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Tricked-Out Cars Trickling Down 233

Posted by kdawson
from the telematics-for-the-masses dept.
Good sends us to an IBTimes article on the expanding trend for more options for electronic gadgetry — telematics — in cars. Manufacturers are including more high-tech options in more models, including low-end models, as component prices drop and as the car makers attempt to sell to a demographic that has grown up surrounded by personal electronics. According to a telematics analyst, Bluetooth hands-free modules for cell phones will be available on more than a third of car models sold in the US in 2007, and auxiliary jacks for iPods in nearly half. From the article: "One of the industry's more advanced systems will be Ford's Sync, which connects digital music players to the car's voice-control communications system and reads aloud cell-phone text messages and has 20 preset text-message responses... The flash memory-based system, controlled through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel, is based on a Microsoft Corp. operating system for cars."
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Tricked-Out Cars Trickling Down

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  • by casualsax3 (875131) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:16PM (#18255614)
    Wind Screen of Death perhaps?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Blasted Slippage of Doom.

      Boom, Suck, Open, Dump. Words often associated with the Goatse.cx guy.

      "Blue Screen of Death
      In a surprise announcement today, Microsoft President Steve Ballmer revealed that the Redmond-based company will allow computer resellers and end-users to customize the appearance of the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), the screen that displays when the Windows operating system crashes.

      The move comes as the result of numerous focus groups and customer surveys done by Microsoft. Thousands o
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayaguNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:16PM (#18255616) Journal

    From the article:

    ..., The flash memory-based system, controlled through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel, is based on a Microsoft Corp. operating system for cars.

    Sheeesh, I remember the good old days when the joke began with: "If Microsoft made cars..."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by evil agent (918566)
      "I know I was speeding officer, but it wasn't my fault. I haven't been able to remove this damn virus..."
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:38PM (#18255898)
      Remember when people designed cards for driving? All this in-car entertainment etc cannot be really contributing to good driving.

      As for voice commanded anything, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkeC7HpsHxo [youtube.com] . I've worked with vehicle electronics for quite a while, any wonder that I drive a 1980s car with manual everything?

      • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:46PM (#18255962) Journal
        I agree. I'm reading your comment while driving right now$#*U#U*#FCG *CARRIER LOST*
      • by LoudMusic (199347) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:03PM (#18256222)

        Remember when people designed cars for driving? All this in-car entertainment etc cannot be really contributing to good driving.
        Instead of rolling entertainment I'd like to see accident avoidance technology become more common place. I think it's Mercedes Benz that has all kinds of road sensors for keeping the car between the lines and at safe distances from the vehicle in front. Makes more sense to me than hands free telephone in the car.

        Driving a hybrid I'd like to see GPS data used to improve efficiency of hybrids and other efficient vehicles. Knowing what's coming up, as far as hills and such, could allow the car to better handle cruise control to make better use of the electric motor / batteries. All the technology is in the car already, it just doesn't talk to each other yet.

      • > Remember when people designed cards for driving

        Nobody designs cards for driving. Heck, nobody designs cards for drivers (software), except, I suppose, a few custom one-offs done by spy departments for insertion in bad guy's computers by Bond work-alikes.
        • Wake me up when I can plug a USB flash drive into the dashboard of my off-the-showroom-floor Chevy and play my mp3s through my car's sound system.

          Or how about using some of that high-tech gadgetry to improve fuel economy? I'm sorry but a half-assed hybrid that gets nominally better mileage while costing 20% more doesn't quite cut it as "giving the consumer what they want".

          Better safety would be a nice touch, too, as long as they're going the "high-tech" route. Until these things happen, let's not play lik
          • I bought a 2007 Prius two weeks ago. For what I would have paid for a regular Camry, I got a nice sound system, etc, etc... I've only filled up two tanks since then, this morning, in fact, I saw that my second tank had got me 433 miles at 51.3mpg. And that's with a 40 mi drive each way, through Seattle's crudded up I-5, 405, and 520.

