Seeing Machines, an industry leader in computer vision technologies which enable machines to see, understand and assist people, launched phase one of its world-leading automated vehicle trial, CAN Drive, supported by the Rachel Stephe-Smith MLA and the ACT Government, which has committed A$1.35m to the project. 

CAN Drive, the first automated vehicle trial in the world to focus on driver behaviour, using the Seeing Machines technology, is getting underway at Canberra's Sutton Driver Training Track, testing how quickly a driver can be ready to resume control of an automated vehicle. 

The Seeing Machines software monitors the driver's facial movements and expressions to determine whether they are paying sufficient attention and sounds an alert if they need to look at the road and retain full control of the vehicle. 

"The ACT Government is proud to have formed an industry partnership with local company Seeing Machines to conduct this trial," said Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA. "Seeing Machines is leading the world in decoding the interaction between people and machines, as increasingly-automated vehicles are developed."

"Canberra is a progressive and growing city that has earned the reputation as Australia's testbed for innovative new technology and business models that can improve the lives of our citizens: we've supported Uber into our city, we're hosting world-first drone delivery trials, and now we're pioneering research to make automated vehicles safer," she added. 

Seeing Machines is calling for Canberra drivers who are interested in taking part in the trial. Following this first phase at Sutton Driver Training Track, the trial will progress to phase two, where it is expected to move to Canberra's roads to study driver behaviour in real world conditions.

Seeing Machines Chairman Ken Kroeger commented: "The data we collect in trials such as CAN Drive is critical to advancing safety of communities all around the world. Automated technologies are emerging across many transport sectors and it is Seeing Machines' goal, through our driver monitoring platform, to help advance these developments with safety as the highest priority. The continued support of the ACT Government helps Seeing Machines sustain its leadership position as we develop our core technology to meet the needs of our partners, customers and stakeholders."

People interested in taking part in this trial should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. revealed the world’s first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle in Brazil that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. The breakthrough model, an all-new light–commercial vehicle, can rely on multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, to produce high-efficiency electricity as a power source.

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production…all the while supporting the existing infrastructure. In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly.Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth.”

Specifications:

Base vehicle

Nissan e-NV200

Battery capacity

24 kWh

Energy source

Electricity, Ethanol

Tank capacity

30 L

SOFC output

5 kW

Driving range

600 km-plus

*Note due to it being a prototype vehicle, these specifications are subject to change

The fuel cell prototype forms part of Nissan’s ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles and new automotive technologies including autonomous drive systems and connectivity. Nissan already sells the world’s highest-volume zero-emission car, the LEAF, and is pioneering Intelligent Mobility systems that will be deployed in a range of vehicles over coming years.

In this latest zero-emission development, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle runs on 100-percent ethanol to charge a 24 kWh battery which enables a cruising range of more than 600km. Nissan will conduct further field tests on public roads in Brazil using the prototype.

Research and development of the e-Bio Fuel-Cell was announced by Nissan in June in Yokohama.

The powertrain is clean, highly-efficient, easy to supply, and runs on 100-percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water. Its carbon-neutral emissions are as clean as the atmosphere, which will be the part of natural carbon cycle. Also, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers the brisk acceleration and silent driving of an EV, along with its low-running costs, while boasting the driving range of a gasoline-engine vehicle.

Bio-ethanol fuels are mainly sourced from sugarcane and corn. These fuels are widely available in countries in North and South America, which feature widely-established infrastructure. Due to the easy availability of ethanol and low combustibility of ethanol-blended water, the system is not heavily dependent or restricted by the existing charging infrastructure, making it easy to introduce to the market. In the future, people may only need to stop by small retail stores to buy fuel off the shelf.

In pursuit of realizing a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. Nissan’s brand promise of “Innovation That Excites” is delivered with “Nissan Intelligent Mobility”, which focuses on how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society through a more enjoyable driving experience.

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realize the concept of “Nissan Intelligent Power,” promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving, alongside battery EVs, such as the “Nissan LEAF”, “Nissan e-NV200,” and “e-Power,” which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator.

Nissan will continue to provide value to its customers by incorporating systems that enable the extraction of electric power from various fuels, while addressing the infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it is currently researching and developing a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. The new system — a world first for automotive use — features an e-Bio Fuel-Cell with an SOFC power generator. SOFC is a fuel cell utilising the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural petrol, with oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency.

About e-Bio Fuel-Cell

The e-Bio Fuel Cell generates electricity through the SOFC (power generator) using bio-ethanol stored in the vehicle. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell utilises hydrogen transformed from fuel via a reformer and atmospheric oxygen, with the subsequent electrochemical reaction producing electricity to power the vehicle.

Unlike conventional systems, e-Bio Fuel-Cell features SOFC as its power source, affording greater power efficiency to give the vehicle cruising ranges similar to petrol-powered cars (more than 600km). In addition, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell car’s distinct electric-drive features—including silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration—allow users to enjoy the joys and comfort of a pure electric vehicle (EV).

Fuel-cell systems use chemicals that react with oxygen, generating power without release of harmful byproducts. Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America, and Asia. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell, using bio-ethanol, can offer eco-friendly transportation and create opportunities in regional energy production, while supporting existing infrastructure.

When power is generated in a fuel-cell system, CO2 is usually emitted. With the bio-ethanol system, CO2 emissions are neutralised from the growing process of sugarcane making up the bio-fuel, allowing it to have a “Carbon-Neutral Cycle,” with nearly no CO2 increase whatsoever.

