PPG Partnering with University of Michigan for Autonomous Vehicle Research
PPG and the University of Michigan are partnering up to test coatings for autonomous vehicles, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.
The company will work with Mcity, a public-private partnership that operates a test facility for autonomous vehicles, connected-vehicle systems and related technology.
PPG is developing coatings to improve functionality and enable broad deployment of autonomous vehicles. Examples are an exterior that enhances vehicle visibility to radar and light detection and ranging, and easy-to-clean coatings to help prevent obstruction of sensors.
“Specialized coatings will play an integral role in the development of safe and reliable driverless vehicles,” said Gary Danowski, PPG vice president of automotive OEM coatings, in a statement. “We are enthusiastic about this partnership and are always actively seeking additional R&D partners as we continue to explore new possibilities in emerging vehicle technologies.”
The research will be conducted at Mcity’s test facility — a 32-acre site at the University of Michigan’s north campus that consists of roads and traffic infrastructure, intersections, sidewalks, fire hydrants and simulated buildings with obstacles like construction barriers and pedestrian crash dummies.
Walmart Tests Automation to Scan Shelves, Free up Time
Robots are no longer a rare thing to see in factories — Amazon alone uses more than 45,000 — but now they’re moving into stores, too. Walmart has recently deployed shelf-scanning bots in more than 50 stores across the U.S., using them to check things like inventory, prices and misplaced items according to the Verge.
The robots won’t cost Walmart employees any jobs, and it saves them time from carrying out tasks that are predictable, repeatable and manual.
The bots are produced by California and Pittsburgh-based Bossa Nova Robotics, and are about two-feet tall with an extendable tower containing lights and sensors for scanning shelves.
In addition to saving workers time, the data the robots collect will help Walmart improve efficiencies in stores nationwide.
“If you think about trying to go through a facility with all these different [items] and figure out if your prices are accurate, it can be very time-consuming,” John Crecelius, Walmart’s vice president of central operations, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “From our perspective, when you’re doing things like this you’re trying to improve your service to your customers and trying to make things simpler and easier for your associates at the same time.”
U.S. Oil Industry Ramping Up Production
A large upswing in U.S. shale production is pushing the oil output towards 10 million barrels daily, with projections to increase to 11 million by 2019 — a level which would rival Russia, the world’s current top oil producer.
The impacts have been astronomical, cutting the nation’s oil imports by a fifth over a decade, providing high-paying jobs in rural communities and lowering consumer prices for domestic gas by 37-percent from a 2008 peak, according to Reuters.
“It has had incredibly positive impacts for the U.S. economy, for the workforce and even our reduced carbon footprint” as shale natural gas has displaced coal at power plants, said John England, head of consultancy Deloitte’s U.S. energy and resources practice.
The next phase of shale output growth depends on implementing advancing technology to enable squeezing more oil from each well.
Companies are putting sensors on drill bits to more precisely access oil deposits, using artificial intelligence and remote operators to get the most out of the equipment and trained engineers.