of manufacturing is
very different now," he said. "It can be a fun, exciting, sexy place to work."
That involves using data and connected systems to build vehicles faster and more efficiently.
That includes a number of innovations at Ford

ROGER HART

Ford's Mikula: The manufacturing environment
"can be a fun, exciting, sexy place to work."

plants throughout the world, such as drone inspections at sites in Europe; the use of collaborative robots to help workers with difficult, repetitive tasks; and wearing exoskeleton devices to
help employees avoid injury.
The effort takes place as Ford tries to move into
new product areas. The automaker is entering into
mobility services such as shuttles, electric scooters

and bicycles to supplement its business of building
and selling new vehicles.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett has laid out a vision of a
connected city in which vehicles talk with infrastructure and other connected devices. Hackett
calls it developing smart vehicles for a smart world.
"None of that says anything about manufacturing," Mikula said. "At first those of us in manufacturing were a little bit offended by it, but we've
come to really rally around what role manufacturing plays in creating a trusted company. We've
really learned to embrace this."
Late last year, the automaker opened a $45 million advanced manufacturing center in the Detroit area featuring 3D printing, augmented and
virtual reality, robotics and other processes.
"Additive manufacturing is a huge priority," Mikula said. "For the right parts, it's a legitimate alternative today."
Ford is cranking out two 3D-printed brake
parts for its upcoming Mustang Shelby GT500.
One undisclosed use of that technology could
save the automaker more than $2 million.
"Our goal is to create the factory of tomorrow,
but bring it today," Mikula said. "The business
needs it, the market requires it and consumers
will benefit from it." e

lll

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
n Chinese automakers may have
hit the brakes on U.S. investment,
but Chinese suppliers are zooming
forward, an expert says. I PAGE 4 I

n Pursuit of Level 5 autonomous
vehicles is more costly and
complex than expected, an
executive at ZF says. I PAGE 21 I


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Automotive News - Traverse City - August 7, 2019

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