Category Archives: Automotive

Indianapolis 500 versus Monte Carlo Grand Prix: Train to the Race

Yes as far as the races: Indianaplis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix; there are a lot of differeces. We won’t try and appear intelligent; let’s conclude they are HUGE spectator events that happen every May.

In 1911, The Peoria & Eastern  Railway will convey about 70,000 to the Indianapolis Speedway.  1963 The Peoria & Eastern runs the last of its “500” specials. The trains are profitable, but do not fit into the company’s long-range plans.

Beginning in 1929, the Grand Prix of Monaco is also a really huge event.  Compare to Monaco F-1 Grand Prix held end of May. SNCF (French National Railways) runs through Monaco over a high speed electrified line from French Riviera to Italy. Most trains are eight car Alstom-manufactured trainsets. Four of these are owned by the Principality of Monaco and painted royal colors of red and white with royal crest. Limited roads into Monaco and very limited parking. Frequent busses run in two and three sections. The course of the race has been modified over the years, but the current route from the beach to the casino used to be a tramway route.

See our WebSite on the Peoria & Eastern Raiway.




The Future of Logistics: Shaped by Driverless Technology?

Add Another Follower of UBER

Apollo Distribution Cardiff

In the first two parts of our series covering emerging technologies in logistics, we looked at both 3D printing and UAV machines. Since, Airbus has used a 3D printer to manufacture the majority of an aircraft. Amazon are also furthering their exploration into Drone technology to minimise delivery times. A fast moving landscape incorporates a great many new technologies and in this blog we’re spotlighting driverless vehicles.

driverless technology, driverless vehicle, future of logistics, driverless cars, driverless transport

The above image is a 1950s advertisement for America’s Electric Light and Power companies. Perhaps this is not worlds away from the way in which driverless technology could be integrated into our road networks (minus the board game, probably). The notion that drivers will be able to authorise their vehicles to navigate the roads for them, leaves excess time in transit to complete other tasks. Thus, productivity is heightened, serving a more efficient supply chain. However, with the driver predictably still needed…

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W Edward Deming’s 14 Points and the Supply Chain


Quality pioneer W. Edward Deming is best known for the improvements he made in the post World War 2 Japan, but he also worked with many American companies. In his book:  “Out of the Crisis”, Dr. W. Edwards Deming shows 14 steps toward an improved management.  It is not easy in the American Culture to establish such changes. Perhaps that barrier is keeping the American Industry from achieving as impressive results as the ones reached by the Japanese. While he wrote primarily for the “four walls” of traditional manufacturing, his 14 points apply to the extended supply chains that now exist.

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Why Uber Will Hire Tens of Thousands of Employees in the Next Few Years

The initiative indicates that the ride-sharing company could be trying to get into the logistics and delivery marketplace.

Uber is hiring a product manager to build its recruiting platform–“a series of products and systems that will help Uber attract the best talent in the world.”

In its latest job posting, Uber says it wants to add “tens of thousands” more employees in the next few years.

By itself, this isn’t news. But it’s significant that Uber is scaling so rapidly, and could be a sign of things to come for the ride-hailing company.

(Also, it should be noted that “employees” refers to people who work for the company itself -; drivers, which numbered 162,037 in December and have presumably grown since then, don’t count).

Uber has raised $5.9 billion in venture capital funding to date, valuing the company at more than $40 billion.

And the company doesn’t seem to be done raising money yet, either: a report last week says Uber is looking to raise an additional $1.5 billion to $2 billion more, which would make Uber the most highly valued private tech company of all time, at over $50 billion.

Right now, Uber offers its ride-hailing service in 55 countries and more than 200 cities globally. But ride-hailing isn’t the full extent of what Uber can offer. Last week, Uber submitted a bid to buy Nokia’s mapping product, Here. The move would be yet another divorce from its investor Google for the company, since right now Uber relies on Google Maps technology for its mapping.

Buying Here would allow the company to have its own mapping software and data, which would help Uber’s central driving business, but also its other logistics- related endeavors including UberFresh, its food delivery service, and UberPool, its carpooling service.  In the past, Uber has offered other logistics solutions in select markets, like UberRush, a courier service, and UberESSENTIALS, a service that delivers anything you could possibly imagine getting from a corner store or pharmacy.

