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Toys

Internet-Ready Car 108

bark76 writes: "Volkswagen is going to be selling VW Golfs with an MP3 player, a computer and a mobile phone, it will be the first mass-produced car that is internet ready. You can see the car and read the specks here here (warning, it's in German) or you can read an article over at abcnews.com." Another submitter sent in a gas-electric hybrid minivan from Toyota, so if you liked the hybrid vehicles but didn't like the subcompact form factor, there's hope yet. Your grandchildren will never know a gasoline-only car or one without internet access.
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Internet-Ready Car

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  • Imagine the potential for destruction were the Internet-ready PC to be connected to the car's engine, steering, brakes, etc.

    Especially if the car had a WebCam that remote joyriders could use to watch their handiwork.

    Some needs are better left unfulfilled.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2001 @09:39PM (#147682)
    After years of building the information superhighway, we finally have something to drive on it.
  • Go here [volkswagen.de] instead of here [volkswagen.de].
    Secret windows code
  • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @09:47PM (#147684) Homepage Journal
    When will the care industry stop trying to make vehicles more like mobile homes? They spend all that time and money in crash tests, but then turn around and add distractions that can only be detrimental. Certainly people can do without these features while they're commutting from place to place.

    I would assume these things would be pretty safe if used by a passenger, and perhaps useful to the passenger as well. The MP3 player ought to be more safe then a CD player as one should be able to have it run much much longer without repeats, so you won't be as likely to change the "CD" at the wrong time.

    Probably also useful and mostly safe when stopped dead in traffic, at least as long as you put it in neutral and pull up the parking break. A paper back works well then too though.

    Sooner than later, we're going to start clogging the courts with lawsuits involving people in accidents where these toys were involved. Cell phones included. When the time comes, I say they do the same thing they did with the tobacco industry. Slap them with a hugh lawsuit. It's not like anyone can't see it coming.

    Hasn't it already? Isn't that why the USA didn't get nav systems in cars until years after european models?

    Of course, the people using these devices are equally as guilty.

    Or more so, the people are the ones using the toys at a unsafe time or in an unsafe manner (or who just plain got unlucky).

  • I think this was once featured on slashdot - The Megacar [megacar.com]. The flash site makes it sound so cool.

    150KB/s throughput, or something really up there.
    --
  • hehe so they've (rather crudely) bolted a palm pilot or something to the fascia. Even worse, it's almost behind the steering wheel. Similarly, the mobile phone is s seperate thing in yet another bolt on cradle. I could have bought those bits from Dixons for £600!!

    I was expecting to see a nice built in LCD touch screen actually in the dash, integrating the phone functions, mp3, radio, Nav/Traffic and Web functions, with possible some voice recognition, and text to voice to avoid crashing the damm car whilst reading Slashdot..

    Ideally, what I would want to see is something like an Ipaq or Palm, in colour, with built in cellular radio for voice and data functions, a permanent Internet connection with a cradle in the car that hooks it up to a large hard disk (with all those mp3's), and external antenna.

    VW's attempt is crude and overpriced, not to mention downright dangerous. Geez I could do that to my old Ford in a weekend.

  • I'm not sure that's a great idea.. I mean, some people are so bogged with work. They carry around PDA's, Cell Phones, Laptops and are expected to work all the time. So, your in your nice new Golf and wham, suddenly your employer demands that every oppurtunity you stop you work on that projec that in all fairness should be done on their time only. The mp3 part seems cool, but who really needs to surf the net, in a car? Propietary browser that propably won't support much, and it could be used for DoS's, if the Browser and the Mp3 player are connected, then a website that forces your mp3 browser to play hamster dance at 3000 Db, could cause a bunch of accidents.

    ---
  • You can just see it: "VW Golf driver causes major downs: car falls down cliff just after driver sold all his Microsoft shares in an online deal resulting in 5% fall in Microsoft's share price"

    This announcement bodes well, very soon after truck driver caused accident in UK while writing a text message on his mobile.

  • "With this it's possible for the first time to check e-mail, do banking, check directions or call up information about the weather, traffic and the stock market while under way," Volkswagen said.

    Let us hope "under way" means while stationary, because as the above poster quite rightly says, it could be very dangerous for drivers to do banking while at 50 miles per hour. Hopefully Volkwagen have made it so that the driver cannot do this while moving. However I dont see any wrong in letting the passengers using the facility.

