It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from the evil scientists at F.O.R.D. who plan to blackmail the United Nations using laser-equipped cars. Now, they’ve reemerged from their mountain lair, and they’ve stolen $320,000 from the Carbon Trust’s Applied Research grant program to support their dirty work. Read on for an overview of their sinister technology.
For one, the laser doesn’t actually have to sit in the combustion chamber itself like a spark plug does. Instead, a thin fiber optic cable could pipe the beam in, significantly increasing the amount of space engineers have to work with in there. That would also allow for bigger intake and exhaust valves, allowing the engine to breathe better and be more efficient. They also claim that there is an improvement to cold-starting and biofuel use, because a portion of the laser beam can be diverted from the combustion chamber to a sensor, allowing for more information about how well the engine is running and a finer tuning of the fuel-air mixture. This sounds like a very promising technology, and as many of us in the auto community are fond of saying, is yet another sign that there’s a lot of life left in the internal combustion engine.
When will you see a laser-ignition car from Ford? Not for a few years, as they’ll be installing and testing out the technology in engineering mules for a while. However, scientists on the project and at Carbon Trust are confident that the improvements will be real. We’ll update you with any updates as we hear about them.