[YesAuto Revelation] The remaining temperature at the 2016 Beijing International Auto Show that has just passed has not only brought us a visual feast in terms of automobile exterior design, but also as usual. Major auto companies are contending in the technical field. up and down. Although there are still a few major types of technological progress each year, in terms of its development in recent years, there are many new trends that conform to the trend of the future era. Let's talk about the future of automobile technology in the process of technical inventory at this auto show.
As a car, its simple structure is nothing more than those parts: body, chassis, engine, transmission, and interior trim. These common models running on the street today have thoroughly studied these points, and the continuous innovation of new technologies is also gradually changing the structure and concepts of these parts. At this time, someone may ask: Idea? In addition to the structure, will many concepts in the traditional car structure change with the advancement of science and technology?
And when it comes to such changes, I believe everyone is more concerned about the future direction of automotive technology development. Don't worry, let's take it step by step, starting with the heart of the vehicle: the engine.
● The heart's direction-engine technology
Judging from the current auto show, the innovation of various auto companies in the engine field is still the same, but there is a big difference from the previous exhibitions that some auto companies at this auto show are more inclined to try many new structures, instead of using traditional engines as the basis. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a revolution in engines.
Of course, not all engines have such a revolutionary change. The large-scale popularization of mainstream technology is also the direction that can be seen at this year's auto show. And if talking about the mainstream, nowadays gasoline engines are still the world, then in this part, let's start with traditional gasoline engines.
Perhaps more than ten years ago, this approach of Volkswagen and Mitsubishi was indeed more avant-garde: it changed the way of fuel injection in the intake manifold and changed to direct injection in the cylinder to achieve the improvement of thermal efficiency and popularize it in mass production cars. (From a historical point of view, there were direct-injection gasoline vehicles as early as the 1950s, but the technology was not mature and popularized.) Compared with manifold injection, direct injection has higher injection pressure, better atomization effect, and more flexible and precise injection control. However, due to multiple injections, there may be multiple injections, and part of the oil mist from a certain injection is only generated. In terms of heat dissipation, it is not fuel efficient under certain working conditions.
Technically speaking, it is not difficult to implement this measure in principle. Diesel engines have long used such a structure (of course, diesel engines are compression ignition, which is relatively simple to implement), but because it needs to rely on a set of high pressure Fuel injection devices, high fuel requirements and how to control emissions have become difficult problems on its development road. Until recent years, people have mixed direct injection and manifold injection to achieve dual injection. This problem can be regarded as looking for the future. Solutions under development.
After more than ten years of evolution, this technology is no longer the “black technology direct injection engine that can only eat fine grains”. What follows is the large-scale popularization achieved due to mature technology. There is a saying: technology is developed based on demand. Indeed, direct injection technology combined with small displacement + small inertia turbine measures, combined with the integration concept and the direct injection system of mixed manifold injection that are popular at home and abroad, all of which are for the same goal: increasingly stringent emissions standard.
The environment changes life. In the modern society of industrialization, air pollution is definitely a problem that needs to be solved urgently all over the world. I am in Beijing must feel deeply about this. If there is a clear breeze blowing away the smog, then this day will give myself A vacation is all right. So in order to solve this problem, many countries have adopted measures to limit vehicle emissions and increase the difficulty of emissions testing, encouraging the development of small-emission vehicles and new energy vehicles, so as to control the air environment. Leaving aside the rationality of this solution, from a certain point of view, it does make small-displacement turbo direct-injection engines like a fish in the water, and it is not surprising that these technologies are popularized on a large scale.
This domestic development trend has become the mainstream, but it does not mean that all car companies are following this path. The cooperation between Qoros and Koenigsegg provides a new idea for the future development of gasoline engines: the design of the camshaft is cancelled, and the control unit that cooperates with oil pressure and air pressure is used to control the opening and closing and lift of the executive valve. From the structural point of view, the elimination of the camshaft and the adoption of a new structure control can be seen to a certain extent that the future engine technology will rely on the electronic control field, simplify the mechanical structure, and transform more mechanical designs into simple electronic control units. Instead. In addition, the solenoid valve is used to achieve the functions completed by the original camshaft, which can achieve more precise control of timing and lift, optimize the air-fuel ratio, and make the thermal efficiency of a manifold injection engine as good as that of a direct injection engine. Good weight loss effect.
Take the engine of Koenigsegg and Qoros as an example. When the engine cancels the camshaft and traditional valve timing, the volume of the upper part of the engine is significantly reduced, the cylinder head can be reduced by as much as 50%, and the overall mass can also be reduced. Decrease by 30%.
From mechanical to electronic, the benefits of doing so are more to simplify the structure, reduce weight, and have advantages in response time and precise control. Also because of the increasing dependence on electronic control, future engines It is very likely that technology will no longer compete with mechanical structures, but instead compete in the field of electronic control logic.
