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11 Feb 13. US Army partners with industry for energy-efficient vehicles production. The US Army is collaborating with the automotive industry and utility companies to help accelerate production of more energy-efficient and high-performance vehicles. Speaking at the 2013 Washington Auto Show, US Army Installations, Energy and Environment assistant secretary Katherine Hammack said the military’s initial analyses for future vehicles were promising, even though the majority of production efforts are currently under the research and development stages. The technology is scheduled to be rolled out to the field in the next three to five years, Hammack added. Joint R&D activities are currently being carried out by the army and Detroit Arsenal in the areas of enhanced battery and tire technologies, use of lighter structural materials, improved engine efficiencies, and more efficient drive and braking systems at the army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TRADEC) in Michigan, US. In addition, the army is planning to partner with utility companies in order to evaluate plug-in electric (PEV) vehicles, which will be capable of resupplying power to the grid when idle, according to Hammack. A partnership agreement has also been signed with the US Department of Energy (DOE), which has conducted extensive research into applications that might be useful for the proposed vehicles. The army has recorded 28.5% reduction in petroleum consumption of its vehicle fleet in the past two years, and is looking to achieve a 30% total reduction in the next two years. Investment in hybrid, electric and natural gas vehicles, in addition to reduction in the number and size of vehicles for alignment with mission requirements, are the contributing factors, Hammack said. The army is also validating hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, developed as part of the Hawaii hydrogen initiative in an effort to streamline compatible renewable energy development and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Feb 13. Cosworth recently completed their project to demonstrate the integration of power and data interconnectivity into the Osprey load carriage system currently used by the British Army. Using a combination of their existing skills and knowhow and new technology from their industry partners, Cosworth successfully demonstrated the elimination of external wiring and the elimination of battery variety by powering all equipment from a single source. The demonstrator is based around a newly designed Power Control Module, which weighs in at only 180g. The PCM provides power switching and monitoring for up to 7 individual ports on the clothing; a full speed (480Mbit/s) USB2.0 hub; a charger and battery management circuit for a 3 cell Lithium rechargeable battery; full data logging of all power usage on the vest and an ARM Cortex M4 processor core running at 100MHz. The PCM is able to accept power from a wide variety of sources, such as vehicles, auxiliary generators, solar mats, fuel cells, other primary cells and even buddy power from other soldiers. In this way the system can scavenge power from wherever it can be found, and use this to re-charge the internal battery, or to feed connected equipment. Interconnect between the soldier clothing, vehicle and carried equipment is provided by a range of novel technologies. A new flat-form connector from TE Connectivity is designed to be sewn into the fabric of the load carriage system and provides wipe clean contacts on both connector halves, plus compatibility with the USB2.0 specification. Inductive coupling connectors from Ultra Electronics and Martec Ltd provide