            A little bit more than 'nominal' increase in milage.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by fyonn (115426)
              but the thing is, that's not very impressive. I get, almost without fail, 54mpg+ with my 2002 2 litre diesel bmw. that's got 150bhp, loads of torque and drives well.

              I like the idea of hybrids, no doubt, but claiming that 51mpg is really good is laughable. they need to start returning 99mpg+ on average before anyone is really going to take them seriously I think.

              dave

      • Bluetooth hands-free modules for cell phones will be available on more than a third of car models sold in the US in 2007

        I guess we still have a few accidents to go before the world accepts that driving requires all your attention to do safely. Distractions = Accidents. http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/08/15/06081516 1 706.0xbugxlr.html [breitbart.com]

        Talking while driving -- even using a hands-free kit -- makes motorists four times more likely to have an accident, according to David Strayer, a University of Utah psyc

      • by Mr2cents (323101)
        Plus, all those gadgets require electricity. And that means more gas consumption. I'd just like a car with only minimal electronics, and a modern, efficient engine.
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I've worked with vehicle electronics for quite a while, any wonder that I drive a 1980s car with manual everything?

        Cheater. I grew up with a VW Bug. The most advanced thing on it was the radio. AM only, and a big sticker (larger letters than anything else on the radio) proclaiming "All Transistor." Not only "manual everything" but manual steering, manual transmission, manual 4-wheel drum brakes (no stinking power assist steering *or* brakes for me). Hell, Bugs don't even have radiators. It was oil,
  • car's voice-control communications system and reads aloud cell-phone text messages and has 20 preset text-message responses... The flash memory-based system, controlled through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel, is based on a Microsoft Corp. operating system for cars."

    Read text messages? I cant wait till cars have accident prediction. DANGER! IMPACT! 3:00! Of course the ultimate would be a car that can drive you home after youve had too much to drink.
  • Why is the water warm and yellow?
  • stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:18PM (#18255632) Homepage

    and auxiliary jacks for iPods in nearly half


    Do they literally mean iPod specific, or do they simply mean that factory radios with aux line-inputs will be more commonplace?

    Christ I hate how people think that iPod's are the only thing someone would hook up to car's sound system via aux-in.
    • sarcasm (Score:3, Funny)

      by User 956 (568564)
      Christ I hate how people think that iPod's are the only thing someone would hook up to car's sound system via aux-in.

      What do you mean? Apple *invented* the 3.5mm minijack.
    • Re:stupid (Score:4, Informative)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:29PM (#18255792)

      For those of us who do have actual iPods, having a dock connector is better than a minijack because it can be used to transmit control signals in addition to the audio.

      • For those of us who do have actual iPods, having a dock connector is better than a minijack because it can be used to transmit control signals in addition to the audio.

        Yes, but for people with ipods, a minijack works & for people with anything else, a minijack works.

        It depends on what do you think is better? Works pretty for everyone, or works very well for a segment of your customer base.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Buran (150348)
      "Do they literally mean iPod specific, or do they simply mean that factory radios with aux line-inputs will be more commonplace?"

      In my case I'm ordering a car (by midweek, actually) with a Dock Connector, but the same vehicle can also be had with line-in. Your choice. I'd like to see the ID3 tags on the screen and have good integration with the iPod, but some people do want more flexibility.

      The car will also have built-in navigation, dual-zone climate control (no arguing over temp), tire pressure monitoring
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 0x15e (961860)

      Actually, they probably do mean iPod specific. There are plenty of new cars that come with iPod control options (control through the steering wheel or head unit, similarly to a CD changer). From what I've read, most of these leave a lot to be desired.

      I'd actually prefer a standard AUX in, personally.

      • control through the steering wheel
        That's nice, but I think using the click-wheel would make me feel safer.
    • Christ I hate how people think that iPod's are the only thing someone would hook up to car's sound system via aux-in.