  • HP Jornada with MP3 Player ! First : It's Windows CE stuff - As we say in german - eeegitt... ! Second : It has a maximum of 64 Mb capacity - only 30 minutes of music. Not much fun I really prefer my golf of the shelf and something like the CAJUN system for my car (http://cajun.sourceforge.net/)
  • I don't live in a car, but i work in one. I'm a consultant, and constantly go from one client to the next, and it's not always practial, or possible to check my email at a client's site. I use a cell phone and pager extensively, and having an internet connection in the car would be quite handy.
  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @08:56PM (#147692) Homepage
    In related news...

    Redmond, WA Microsoft announced they were working with Volkswagon on a joint venture where WindowsXP would be used to power the Internet car of the future. Announced as possible features:
    • MicroCarSoft would use two forms of gasoline. One of the standard format, and another developed by Microsoft. Due to licensing agreements with the auto manufacturers, though, the standard format will burn far less efficently then the Microsoft format. Microsoft officials are even toying with the idea of going strictly with the Microsoft format gas. Microsoft gas will be available from common retailers such as CompUSA and Best Buy.
    • In beta test, the MicroCarSoft has been found to be fairly stable with only 1 out of 500,000 testers reporting system crashes which led the engine core dumping on the pavement right on the highway.
    • Finally, the MicroCarSoft will not accept gas from retailers that do not adhere to the P3P standard, as the car accepts cookies to allow Microsoft and Volkswagon to track where your family has been on vacation.
    As you can see, the future is now. Be prepared.

    Bryan R.
  • Do any of you even look at the articles? This is no different than the Trek or K2 Jettas we got in the states, without the blatant branding.

    There's no info at all on the MP3 player, but I'd bet it's part of the "mini computer."

    Which is [drum roll please] an HP Jornada. Look carefully.

    And since GSM is the norm in Europe, I'm quite certain that the bundled PDA uses the bundled phone.

    Which means that the cool innovation here is...

    A car kit for the Jornada 540.

    At least NetBSD is working on a port.
  • > Yeah, but chicks dig the Jetta. That's why I got my Wolfie.

    They sure do! Any woman that's ever ridden in my Jetta has oohed and ahhed over it. Even the ones that ordinarily don't give a crap about cars.

    '99.5 Jetta GLS VR6 :) (ps, love the rims on the Wolfsburg Edition)

    --Thad

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

  • So, we can get a stripped golf with a built-in MP3 player (BFD) but we (in the US) will NOT be able to get the four door Golf with the 180hp turbo gas engine?

    It's worth noting that VW is bringing the 180HP 1.8T here to the US. (Read about it here: http://www.vwvortex.com/news/03_01/03_13/index.sht ml )

    Currently, you can buy a 5-door Golf with the 150HP 1.8T engine. (cite: http://www.vw.com/configurator2001/country35/langu age70/model16100/version16440/engine56712/exterior 16125/interior16139/index.html )

    It stands to reason that you will be able to buy a 2002 Golf with the exact same specifications, only with 180HP rather than 150.

    You can thank me later. :)

    --Thad ('99.5 Jetta GLS VR6, aww yeah)

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

  • Nope. Actually, I can't thank you later. You just made my point (err, sorta) The 2002 Golf will specifically not be made available with the 150 HP or the 180 HP gas diesel.

    Just to clarify, you meant "gas turbo" not "gas diesel"... because not even VW makes a 150HP diesel...

    That is unless something has changed, but as of two weeks ago, official word was 2.0, turbodiesel, or nothing in the five door Golf.

    Check the forums linked from the page you listed. That will confirm my interpretation.

    I stand corrected then! I guess they don't want the Golf to be anywhere near as fast as the GTI, which it might be if it came with 180HP. On the other hand, currently both the GTI and the Golf can come with the same 150HP 1.8T. So I dunno, I guess it's just arbitrary then, which would explain your frustration!

    In that case, I guess that does suck for you. If you like hatchbacks and want 4 doors, unless you can order the GTI with four doors, you're out of luck.

    Which is what you said in the first place.

    D'oh! ;)

    I guess you have to decide which is more important, 4 doors+trunk w/ 1.8T or a 2 doors+hatchback w/ 1.8T! (I chose the Jetta, VR6...)

