Porsche Claims It Can Double Tesla’s Fast-Charging Rate

The new, all-electric Taycan will come with a mighty thirst. This charging technology will slake it

18 min read
Illustration of people charging their cars at a charging station.
Illustration: McKibillo

On the A13 highway in Germany, a harried mom pulls into a rest stop, her two restless teenagers in the back of the family’s electric SUV. She steers toward a row of 24 sleek, refrigerator-size obelisks, most already tethered to a vehicle, and parks in front of the unoccupied one she’d reserved en route. Unhooking the cable, she inserts the plug on its end into a port in the car’s rear left flank, behind a flap that resembles the fuel door of earlier decades. She and the teens head to the bathrooms and a warm café for the 15 minutes it’ll take to recharge the car.

On the way, they glance over at the travel plaza’s fossil-fuel section. It’s like a little slum, with oil stains on the tarmac, the smell of petrol fumes in the air, and drivers standing at their vehicles squeezing the grimy handles of fuel nozzles. At the fast charger she’s using, on the other hand, the whole process requires no human intervention beyond plugging in. Her SUV identified itself to the charging kiosk, her charging network authorized payment, and voilà, the torrent of electrons began. The cost of the recharge will be added to the amount the charging network deducts monthly from her payment account.

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New AI Speeds Computer Graphics by Up to 5x

Neural rendering harnesses machine learning to paint pixels

5 min read
Four examples of Nvidia's Instant NeRF 2D-to-3D machine learning model placed side-by-side.

Nvidia Instant NeRF uses neural rendering to generate 3D visuals from 2D images.

NVIDIA

On 20 September, Nvidia’s Vice President of Applied Deep Learning, Bryan Cantanzaro, went to Twitter with a bold claim: In certain GPU-heavy games, like the classic first-person platformer Portal, seven out of eight pixels on the screen are generated by a new machine-learning algorithm. That’s enough, he said, to accelerate rendering by up to 5x.

This impressive feat is currently limited to a few dozen 3D games, but it’s a hint at the gains neural rendering will soon deliver. The technique will unlock new potential in everyday consumer electronics.

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Golf Robot Learns To Putt Like A Pro

Watch out Tiger Woods, Golfi has a mean short game

4 min read
Golf Robot Learns To Putt Like A Pro

While being able to drive the ball 300 yards might get the fans excited, a solid putting game is often what separates a golf champion from the journeymen. A robot built by German researchers is quickly becoming a master of this short game using a clever combination of classical control engineering and machine learning.

In golf tournaments, players often scout out the greens the day beforehand to think through how they are going to play their shots, says Annika Junker, a doctoral student at Paderborn University in Germany. So she and her colleagues decided to see if giving a robot similar capabilities could help it to sink a putt from anywhere on the green, without assistance from a human.

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Solving Automotive Design Challenges With Simulation

Learn about low-frequency electromagnetic simulations and see a live demonstration of COMSOL Multiphysics software

1 min read

The development of new hybrid and battery electric vehicles introduces numerous design challenges. Many of these challenges are static or low-frequency electromagnetic by nature, as the devices involved in such designs are much smaller than the operating wavelength. Examples include sensors (such as MEMS sensors), transformers, and motors. Many of these challenges include multiple physics. For instance, sensors activated by acoustic energy as well as heat transfer in electric motors and power electronics combine low-frequency electromagnetic simulations with acoustic and heat transfer simulations, respectively.

Multiphysics simulation makes it possible to account for such phenomena in designs and can provide design engineers with the tools needed for developing products more effectively and optimizing device performance.

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