      People associate products usually by the most popular brand. "Band-Aid" is pretty commonly used because adhesive bandages is too cumbersome. In the south if you want a soda pop you ask for a "coke." It's nothing new, but it can be rather annoying

      • by dwater (72834)
        I'd never heard of "Band-Aid" before I went to the US - apart from in association with the good works of Sir Bob et al, of course.

        We use the term "plaster". Seems simple enough.
    • by L. VeGas (580015)
      Personally, I would like something iPod specific. Right now, the touch wheel pad thingy (that really is the technical term, believe it or not) isn't that great for navigation while driving. You hit a bump, and bang! Now you're listening to some crappy 80's song that you never deleted.

      While driving, I would rather use knobs and buttons to navigate my iPod menu. Obviously, others will have different preferences.
      • So you take a technical flaw in the ipod, and argue that the car should be have a propritary interface further locking you into that flawed platform. Brilliant!

        (I have many similar complaints with the ipod, but have simply decided not to buy another one)

        • by L. VeGas (580015)
          Well here's the thing...

          The "technical flaw" that you refer to, the iPod interface, is almost universally agreed upon as outstanding and instrumental in the Ipod's massive success.

          That it is mildly inconvenient to use while performing certain other tasks is not quite what I would call a "flawed platform". Sure it's not perfect. It's just really, really good.
          • That it is mildly inconvenient to use while performing certain other tasks

            Speaking as another driver of a vehicle flying down a busy peak hour freeway at 70mph, I'd really actually rather it was quite a bit more than "mildly inconvenient" for you to take your eyes off the wheel to see just how far you were spinning your iPod's control wheel, especially if you're using a nano with its nice small font that requires concentration to look at.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Chosen Reject (842143)
      I know how you feel. I've been waiting for ages to take my turntable on the road with me.
    • I have mixed feelings about any jacks. I'm going to get myself in an accident someday because I'm fiddling with my mp3 player instead of watching the road.
    • funny thing is .. ALL stereos have an AUX port. It is just that they use to be always int he back of the unit. So you need to pull it out and add an extension cable. It was a non-issue because they all had tape decks, so you can use a tape adapter to plug something in.

      But with CDs common now and tapes going the way of the dodo, that access point is gone and the AUX port is needed in an easier to access location.

      So now this "new feature" has just been moved from the back to the front.. where it should hav
      • by Grishnakh (216268)
        I've had quite a few car stereos over the years. I've never seen one with an actual "Aux" input on the back, unless you mean the proprietary CD-changer input jacks. I did have one around '94 which had an aux jack on the front, however. It's nothing new.
  • Just what we need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionaryNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:20PM (#18255662) Journal
    More gadgets distracting people as they drive.
    • by Erwos (553607)
      That's one way of looking at it. Another is that if you have an objection to gadgets, you should pursue a legislative solution. Yet another is that stuff like a BT hands-free set built in will actually encourage folks to have both hands on the wheel.

      Life is full of trade-offs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by svendsen (1029716)
        Except I have read a few articles where the research has shown it's not the issue of both hands being on the wheel, it's the actual conversation on the phone which distracts the drivers and there has been no evidence hands free reduces accidents. Once you take you mind off the road (phone, computer, eating, fighting with someone in the car, etc) that's what causes the accidents. I see no reason to have all this stuff available to the driver when DRIVING. The safety of the driver and others is greater the
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by spun (1352)
          The odd thing is that the studies show that talking with someone in the car is not nearly as distracting. My theory is that is because your attention is still on something in the immediate environment. When talking on a phone, the mind is elsewhere. The phone provides a lower bandwidth data link (no body language, etc.) and so more imagination is used to fill in the details. But that's just my theory, the data speaks for itself: any phone use in a car is dangerous.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by svendsen (1029716)
            That is interesting to say the least. I wonder if it's because the other people in the car can sense dangerous situations and be quiet. But overall I think adding any distractions to the driver is just a bad idea. Have gadgets in the car fine; don't make them available to the driver if driving.
            • by spun (1352)
              I wonder if it's because the other people in the car can sense dangerous situations and be quiet.

