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We all know that accidents happen on the road mainly because of mistakes by drivers, bad weather, or problems with the vehicle itself. But what if we could make vehicles drive on their own, avoiding these accidents?  That’s the idea behind self-driving vehicles, and the University of Waterloo’s Mechatronic Vehicle Systems (MVS) Lab is working on a project called WATonoTruck (WATerloo atonomous Truck). It’s a self-driving flatbed truck designed for heavy material handling, farming, and service applications. It uses advanced control methods to understand how the truck moves, especially in dangerous places or if something in the truck isn’t working right.

The lab aims to extend the application of autonomous vehicle technology beyond passenger transportation. They want to use it in other industries like agriculture, mining, and shipping, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing operational downtime.

Read the full article at SBG Systems.

The internal combustion engine may be a marvel of engineering, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a modern one.

In fact, the basic design pioneered by Jean Lenoir in the 1850s isn’t too far off from the engine that is likely powering your car today. The idea of fuel ignited within a sealed engine block, with the force directed to cylinders and pistons that propel a vehicle, has been improved over the decades but remains largely the same today as it has always been.

And that’s part of the problem. There is only so much that engineers can do to improve the efficiency, performance, and durability of the time-tested internal combustion engine.

That’s why Amir Khajepour, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON, Canada, and his team have been working on improving not the combustion chamber itself but the valves that control inputs and exhaust. Their innovation, a fully selectable system that can adjust the opening and closing of intake and exhaust valves, can increase the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 percent and is the result of more than a decade of work.

Read the full article at ASME.

Every day, the University of Waterloo in Canada buzzes with the hum of the WATonoBus, a self-driving shuttle bus that navigates the 2.7-kilometer ring road encircling the campus. This autonomous shuttle, available to students, faculty, and visitors, is one of the many innovative projects happening at the Mechatronic Vehicle Systems Lab (MVS), one of the world’s largest academic automotive labs.

The MVS Lab, which has been working for over 15 years, has collaborated with numerous organizations and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including industry giant General Motors.

“We usually have between 40 and 50 graduate students, engineers, postdocs, and technicians working,” says Dr. Amir Khajepour, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Waterloo and the head of the MVS Lab.

The full article can be read at MathWorks.