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September-October 2013
The Future of Cars
New vehicle designs have environmental benefits, but may prove challenging for automotive recyclers. Vehicle manufacturers make changes to their vehicles for one reason only: To sell more cars. There are two main instigators driving these changes what the customer wants and what manufacturers are forced to do by legislation. One thing in vehicle design that has remained constant over the years is the crash tests that are completed on new car designs - driving 40 mph into a deformable barrier that is offset towards the driver - to ensure safety. The last 12 years have seen major improvements in occupant protection. In some cases, drivers of vehicles designed and built after 2010 have been able to walk away from accidents that may have killed or seriously injured drivers in vehicles tested in the late 90s. In many cases, these newer cars are stronger, bigger, and only marginally heavier than their predecessors.
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Ed MacDonald: Leading Edge
Recently, Automotive Recycling magazine caught up with Ed MacDonald, incoming president of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), to discuss his perspective on auto recycling from a global perspective, his term on the ARA Executive Committee, and his upcoming (2013-2014) year at the helm. MacDonald, with wife Lana, have been owners of Maritime Auto Salvage Ltd. in Truro, Nova Scotia since they purchased it in 1988. Their son Andrew joined the business last year, and the family team is now solidly going forward with a succession plan for the next several years.
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The Road to Autonomous Vehicles
At the SAE World Congress in 2012, I attended Anthony Levandowski's keynote speech on the Google Self Driving Car project. Mr. Levandowski was the business lead of the project which had outfitted a Prius with GPS, real-time positioning along with a million various sensors for traffic, pedestrians and intersections. They were already to the point where Mr. Levandowski was taking (not driving) the Self Driving Car back and forth to work every day. It astonished me to realize that this wasn't just a project that Google was working on, but the technology was already in use! As of today, these vehicles are licensed in Nevada, Florida, and California. Let's first look at how we got this far and just exactly how far along we really are with this technology. The early days of autonomous driving started with traction control; the ability to redirect torque from a slipping wheel with no traction to another with traction available. Although Ferdinand Porsche used a mechanical limited slip differential in his 1932 Grand Prix Racing car, it wass't until 1971 that Buick developed "MaxTrac," an electronic system that used a computer to electronically send power from one slipping wheel to another with better traction available.
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The Future of Cars
New vehicle designs have environmental benefits, but may prove challenging for automotive recyclers. Vehicle manufacturers make changes to their vehicles for one reason only: To sell more cars. There are two main instigators driving these changes what the customer wants and what manufacturers are forced to do by legislation. One thing in vehicle design that has remained constant over the years is the crash tests that are completed on new car designs - driving 40 mph into a deformable barrier that is offset towards the driver - to ensure safety. The last 12 years have seen major improvements in occupant protection. In some cases, drivers of vehicles designed and built after 2010 have been able to walk away from accidents that may have killed or seriously injured drivers in vehicles tested in the late 90s. In many cases, these newer cars are stronger, bigger, and only marginally heavier than their predecessors.


Ed MacDonald: Leading Edge
Recently, Automotive Recycling magazine caught up with Ed MacDonald, incoming president of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), to discuss his perspective on auto recycling from a global perspective, his term on the ARA Executive Committee, and his upcoming (2013-2014) year at the helm. MacDonald, with wife Lana, have been owners of Maritime Auto Salvage Ltd. in Truro, Nova Scotia since they purchased it in 1988. Their son Andrew joined the business last year, and the family team is now solidly going forward with a succession plan for the next several years.


The Road to Autonomous Vehicles
At the SAE World Congress in 2012, I attended Anthony Levandowski's keynote speech on the Google Self Driving Car project. Mr. Levandowski was the business lead of the project which had outfitted a Prius with GPS, real-time positioning along with a million various sensors for traffic, pedestrians and intersections. They were already to the point where Mr. Levandowski was taking (not driving) the Self Driving Car back and forth to work every day. It astonished me to realize that this wasn't just a project that Google was working on, but the technology was already in use! As of today, these vehicles are licensed in Nevada, Florida, and California. Let's first look at how we got this far and just exactly how far along we really are with this technology. The early days of autonomous driving started with traction control; the ability to redirect torque from a slipping wheel with no traction to another with traction available. Although Ferdinand Porsche used a mechanical limited slip differential in his 1932 Grand Prix Racing car, it wass't until 1971 that Buick developed "MaxTrac," an electronic system that used a computer to electronically send power from one slipping wheel to another with better traction available.


Battery Operated
Hybrid vehicles are here to stay. If you haven't already, it's time to learn what you need to know about these unique car parts. Here is an overall guide to handling hybrid batteries. For more information and training, go to ARAUniversity.org. You can also purchase the Hybrid Vehicle Dismantling Guide, developed by ARA's Technical Advisory Committee, which contains information on how to remove and handle hybrid car batteries. The order form is found at www.a-r-a.org/ files/Hybrid-Manual-Form.pdf.


First Things First
Automotive recyclers soon can be a little more comfortable in dealing with damaged hybrid electric vehicle batteries. Although it is important to follow specific safety precautions when dealing with undamaged hybrid batteries, it is a fairly straight forward procedure to remove, process, inventory and sell the units for reuse. However, when hybrid vehicles are totaled in an accident and the hybrid battery is damaged, it represents potential fire and safety hazards for employees. A technical committee at the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) has prepared J2990, a Surface Vehicle Recommended Practice (RP) for the inspection and handling of high voltage batteries damaged in collisions or other automotive crashes.


The Not-So-Affordable Care Act
Lawmakers are attempting to repeal it, businesses are suing to prevent its implementation, and local governments and unions continue their efforts to be exempted from the massive and controversial, "Affordable Care Act" (ACA), the health care enacted in 2010. More recently, the Obama Administration has announced that it is postponing for a full year, until 2015, the Act's "Employer Mandate," the requirement that employers with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their employees or face stiff penalties. Fortunately, while everyone seems to be experiencing difficulties understanding the impact of and the potential pitfalls of the ACA that await, many within the automotive salvage and recycling industry appear to be overlooking tax credits and other sweeteners for employers that were created as part of the ACA and already in effect.


 
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