The Future of e-Bio Fuel-Cell

In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. As this will remove limits on creating a totally new infrastructure, it has great potential for market growth. Running costs will be remarkably low—on par with today’s EVs, ultimately benefitting the public as well as businesses, because the e-Bio Fuel-Cell is an ideal fit for wider customer needs because of the short refueling time and ample power supply that can support a range of services such as refrigerated delivery.

The Quest for a Zero-Emission Society

In pursuit of realising a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. Nissan’s brand promise of “Innovation That Excites” is delivered with “Nissan Intelligent Mobility”, which focuses on how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society through a more enjoyable driving experience.

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realise the concept of “Nissan Intelligent Power,” promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving, alongside battery EVs, such as the “Nissan Leaf”, “Nissan e-NV200,” and “e-Power,” which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator.

Nissan will continue to provide value to its customers by incorporating systems that enable the extraction of electric power from various fuels, while addressing the infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.

Kia has announced its plans to introduce an all-new low emissions vehicle to its growing model line-up. The Niro – labelled a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) – represents a new concept from the Korean car brand, and marks the development of Kia’s first dedicated eco-car platform. Niro will maintain all the practicality and appeal of a compact SUV, while offering greater fuel economy. Engineered from the ground up as a dedicated hybrid vehicle, its attractive, modern styling will help the car stand out in a traditionally conservative sector.

The Niro’s all-new platform has been engineered in isolation from existing Kia models, and is designed to accommodate a specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies and next-generation powertrains. Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice-Chairman & CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, commented, “Our new model is designed to offer buyers everything they could want from a compact SUV in terms of practicality and styling, while providing the typically low running costs associated with a dedicated hybrid powertrain.

“By encouraging our engineers to take a ‘blank canvas' approach, we have tried to develop a car that will appeal to a broader range of consumers.” Lee added, “The compact SUV market remains one of the fastest-growing segments around the world, and by offering a handsome, modern appearance, high practicality and extraordinary fuel economy, Kia’s new Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle will be the most appealing and desirable car in its class.”

A new addition to Kia’s design-led product range, the Kia Niro will boast a brand new design, with a sporty, aerodynamic body, subtly sculptured surfaces and styling details finishing off the car’s modern new look. While the Niro is an all-new model, with no direct predecessors, it is still immediately recognizable as a Kia, carrying forward the company’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille and a series of other design cues from the latest Kia products. The styling of the new Niro development project has been led by Kia’s design centers in California, USA and Namyang, Korea.

Sporting a compact SUV shape, the car’s designers highlight the most modern architectural designs and contemporary sculptural art as key inspirations behind the new HUV’s body. The vehicle boasts smooth, sleek proportions, while its relatively wide stance portrays stability and a low center of gravity. The long wheelbase minimizes the size of the front and rear overhangs, while ensuring occupants enjoy the maximum possible interior space. The main focus of engineering teams’ efforts behind the development of the new model is to deliver class-leading fuel economy in the compact SUV segment.

The Kia Niro will combine a stylish SUV design with greater fuel economy than its rivals, with a target CO2 emissions rating of under 90 g/km (combined, based on the New European Driving Cycle). Throughout the Niro’s development process, it has been conceived as a dedicated hybrid model. The car will achieve its ultra-low emissions levels and impressive fuel economy with a downsized hybrid powertrain, pairing Kia’s 1.6-litre ‘Kappa’ petrol direct injection (GDI) engine (77kW power output and 147 Nm of torque) with a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 32 kW electric motor.

The powertrain’s combined power output and torque will be applied to the road through a highly-efficient six-speed double-clutch transmission. The platform underpinning the Niro has been engineered specifically to accommodate this next-generation petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is due to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle.

Based upon a bespoke new platform, the Kia Niro’s body is made of more than 50% ultra-high strength steel, contributing to the class-leading fuel economy and high safety ratings that development teams are targeting. Part of a wider effort by Kia, the extended use of ultra-high strength steel will help Kia reach its target of a 5% reduction in the average weight of new car bodies by 2020 compared to 2014 levels. With a strong, lightweight body, the Niro will build on Kia’s reputation for producing cars with a strong crash safety performance. The company’s engineering teams are targeting the highest possible marks from independent safety test organizations around the world, aided by a host of the latest passive, active and pre-collision safety features Kia has to offer.

The high-strength platform will not only result in a high safety rating, but also help minimize noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), a key focus throughout the Niro’s conception. The strong body also enables Kia’s chassis and dynamics experts to give the car a smooth, refined ride and engaging handling characteristics.

The new Kia Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle is due to be unveiled next year, with production for overseas markets scheduled to start in late 2016. The car will be built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea.

The development of an all-new platform and bespoke powertrain for the Niro will contribute to the brand’s ambition to becoming a leader in the low emissions car market by 2020. In the next five years, Kia will expand its current green car line-up from the four current models to 11, and is targeting a 25% improvement to average corporate fuel efficiency over 2014 levels. This expanded range of low-emissions vehicles will encompass a wide range of advanced powertrains, from hybrids and plug-in hybrids to battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. The Niro will be among the first of Kia’s new models to be designed, engineered and produced as part of this plan.

As well as investment in advanced propulsion technologies, by 2020 Kia will also replace seven out of its 10 current engine ranges with next-generation petrol and diesel units, while increasing the number of turbocharged engines. Higher-efficiency, multi-speed transmissions are also planned, while Kia engineers are targeting a 5% reduction in in the average weight of new car bodies through greater application of ultra-high strength steel.