Alberto Broggi’s innovations in vehicular perception have played an integral part in milestone projects in the development and advancement of intelligent vehicles, increasing awareness of the safety and environmental benefits driverless vehicles can bring to the world. With an early vision of the potential for the driverless vehicle, a hallmark of Broggi’s work has been to incorporate low-cost machine vision sensors such as cameras for vehicle perception instead of the more costly laser-based sensors. Broggi led the “MilleMiglia in Automatico” project in 1998, which was the first test of autonomous driving using off-the-shelf components. Demonstrating the importance of artificial vision for safety, this project involved driving over 2,000 km on regular roads with real traffic in Italy. Lessons learned from MilleMiglia led to perception systems developed by Broggi’s that were installed on the TerraMax 14-ton driverless truck. TerraMax competed in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Grand Challenge project and was the only driverless vehicle to reach the finish using vison as its primary sensor. In 2010 he organized the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge, which was the longest-ever test for driverless vehicles. Four electric vans equipped with sensors and actuators were driven on a 13,000-km route from Parma, Italy, to Shanghai, China, providing invaluable data for improving autonomous driving systems. Another milestone came in 2013 when Broggi’s lab tested the BRAiVE vehicle in downtown Parma, which negotiated two-way narrow rural roads, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, and roundabouts in the middle of the day. The test required no human intervention and represented the first time an autonomous vehicle was driven on public roads with no one in the driver’s seat for part of the test.
An IEEE Fellow and recipient of multiple grants from the European Research Council, Broggi is full professor at the University of Parma and currently general manager of VisLab, a University of Parma spinoff company recently acquired by Silicon Valley company Ambarella.
The development of electronic multipoint fuel-injection technology by Masahiko Miyaki, Yukihiro Shinohara, and Katsuhiko Takeuchi has revitalized the popularity of diesel engines by enabling high-power operation with better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than conventional injector technology. The trio’s concept of common rail direct fuel injection featured an electronically controlled multi-fuel injection system (ECMFIS) to overcome the limitations of common rail system prototypes of the 1960s. Incorporating an electronically controlled injector and sensors for speed, cylinder identification, and pressure, they were the first to successfully commercialize the diesel common rail system, which was put into production in 1995. Prior to their work, the popularity of conventional diesel engines was waning, almost to the point of extinction, due to significant black smoke emissions from poor atomization of fuel caused by low injection pressure. Miyaki, Shinohara, and Takeuchi’s system allowed high fuel injection pressure, even at low engine speeds, for finer atomization resulting in less unburned fuel and fewer particulates. Fuel efficiency is also achieved by the ability to store high-pressure fuel in the rails and electronically injecting it into the combustion chamber as needed. The first-generation ECMFIS reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates by half and cut combustion noise by as much as 10 dB, while increasing output and torque by 10% and 15%, respectively. Continuing to enhance the technology, the team’s fourth-generation common rail system (2013) provides up to nine divided fuel injections per cycle at extremely high pressure, cutting emissions by 80% and further reducing combustion noise compared to the early ECMFIS. They also developed an innovative feedback control system that can compensate for aging deterioration of the fuel injectors to ensure clean emissions and high drivability throughout the lifespan of the engine.
A Fellow of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, Masahiko Miyaki is executive vice president; Yukihiro Shinohara is executive director of electric systems; and Katsuhiko Takeuchi is head of the diesel business unit—all at DENSO Corporation, Kariya-shi, Japan.
