Nissan: Women on a front lines of automotive research: Three Nissan Research Center employees share insights into operative on Nissan R&D

Posted on 16. Sep, 2016 by in Nissan Canada

YOKOHAMA, Japan – The Nissan Research Center (NRC) in Japan is a core of creation that attracts tellurian talent. Its mission: to emanate new values that minister to a mobility multitude of a future. In this special report, we benefaction 3 NRC employees and their insights into operative on a front lines of Nissan RD. 

Dr. Vitchuda Lertphokanont is intent in die-less combining record and apparatus materials. Fang Fang is operative on surrounding-environment approval for unconstrained driving. And Maki Hoshino is assisting allege electric vehicles, including work on a e-Bio Fuel-Cell – a next-generation fuel-cell complement that uses bioethanol as fuel.

Read some-more about a NRC here.

Creating New Die-Less Methods to Expand Forming Options – Automotive Manufacturing Engineering Research with Dr. Vitchuda Lertphokanont


Dr. Vitchuda Lertphokanont graduated in automotive pattern and prolongation engineering from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand in 2010. She finished her doctorate in engineering pattern during a Graduate School of Science and Technology during a Kyoto Institute of Technology in 2014 and assimilated a Nissan Research Center. There she is intent in a investigate and growth of die-less combining record and apparatus materials.

Current Project – New Techniques for Innovative Part Forming
There is a flourishing need for automobiles among densely populated civic populations around a world. At a same time, business are creation increasingly opposite final of carmakers per what they wish in a vehicle. Purchasers of oppulance brands like Infiniti are quite demanding, and manufacturers contingency ready a full operation of options to prove them.

Using mass-production bureau methods to make tiny lots of tradition collection is an costly proposition, though, creation it tough to prove all patron demands. Vitchuda Lertphokanont, a researcher from Thailand, came to Japan to try ways to rise new prolongation methods softened matched to tiny lots.

“In a automotive industry, in sequence to emanate a hood or row for a car, we use a die,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “But it’s unequivocally costly to emanate a die. So now we’re building die-less combining – a record like 3D copy – to discharge a die. These new collection use 3D information to form a shapes that we wish during a many revoke cost, and we can put them to work in Nissan’s existent factories right away.”

Experience of a Lifetime: An Eye-Opening Internship in Japan
Lertphokanont showed an seductiveness in cars as a high propagandize tyro and motionless to investigate automotive pattern and prolongation engineering when she went on to university in Bangkok. As graduation approached, though, she found herself confronting a choice.

“I had dual options in mind during my studies: Japan and Germany, both tellurian leaders in automotive high technology,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “In my third year during university, we had a possibility to come to Japan for a corporate internship. we found many to conclude about Japan — not usually a record yet also a life and a people, who are unequivocally polite.”

After advancing to a connoisseur module during a university in Kyoto, Lertphokanont dedicated herself to study automotive prolongation technology. Great change was in a atmosphere for a prolongation industry: Germany was advancing a “Industry 4.0” plan to computerize prolongation and condense costs drastically, and 3D copy betrothed to change a proceed people done objects. It was afterwards that she encountered a new, die-less prolongation approach.

“Once die-less combining lets us emanate a forms we wish during a low cost, it will open adult a whole new proceed to make cars,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “I’m preoccupied by a suspicion that one day we’ll be means to build truly one-of-a-kind vehicles, formulating formidable forms that can’t be pulpy with a die.”

Hands-on Learning: Pursuing Individual Excellence as Part of a Team
Introducing these new prolongation technologies into mass prolongation will need an ability to compare stream prolongation line speeds. Here one pivotal plea is a attrition that naturally arises during a machining phase.

“To boost a speed of a combining process, we have to urge a liniment in sequence to revoke friction,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “If we can do this, it also lets us boost a lifespan of a machinery.”

When she worked as an novice for Nissan while in connoisseur school, Lertphokanont took partial in corner investigate directed during shortening machine friction, and this work continues today.

After earning her degree, she done a pierce from a educational sourroundings to a corporate investigate field. At Nissan, she schooled a significance of operative as partial of a team.

“I’d usually usually graduated, and as a visitor to Nissan we didn’t have many confidence,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “Also, distinct in a propagandize setting, in a association there are clearly tangible and scheduled targets to meet, presenting many hurdles to overcome along a way. Learning a Japanese denunciation was another unequivocally critical assign before me. But a group members yield unequivocally good support for my work; they’re unequivocally kind. And we get to promulgate with people doing investigate in opposite areas, that is stimulating. It’s a proceed to rise as a researcher myself.”