              Or scream loudly, as the situation requires. :-) That certainly sounds like it could be a contributing factor.

              But overall I think adding any distractions to the driver is just a bad idea. Have gadgets in the car fine; don't make them available to the driver if driving.

              Well put. Gadgets are fine, any distractions to the driver are bad. Driving is probably the single most dangerous thing any of us do on a day to d
          • by rthille (8526)
            It'd be interesting to see studies done where the bandwidth/voice quality to the person at the other end of the phone was varried and the level of distraction of the driver measured. I bet the better the voice quality the less brain power you have to devote to understanding the conversation and the less it takes away from your driving.
          • by Chris Burke (6130)
            I always figured it was because there is an expectation by the person on the other end of the phone that they have your full attention, and thus you are more likely to give it to them. Whereas a person in the car with you is also aware of your driving situation, and thus isn't going to get upset and start going "Hello? Hello?!" if you don't respond for a few seconds because you're navigating some hazard on the road. Exactly the opposite -- the person in the car with you has just as much stake in your saf
      • by spun (1352)
        Hands free cell phones aren't any less distracting than regular cell phones. [cars.com]

        The solution I prefer is education, coupled with merciless mockery of anyone who uses a cell phone (or puts on make-up, or, as I saw once, reads the newspaper.)
    • Back in the early 1970s my first car had large knobs and levers designed to be easily operated by someone wearing thick winter gloves without taking their eyes off the road. By comparison, many of the electronic gadgets in modern cars seem to require taking my eyes off of the road, at least briefly, while thinking about some complicated task. All the unnecessary complexity can also be a problem when I occasionally fly somewhere and have to rent a car. There is now too much of a learning curve for all the f

  • by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:21PM (#18255682)

    The flash memory-based system, controlled through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel, is based on a Microsoft Corp. operating system for cars.
    This old email joke doesn't seem quite as funny now.

    If Microsoft made cars
    1. A particular model year of car wouldn't be available until AFTER that year, instead of before.
    2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you'd have to buy a new car.
    3. Occasionally your car would just die for no reason, you'd have to restart it. For some strange reason, you would just accept this.
    4. You could only have one person at a time in your car, unless you bought a car '95 or a car NT, but then you'd have to buy more seats.
    5. You would be constantly pressured to upgrade your car. Wait a sec, it's that way NOW!
    6. Sun Motorsystems would make a car that was solar powered, twice as reliable, 5 times as fast, but only ran on 5% of the roads.
    7. The oil, alternator, gas, engine warning lights would be replaced with a single "General Car Fault" warning light.
    8. People would get excited about the "new" features in Microsoft cars, forgetting completely that they had been available in other brands for years.
    9. We would still be waiting on the "6000 sux 58'" model to come out.
    10. We'd all have to switch to Microsoft Gas (tm).
    11. Lee Iacocca would be hired-on as Bill G.'s chauffeur.
    12. The US government would be GETTING subsidies from an automaker, instead of giving them.
    13. New seats will force everyone to have the same size ass.
    14. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler would all be complaining because Microsoft was putting a radio in all its models.
  • So (Score:2, Funny)

    by aitikin (909209)
    How long will it take to get Linux on this thing!?
  • I mean I use Windows and while I don't drive an American car I am all for getting our auto industry out of the shitter, but c'mon... Ford + Microsoft = works well? I just don't see that happening...
  • Mixed Blessing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by L. VeGas (580015) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:28PM (#18255778) Homepage Journal
    Though it's nice to have all these gadgets and options, I worry about upgrades. For example, I specifically didn't get a navigation system because I don't want to be locked in to something that costs more to upgrade in the future (if it's possible at all).