The contributions of Rodolfo Schöneburg, Marica Paurevic, and Hans Weisbarth to vehicle structure, occupant restraints, and driver assistance systems have significantly improved automobile safety, protected lives, and promoted increased use of seat belts. Prof. Schöneburg’s team helped develop and bring to market a system that employs a network of sensors including radar and cameras within the automobile that can sense when a crash may be imminent and can prepare the vehicle and its occupants for the impending accident. Known as PRE-SAFE®, the system can tighten the front seat belts, adjust seats, and close windows and sunroofs if it senses conditions such as skidding or sudden braking. The activation of the protection systems during the precrash phase places the occupants in the proper position for optimal effectiveness of the safety restraints. Introduced in 2002 in Mercedes Benz vehicles, the PRE-SAFE system has proven its effectiveness in protecting front-seat occupants during actual accidents. While much of the safety-enhancement technology has focused on the front-seat occupants, improvements were needed to better protect rear-seat passengers. To address the needs of rear-seat occupants, the team developed the Active Seat-Belt Buckle (ABB). To encourage seat belt use, when a rear door is opened, the ABB emerges from the seat and illuminates, so it is easier to locate. After buckling, the ABB automatically retracts and, in doing so, reduces the belt slack. When a precrash situation is sensed through the PRE-SAFE system, the ABB applies reversible belt tensioning to reduce slack and provide more secure restraint. If a crash occurs, the illuminated ABB also aids in rescue efforts by making the buckle easier to find when unfastening rear-seat passengers. The team was also instrumental in improving the virtual models of the human body used to assess the ABB, which optimized the seat belt geometry to prevent the pelvis from pushing under the belt. The ABB first appeared in 2013 in Mercedes Benz vehicles.
Prof. Schöneburg is the recipient of the US National Traffic Highway Safety Administration’s Award for Safety Engineering Excellence (2007) and the Pathfinder Award from the ASC Automotive Safety Council for advancement of automotive safety (2013). He is currently director of vehicle safety, durability, and corrosion protection with Mercedes Benz/Daimler AG, Sindelfingen, Germany. Ms. Paurevic is manager of occupant protection systems concepts, and Mr. Weisbarth is manager of seat belt development in Prof. Schöneburg’s team at Daimler AG.
Tsuneo Takahashi’s pioneering work has enabled automobile navigation systems providing real-time information for increased transportation efficiency and safety. During the 1970s, at a time when GPS navigation for automobiles was not yet practical, Takahashi developed a self-position navigation system using a highly efficient microprocessor and an inertial sensor for determining position. He demonstrated the first practical use of the navigation system in a passenger car in 1981, which was able to display current information on a map. His patented contributions have enabled the navigation systems that are standard in today’s automobiles for providing real-time positioning data important for efficient and safe travel. The navigation technology that Takahashi helped to introduce and commercialize also has important implications for emerging vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems that are key to the development of intelligent transportation systems. In these systems, vehicles acting as “floating cars” or “probes” can exchange dynamic data such as traffic information and safety warnings with each other or roadside nodes (such as traffic centers). Takahashi’s work has been a key enabler in the development of intelligent transportation systems. Takahashi has also played a leading role in managing the development of GPS-based automobile navigation systems.
An IEEE member, Takahashi’s honors include an Award of Achievement from the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (1997). Takahashi is the president of NF Corporation, Yokohama, Japan.
The breakthrough discoveries of John Bannister Goodenough, Rachid Yazami, and Akira Yoshino were critical to the development of rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology that has impacted consumer electronics and advanced the performance of electric vehicles. Dr. Goodenough demonstrated a rechargeable cell using lithium cobalt oxide as the positive electrode in 1979 while working at Oxford University. This provided the positive electrode material that would eventually make the lithium-ion battery possible. Goodenough's work showed, with lithium cobalt oxide, that more stable and easy-to-handle negative-electrode materials could be used if assembled in the discharged state. This ultimately opened a new range of possibilities for rechargeable battery systems. Dr. Yazami demonstrated that lithium ions could be inserted electrochemically into graphite using a solid electrolyte in 1980, working with the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Until Dr. Yazami’s innovation, organic electrolytes would decompose in graphite during charging, which was a roadblock to using graphite for the negative electrode. Dr. Yazami’s work paved the way for the graphite negative electrode found in the modern high-capacity lithium-ion battery. Dr. Yoshino filed the first basic patent for the lithium-ion battery in 1985. Working for Asahi Kasei Corporation in Japan, he incorporated lithium cobalt for the positive electrode and a carbonaceous material for the negative electrode. He developed an aluminum foil current collector, and his functional separator and positive temperature coefficient device greatly improved safety compared to other batteries. He also established the coil-wound structure inherent to all lithium-ion batteries. In 1992, Asahi Kasei released the first commercial lithium-ion battery.
