The BMW X6 M Packs a Surprisingly Small V-8 Engine

BMW used a lot of tricks to squeeze a lot of power out of a small package

4 min read

This article is part of an IEEE Spectrum special report: Top 10 Tech Cars of 2010.

As engineering achievements go, the world’s fastest SUV might seem on a par with a hydroelectric stapler or a self-buttoning cardigan: interesting, but pointless. Ignoring the howls of automotive purists and Sierra Club donors, BMW has bestowed on us the X6 M. Like BMW’s M3 and M5 sedans, this offshoot of the standard X6 crossover wears the ”M” badge that denotes the company’s explosive high-performance division. And while the X6 M looks more like Batman’s assault vehicle than a traditional sports sedan, there’s no disputing the engineering heroics that let this 2380-kilogram (5247-pound), 408-kilowatt (547-horsepower) beast thumb its Bavarian nose at the laws of physics.

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"SuperGPS" Accurate to 10 Centimeters or Better

New optical-wireless hybrid makes use of existing telecommunications infrastructure

3 min read
illustration of man looking at giant smart phone with map and red "you are here" symbol
iStock

Modern life now often depends on GPS(short for Global Positioning System), but it can err on the order of meters in cities. Now a new study from a team of Dutch researchers reveals a terrestrial positioning system based on existing telecommunications networks can deliver geolocation info accurate to within 10 centimeters in metropolitan areas.

The scientists detailed their findings 16 November in the journal Nature.

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The Future of the Transistor Is Our Future

Nothing but better devices can tackle humanity’s growing challenges

7 min read
Close-up of a colorful semiconductor wafer held the white gloved hands of a clean room technician.

A 300-millimeter wafer from a GlobalFoundries fab in Dresden is full of advanced transistors. The industry will need to continue to produce more and better devices, argues the author.

Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg/Getty Images

This is a guest post in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor. It is adapted from an essay in the July 2022 IEEE Electron Device Society Newsletter. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

On the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor, a device to which I have devoted my entire career, I’d like to answer two questions: Does the world need better transistors? And if so, what will they be like?

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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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