SMARTNET ™ - AUTOMATED EV SERVICING
APRIL 2020 - Construction of this model began last year, then stalled, when the designer discovered that there is no funding for such innovation for start up SMEs. Brexit also got in the way of potential collaboration with European partners. The project from 1991 was shelved for another year, awaiting it's 30th anniversary. Talk about being ahead of its time. This may change as automated vehicle designers realise that there are no automated vending stations for their dream machines.
MAY 27 2021 - Painted, but not sign written, the service stations needs to be set in a diorama complete with lead in roads and approach and exit slopes. See below to see how we got to this stage.
PARTS CUT - The real service station will not be made of plywood. But for simplicity's sake and for speed of construction, we used ordinary plywood sheet, cut using ordinary hand tools, just to one side of a robot laboratory in deepest, darkest, Herstmonceux. We'd normally have used recycled timber, indeed, some of the softwood is off-cuts from other jobs.
PLASTIC - A lot has been said about plastic polluting our oceans and poisoning fish, whales and killing seabirds, that eat it by mistake and then starve with stomachs full of single use plastics. But plastic is necessary in a modern world. Plastic could be safer, provided that it is not single use, or disposable, and that at the end of a working life, it is responsibly recycled. Understandably, with some trepidation, we used roofing grade plastic for the rounded trims and support for the (mock) solar panels. Plastic is very soft, so be careful when drilling and countersinking.
TREATMENT - Where our models are sometimes stored in damp conditions and may be subject to woodworm attack, it's a good idea to apply a flood coat of a proprietary wood preserver, as seen here. We don't want to have to make this model twice if we can help it. A lot of work is going to go into the robotic movement and other mechanicals, that will need to be bolted to a dependable base.
MORE TREATMENT - With the preserver dry, another coat of waterproofing treatment was applied to the underside of the wooden base. Lots of robots are laser cut from plywood these days, where wood is light and stronger than steel on a pound for pound basis. During WW2, many planes were built of wood for this reason. Now we have alloy jets with advanced composites for many components.
MAY 2021, PLYWOOD FLATPACK - Making of the (working) model of the flatpack design for automatic vending of battery or hydrogen fuel cell 'energy cartridges,' resumed in 2021, where a patent application is pending, and the Cleaner Ocean Foundation wanted to be sure of certain aspects of the design before lodging a priority application in the UK. This service station also caters for people operated vehicles, including rapid plug-in charging and high pressure or liquid hydrogen refuelling. This is assembled prior to painting. In the UK as of May 2021 there are only 14 hydrogen filling stations. The lack of self-financing infrastructure for EVs is one of the biggest hurdles to E-Mobility electrification. Despite the Automated and Electric Vehicle Act 2018.
For self-driving autonomous vehicles, they are going to need automated self-serve filling stations. We cannot reveal too much about the working of this design, because of a pending patent application. But once that application is filed, we can explain a little more about how this extraordinarily compact design can service even the largest trucks. Indeed, that is the challenge. Because it is trucks that need hydrogen as a fuel to replace diesel oil. The fuel that powers almost all heavy goods vehicles and city buses, all around the world. We need something like 600,000 of these service stations by 2040, if we are to put a brake on global warming, before 2050.
RoboCars, are fast becoming a reality, with RoboTaxis now operating experimentally in cities and RoboTrucks for heavy haulage. It is possible that the face of transport is set to change considerably in the years ahead, with Robovans for goods deliveries, RoboBuses and even RoboCoaches offering cheaper city mobility and country tours. All these new forms of transport will benefit from service stations that can replenish battery and hydrogen vehicles, where the vehicles work (are compatible) with the service station to refuel themselves.
SEALING & PAINTING - The base is primed and painted, ready to accept the machinery that can make it happen. The machinery and building was designed using AutoCAD. Many prototypes are 3D printed these days, meaning that you don't need any physical skills to make them, just a good program.
PRIMED - We think that a basic skills level is an advantage to any person who has ever dreamed of making something. Especially in engineering and fabrication. When this unit is built full size, welding and building skills will come into play. Making a working model first is ideal for development purposes. We don't advocate youngsters using professional spray painting equipment without supervised training and the proper safety equipment. With models this size it is worth getting out the cellulose gun and firing up a compressor. Don't try this at home children!
PLASTIC - Paint does not adhere to plastic very well. You have to use a special plastic primer, a bit like an etch primer that is used on aluminium. Most car bumpers are made of a high-strength plastic these days, colour coded to the vehicle's bodywork. In days gone by bumpers were made of steel and typically chrome plated. You can even weld plastic bumpers, using special polymer rods and a small blowtorch, adapted for the purpose, and finally, there is a very flexible version of polyester body filler paste, just for plastic car repairs. Houses are clad in plastic to simulate timber and other materials, and most double-glazed windows and doors are made of plastic.
Many of these vehicles will need automated rapid battery recharging and hydrogen refuelling, where they do not have drivers. At the moment, the only system that would be capable of servicing such vehicles would be the proposed SmartNet ™ dual fuel service stations, where such vehicles can replenish their energy reserves without the need for human assistance, automatically, including PAYD, automated billing.
This technology is at the conceptual stage, needing to be developed to get anywhere near TRL 9 & 10, for market launch. There is UK and Horizon Europe funding for tech at more advanced stages in development, but with the 2035 ban on Internal Combustion Engines fast approaching, government departments are trying to play catch-up, by offering financial support where they think it might trigger a rash of development to get them out of a tight spot.
