42pc of Americans think electric cars still require petrol or diesel

13 Sep 2019

Image: © Carolyn Franks/Stock.adobe.com

This week in future tech, a Ford survey claims that almost half of those asked in the US thought electric cars still need a fossil fuel to operate.

As part of a blog post highlighting some of the electric vehicles (EVs) it is working on and plans to release soon, the US car giant Ford has documented some startling survey results.

Written by the company’s global director for electrification, Ted Cannis, the post stated that the results were part of a global consumer survey in Europe, China and the US. The most shocking statistic claimed that 42pc of respondents in the US think that EVs still require petrol or diesel to run.

Cannis followed this statistic with information about charging from home and trying to offer an argument in favour of ditching the need to refuel regularly at a petrol station. Recent estimates suggest that the US still remains one of the largest nations of EVs, however, with 1.1m on the road at the end of last year.

Autonomous vehicles could reduce collisions by 22pc

New research conducted by transport and mobility research group TRL claims that one in five (22pc) fatal and serious collisions could be prevented with the introduction of automated vehicles. The study considered the scenario where traditional cars and autonomous vehicles coexist and if one of the vehicles was replaced by a level 4 automated vehicle.

This also suggested a reduction in collisions at junctions by 10pc and single vehicle crashes by 12pc. By 2040, up to 650 fatal and serious injury collisions could be prevented annually due to the introduction of autonomous vehicles, it claimed.

Richard Cuerden, director of the TRL Academy, commented: “Our analysis suggests the introduction of automated vehicles to our roads is likely to bring the biggest change in road safety since the introduction of the seatbelt.

“However, more data is needed to build a more in-depth and robust view of future collisions and opportunities for improving occupant protection.”

AI can spot how good an e-sports player will be

Russian researchers have tapped into the lucrative world of e-sports with a study that claims AI can find a connection between a competitive player’s movements and skill level. The authors of the study said its algorithm could make an accurate prediction for skill level 77pc of the time.

The research has won the Best Paper award at the fifth IEEE International Conference on Internet of People and involved researchers from Skoltech, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and the State University of Aerospace Instrumentation in St Petersburg.

They asked 19 gamers – including nine professionals and 10 amateurs – to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for 30 to 60 minutes with data on their movement collected using an accelerometer and gyroscope embedded in a chair. The results showed that professional players move around more often and more intensively than beginners, while sitting perfectly still during shootouts and other game events.

“We hypothesised that there could be a link between a player’s body movements and skill level,” said Anton Smerdov, the study’s first author.

“Also, it was interesting to look at the players’ responses to various game events, such as kills, deaths or shootings. We suspected that professional players and beginners would react differently to the same event.”

Sustainable fuels have a place in transport revolution, study argues

A new study from VTT in Finland and the University of Cambridge has found that while EVs are becoming cheaper, sustainable fuels could also play an important role in reducing transport emissions in order to meet goals set to tackle the climate crisis.

Publishing their findings to Joule, the researchers said that while policymakers are rightly enthusiastic about the potential for EVs to cut road emissions, their limitations in being applicable to long-haul transport will see a need for sustainable fuels in the short term.

Of the fuel options examined, synthetic biofuels produced from woody biomass were identified as being more competitive than electrofuels (produced from CO2 and water) at the present time.

“Converting CO2 from being a pollutant to a fuel has immediate appeal to many,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Ilkka Hannula.

“However, electrofuels will remain expensive in the near term and are difficult to scale up in the longer term. Although wind and solar have already reached cost parity with fossil energy in electricity in certain regions globally, they are still far from reaching cost parity with crude oil in transport.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic