Some experts believe we are years from realizing self-driving cars. But if you take a look under the hood and kick the tires, the timeline for the autonomous car might be closer than we think. The world’s top automakers have made some interesting predictions and companies like Ford, GM, BMW and others have established their own timelines
Photo courtesy of OSX, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12890947
In the 1982 blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Elliott utters the memorable line, “One thing. I have absolute power. Say it,” just before he introduces E.T. to his brother Michael. Car makers are also asking for accurate absolute measurements, especially when it comes to Body in White (BIW) assembly.
According to Wikipedia, "Body in white or BIW refers to the stage in automobile manufacturing in which a car body's sheet metal components have been welded together. BIW is termed before painting & before moving parts (doors, hoods, and deck lids as well as fenders), the engine, chassis sub-assemblies or trim (glass, seats, upholstery, electronics, etc.) have been assembled in the frame structure." As you can see, BIW involves many parts, and metrology plays a key role.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Americans spent 39,243,750 hours in 2014 on yard work alone. Do you ever look at your own house or lawn and feel like your to-do list is endless? In the automotive and transportation industries, metrology needs also appear endless. Every part you can think of needs to be inspected at one point or another somewhere along the supply chain.
Auto makers are feeling the pressure of tightening margins and shorter turnaround times. Innovation continues to rapidly change the way parts are made. Also, automotive quality standards recently received a significant update, giving sector members one more thing to keep pace with. The challenge? Balancing innovation with safety.
We’ve all seen the commercials. You know. A driver enters a packed shopping space, sees a lone parking place and breaks out into a sweat trying to maneuver his or her vehicle into that tiny bit of real estate, all while other drivers wait impatiently behind them. A number of manufacturers are eliminating that headache with technology called active park assist or auto park. This self-help aid allows a vehicle to navigate its way into a parallel or perpendicular parking space while its driver just sits back and enjoys the ride. While driver assist technologies like this one hint at a future where cars could become their owners’ metallic chauffeurs, innovation is also spreading to the interiors of vehicles.