Indianapolis Speedway – 100 Years of Automotive Innovations

For the past 100 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the home for some of auto racing’s most thrilling moments. Although the news has centered on the oval action, the behind-the-scenes activity has generated its own kind of excitement. In their efforts to gain the best speed possible, the mechanics and engineers working on the race cars have created innovations that have transitioned from Pit Row onto the highway.

In fact, the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911 witnessed the initiation of the rear view mirror. At the time, a driver had an accompanying mechanic in the car, who would check on other drivers trailing the car. Driver Ray Harroun had a different idea. Instead of this extra passenger, he decided he could see the drivers himself if a mirror was bolted onto the front of his car. The weight of an extra passenger would be eliminated and then decrease wind resistance and increase the possibilities of greater speed. The idea helped Harroun become the first Indy 500 winner. Eventually the rear view mirror also sparked auto manufacturers’ interest. Today, it is standard equipment on every car.

Generally these early races were both testing grounds for new products and promotional tools. Manufacturers, such as Firestone Rubber Tire Company , could show the public how well its products performed. In the early to mid 1900’s, Firestone manufactured the same tires for both the track and the highway. The idea was to impress racing fans, who would then buy Firestone tires for their own vehicles. “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday,” became Firestone’s business practice.

The Firestone tradition became entrenched with the 1925 Speedway win by Peter DePaolo. On the new Firestone balloon tires, DePaolo averaged 101.13 miles per hour without tire trouble. In fact, every one of the top ten racers had the balloon tires. Firestone’s triumph convinced the public that the new rubber balloon tires lasted longer. Plus, the tires proved to provide a more comfortable ride.

The balloon tires were only the start of manufacturers’ innovative efforts at the Indy Speedway. Through the years, they continued to improve tires, engines, and car bodies. Many of these innovations were then transferred to the public’s vehicles.

Today the racing industry is highly specialized with car mechanics and parts devoted strictly to the race car. However, the practice of promoting the best that a manufacturer can offer is still an important element of the Indianapolis 500 tradition.

Heavy Equipment Innovation

At a struggle to keep up with how fast the world spins nowadays, all the big heavy equipment manufacturers invest the biggest part of their resources in research, development and innovation as to gain the leader name on the market and drive the construction industry to the peak. Among the oldest companies to provide series heavy construction equipment there are Caterpillar, Volvo and Siemens and since their early ages they continuously improved and developed the business in such a manner as to support remarkable constructions as London Bridge or the beautiful palm tree island hotel.

Even in the current economical recession developments are made for the construction industry is sure to register a boom at the time of recovery. In this uncertain economical climate heavy equipment manufacturers are faced with the challenge of bringing newer and better technology at a lower cost as to best service the construction needs on the market. Another important consideration when designing new improving technologies to be used in the construction field is to keep away from adding too much power or such fuels which would not be environmental friendly as pollution is one of the top three concerns of the century.

Day by day, heavy equipment designed either for construction sites or civil engineering jobs or even demolition are working with highly complex systems at higher speeds, everything going on just a little too fast to keep track of. It is quite impressive that workers have enough time to switch from one machine to another and still have the time to learn how they properly function and operate them at maximum capacity and efficiency.

Just about every new piece of equipment is now produced on a software platform where it is tested even before seeing the production line as to be bigger and better than the previous models, to perform in tougher and harsher weather conditions on more pretencious grounds with even less consumption than before. As all the developed countries are in dire need of new infrastructure there is an increasing pressure placed on the heavy equipment manufacturer for faster production lines and delivery.

Aside from durability, power, sustainability heavy equipment is required to fulfill the demand for speed and for greater speed it is required that they are easier to operate. Through a combination of the automotive innovations for power gear and hybrid fueling as to sustain the heavy tasks they are meant to comply with, heavy equipment manufacturers can now send their machines to compete for NASCAR.

Research On Major Automotive Innovations Funded

The drive for cleaner cars roaming the streets of the global community has reached another high. Case in point is the funding of research on major automotive innovations by the French Industrial Innovation Agency (Agence de l’Innovation Industrielle, or the AII). The agency recently announced that they will fund the research being conducted by Valeo, a leading automotive supplier all over the world. The AII has arranged the release of 61 million euros for use in the study being conducted by Valeo. The mentioned funding is in connection with the company’s aim to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles.

“This funding recognizes the value of the work that Valeo engineers have been undertaking in this field for several years and will allow us to offer the market new solutions that can provide up to 30 percent fuel savings with a significant reduction in CO2 and pollutant emissions,” says Thierry Morin, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Valeo.

Valeo is doing research on two major innovations which will greatly help car makers in producing cleaner cars. The first one is the camless system. Valeo is looking for ways to replace the camshaft with electromagnetic actuators. This is a major innovation since a camshaft is common on all engines and this is the component which closes or opens the intake or exhaust ports by controlling the valves. The technology aims to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions by as much as 20 percent. The fuel consumption will be reduced since the electromagnetic actuators will be powered by the car’s battery instead of being a load on the engine. The technology will also increase significantly the performance and ride comfort of a vehicle by increasing low-end torque. This technology is primarily aimed at gasoline engines but a diesel version will also be developed in the future.

The second innovation being looked into by Valeo is a next-generation hybrid. Valeo hopes to improve the performance and fuel efficiency of their StARS+X technology. The technology will be equipped with a Start-Stop function which will enable the vehicle to shut the engine during idling. The technology will also be employing a regenerative braking system. This means that the energy given off during the application of the brakes will be recovered. Valeo will also add a high powered alternator that will provide the added power to the engine during low speed driving. Aside from these, better capacitors will also be used which would complement the entire system. All in all, the improvement on the StARS+X technology will further reduce the fuel consumption of a vehicle by as much as 15 percent.

These two systems that are being looked into by Valeo are compatible with each other. This means that in the future, vehicles may be equipped with a hybrid camless engine which will dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles. This technology when employed on cars will definitely make a difference just like a brake component from Active Brakes Direct.

Automotive Innovations in the Electric Car

An electric car looks like any other car but it features something that is quite innovative in the history of the automobile. Apart from the fact that they run on electric energy, there are some pretty outstanding features that are unique and groundbreaking.

For example, the electric car has no exhaust pipe. In fact it has no exhaust system at all. This means you have no smoke coming our of the car as it runs. Hitherto, all vehicles had some sort of combustion outlet that emitted the waste from the burning of fuel.

Again, the electric car has no fuel tank. It uses energy from the batteries so there is no need to hold fuel in liquid or gaseous form for it’s automotive power. So we can definitely say it is a tankless car.

For the first time, the barking system of a car will serve as a charging system for its batteries. In the regular car, you have the alternator as the system that charges the battery. The electric car has something interesting – the batteries are charged when you brake the car. The process is called regenerative braking and it can recover about 15% of the energy that the car used.

The electric car is therefore an economical and amazing piece of technology worth admiring. Upon close examination, you will notice that it has been able to bring together many features and components that were once considered futuristic and almost impossible to achieve. Today, the electric car comes to reality with them.