If they want to accelerate technological development, we suggest putting the problem on a war footing, taking us from DEFCON 1, to DEFCON 5. We imagine that as the changing weather creates more deserts and acid oceans, that governments may then consider funding concepts at earlier stages of development, for rapid feasibility and prototyping. It's not as if the money is real, as in relating to something of value like gold or grain, it's just paper, unsupported by anything tangible!
This system was invented by money lenders so that they could sell more money than our earth can support in terms of CO2 production. Captain James Tiberius Kirk may want to agree, that if space travel is not feasible, then carbon dioxide is the final frontier. They abandoned the Gold Standard, precisely because there was not enough gold to allow them to make more paper money. It is said that they got rich from their irresponsible lending, at the expense of loss of species and melting of the ice caps. COP15 relating to biodiversity is to be held in Kunming, China, October 11-24th 2021. COP 26 on climate change is to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in 1-12 November 2021. Instead of prosecuting the bankers responsible for fraudulent lending, governments decided to be party to the fraud, so they could tax their workers more - and shout about economic growth, rather than sustainable economies. Fortunately, the United Nations' are now concerned to create a Circular Economy.
Failing, some manner of radical policy change, we'd better get some kind of space preservation or evacuation programme in place for our DNA - because we've missed the boat on human deep-space travel as well - and Mars is no place to bring up your children.
MERCEDES - The SmartNet™ service station can service two container trucks every few minutes, using a Universal cartridge system - for RoboTrucks - or ordinary hydrogen gas for trucks with human drivers. But the gas pumping system takes a few minutes longer.
POLYCARBONATE - Seen here in grey primer, the model is fitted with polycarbonate sheeting as the roof. No point in wasting all that area, the real stations will sport around 250m2 of solar panels. The electricity generated will power the vending machinery and digital financial transactions. But how do we make this model look representative of the real thing?
MASKING UP - We masked up the polycarbonate roof to simulate an array of 250 square meters of solar panels. Solar panels are much cheaper now than 20 years ago, when the case for panels on roofs was harder to justify. Today, solar panels are a cost effective way of generating electricity, due to mass production and improved fabrication techniques.
CONCEPT - This idea was first proposed in 1991, with the California Air Resources Board, and our own Department for Trade and Industry, saying they did not consider it was an idea to pursue, where batteries could be improved to cure the range restrictions of EVs. General Motors were forced to scrap thousands of their EV1s and CARB back-tracked to allow OEMs to keep making petrol cars for another 30 years. Hence, our present climate crisis. Basically, oil lobby groups applied a lot more political pressure than environmental lobbyists. Even with Arnold Schwarzenegger as their Governor. But, he'll be back, or a Governor with similar ideals, because California now has more hydrogen service stations than any other State in America, but still no way of servicing automated vehicles. Vision is something that seems to be in short supply in politics, whereas blurred vision, or myopia, is commonplace, when it comes to preserving stakeholder investments.
SPRAY PAINTING - When using car paints from aerosol cans, always wear a suitable mask, and make sure that there is air extraction, or fast natural ventilation, to quickly dissipate overspray. Cellulose paints air dry just a couple of hundred millimeters or so from a work piece. The vapour smells strongly while the paint is drying, but will not cause harm if used correctly. Aways follow the manufacturer's instructions on a can. Conversely, when using 2-pack paints, forced ventilation and breathing apparatus is essential. We don't allow persons under 18 to use such equipment, only suitably qualified staff.
UNMASKING - The best time to remove masking, is roughly 15 minutes after painting, while the paint is touch dry, but still soft enough that the paint will not tear as the tape is removed. Peel off slowly away from the object being painted. Be careful not to allow the tape or paper masking to touch the newly applied paint, or you will mark it.
2 PACK - The next stage is to paint the outside of the building white, then sign write it. We would have finished this on the 24th May, but some hardener we had in store had solidified in the can. Thank heavens for internet ordering. We should have fresh stock by next weekend. Once we have the building looking reasonable from the outside, we can begin fitting the robotic mechanicals on the inside. At this stage and for the model only, we are not sure what kind of micro-processor to use, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or other system. If any mature students are doing their engineering master degree and are looking for a thesis project, please contact the Cleaner Ocean Foundation.
It took many climate marches and campaigns to draw attention to the mounting scientific evidence, to persuade policy makers to take climate change seriously. One such political activist is Greta Thunberg, the famous Swedish school striker. Others include Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion. In England when women like, Emmeline Pankhurst, campaigned for the vote, Scotland Yard were ordered to imprison and torture protestors, in violating their basic human rights, which rights were not recognised until after WWII, in 1948, with the Universal Declaration. Emily Wilding Davison was killed by the King's horse at the Derby in 1913. Women finally got the right to vote at the age of 21 in 1928. You may care to agree that fighting for change is a dangerous thing.
Smartnet™ EV servicing, no matter if you are driving the car, or being driven by a robot. No matter if your vehicle is battery or hydrogen powered, the next generation of smart energy service stations has got it covered. The EV service station shown above was built by Better Place (Shai Agassi) for battery cartridge exchange refueling of compatible electric vehicles. It was too far ahead of its time, and did not cater for hydrogen powered vehicles. Nevertheless, it was a bold effort on the part of the entrepreneur and his backers. If this concept had been developed further, we feel it would have evolved into a more versatile facility - something like SmartNet™.
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