Tag: design

 

Automated driving is central to the Maxi Taxi concept. Although the Maxi Taxi ferry concept does not specifically require full automated driving, the ferry concept, at a minimum, will use automated parking type technology to load and unload the ferries automatically with human drivers on public roads. However, the Maxi Taxi concept will really come into its own with automated driving.

 

Automated driving is probably the most radical component of the Maxi Taxi concept from a consumer point of view.

 

I have been closely following automated driving efforts for over 15 years, and today we are far past the proof of concept phase. As a matter of fact, there are no technological barriers to automated driving and the remaining barriers are related to manufacturing, standardization, and regulatory issues and consumer acceptance.

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This is our third blog on the Maxi Taxi concept, for earlier blogs on Maxi Taxi go to:

Containerizing People Transportation (Maxi Taxi 1)

What Needs to be Standardized? (Maxi Taxi 2)

 

The Maxi Taxi concept has chosen five feet as the working standardization width for the system, which would result in road lane widths of about 6 feet. This is a nice return to more traditional road widths, noting that the narrowest roman roads were 5 ½ feet wide (and double lanes were about 13 ½ feet wide).

It is possible that the arbitrary width of five feet is not the exact optimal width, but chances are it is pretty close for quite a number of reasons.

 

Five feet is a pretty normal width for passenger cars, even though we can choose to design and built passenger cars with widths between less than 2 feet (when thinking in terms of motorcycles) up to 8 feet and possibly a little more. Today cars are generally wider than five feet, for quite a number of reasons, many of which are esthetic. While it is fun to design attractive cars, the Maxi Taxi concept aims for maximum utility and efficiency for transportation although, hopefully, the end result will have some level of attractiveness.  read more »

The April issue of (mt), the SNAME house magazine, will feature an article by Dr. Wayne Neu, professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Neu updated the classic 1950's Gabrielli - von Karman plot using more recent vehicle data collected by the students in one of his classes.

 

The Gabrielli - von Karman plot is one of those devices that allows one to think in terms of the real big picture. In essence, it plots vehicle drag over lift against vehicle speed. It is a cornucopia of transportation devices and allows one to compare one mode of transportation against another as far as basic efficiencies at various speeds is concerned.

 

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The Greatest Show on Earth

Boat shows tend to depress me. It is important to stay up with the latest trends, but most boat shows focus so heavily on consumer products that it is difficult to extract real joy from them. My friend and fellow boat lover Captain Dannie Schade, owner of Classic Boat Rides, convinced me and our wives to take a roadtrip to Portland ME last weekend to attend the Maine Boatbuilders Show.

 

This is the show for real boat lovers. If you ever feel jaded or depressed about the looks and quality of today's boats, even a few minutes at this show proves that all is well in boatland. Great people, great boats, great setting, great food, great innovations and pure joy. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

 

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In the Maxi Taxi 1 blog we introduced the Maxi Taxi concept as a thought experiment to explore how people transportation can be made to be more efficient by whole system design.

 

The Maxi Taxi is a passenger transportation concept that, through standardization, aims to rapidly increase system efficiencies. System efficiencies are different from component efficiencies and potentially have much more powerful payoffs.

 

The Federal Government aims to increase efficiencies of cars by about 100% in the foreseeable future. That is a very laudable goal, but, if that goal is achieved, we will not know how much less fuel we will burn because we are not working to an underlying standard or restriction.

 

Therefore, once the greater fuel efficiencies are achieved, it could very well occur that, due to strongly reduced fuel operational costs, customers can afford to purchase larger cars, which then, in turn, end up burning more fuel and which then results in reduced system efficiency gains.

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We call this peculiar car a Maxi Taxi. Maxi Taxis are just a concept that was turned into this computer model by our intern Zach Davis (Harry Ottaway's grandson!), but they are an interesting concept and have features that are pretty much available today.

 

containerization efficiency

The Maxi Taxi concept rests on the success of containerization and maybe a Maxi Taxi can be described as a people container. It is designed to hold seven people, and its goal is to transport people much more efficiently than we do today.

 

The car itself takes advantage of very rapidly emerging technologies such as battery/hybrid/fuel cell power, automated driving, ubiquitous web presence and GM’s Hy-Wire platform concept. These concepts are pretty much road ready, but are looking for an introductory application where they can be fully integrated into the transportation system. We are all interested in these concepts, but to properly introduce them in the most optimized fashion is very difficult because it needs to displace existing technologies.

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At the end of 2012 we can look back and see it has been another interesting year in our industry.

 

Here are ten things, in no particular order of importance, that stand out for me:

 

1. Planet Solar

There is no doubt that we can get around the world by sail, but what if we were to use the other sustainable technology, photo voltaic solar power? The math for PV is much more difficult than sail. By comparison, sun light has much lower power densities than wind. It is very difficult to fit sufficient PV areas on a ship and still have it move at a reasonable speed. But can it be done? It was proven to be possible with Planet Solar. It certainly was not fast, but extremely low weight and very high efficiencies with regard to drag and propulsion made it work and in 2012 she completed her first PV powered circumnavigation.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%BBranor_PlanetSolar

 

2. Vestas Sailrocket 2

On November 24, 2012, the Vesta Sailrocket 2 set an outright sailboat speed record of 65.45 knots. This is a doubling of the outright sailboat speed record since 1977 when it was 31 knots! Remarkably this increase in speed was almost entirely achieved by very careful optimization after 35 years of continuous experimentation.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestas_Sailrocket

 

3. CMA CGM Marco Polo

It is not entirely clear if she is even the largest container vessel today, but she is proof that the growth trend for super large container vessels has not yet stopped. Bigger boats from Maersk are expected next year. Remember these vessels are the longest vessels currently plying the oceans, because ULCC’s like Seawise Giant have been scrapped.

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A recent bit in the news announced that the "Exxon Valdez" in its present incarnation as the "Oriental Nicety" is bound for the scrap yard.

 

It is easy to think of the "Exxon Valdez" as some villainous symbol in the drama of the oil spill in Alaska, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, then there is the rest of the story.

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High tech comes in many flavors. Some of it is just completely new like the Lever building in New York City or maybe an IPad, but I like high tech when it reaches back and reaches forward. In yacht design occasionally I get to see such instances. I particularly like those designs that use wood in novel ways. Last week I finally got the chance to sail on a 1980's Dick Newick wooden trimaran that has been taunting me on its mooring on the river near my house for many years (I am digressing a little here, bear with me). 

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Robert Fulton

Francis A. Martin, the founder of Martin & Ottaway, was a grandnephew of Robert Fulton, the first successful steamboat operator (I will not get into the debate as to who invented the steamboat, but I agree it was not Robert Fulton). Robert Fulton is a rather elusive figure who was a prolific inventor and technical promoter and a pretty good painter too.

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