    An audio jack though, should be available in every new car. I don't see the minijack going away anytime soon.

    • Non Free Blessing? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by twitter (104583)

      I worry about upgrades.

      Upgrades are just one practical and obvious problem with non free software in cars. Your worries are justified in an industry that practically invented "planned obsolescence" [wikipedia.org] and still practices every form imaginable. Just look at the myriad of mechanical and electrical fasteners that already exist in automobiles when standardization would be cheaper. Of course they chose M$, when they could have better control and lower costs of their own gnu/linux based systems.

      There are more

  • With all of the peripheral electronics involved I only hope that they are smart enough to separate this from the safety functions of the car. If the MS OS crashes and the airbags fail or the car becomes unresponsive this could be a real tragedy. Ford + MS is hardly the kind of combo I would be willing to trust.
  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:30PM (#18255818)
    Car: "You are about to apply the brakes. Cancel or allow?"
    You: "Allow."
    Car: "The brakes are about to be applied. Cancel or allow?"
    You: "Allow!"
    Car: "The car is about to slow down. Cancel or allow?"
    You: "Allow, dammit!"
    Car: "The car is about to hit that truck. Cancel or allow?"
    You: "Shit!"

    Crunch

  • No power anything, no heated seats, no GPS, nothing. Just the frame, the tub, the engine, power trane (tranny, transfer case, axles, suspension, drive shafts...), wheels, two front seats, pedals, steering, and the instrument cluster. I even had the stereo taken out to keep honest people honest when the top is off.

    And you know what? It's not only fine, but it is comfortable and it is the most fun vehicle to drive...
  • by markbt73 (1032962) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:34PM (#18255856)
    This is going to change car ads as we know them....

    Young hipster: Hello, I'm a Scion XB.
    Middle-age guy in a suit: And I'm a Ford Expedition.
    YH: We both have four doors.
    MAH: Four wheels.
    YH: And an engine.
    MAH: But that's where the similarities end. You see, I have room for seven.
    YH: So? I have room for five.
    MAH: And I can tow 6000 pounds.
    YH: And yet, we both spend most of our time in traffic, with just one person inside. What's your MPG again?
    MAH: ...Like, twelve... Hey, what's that backing-up-and-turning maneuver you're doing?
    YH: It's called parallel parking.
    MAH: ...Wish I could do that...
  • Neat... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sporkme (983186) * on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:34PM (#18255864) Homepage
    Fun gadgets are great, but how about making vehicles more user-serviceable? I can fix anything on my '96, but my mom's^w girlfriend's '06 is a mystery to me. On many Kia models, you can't even change the oil without special tools.

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." -- Antoine de Saint-Exuper
    Oh, and check my spinners!
  • by Darth (29071) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:46PM (#18255964) Homepage
    "One of the industry's more advanced systems will be Ford's Sync, which connects digital music players to the car's voice-control communications system and reads aloud cell-phone text messages and has 20 preset text-message responses... The flash memory-based system, controlled through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel, is based on a Microsoft Corp. operating system for cars."

    Microsoft's voice recognition did so well in a quiet room, they decided to give it a real test and see how it performs in a noisy car.

    I can see it now :

    driver : Check voice mail
    computer : turning on radio, volume set to 10
    driver : AAAAAAGH! (ears bleed, car hits telephone pole)
    computer : delete select all

    I can't wait for someone i know to get one so i can call him and leave a voice mail that issues commands to his car when he listens to it.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I can't wait for someone i know to get one so i can call him and leave a voice mail that issues commands to his car when he listens to it.
      Noise cancellation systems should be able to filter that out before it gets to the voice recognition.

      Whether they'll actually use noise cancellation & how well it'll work...
  • There's no way I'm going to let a telemat in my car!!! Oh... Wait... that's cybermats I don't want in my car.

    Never mind.

