BYD’s “looking up” technology: “Black technology” or just a show?
BYD has attracted attention with its series of “black technology” in its debut of the “Looking Up” model, including horizontal movement, emergency buoyancy, turning in place, and high-speed tire blowout control. However, many people have doubted the practical value of these “black technologies” and consider them only as a show.
On February 22nd, BYD held a technical communication meeting in Beijing to further disclose the details and application scenarios of the “Looking Up” technology.
Horizontal movement: not suitable for mass-produced vehicles
At the “Looking Up” brand launch event on January 5th, the U8 model made a stunning entrance with its “crab walk” horizontal movement. However, many people have analyzed that this feature uses the Mecanum wheel, which has already been applied in industrial machinery and even children’s toy cars and is not an innovation, and is not expected to be installed in mass-produced vehicles.
At this technical communication meeting, Xu Kai, the U8 product director of “Looking Up,” confirmed that the U8 featured at the launch event did use the Mecanum wheel scheme.
However, Xu Kai emphasized that a vehicle without the ability to independently drive all four wheels, even if equipped with Mecanum wheels, cannot achieve the functions demonstrated at the launch event.
The Mecanum wheel was invented by Mecanum in 1973. It consists of several small rollers that can freely rotate and are uniformly fixed on the outer cylindrical surface of the wheel. The angle between the axis of the small roller and the axis of the wheel is usually 45°. Based on this type of wheel, various movements such as forward, lateral movement, diagonal movement, rotation, and their combinations can be achieved.
When the vehicle needs to move laterally, the diagonal two wheels must output power forward, and the other diagonal two wheels must output power backward to make the combined force of the four wheels turn laterally. That is to say, it cannot be achieved without independent 4-wheel drive, as Xu Kai said.
However, Xu Kai also explained that “This is indeed a non-mass-produced wheel scheme, just to demonstrate the independent 4 motor drive of BYD Yi Si Fang.”
Emergency Floatation: Preventing Flooding and Off-Road Accidents
At the beginning of the year conference, YANGWANG also demonstrated an unprecedented emergency floatation function for automobiles.
In the video, YANGWANG U8 almost turned into an “amphibious vehicle”, able to float, turn, swim, and land after entering the water.
Xu Kai emphasized at the communication meeting that the emergency floatation capability of YANGWANG U8 is only a safety aid under sudden extreme conditions, “We do not encourage any entertainment or adventure-seeking activities in deep water areas initiated by other users.”
The original intention of designing the emergency floatation function of YANGWANG U8 is to help users get out of the trouble in the urban floods.
Xu Kai introduced that if an urban flooding occurs, the water depth of U8 can not only reach one meter, surpassing all current mass-produced imported models, but also in deeper water areas, with the support of Yi Si Fang technology, it can have the maneuvering abilities of forwarding, backward, steering and turning around, providing valuable escape time for the user.
“The emergency floatation capability of U8 also requires us to reach the IP68 waterproof level for the core components of the entire vehicle, which presents a great challenge to the entire supply chain system and production process of this vehicle.”
In addition, in the outdoor off-road scene, Xu Kai said, “We absolutely do not encourage users to drive the YANGWANG U8 into deep water areas, but if encountering such a danger, U8 with better vehicle conditions can help extend the time of floatation for users.”
He said that U8 will automatically seal and open the sunroof and provide auxiliary maneuvering abilities to help the owner get out of trouble.
Zero-radius Turn: Convenient Parking
At the press conference, YANGWANG U8 also showed off its ability to perform a zero-radius turn.
Similarly, some people may ask whether this technology is useful in daily life.The director of technology at Yee Fung, Lu Guoxiang, stated at a communication meeting that “Turn on the spot” is an exclusive core function of Yee Fung, which pioneered high-adhesive road turning on the spot, “not only showing off, but also having practical value”.
Xu Kai introduced two scenarios:
One is when driving in a narrow road and having to make a U-turn when there is oncoming traffic, Yee Fung’s agile steering or turning on the spot function can easily assist the driver to make the turn.
The other is when parking in a narrow parking space, “The U8 model equipped with ordinary wheels cannot move sideways, but even if it is sandwiched between the front and rear when the left and right spaces of the parking space are sufficient, the driver can still use the function of turning on the spot to easily park or exit the space.”
Xu Kai expressed that if the turning on the spot function is combined with automatic parking, higher parking efficiency will be achieved.
High-speed tire blow-out vehicle body control: useful even when driving at 120 kilometers per hour
Yee Fung also showcased its instant body posture control technology for tire blowouts at the press conference, which is capable of quickly responding when a tire blows out, maintaining vehicle posture stability, and preventing it from deviating from the designated route and colliding.
Xu Kai first introduced the background: “The number of people who die from traffic accidents every year globally exceeds one million, among which more than 50% are caused by the vehicle losing stability and deviating from the predetermined route and a blowout during high-speed travel is the most dangerous.”
Xu Kai said that when the tire blows out, the tire loses pressure, one side of the suspension is lowered, and the vehicle swerves. “Traditional vehicles… can only rely on control methods mainly based on the braking system, but this method has a slower monitoring frequency and response for the vehicle’s posture and tire grip, and control methods mainly based on hydraulic braking systems have slower response compared to control methods mainly based on motor torque control. There is no way to effectively control the stability of the vehicle.”
Xu Kai said that therefore, no carmaker or Tier1 has yet done specific calibration and matching work for mass-produced vehicles for high-speed tire blowout working conditions.
However, after a tire blowout, Yee Fung’s technology can independently control the positive and negative torque of each wheel, creating great flexibility for the stability of the vehicle’s body. Even when both the physical steering and braking mechanisms fail at the same time, the vehicle can still control the wheel-end torque with very high frequency to adjust the posture of the vehicle.## “Flexible Fat Guy”
What is the design logic of the “hardcore technology” on the U8 that Loic Caer mentioned?
According to Xu Kai, the majority of the driving miles of large SUV users are actually in the city, and true hardcore off-road scenes may only account for a small portion.
Therefore, “Whether it’s the U8, U9, or subsequent models, we will continue to think about how to balance performance and daily convenience under the platform of extreme technology like EFS, and solve users’ pain points for daily travel.”
For hardcore off-road vehicles, there are many pain points in the daily use process, including difficult flexibility in urban areas, high center of gravity, and instability when driving on winding roads in the mountains.
Xu Kai said that EFS hopes to make the U8 a “flexible fat guy”, balancing the conflict between maneuverability and stability.
“For athletes who want faster agility, they must strengthen the core strength of customers. For a car, its core strength is the power system.” Xu Kai said.
Lu Guoxiang introduced that EFS provides the U8 with a set of four-wheel independent drive system. The motor’s highest speed reaches 20,500 rpm, and the vehicle’s horsepower exceeds 1,100. The technical index is fully leading. Therefore, the U8 can achieve a 0-100 km/h acceleration in three seconds, reaching the level of a supercar.
At the same time, the U8 is also equipped with features similar to differential locks, enhancing off-road capability.
In terms of electronic control, EFS platform is equipped with a new generation of 800V silicon carbide electronic control, with a maximum efficiency of up to 99.5%, which improves the output of current by 50% and the power density by 100% and the operating efficiency of the whole vehicle is improved by 3% with higher computing ability and control accuracy.
EFS engineers believe that with such powerful power system support and EFS’s 4-motor distributed independent control technology, the U8, a hardcore off-road vehicle, can also be easily driven in complex urban road conditions.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.