Want Green? Drive By Wire!

There currently are claims of global warming, global cooling, fossil fuel pollutants, high CO2 atmospheric levels, dependence on foreign countries, and a dying planet caused by man. There are controversial statements made by many. Regardless of the factual accuracy of any of these issues, it is in mankind’s best interest to try and find solutions that will help the planet.
Any changes to man’s everyday routine that reduces the impacts on our planet has substantial possibilities in improving the long-term diagnosis of the earth’s health. One solution that has been around for some time but has had minimal mentioning in the state-run media is “Drive By Wire”. A truly large technology leap in the right direction.
What is “Drive By Wire”? It is a major new technological solution for automobile’s and their impact on the earth.Currently cars are either burning fossil fuel, as most cars and hybrids, or running solely electric. The trade offs are well known. Polluting the earth with fossil fuel cars supports performance, distance, speed, and size, but destroys the environment. Cars that are solely electric pose little pollution, their source of energy will still have some negative pollution impacts, and exhibit performance, distance, speed, and size limitations.Traditional fossil fuel cars, hybrids, and electrics show little difference in basic architecture of the automobile. We have an engine/motor, hooked to a transmission, hooked to a drive train, connected to axles, with wheels. We have electrical and physical cables from dashboard to brakes, lights, cruise control, engine monitors, gas level, oil pressure, remaining electrical charge, etc. We have a suspension that positions the car body above the wheels/axles for smoother rides, as well as for the comfort of the passengers. Other than the type of fuel, fossil fuel versus electricity, there are few major differences between the old technology and the new technology. “Drive By Wire”is a quantum leap in technology, architecture, natural resource use, and driving capabilities.Lets look at a “Drive By Wire”car and it’s architecture. There is no central engine, no asbestos brakes, no drive train, no wheels connected with axles. There isn’t even really a transmission as we know it. Start with the shell of a car body and add in four identical wheel modules. Each wheel module is connected to the user control dashboard by a single software interface wire, and each is connected to the power source (expected to be batteries in the trunk like most electric cars). Each wheel module contains the hardware and software for a complete “single wheel-based” electrical motor that is controlled through the user dashboard. These new wheel modules are very different from anything we have ever seen.For starters there are no pistons, cooling system, fuel system, or combustion in this purely dedicated electric approach. Each wheel is a standalone module that has a combination of computer technology and mechanically engineered wheel operation. All the wheel modules when controlled in coordination create all required motions of the car. Each module has it’s own suspension solution, has a single wire connection to the dashboard for user control and connection to the power source. Each module also has a single wire to control the lights and directionals for its portion of the car. Each module receives software messages from the driver to go forward, go backward, speed up, slow down, turn right, turn left, go sideways left, go sideways right, rotate 90, 180, 270 degrees in place, control brake and directional lights, and stop. The dashboard user interface is open to many styles. Conventional steering wheel or a joystick can be valid configurations. The steering wheel is not connected to axles. Instead any dashboard control style sends messages to the modules of what to do. All four wheel modules can be controlled by a joystick also which allows the user a completely new style of vehicle interface to coordinate all four wheel modules to control the car. All the controllers currently used by software games can be candidates for the dashboard control. Since there are no axles, the user could in fact pull up next to a parallel parking spot, have all four wheel modules turn perpendicular to the curb, and then have the car roll left or right sideways into the spot. All limitations are only dependent on what the user dashboard can control and what the individual wheel modules were programmed to handle.

This architecture reduces the main mechanical and electrical to a collection of four identical wheel modules with a user controller and rechargeable battery power. This allows a reduction in the weight (ie. electric cars must be light) by removing all the steel, iron, aluminum engine components that weigh cars down and increase the price of the car. This approach also increases the amount of space in each car dedicated to cabin creature comforts. All the room previously provided for large engine, transmission, drive train, axles, wiring, brake control, steering wheel control (with axles), and gas tank is now available for other new cabin style uses. Once the car is reduced to basically 1 type of wheel module repeated and attached 4 times to the car, production and manufacturing efficiencies can be achieved, thus further reducing the cost of the car. The car also uses less natural resources in production.

Naturally there will be some automobile industry objections because services of many component manufacturers will no longer be needed. But that’s progress. We already changed from horses to cars early in the 20th century. We can change again when it makes sense. To drive a new vehicle completely different from anything we have seen before is the way to go. Especially when that new vehicle reduces resource use, reduces manufacturing cost, reduces dependence on foreign oil or fossil fuels, improves cabin amenities, and generally treats earth in the greenest approach possible.

So when can I buy my new “Drive by Wire” car ?

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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