The future engine technology that relies on a large area of electronic control technology and simplifies the mechanical structure will most likely become the mainstream trend of future engine development. We guess that the engine structure will become simpler and simpler. Through the adjustment of different electronic control programs, different control logics can be realized, so that the engine can achieve different output characteristics.
● The way of muscles and bones-transmission system technology
From the perspective of a car, achieving high efficiency and high output depends on the excellent operating efficiency of the heart (engine) on the one hand, and on the other hand, the lack of strength to do so will also hinder the performance of power. From this perspective, a set of efficient transmission system can make a good engine maximize its due ability. This is the truth of the so-called “good horse with good saddle”.
In terms of transmission system, the gasoline/diesel vehicle field only depends on how to optimize the gearbox and reduce transmission loss to improve transmission efficiency. Of course, there is no unique way to achieve this goal. Some car companies adopt the form of replacing the original gearbox to optimize the transmission system, that is, use different gearboxes, including continuously variable gearboxes (abbreviated as CVT) and dual clutch gearboxes (abbreviated as Many forms, including DCT, have their own advantages and disadvantages. As far as the current technology is concerned, it is not difficult to realize them.
Then again, since traditional engines need to rely on gearboxes to achieve the effect of “decelerating and increasing torque”, efficiency optimization is indeed the top priority. From the perspective of this auto show, major domestic and foreign auto companies have their own unique understanding of the optimization of gearboxes, but in terms of general categories, they are generally divided into two directions.
Some car companies choose to adopt dual-clutch gearbox solutions, which can achieve rapid shifts without interrupting power output during the shift process to achieve the demand for efficient and fast power transmission, but there are some problems in comfort; and some car companies The traditional automatic transmission (AT) scheme with more gears is adopted to refine the transmission ratio (the transmission ratio refined to linear change is the concept of the CVT continuously variable transmission, but there will be a big difference in structure), It keeps the engine working conditions relatively optimal at almost all times, and achieves efficient performance of the engine. However, most ATs are slightly inferior in terms of shift time, and most of the traditional CVTs that use steel belts or chain transmissions are due to their steel belts and belts. The way the wheel is pressed may slip and wear between the two, so it is a short board in terms of bearing torque.
The above two sets of solutions are based on the development of traditional vehicles to a large extent, and in terms of transmission optimization, they have not jumped out of the circle of gearboxes. There is a big trend that we can all feel: In view of the need for environmental protection, the future will be the main market for EV pure electric vehicles and Hybrid hybrid vehicles. These two vehicles with motors involved not only affect the future direction of development in terms of engines, but also in terms of transmission systems.
In this auto show, Lexus showed its new idea of hybrid power, not only from the powertrain, but also to ensure that the power output is not easily destroyed by the transmission system. Lexus LC 500h uses a planetary gear E-CVT gearbox in series with a 4AT automatic gearbox, which can simulate a 10-speed gear. Lexus worked tirelessly to develop this complex compound gearbox, in fact, for only one purpose: to make the transmission efficiency, transmission ratio coverage and sports shift feel coexist, and can well match the hybrid powertrain.
Although it seems to be perfect, everything has its pros and cons. What is the reliability of such a complicated gearbox? Although I personally trust Lexus's quality control, can it be guaranteed even with such a complicated structure?
Hybrid power not only changes the power unit and gearbox, but also changes the drive form: the concept of “hybrid four-wheel drive” is a drive structure that is gradually becoming the mainstream. We are familiar with the concept of hybrid power. On the basis of the traditional gasoline/diesel engine, the electric driving force system is combined to achieve the effect of complementary power, reduce fuel consumption, and improve driving efficiency. The structure of the hybrid four-wheel drive is actually not complicated, and there was a similar structure on the Lexus RX 400h 10 years ago. This kind of hybrid four-wheel drive can be developed based on the front-wheel drive platform of gasoline vehicles, and it is a relatively mainstream method for many manufacturers to develop hybrid SUVs. Indeed, the SUV market is already hot, combined with the simple and effective technology of the hybrid four-wheel drive, which is energy-saving and efficient, why not do it? Gradually becoming a mainstream from a niche is also a matter of course.
But this does not mean perfection. Like the electronic control of the engine, this hybrid four-wheel drive structure also relies on complex control logic, that is, it returns to the electronic control problem: how to coordinate the front axle end driven by the gasoline engine and the rear axle end driven by the motor is the future A difficult problem to test the major manufacturers. At this stage, in some low-end products, the method adopted is similar to the principle of the electronic limited slip differential, which is the derivative function of the body stability system. The body stability system brakes the wheels to prevent slippage. In terms of the drive coordination of the shaft end, it seems that the control logic of each manufacturer is different.
This indeed provides some new ideas for our future: not only the hybridization of the four-wheel drive system, the high efficiency of transmission, etc., the compound gearbox also provides us with some inspirations. Why not use them when it is difficult to balance them. Fusion together?