Dreams for a Future: An Eye on a Future of Automaking
“Infiniti is a oppulance brand, with unequivocally interesting, pleasing designs,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “One plea for me is to emanate those pleasing forms, that aspect appearance, with new technologies. I’m singular by a materials we have now, though.”

Infiniti Q60


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Infiniti QX30


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She is operative to overcome those stipulations by examining new materials that competence be germane to a processes she works with.

“Now we’re regulating CNC machines to emanate tiny prototypes,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “In a future, we wish to put robots to work. The some-more we can record and automate a prolongation process, a larger reductions we can grasp in prolongation costs. We’ll also have new possibilities in customization when we can ask what a patron wants to see and re-create that with 3D data.”

A Note to Prospective Researchers
“Working here gives we a possibility to knowledge many things — to learn about all from synthetic comprehension and environmental record to a prolongation techniques I’m operative on,” pronounced Lertphokanont. “The fewer boundary we place on your interests and fields of research, a some-more room we have to take on all sorts of new challenges. we unequivocally feel that this is a place where we can comprehend your dreams.”

Based on an talk carried out in Jun 2016.

A Collision-Free Automotive Society Through Autonomous Driving – Autonomous pushing AI investigate with Fang Fang

Fang Fang graduated in involuntary engineering from Dalian Nationalities University in China in 2008. She finished her master’s grade in involuntary engineering during a University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering in 2012. The same year, she assimilated a Nissan Research Center where she is intent in a investigate and growth of surrounding-environment approval for unconstrained driving.

Reasons for Choosing Nissan Research Center? In Pursuit of an Ideal – A Collision-Free Society
It was Fang’s enterprise to work abroad that initial brought her from China’s Heilongjiang Province to Japan. She assimilated Nissan after connoisseur school, informed with a association as one dignified even in China for a success as a tellurian automaker. Her preference was also shabby by a site revisit to Nissan that she participated in after nearing in Japan, where she was tender by a certain atmosphere in a workplace and a stairs taken to safeguard a woman-friendly work environment.

Naturally, fasten a association was predicated on a event to request her connoisseur research. Fang’s clever seductiveness in record enabling a safe, collision-free automotive multitude led her to concentration on researching a attribute between controls and pushing errors in comparison drivers. Ultimately she hoped to comprehend a ideal of expelling trade accidents entirely.

Current Project: Developing Onboard Systems to Rival a Human Eye and Brain
Fang has been with Nissan for 5 years. In her initial year, after completing a accumulation of training courses, she was reserved to a margin of involuntary pushing control. Here she was concerned with projects like path-planning simulations to be used by unconstrained vehicles when parking. Starting in her second year, she was put in assign of RD of surrounding-environment approval for unconstrained driving. In entirely unconstrained driving, a 3 elements of pushing — cognition, preference and actuation — are achieved by a vehicle instead of a driver. Fang’s investigate centered on discernment to rightly grasp conditions around a vehicle. This involves receiving minute information about a car’s vicinity by a mixed of sensor components, including cameras, millimeter-wave radar and laser scanners. This information contingency be fast and rightly integrated to detect newly rising risks, maybe some-more fast than even a tellurian motorist can do it.

“The thought is to commend a vehicle’s vicinity in a same proceed as a tellurian eye and mind and afterwards routine that information in sequence to make a scold decision,” pronounced Fang. “However, we feel that there are still several barriers that sojourn to be overcome before we strech that point.”

A Record of Successful Research: Advancing Step-by-Step, One System during a Time
Many hurdles sojourn before a final design is reached, yet investigate is advancing step-by-step. At a finish of 2015, following experiments with a genuine vehicle in California’s Silicon Valley, approval correctness was successfully softened by alloy of mixed sensors’ outputs, among other techniques. One instance of success in this area is building a ability to detect objects after they disappear behind other objects and spin undetectable to sensors, afterwards re-establishing hit when they reappear.

“If pedestrians or other relocating bodies enter a mark not manifest from a vehicle and spin undetectable, critical accidents can result,” pronounced Fang. “The ability to means approval of a participation of pedestrians, even if they can’t be seen, and afterwards fast heed them and detect probable risks once they reemerge is crucial. This comes simply to humans, yet unconstrained cars have problem with many aspects of a task. Through revisions to a existent proof and other improvements, we’re solemnly yet certainly expanding a operation of what cars can do.”

Incremental swell is achieved by gradually expelling these spots where a sensors are compelled and realizing opening improvements to respond to a large situations a motorist of an unconstrained vehicle competence encounter.

Current Challenges: Accurately Predicting a Actions of Other Road Users
Fang is now focused on RD directed during rightly presaging a function of objects once they have been famous by sensors.

