One of the major problems that faces the emerging electric vehicle (EV) market is the range of electric vehicles. While, due to improvements in battery technology and car design and efficiency, some electric cars now have ranges well over 300 miles, a more comparable level with the range of their internal combustion (IC) cousins, they often come at the cost of, well, a much higher cost than petrol or diesel cars. However, advances recently published in the journal Nature are mapping the route towards a potential solution.
Insights: Electronic & Electrical Devices
For most people, the term “flying taxi” may conjure up images of Milla Jovovich crashing into Bruce Willis’s taxi in “The Fifth Element” in the year 2263 rather than feats of present-day engineering. However, a slew of long-established industrial giants, like Toyota, Boeing, and Airbus, newer tech giants, like Uber, Google, or Amazon, and disruptive start-ups of which there are too many to list, are doing their best to bring flying taxis from 23rd century science-fiction to present day reality.
Predicting the future is a fool’s game at the best of times, but in the current turbulent and fast-changing world it is perhaps even more so. Nevertheless, let’s try and use the patent system as a crystal ball in an attempt to at least see the directions that the automotive sector are heading in.
In modern manufacturing and design processes, computer models and simulations play a key and ever expanding role. Whereas previously many different prototypes may have had to be individually machined and then tested, now each design can be tested virtually. This allows optimal designs to be found without incurring any of the expense, or expending any of the time, associated with manufacturing multiple custom prototype components and designs- here we focus on the automotive sector.
Toyota are offering royalty-free licenses for almost 24,000 patents (and patent applications) related to various aspects of battery, hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicle technology.
Although nearly all commercially available hybrids and battery electric vehicles use Li-ion batteries, there are some concerns regarding energy density and safety of Li-ion batteries, especially in the transport sector.Replacing the liquid electrolyte with a solid electrolyte is being considered as one of the possible ways to both mitigate the safety concerns and to improve the currently limited energy density.
The IET reported a claim by researchers based in Australia that 100x faster internet speeds over fibre-optic cables may be possible using optical angular momentum. In an era where so much attention is focussed on wireless data transmission, advances in wired technologies are less prominently reported in the mainstream press.
Decisions from the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), ‘Landmark Graphics Corporation’, suggest the UK IPO has been overly strict in applying the law relating to computer related inventions.