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Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):S08-S15. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-4.
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Making future vehicles intelligent with improved fuel economy and satisfactory emissions are the main drivers for current vehicle research and development. The connected and autonomous vehicles still need years or decades to be widely used in practice. However, some advanced technologies have been developed and deployed for the conventional vehicles to improve the vehicle performance and safety, such as adaptive cruise control (ACC), automatic parking, automatic lane keeping, active safety, super cruise, and so on. On the other hand, the vehicle propulsion system technologies, such as clean and high efficiency combustion, hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), and electric vehicle, are continuously advancing to improve fuel economy with satisfactory emissions for traditional internal combustion engine powered and hybrid electric vehicles or to increase cruise range for electric vehicles.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):S16-S23. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-5.
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Essentially, the performance improvement of automotive systems is a multi-objective optimization problem [1-14] due to the challenges in both operation management and control. The interconnected dynamics inside the automotive system normally requires precise tuning and coordination of accessible system inputs. In the past, such optimization problems have been approximately solved through expensive calibration procedures or an off-line local model-based approaches where either a regressive model or a first-principle model is used. The model-based optimization provides the advantage of finding the optimal model parameters to allow the model to be used to predict the real system behavior reasonably [5]. However, other than the model complexities, there are practically two issues facing the integrity of these models: modeling uncertainty due to inaccurate parameter values and/or unmodeled dynamics, and locally effective range around operating points. As a result, the optimum solutions extracted from the model-based approach could be subject to failure of expected performance [6].

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):30-35. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-1.
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Robots are becoming increasingly important responders, joining search and rescue teams in their missions. Besides being able to traverse contaminated and dangerous areas, these robots bring a different set of skills to disaster recover site. A new generation of robots is being developed that could quite literally be the difference between life and death in search and rescue operations. This article discusses land, aerial, and aquatic robots in different stages of their training to assist humans in various calamities.

Topics: Robots
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):38-41. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-2.
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Texas is proud of its oil and gas industry, but the state is blessed with abundant solar and wind power potential. Tapping that potential requires more than simply building out more wind turbines and solar panels–Texas will need a large, but achievable energy storage system. This study analyzes if Texas coulld become a green state in the future.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):42-45. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-3.
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The U.S. Navy builds and sails some of the world’s largest and most powerful vessels and those ships depend on a wide range of advanced systems and machinery to operate. Now, the Navy is moving toward advanced manufacturing of some of the smallest parts of the biggest ships, approving 3-D printing of a drain strainer for a steam line on the USS Harry S Truman. Shipbuilders say it is the first step toward integrating additive manufacturing into the supply chain. This article takes a closer look at how filling the knowledge gaps in the absence or limited development of 3-D printing standards was a necessary building block in adoption of the technology.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):52-54. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-6.
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Hydrogen, reacting with oxygen, is a very energetic, non-polluting fuel. Can it be used as a fuel for gas turbines? Two successful and significant examples of its use are reviewed. Surplus renewable electrical energy from solar and wind could be used for electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen to power gas turbine power plants. Serving as a means of energy storage, the hydrogen could be kept in caverns. It could also be added directly to natural gas pipeline systems serving gas turbine power plants, thus reducing greenhouse gas production.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(03):54-55. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAR-7.
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The design of a full gas turbine is a painstaking process, with many interactions between different physics, components, and engineers. Not surprisingly, this is an effort spanning over many years before a compromise can be found that satisfies all involved engineering disciplines. But can the design cycle not be shortened in this modern age, dominated by increasing computational power and emerging artificial intelligence?

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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