A member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the French Academy of Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the British Royal Society, Dr. Goodenough received the Japan Prize in 2001. He is currently the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Professor of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
A past president of the International Battery Association, Dr. Yazami is currently a research director at CNRS and a professor of materials science and engineering with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
An Asahi Kasei Fellow and president of the Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center, Dr. Yoshino is currently general manager of the Yoshino Laboratory at Asahi Kasei Corporation, Shizuoka, Japan.
For over 50 years, James F. Gibbons’ commitment to building relationships between academia and industry has been a key to the success of Stanford University’s School of Engineering and has also helped fuel innovations developed by Silicon Valley. He built Stanford’s first semiconductor processing laboratory in 1957, creating a major new direction for Stanford’s Electrical Engineering Department. Later, he was instrumental in creating Stanford’s Center for Integrated Systems (CIS, 1980), providing a first-class facility for faculty and students to prototype state-of-the-art chips and explore research questions. Dr. Gibbons and his colleagues created a new model for the Center that allows corporate partners to provide support for and actively participate in its ongoing research. The CIS continues to serve as an important industry source for precompetitive research. As dean of Stanford’s School of Engineering from 1984 to 1996, he brought the Department of Computer Science into the School and initiated integration of that discipline into its teaching and research. He was instrumental in fundraising efforts that led to construction of the Gates Computer Science Building, the Paul Allen Wing for CIS, the Packard Electrical Engineering Building, and the Hewlett Teaching Center. With the participation of venture capitalists, he created the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund to build the School’s endowment, and he initiated education in entrepreneurship through the widely respected Stanford Technology Ventures program. Dr. Gibbons’ research contributions include pioneering work on implantation and rapid thermal processing for semiconductor chips, both of which are foundational technologies in today’s semiconductor industry. He also developed in 1972 a video-based learning process called Tutored Video Instruction (TVI), combining video instruction with an on-site tutor to provide graduate-level education to engineers in the field, a program especially valuable for companies with global engineering teams.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Gibbons is currently a research professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, Calif.
The efforts of Larry Chalfan, Viccy Salazar and Wayne Rifer in developing the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) have spurred the electronics industry to go “green.” EPEAT was launched in 2006 as the culmination of over 100 stakeholders representing diverse backgrounds working together to create a system for identifying computer equipment that is environmentally friendly. EPEAT is used by government agencies, universities, hospitals and corporations to ensure they are purchasing green electronics products.
The trio’s leadership and commitment was a key factor to their overcoming the immense challenge of guiding the group of electronics manufacturers and purchasers, environmental advocacy groups, researchers, recyclers, state and local governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to a consensus on the environmental criteria. This work resulted in the creation of IEEE Standard 1680, which became the technical basis for the EPEAT certification system. Mr. Rifer saw the need for a common system with which to measure a product’s environmental performance and that would provide incentive to companies to produce green technology and he enlisted the help of Mr. Chalfan.
Mr. Chalfan provided project management support and wrote the grant proposal to the EPA. Ms. Salazar was the EPA manager for the grant that funded EPEAT’s development. Together they facilitated the stakeholder dialogue that led to consensus. They guided all stakeholders, including EPA, to jointly decide the criteria, which was instrumental in developing a resource supported by all stakeholders. They also worked with large institutional purchasers, including federal and state governments, to ensure the standard’s relevance in the marketplace. EPEAT’s impact continues to grow as standards are being expanded to cover televisions and imaging products.
An IEEE Associate Member, Mr. Chalfan founded the Zero Waste Alliance, Portland, Ore., in 1999, from which he retired in 2009 as executive director.
Ms. Salazar joined the EPA in 1994, where she addresses environmental issues through holistic, lifecycle approaches. She currently leads the EPA’s Region 10 Materials Management and Stewardship Team, Seattle, Wash.
An IEEE Member, Mr. Rifer was co-chair of the IEEE Environmental Assessment Standards Committee, which sponsored the IEEE 1680 family of standards. He is currently the director of Standards and Operations with the Green Electronics Council, Portland, Ore.