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Archive for the ‘Automotive Directory’ Category

Tata Nano Vs Alto K10 AMT

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

To take a look at what branding can do, Maruti has created an image for Alto that will forever be etched in our minds. It is seen as the first car, to be bought by people who are transitioning from a two-wheeler.

Whereas, the advertisement of Nano is that of a young, peppy, cool car, used as a first car or by a family which has more than one car.

Tata has made many cosmetic changes in the car design. The ‘humanity line’ with the new aggressive front and rear bumpers do make a difference. But the first thing that you notice when these two cars are placed side-by-side, is that the tall car I.e Nano looks much better, than the short and boxy Alto.

The Nano imparts a more upmarket feel compared to the Alto.

The Alto is a conventional looking car whereas the Nano design is a bit revolutionary. Be it the rear wheel drive or the engine placed in the rear of the car.

Interior:

From the inside, the fit and finish of the new Nano is quite superior to the earlier versions. Bits and pieces like the steering wheel and the gear stalk seem to have been lifted from the Zest.

Also on the plus side, are the seats which are placed on a height and offer an amazing visibility through the wind shield. The center console juts out a bit and that is the only hitch that we could find in the interiors. The window switches have also been lifted bit higher and hence are much more accessible.

On the other hand the Alto’s interior has a nice piano black finish and is at par with that of the Nano.

Coming to the entertainment system, Alto offers the usual CD player, USB and aux input,two front speakers. Tata offers the same and additionally also offers Bluetooth phone streaming and two rear speakers.

On the whole, Tata has done a nice job on the new Nano and both the cars are at par in this case.

Space wise, the backseat in both these cars is limited. However, leg space is much more in the Nano than in the Alto. But, back seat is appropriate for 2, 3 would be too much of a squeeze.

Ride quality and driving

Both these cars are meant for city driving. The Nano is outgunned by the Alto on this front as it is one cylinder short. The Nano is powered by 2 cylinder 624 cc engine whereas the Alto is powered by 3 cylinder 998 cc engine. The performance is also affected by the Nano being 10 kg heavier than the Alto.

The performance figures of the Nano are very weak as compared to the Alto. However, this being purely a city car it does not sway the buyer’s decision much.

The star attraction in both the cars is the all new AMT gearbox. The same, in both the cases takes time getting used to. Both cars offer better driving results when used in manual mode instead of the AMT mode. The new steering wheel of the Nano is much more effective, the short turning radius is a dream to use and fares much better than the Alto.

Another shortcoming of the Nano is the wobbly drive, which can be blamed on the height of the car and small wheelbase.

Verdict

All in all, the Nano facelift is supremely effective. The fit and finish shrug off the ‘cheap’ car tag. So while the Alto is a much better powered car to drive, the Nano gives it tough competition. Specially when you take into consideration that it is Rs. 1 lac cheaper than the Alto which is a huge factor in this very price sensitive segment

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The Challenges Facing Automotive Designers As Electronics Expand

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Next time you get in your car, take a moment and look around — quite a collection of electronic content isn’t there? Yes, there is. In fact, most projections indicate that the use of electronics in automobiles is increasing at such a rapid rate that by the end of the decade more than 40 percent of an automobile’s cost will be in electronics. That’s an amazing number that was virtually impossible to imagine 10 to 15 years ago, but is now very much a reality.

Beneath the surface of your vehicle, changes have occurred over the past 10 years equally as dramatic as those in the passenger compartment. Just about every system in which an actuator drove the mechanical or hydraulic system has been replaced by an electronic sensor and switch augmenting the mechanical and hydraulic systems. Many of these critical systems and electronic control units (ECUs) manage the brakes, airbags and steering.

The “electronification” of the automobile is being driven by today’s consumers and their demands for increased reliability, not to mention the more basic desire for more sensory sizzle. Consequently, automakers are scrambling to recruit talent and retool an industry that, until recently, mechanical engineers and design software had dominated. A new day is dawning in the automotive world, and automakers and their suppliers need a savvy electronics staff and supplier-support structure that can deal with electronic-design issues that are unique to the automotive arena.

The major challenge facing automotive electronics designers is the high degree of connectivity required within the vehicle. In just the past decade, the magnitude and complexity of the interconnection of automotive electronics has increased dramatically. Depending on the vehicle, there can be 3 to 15 ECUs (over 50 in some high-end vehicles) with hundreds of embedded software modules; and each of these applications must inter-communicate. Adding to the complexity is that each ECU presents its own challenge, given that the software, middleware and application software is written by different companies, yet must be integrated together within the overall framework of the vehicle.

The pressure falls squarely upon the tier-one suppliers, because today’s auto manufacturers don’t design the electrical systems; it’s the responsibility of the many tier-one suppliers to design the electronic subsystems found within our vehicles. Tier-one vendors, in turn, rely on tier-two vendors, essentially semiconductor and pc-board-design vendors, to supply and even custom-design components for each ECU.

They take responsibility to conceive an approximation of the electronics inventory, such as a list of ECUs and their behavioral specifications. This can even include data about the ECU’s networks that includes low- and high-speed controller-area networks and local-interconnect networks. The manufacturers almost never specify the actual electronic components; they rely on their suppliers to delve into that detail.

This is just the start of the process. The manufacturer shops the rough specifications to the tier-one suppliers for bid, narrows the field down to perhaps three finalists for each ECU and demands that each of the finalists deliver a prototype within six months. Once the prototype meets the functionality requirements, the supplier designs an actual scale model ECU. When the manufacturer begins testing, it’s not uncommon for the ECU’s specifications to change, further adding time, money and complexity to the design phase.

And therein is the crux of the challenge that automotive companies face — how to shorten the traditional automotive design phase in conjunction with the ever-changing demands of today’s electronics-eager consumers. Ask yourself this question, “How many people do you know that have a four-year old cell phone?” With the infotainment options available to consumers both outside and inside their vehicles, automotive manufacturers are under pressure to stay current with the demands of these consumers, many of whom are updating their entertainment gadgets every year.

Manufacturers and suppliers are up to meeting the challenges. Real-time design and testing, developing streamlined communications across each design tier, more standardized products and application-specific standard products — these are just a few of the solutions that are being implemented to deliver cutting-edge electronics to an ever-demanding automotive customer in today’s, and tomorrow’s, cars and trucks.