  • "Tricked Out" BAH! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:56PM (#18256106) Journal
    That's all rice boy stuff. Where are the Holleys, the Edelbrocks, the Hooker headers, the Koni shocks, the glass packs, the high compression engines??? That's what makes a tricked out car, not decals and cell phones, and home theater(in the car??? Sheez). Just give me one that will do the driving for me.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      What happened? A whole generation of people grew up with little boxes called 'econo cars'.
      Cars lost there mystic, and got to a point where tweaking was not very easy.

      SO now people ahve acar, and they want to make it 'their own' without the ability to fiddle with the engine.

      This same thing will happen to computers. Whole generation of people that have always been around a computer, and have all there friend. So the insides become less interesting then the outside.
      Look at overclocking: what does it get you t
    • by mschuyler (197441)
      I feel your pain. I think they all went to trucks. But even there the hottest accessories are EEPROM burners, like Bully Dog, to flash the engine chips for more torque and hp. Gimme a Duramax and Allison to haul some serious sh*t (On biodiesel, of course, recycled.)
  • Crap, now my electronics addiction is going to force me to buy a new car every year. I'm going to be so broke.
  • I'm still trying to wash off what was trickled down in the eighties.
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:59PM (#18256166) Journal
    LAST time we had a 'revolution' in personal music electronics, ie CD players, car radios started having aux inputs commonly available so you didn't have to buy a CD player radio. Then when everyone finally had CD players, they stopped providing aux inputs.

    THE TIME BEFORE THAT when we had a 'revolution' in personal music electronics, ie portable cassette players, car radios started having aux inputs commonly available so you didn't have to buy a cassette player radio. Then when everyone finally had cassette players, they stopped providing aux inputs.

    I don't know if anyone ever had portable 8-track players commonly available enough to make an aux input useful. I *do* know that Motorola was started as a company making record players for cars [digg.com], hence the name: Motor Victrola. I don't think those record players were particularly portable, however.

    The point being, aux inputs come into vogue every time the price differential between portable electronics and car stereos exhibiting the same functionality rise above the price that it takes to reengineer them to put an input jack in the case somewhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wordplay (54438)
      Sure. So, once the car stereos that have a detachable 60GB+ drive built-in come out, we can do away with the AUX jack.

      There's a fundamental difference between the older equipment that an AUX served and the newer equipment. The newer equipment is the player and the media, not just the player. There's no advantage in replicating the player, because you'd just have to copy the media. Really, the most convenient method is to interface to your existing MP3 player. It's already storing everything, and you on
      • You say that now, but in five years every new car will have a PC in it. Why bother with all these point-of-use microcontrollers when you can have a single-board computer that handles variable valve timing, runs the instrument display, samples the oxygen in the exhaust, plays mp3's, and displays navigation? It's already happened in aircraft, even small private ones, and it's only a matter of time before it happens in cars, too. Then the aux jack will go away again, to be replaced by wireless so you can, g
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:13PM (#18256326)
    I don't want to be charged extra to be able to plug in an iPod I don't have.

    It wouldn't be so bad if it really was just a standard aux socket, but some car manufacturers are actually providing ipod-specific docking sockets which are useless if you happen to have any other player.
    • I'm fairly sure it's illegal in 48 states not to own an iPod.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      While I really don't want an iPod, I have to admit the dock connector is extremely useful. Why don't the other MP3 player makers add them to their devices? It's a documented hardware interface, so there shouldn't be an intellectual property issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Gadgets and other gimmicks are fine, but how about something real, like what Renault did a while back... have four little wheels which when the car was stopped could move the car sideways. This beats the computer based parallel parking hands down. All you did was just stop, park, flip a switch to have the small wheels take the vehicle's weight and move it left or right and slide in the parking place.