But Uber needs more employees if it wants to scale beyond ride-sharing and enter the logistics and delivery marketplace. It also needs more people to help it scale operations internationally–especially when it comes to the Indian and Asian markets, where the company has formidable rivals.

Uber’s December fundraising round–in which Uber raised a massive $1.2 billion–was intended to allow Uber to “make significant investments, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.”

BuzzFeed News previously reported that Softbank Capital, which has funded on-demand ride-hailing startups GrabTaxi and OlaCabs, was behind a global alliance to take on Uber.  Since then, two other huge Asian taxi-hailing companies–Kuaidi Dache, which is funded by Alibaba, and Didi Dache, funded by Tencent–have merged, consolidating the power of Asia-based car-hailing companies.

And though Uber operates in a number of Asian markets, including Beijing, Bangkok, and Tokyo, Uber has faced other legal hurdles in Asia. South Korea has charged Uber CEO Travis Kalanick with operating an “illegal” taxi service, and has vowed to shut down Uber’s operations in the country. As TechCrunch notes, “Korean law doesn’t allow technology companies to store payment data as part of their purchase workflow, but instead requires consumers to retype their information with every purchase, ostensibly for security reasons.”

OlaCabs, an Uber rival native to India, has a $2.5 billion valuation and the trust of the Indian people, another obstacle Uber has to overcome in its international expansion. Allegations of an Uber driver raping a female passenger in India in 2014 have led some Indians to be wary of Uber’s services. This has prompted Uber to customize its Indian experience, adding an in-app panic button option that alerts police to your location, as well as introducing rickshaws and cash payment options for its Indian customers.

By putting more boots on the ground, Uber can help expand–and manage–its international footstep, as well as expand from its car-hailing service to more on-demand services in the logistics and delivery markets.

–This story first appeared on Business Insider.

Ford Restructures So What Is Different with the Supply Chain?

Ford Motor Company has made a lot of changes. This is why they are doing very well and not standing in line for bailouts. They are aiming at being innovative and nimble in everything they do. Ford has successfully transformed its image from an outdated dinosaur to a hi-tech twenty first century enterprise. Their revitalized reputation comes mostly from the “Ford SYNC” technology across its product line. Hey! They are profitable again.

So what was the grand strategy? (1) Simplify the company’s product line, focus primarily on the Ford brand itself; (2) Build vehicles people actually want to buy; create the best vehicle in its class in every class where Ford is going to build a vehicle; (3) Focus rigorously on data and facts in a weekly “Business Plan Review” with all of the department heads; (4) Integrate the company into one global enterprise, stop the infighting among divisions, and harness the power and scale of Ford’s global resources (the “One Ford” initiative).

Information Technology

Let’s take a deeper look, starting with their information technology. They have centralized IT (part of the “One Ford initiative) and now deliver as a service. But they have allowed enough room for customization in Europe, North America, Asia, engineering, research and manufacturing. IT is viewed as an asset. Technology is a capability of Ford, which views cars as being more about software these days. Ford also spent time honing its collaboration strategy. The first change was focusing on the tools—Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Yammer and federated search—and then on maximizing workflow to be efficient and deliver returns. Put a focus on integration to minimize maintenance. Ford needed to focus on new products and enhancing sales. Maintaining infrastructure that doesn’t deliver on those goals is a waste of time. IT reorganized to become a collaborator rather than a giant service bureau. It mirrored the One Ford strategy with a “One IT” strategy.

The old business model of Ford was a lot of autonomy in each of the regions from a business perspective and a lot of complexity and fragmentation in the IT environment. The aim was for more commonality and integration internally in order to offer more diversification of products to consumers. I was about freeing up maintenance resources for innovative new projects. The general idea is to get the best of both centralization and decentralization by creating shared services that are best-of-breed, while putting IT professionals in each of the business units so that they understand the business details and the customers.

The four top priorities of IT are: (1) Drive integration of applications; (2) Support growth; (3) Enable collaboration; (4) Drive internal efficiency.


One of the achievements is a global logistics system for parts flow in and out of the supply base. Another big advance is loading software in real time in the plant. As the vehicle is going down the assembly line (which has Wi-Fi capability) it is loading functionality based on the specification of the vehicle and the language pack based on whatever language needs to be configured for that vehicle. That’s now happening with other [software] modules in the vehicle, too.