“Humans demeanour during a trade around them and immediately consider that vehicles are perplexing to change lanes, that are about to delayed down or spin left or right and that are about to stop,” pronounced Fang. “In sequence to make this ability, that humans perform so smoothly, a existence in unconstrained vehicles as well, a subsequent thought is to incorporate transformation patterns into a AI and rise it to a indicate where rarely accurate predictions can be done formed on a mutual change between objects, among other things.”

Even if sensors spin some-more modernized and a operation of showing around cars expands, permitting rarely accurate cognition, formulating systems that can make suitable decisions formed on this during a same turn as a tellurian awaits during a subsequent proviso of development. No earlier is one plea overcome than another appears. But Fang stays positive: “Thinking about a best proceed to bargain with challenges, not to discuss experimentally contrast one’s ideas, is always interesting.”


Dreams for a Future: Helping to Protect People Through World-Leading Research and Technology
The universe is abuzz with news about unconstrained driving. Fang finds it sparkling to know that so many people opposite mixed industries are dedicated to realizing a same dream.

“The honour that comes from meaningful that a technological growth module I’m concerned with attracts courtesy from all over a universe is an glorious investigate motivator,” pronounced Fang.

If entirely unconstrained pushing becomes a reality, Fang believes, it competence spin probable to revoke a occurrence of accidents caused by tellurian error. It competence also assistance relieve a weight on a sourroundings with some-more fit trade upsurge brought about, for instance, by avoiding a arrange of trade overload that arises when tellurian drivers concede their vehicles to remove speed when roving adult a peaceful slope. To make this dream for a destiny a reality, however, presaging and permitting for resources other than a ideal is also necessary.

“Today a RD assumes that drivers conform a laws of a road,” pronounced Fang. “Going forward, though, we’ll need to consider about how to bargain with situations where a surrounding cars destroy to observe trade lights or signals. A prolonged highway lies before us, yet we demeanour brazen to expecting and assembly any plea as it comes. “

A Note to Prospective Researchers
“To emanate a vehicle of a future, we feel that team-work will be critical not usually between people of opposite inhabitant backgrounds and genders yet also between people with opposite cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds,” pronounced Fang. “Nissan’s corporate enlightenment formed on cross-cultural bargain and farrago encourages all sorts of people to practice their full potential.”

Based on an talk carried out in Jun 2016.

Related Story: Read some-more about Nissan and Autonomous Driving

New Possibilities with Bioethanol-Powered EV – Reforming matter investigate with Maki Hoshino

Maki Hoshino finished her master’s grade in materials scholarship and engineering during a Graduate School of Engineering of Hokkaido University in 1998. The same year, she assimilated a Nissan Research Center where she intent in a growth of catalysts to reformulate fuel and obtain hydrogen for use in fuel-cell vehicles and fuel-reforming engines. Since 2013, she has been concerned in a new investigate thesis toward a serve graduation of electric vehicles.

The World’s First EV Equipped with a SOFC
Nissan announced a e-Bio Fuel-Cell in Jun 2016. It is a next-generation fuel-cell complement that uses bioethanol (100 percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water) as fuel. This bioethanol is reformulated to hydrogen, that afterwards reacts with oxygen in a atmosphere to furnish a electricity that is supposing to a vehicle battery and drives a motor. Nissan’s module to supply an electric vehicle (EV) with a solid oxide fuel dungeon (SOFC) as a appetite era section is a initial in a world. The complement has many positives. Bioethanol is inexpensive and is already simply accessible in such countries as Brazil and a United States. It is also comparatively protected and so does not need special infrastructure. The empty gas is clean, and regulating costs are low, on a standard with battery EVs. Dramatically increasing cruising stretch of adult to about 600 km is also probable with a singular fueling.

The further of this e-Bio Fuel-Cell and a e-Power that uses an engine as a generator and drives a vehicle with an electric appetite train, to a Nissan LEAF and other battery EVs will severely enhance a possibilities of these vehicles.

Catalyst growth for a reformer that lies during a core of this groundbreaking complement is spearheaded by Maki Hoshino.

“As prolonged as I’m operative in a laboratory, we suspicion I’d like to be concerned in building technologies and vehicles that are a initial of their kind in a world,” pronounced Hoshino. “Today I’m anxious to have been means to comprehend that wish.”

Twenty Years in Development Captivated by Catalyst Research
Soon after fasten Nissan, Hoshino was reserved to a investigate and growth group for fuel-cell vehicles, that during that time had usually started up. The following year Nissan launched a R’nessa, a reformed methanol fuel-cell vehicle, and she got a ambience of a clarity of feat that comes with a open recover of investigate results. Hoshino has given been concerned for many years in matter growth for fuel-cell and gasoline engine vehicles, including a growth of catalysts that furnish hydrogen from gasoline or bioethanol as demanded by a times. Befitting a researcher who has followed a march of investigate focused usually on catalysts, her mindfulness continues.