    --Thad

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

  • Have you been to vwvortex.com? The biggest VW forum. Some cool stuff there.

    Yeah, I've checked it out; another VW driver pointed it out to me. I've picked up a few interesting tidbits of info there. But man, what a flame-fest, when they start arguing over 1.8T vs VR6... Jeeze...

    Still loving my Jetta! Almost two years now. I think that this will be the first car I sell that I actually miss afterwords. (Though that's a couple years away.)

    --Thad

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

  • I would love to buy a hybrid or electric car, but liveing in Minnesota I have my doubts. When it is -30 F the car battery can hardly power the starter to start the car. I can not imagine a battery powered car working very well. And without the combustion where would the heat come from -- more battery drain.

    Check out John's pages at http://home.att.net/~john1701a/ [att.net]. He's had a Toyota Prius since 9/09/2000, and he lives in Minnesota. How does -13F sound? http://home.att.net/~john1701a/prius/prius-album7. htm [att.net]

    The Prius has no starter. The 270v NiMH battery pack directly starts the engine, not the usual 12v lead-acid car battery you're thinking of. Actually, the Prius battery performs better (retains its charge better) in the winter. The car has electric heaters, besides the usual heaters that steal waste heat from the engine, so you start receiving heat the moment you turn on the car, and you don't have to wait 10min for the engine to warm up for the cabin to toasty. Your actual mileage will be a bit less in winter (like all cars suffer in winter), because the engine will need to warm up the emissions-related components (like the catalytic converter) so that the car retains its SULEV status.

    Also remember, you do not charge the Prius with a plug! The car generates its own electricity from using the gas engine as a generator, and also regenerates electricity when you are coasting or braking. The Prius enjoys the slow driving brought on by traffic, lights and stop signs, and from slow-going snowy weather!

  • Currently available:

    Coming soon:

    • Ford Escape [hybridford.com], SUV, available in 2003.
    • Toyota Estima [toyota-europe.com], minivan, available in 2003, Japan only.
    • Honda Civic, sedan, 2003?
    • Dodge Durango, SUV, 2003, mentioned in this hybrid USA-Today news story [usatoday.com].

    There are a few others, but most currently sound like vaporware...

  • Well, BMW at least saw the market (granted, at what a price) for their "better" engine in the 2001 M3... which, if I ever scrape the cash, I'd buy in a heartbeat.

    And there is a definite difference between American sports cars and Foreign -- the foreign ones seem to handle better (roomate's '95 M3) compared to the american (My '95 Z28). Obviously they're two totally different classes (pricewise), but I just wish that we'd have the ability to have quick, responsive, agile cars that don't have that plasticy feel for 35 grand. Heck, even the new corvette reeks of plastic on the inside, but oh, the outside.

    sorry for that rant.....
  • A number of the Japanese automakers have partnerships with US makers (like Mitsu & Chrysler). Mitsubishi no longer offers a turbocharged version, nor an AWD version, of the Eclipse, which it did until recently. Why? Partly because (I believe) it directly competed with the sporty 2-doors Chrysler built or even shared with Mitsu but didn't offer the high-end goodies. They offered rebadged Eclipses as Eagle Talons, complete with turbo and AWD, but once Eagle was dropped from the landscape the Eclipses got weaker. Why they wouldn't offer the hi-po Eclipse as a Dodge model is beyond me.

    Does Mitsu still make the 3000 GT VR4, or a descendant thereof, and offer it in Japan? Axed in the US in 1997. Maybe it was too close in performance, and way cheaper than, a Viper?

    As for your general question of capping the HP, probably insurance, but maybe EPA as well? A small difference in a car makes a big difference in insurance. When I went to insure my Dakota, they asked if it was an R/T or not. No huge HP difference (15 ponies) but jsut the "image" is enough to increase insurance rates.

  • People are already distracted in the same way while listening to Howard Stern in the morning on the way to work. Especially lately. He's had some great material lately! Anyone hear the show with those 2 girls who... :)
  • Heck, I don't even need a WRX or Lancer levels of power (I ride motorcycles for a real speed/acceleration rush. I just like to be able to hit the loud peddle hard enough to get out of my own way in a car. For me, that translates into about 0-60 ~ 9 seconds)

    I'm not sure about the HP cap. It could be insurance, but that is usually based on repair costs, chances of theft, etc. HP is coincidental with those factors, not causal, and I think the insurance cos. know that.

