Dyson’s new plans: sensors, vision systems, robotics, machine learning and AI19. May 2020
Dyson’s new plans: sensors, vision systems, robotics, machine learning and AI
Dyson? Dyson? Yes, he makes electrical appliances and, more recently, hair care products. But no, there was something else – definitely an electric car. He gave up last October. Too expensive. Now it’s back in the media. Why?
Dyson revealed some kind of secret to The Times. There was data that made it difficult to compare it to the Tesla cars. But in reality he was testing how a new product from his company would look in the marketplace.
The N526, which is the code name for the EV, was a seven-seater, according to Dyson. He put the range at 600 miles per charge. That’s impressive. So the big question was: how does he explain that performance? Answer: with the company’s own solid state batteries. They would have maintained this result “even on an ice-cold February night on the bad side of 70 MPH on the highway, with the heater and radio on full power”. Wow! Some experts quickly did the math: Assuming that the 600 mile figure was based on the European WLTP standards, this would be a significant difference to the 379 miles achieved by the Tesla model S and almost double the 314 miles achieved by the long-distance model X (the latter also a seven-seater).
The following information also made us sit up and take notice: Despite its weight of 2.6 tonnes, the Dyson aluminium car was able to go from zero to 62MPH (about half a second more than the long-distance X model) in 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 125MPH (30MPH less than the X model). The trigger in this case are two 200 kW electric motors with a power of 536 HP and a torque of 480 lb/ft.
Why didn’t this miracle thing come on the market? According to Dyson, this project cost him 500 million pounds in the end. Unlike traditional car brands, he did not have a fleet of profitable petrol and diesel cars to make up for the “enormous losses” of every electric vehicle produced. After all, each Dyson electric car would have had to earn £150,000 to break even.
In October last year Dyson explained how his company would continue: ” Dyson will continue its £2.5 billion investment programme in new technologies and expand our wonderful new university. We will continue our expansion in Malmesbury, Hullavington, Singapore and other global locations. We will also focus on the daunting task of manufacturing solid state batteries and other fundamental technologies that we have identified: Sensor technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning, and AI offer us significant opportunities that we must seize with both hands. Our battery will benefit Dyson in a profound way and will take us in exciting new directions. In summary, our appetite for investment is unbroken and we will continue to deepen our roots in both the UK and Singapore”.
These are by no means castles in the air, as Dyson is the richest person in the UK with net assets of $19.7 billion. He announced what was next: the 500-strong team was already working on various other projects, and he was open to the idea of making his company’s solid state batteries available to car manufacturers because they are more efficient and compact than the current lithium-ion cells.
Last question: Will Dyson one day try to make cars again? Answer: when it becomes commercially viable.