“I’m still not sleepy of it,” pronounced Hoshino. “Catalysts foster chemical reactions that adsorb or connect certain molecules. But even when we repeat a same experiment, we competence not obtain a same greeting since of pardonable things like snippet impurities in a matter or initial conditions. People who work with involuntary systems have a tough time bargain my mindfulness with things that can't be voiced mathematically, yet those times when formula differ from predictions or hypotheses are indeed opportunities. There is serendipity in that possibility events can spin triggers for vital discoveries or after developments. we theory we could contend I’m spooky with catalysts since this kind of unpredictability is so interesting.”

Becoming a Mother Brings Changes as a Researcher
The growth of battery EVs accelerated in a 2000s, and in 2010 Nissan launched a mass-produced electric vehicle, a Nissan LEAF. Even while many courtesy was on battery EVs, Hoshino’s enterprise to take advantage of matter record so that glass fuel could be used remained unchanged. This stemmed from her faith that “if we can solve a issues in front of we one during a time, even if that takes time, earlier or after we can grasp a unsentimental application.” The use of glass fuels would meant that appetite could be supposing with a same refueling time as stream gasoline vehicles, and cruising stretch could be dramatically increased. Hoshino feels that a time is certain to come when such EVs will be needed.

Around that time Hoshino got married and started a family, that brought outrageous changes to her lifestyle. She took maternity and childcare leave and following worked for a time on a condensed work report balancing work and childcare. Female employees before her had continued operative while regulating these systems, so she suspicion stability to work would be possible. But during a same time she felt some uncertainty.

“Before holding leave we had been operative full-time about 10 hours a day with a inclusion of overtime,” pronounced Hoshino. “Soon after returning to a workplace we was operative usually about 5 hours a day, so we suspicion delicately about how we could furnish formula while operative usually half a series of hours.”

Just when she had scarcely motionless to lapse to full-time work early, partly since she didn’t wish to be a weight on her coworkers, her trainer told her: “The critical thing is not for we to pull yourself to do some-more work than we can hoop now yet to gait yourself so that we can continue operative later.”

That criticism altered her proceed of thinking. She was also speedy by coworkers who told her that childrearing is a poignant grant to society.

“Thanks to a comfortable environment, we was means to get on a good turn of both childcare and work that took me by that time,” pronounced Hoshino. “I am now means to proceed my work from dual perspectives: as a mom and as a researcher. The ability to use time effectively, expelling things that are sterile as many as possible, competence be a outcome of that time.”

Never Give Up – You’re Sure to Find a Way
Since giving birth, Hoshino’s enterprise to leave a good sourroundings for a destiny has grown stronger. What can we do to make a “stress-free car” with as few points of concede as probable for both users and developers? Many ideas were put brazen to answer this question, and a one that was staid on was growth of a due “e-Bio Fuel-Cell.”

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell with a dramatically longer cruising operation on appetite supposing in a refueling time identical to that of a gasoline vehicle was an suspicion that Hoshino concluded with. If a bioethanol comes from sugarine shaft as a tender material, a CO dioxide engrossed by plants as they grow would equivalent CO2 issued by a vehicle as it is driven, achieving a carbon-neutral cycle. Bioethanol is also easy to handle, so no vital infrastructure investments would be needed. The ethanol-blended H2O being investigated is 55 percent H2O and 45 percent ethanol, tighten to a change in some alcoholic drinks. Since bioethanol is easy to handle, a possibilities for new fuel supply also expand.

In a past, a direct for ethanol did not grow since of viewed foe with a food supply. Today, though, there are due technologies that can furnish both sugarine and ethanol during aloft levels than before regulating special enzymes in furious class of sugarine cane. On removed islands and other places where appetite is formidable to obtain, a use of a e-Bio Fuel-Cell could minister to both internal prolongation and expenditure of appetite and to informal development. New links between automobiles and multitude competence be on a horizon.

“Not giving adult is unequivocally critical in producing formula in research,” pronounced Hoshino. “If we continue seeking answers to investigate questions but compromising, we can open your possess trail to a future.”

Today Hoshino continues her friendship to investigate and growth from a perspectives of a mother, lady and researcher with a aim of formulating new automobiles and vehicle societies, including destiny expansion of a e-Bio Fuel Cell.

Based on an talk carried out in Jun 2016.

Related Story: Read some-more about a world’s initial Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell vehicle


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