A consortium of Japanese companies made up 21 Japanese big hitters that include Toyota and Honda are working on technologies that will do away with auxiliary cables, wires to power sensors and switches.
They plan to develop components that do not need an external power source but instead, uses energy such as vibration, heat or light to be converted into electricity. It has been compared to the mechanism found in a mechanical watch that winds itself up trough the movement of a person’s arm, thereby doing away with batteries altogether.
The technology will save on the need for cables that send power to the long list of sensors available in modern cars today. If the technology is employed, it could save weight and help improve fuel efficiency. Not to mention add to the car’s coolness factor.
“The consortium is still studying the issue from various angles and exchanging information among its members. As such, nothing has been decided yet regarding joint development or commercialization,” said Toyota Motor Corp. spokesmen Paul Nolasco.
Not the first to toy with the idea, Pirelli already uses similar technology in its “Cyber Tyre”. It uses a vibration-powered computer chip, which provides information such as air pressure and road conditions to the car.
Other technologies include ones being researched by GM and BMW, which involve turning engine or exhaust heat to electricity to power vehicle electronics. It is called energy harvesting and has been around for some time. The only thing stopping companies from using it, is its high cost and the added size of the tech.