The manufacturing plants are now more nimble and flexible. Retooling that’s taking place is not only increasing the levels of automation with the line-side equipment, but it’s also increasing the flexibility of the plants to meet consumer demand. For example, the ability to flex between volumes of one power train or one body style versus another body style. Historically, plants were configured to meet a certain capacity of a certain configuration of vehicle. Using the flexibility of automation and robots, Ford is now able to have plants that are much more flexible in terms of the ability to change the mix of vehicles that are being scheduled week to week.

Supply Chain

The Supply Chain must keep up with Manufacturing, who then must keep up with Customer demands. This calls for JIT logistics and the utmost in planning.

According to Ford’s 2011-12 Sustainability Report, its automotive supply chain includes 130,000 types of parts, 4,400 manufacturing sites and 1 million people in more than 60 countries. “The breadth, depth and interconnectedness of the automotive supply chain make it challenging to effectively manage business and sustainability issues,” the company states.

Sens. Schumer, Blumenthal Introduce Rail-crossing Improvement Act

U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) earlier this week introduced a bill aimed at improving safety at grade crossings.

Chuck Shumer, NY Senator
Chuck Shumer, NY Senator

The Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act of 2015 was introduced in reaction to the recent MTA Metro-North Railroad accident in which a train collided with a sport utility vehicle that stopped on a crossing in Valhalla, N.Y. The incident resulted in six fatalities. In 2013, 2,096 accidents occurred at crossings that killed more than 200 people nationwide, the senators said in a joint press release.

The bill would boost the amount of federal grants for safety upgrades at crossings, and more education and safety awareness campaigns. The legislation would focus on what the senators said experts have identified as the “three Es” of the most effective means of reducing crossing collisions: engineering, education and enforcement.

“While the precise cause of the Metro-North crash in Valhalla is still under investigation, it’s crystal clear that the existence of the grade crossing played at least some role in the fatal, tragic accident, and this new legislation will focus on providing new resources to the Federal Railroad Administration, states and localities to help make much-needed improvements at many crossings and help eliminate future collisions. Improved safety must rise from this dark tragedy,” Schumer said.

Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Senator
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Senator

The senators call for additional resources for education was hailed by Operation Lifesaver inc. (OLI) President Joyce Rose.

“Education plays a crucial role in raising awareness among motorists and pedestrians about the potential dangers present at all highway-rail intersections and along train tracks,” she said.

A person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours, according to OLI. Ninety-five percent of all fatalities on U.S. railroads are due to people trying to beat a train at a crossing or walking on railroad tracks. Schumer and Blumenthal said that many of those deaths are preventable.


Metro North Accident Valahalla
Metro North Accident Valahalla

YOU’VE seen a convertible, now check out the latest real life transformer: the AeroMobil

YOU’VE seen a convertible, now check out the latest real life transformer: the AeroMobil, a stunning prototype of a flying roadster which metamorphoses into a two-seater light sport plane.
Automotive pioneer Henry Ford famously predicted that it was only a matter of time before a flying car was invented. “Mark my words,” he said in the 1940s, “a combined airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.”
That time has arrived…
From April 16 to 19th 2015 the AeroMobil will be on show at Top Marques Monaco, the world’s most exclusive supercar show held in the capital of innovation and luxury. The Slovak team behind the integrated vehicle, launched last October at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival, have chosen Top Marques as the venue to reveal the latest chapter in its ground-breaking story.
Manoj Bairstow, managing director of Top Marques, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that AeroMobil is coming to Top Marques 2015. We are certain it will prove to be extremely popular with our visitors in the Grimaldi Forum who will be able to see the vehicle as it miraculously transforms from a supercar into a plane.”
The flying car prototype AeroMobil 3.0, which is expected to be issued with its full airworthiness licence within weeks, can with the current engine configuration reach speeds of up to 160 km/h on the road and once sky-bound, accelerates to 200 km/h.
This ultimate two-seater prototype is an exquisite feat of design and engineering which runs on regular fuel and has a range of 800km. It can take off from speeds of about 100 km/h, meaning that owners can use any legal leveled grass surface to get their luxury transport airborne.
Tickets for Top Marques Monaco, a four day luxury exhibition the principal partner of which is the private bank Edmond de Rothschild, are on sale now at the venue’s website or