● Brain development-electronic and autonomous driving
Now that it comes to the future of technology, the dominance of electronic technology is the general trend. More and more traditional mechanical parts and components will be replaced by more electronic parts. In the future, driving will become a simpler thing.
In fact, the concept of automotive electronics is not a new product. In the 20th century, the popularization of body electronic stability control systems (ESCs for short) shows that the future development of vehicles is bound to be inseparable from the relationship with electronic systems, from ESC to today’s various high-end driving assistance systems and various in-cars. The comfortable configuration of science and technology, every time progress, is the interpretation of the phrase “technology changes the future”.
In this auto show, if you only see the larger and larger center console screen and more and more integrated functional configuration, then you will have a “picture broken”. In fact, in many aspects of driving control experience, highly electronic improvements are also quietly underway. For example, we had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Rolf Fletcher, who is in charge of the technical field on the Bentley Board of Directors, and exchanged views with him on the development of the electronic field in the future.
Although it is not comprehensive enough to look at the electronic development process from a single brand perspective, but from a broad perspective, strengthen the basic field of electronic (that is, car power supply) and let the computer control complex mechanical operations (electronically assists and actively adjusts the operation of mechanical components) In terms of these two directions, it will be the only way for every car company in the future. The transition from pure mechanization to electronic mechanization requires the cooperation of electronic technology and mechanical structure to complete the transformation of auxiliary control and driving direction.
This means that it is clear that for some brands, committed to the development of electronics to improve the control experience, rather than obliterating this fun, will become a future direction, such as electronic turbines (which can ensure continuous and stable intake pressure) , To make the engine output more linear in the early stage, to make up for the turbo delay problem caused by the traditional turbo) and many electronic reforms, including the active suspension system, are actually to make it easier for the driver to experience the joy of driving.
In addition to some problems with electronic mechanical structures, from another perspective, highly electronic vehicles are easier to implement than low-electronic vehicles in terms of implementing some electronic safety auxiliary functions. For example, if you want to realize the lane keeping function, it is bound to involve the problem of steering. Since it is necessary to allow it to rely on electronic drive to realize the steering function, it is bound to be easier to develop a steering system based on electronic power steering. Features.
In another area-autonomous driving, it can be understood as a summary of the advancement of electronic technology. To realize autonomous driving, it is necessary to make the car have cognitive awareness (achieved through various sensors), judgment awareness (achieved through computer judgment logic), and execution awareness (achieved through active electronic control). These three aspects are highly dependent on electronic control technology, and are not simply logical processes that can be completed through complex machinery.
Let the computer replace the driver. From some of the booth exhibits in this auto show, we can also see some ideas on the realization of this future trend. For parts companies such as Valeo and Bosch, what they have to do is not only complete the mass production of these high-precision sensors, in order to solve the impact of cost on the field of autonomous driving, but more importantly, they must Under certain technical levels, how to make these safety assistance systems and driving assistance systems work together to complete automatic driving operations.
At this stage, high-end driver assistance systems can actually complete many automatic driving functions in simple working conditions, but in terms of decentralizing technology from high-end models, there are still many cost issues that need to be resolved. And there is still a certain difference in concept between unmanned driving and autonomous driving: autonomous driving means that the vehicle can drive autonomously, realize autonomous judgment and execute control, and rely on the driver itself in some situations that require human intervention; while unmanned driving It is the concept of completely letting the car judge and control independently, without human intervention. Therefore, the Changan unmanned driving mentioned in the figure above can actually be regarded as an autonomous driving experiment at this stage, but its progress is beyond doubt.
In addition to the fact that automatic driving at this stage cannot achieve the correct judgment of complex working conditions for the time being, there is a very important issue that needs to be considered behind this: legal issues. Can an autonomous driving system be counted as a driver? In the event of an accident, how should the responsibility be determined? Regarding this issue, on the one hand, the law needs to be perfected (in fact, many countries are now drafting relevant laws on autonomous driving, and the states of Nevada, California, and Florida in the United States have already enacted legislation for this), but on the other hand, they also need Collaboration between major car companies and parts manufacturers. Cooperate? How to cooperate in this regard? In fact, it's very simple: If communication between vehicles is realized, wouldn't this matter be solved? To achieve communication, the establishment of the Internet between cars is also one of the focuses of future development.
Through the visit of electronic technology at this auto show, the establishment of electronic mechanization, autonomous driving and the Internet of Vehicles, these three aspects must be important trends in future development. The three aspects are a complementary relationship, and it is not only foreign companies that attach great importance to these three aspects, but many domestic car companies are also intensively developing.
In this auto show, the display of the technical field not only saw the different understandings of the major manufacturers on the technology, but also saw some general directions for future development: the field of electronic control. No matter from the engine, transmission system or the electronic process, the importance of the electronic control field will become the dominant in the future automobile research and development process, and all relying on this technological upgrade will even change our car usage habits in the future. This is not whimsical. If you observe carefully, they have already happened quietly.