    Or, how about money on R&D so hybrid technology isn't just in small, sluggish vehicles which become mob
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:18PM (#18256400) Homepage
    I want auto manufactures to include a device to actually read the information stored in the Engine Management computer and allow you to download it an analyze it on your home computer. I mean it really sucks that all cars contain an OBD-II connector but don't come with a way to use it. Why should I have to spend almost $200 for a device like this when it could just be included with the car and almost no cost to the manufacturer?
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      I forgot to add that I want to be able to reset the engine warning light whenever I want to.
      • And the "please return your car to an 'official' dealer for your service, so they can actually turn off the service 'wrench' light after completing the service" light.
  • No thanks. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:20PM (#18256434) Homepage
    Cars already have too many electronic systems that fail easily, now they want to pile in more shit?

    No thanks.

    What car makers are making things sane? I.E. DIN car stereo mounts instead of this integrated crap that GM, Ford, and Toyota are pulling?

    I have a Pontiac car right now that if you press the power window up on the drivers side and the passenger side at the same time it resets the WHOLE car's computer system except for the engine management. Headlights go off, dashboard resets, etc... that is incredibly silly that the power windows are in any way attached to the system that turns the headlights on.

    No thanks, I want a car that has electronics with either complete seperation or 5 nines of reliability. WE know that the car makers cant make reliability, so hopefully someone wil continue to make cars without all the crap.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      I have a Pontiac car right now that if you press the power window up on the drivers side and the passenger side at the same time it resets the WHOLE car's computer system except for the engine management. Headlights go off, dashboard resets, etc... that is incredibly silly that the power windows are in any way attached to the system that turns the headlights on.

      No thanks, I want a car that has electronics with either complete seperation or 5 nines of reliability. WE know that the car makers cant make reliab
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:29PM (#18256560) Homepage

    While looking for a car for my parents recently, we wanted the Bluetooth.

    "Fully loaded" Nissan Versa was a very strong contender — it can memorize four different cellphones, announce calls coming on any of them, and wire the call through the car's audio — at the touch of a button on the steering wheel. We ended up with Honda Fit, because it was a whole foot shorter (parking space is very limited), but it was a hard choice, because Honda still does not offer the Bluetooth integration.

    We are looking for an after-market solution now, but those are not as nice as the factory/dealer-installed one would've been.

    (Versa also comes with CVT [wikipedia.org], so Honda would've lost for sure, if it weren't for their length.)

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      (Versa also comes with CVT, so Honda would've lost for sure, if it weren't for their length.)

      I've got a friend with a Honda Fit with a CVT. Sure, he's in China, but it is a Honda Fit with a CVT.
  • We've got a couple gear-heads here in the office that are into this stuff. One of them is building their own car computer. So far he's got an in-dash LCD touchscreen with an AM/FM/TV tuner that's motorized and retracts into the dash. This is hooked up to a small computer in the trunk running some Linux distribution and a GPS unit so he can track his movements (I don't recall the software program he's running). The company we work for writes and hosts telephony applications so we have access to speech r

  • The only on-board electronics I want to see in a vehicle are the kind that apply a violent electric shock to the driver if he or she starts singing along to the radio, starts to operate a cellphone or other personal electronics device, or flips down the makeup mirror in the visor.

  • I wonder how it feels to take out that cellphone while the driver is weaving around her lane yapping.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?story Id=4599106 [npr.org]
  • Ooops! (Score:3, Funny)

    by bilbravo (763359) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @08:31PM (#18257184) Homepage
    At first I thought this story was about "tricked" out "ricer" cars finally becoming less of a fad, and I got excited. Too bad, I should read more carefully from now on!
  • No going to some auto store or dealer to read the car computer to figure out what broke. The good old days. Maybe the imminent China models will be like this again.
  • Telematics? (Score:3, Funny)

    by lgordon (103004) <larry...gordon@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:39PM (#18258058) Journal
    I'd be more interested to find out when teledildonics is available for my car. You'd better keep a wet rag handy when that technology trickles down...

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