    I've often wondered if it's not a way for the Germans and Japanese to thumb their noses at us. OR, it could be emissions related. I'm not sure of the specific laws, but I do have a good example of their general stupidity:

    When the Nissan Altima was originally released, you could see, quite clearly, the Stanza sticker on the back. You see, the proper name of the car was the Nissan Stanza Altima. This allowed them to pass EPA and CARB regs. for about 10% what it would have cost had they called it the Nissan Altima.

    Bureaucrats: your dollars at work.
  • Two problems: terminology and history.

    First, look at how the M3 and the Z28 were derived. The former was a decendant (sp) of the 2002 and other touring coupes, which in turn derived from the many true sports cars (MGs, Alfa's, Porsche's) of the 50's.

    The Z28 can trace its timeline through muscle-cars and pony-cars, neither or which could be said to be particular good handlers.

    And while in the past, we had so many good phrases to describe cars (muscle cars, touring cars, pony cars, sports cars) they have all been lumped into the same, and somewhat generic, sports cars. Or worse, sporty cars, which is even more broad and useless a term.

  • Mitsu re-imagined the Eclipse. They hoped to go upmarket by just selling a V-6 (at least in the US). Let's also not forget that powerwise, the V-6 trounces the turbo Eclipse engine.

    I can't explain the decisions WRT AWD. Also don't know about the GT-VR4, except that they shouldn't race bikes;)

  • Part of VW's problem is the lack of ability to special order cars, or develop your own options packages. With the bulk of their stuff coming out of Mexico, why wouldn't this be possible? Corporate management.

    So what? Well, it's quite possible that without all of the junk that comes on most of the GLS that we are given, they would sell better. There is also the chicken-and-egg problem: I can't test drive one, or get one equipped like I want, so why would I buy one.

    I don't care for the size or appearance of the Jetta Wagon. I also don't care for the price. I priced both the Jetta Wagon and the Golf (for 2001) to the spec I wanted (which meant identical equipment, although because of the model/equipment overlaps, it wasn't necessarily the same) and the Jetta was almost $2000 (US) more than the Golf.

    GTI causes problems (I need four doors) and the Passat is just too freakin' big to get along with that engine. And let's not forget that the price is getting TRULY outrageous at that point. I could spend a couple more dollars and get the EuroVan (or whatever it is called this week) or better yet, a BMW 323iT.

    I've seen the Focus, and it looks cheap. The Golf was/is much nicer, and not much more expensive.

    But to the general message of your post: how difficult is it for Herr Piech to call Mexico and say "Hey, load up a couple of Golfs and send them to the mid-atlantic"? VW has already gone through EPA and CARB. It's now just a shipping cost.

  • For most people, those engines aren't enough, and that's a big problem. See, Americans say "horsepower" when they really mean "torque". Personally, I like horsepower. I don't mind an engine that gets peak power at an RPM>4000. A five digit redline is no problem. And Honda's S2000 is no big deal.

    It just requires a different driving style, and one that I can deal with.

    The common saying is "no replacement for displacement". I can think of two, both of which are answered well by the imports (and not badly by my Mondeo, err, Mercury Mystique). The first is forced induction. With a water-jacketed and/or double impeller bearing, longevity is no big whoop. Mileage, economy, and weight are all improved over a larger (physically) engine making similar power.

    The second replacement for displacement is weight. Lop off 100 lbs., gain 10 hp (or some such thing). That's why my bike, with a measly 100 or so HP can embarass a Corvette with, what, 400 hp?

    That's also another point in favor of the Golf over the Jetta Wagon: about 300 lbs, I believe.

    USians are idiots about V-8's, anyway. Someone convinced them that 305's and 302's were big killer engines. I've got some people at Mopar Performance and Cadillac Motorsports Development who could show them a thing or two.
  • Yes, there are (at least) two different 2.0 engines. The one available for the past several years in the US is an eight valve, single overhead cam engine.

    There used to be a 16 valve, twin cam engine in the US. There still is abroad. It has much better power characteristics, and is not much more expensive.

    But I believe that VW dropped it to prevent taking from Audi sales (like people buying VWs are comparing to Audis).

  • Forgot to answer your first sentence:

    I'm sure it's possible to do a grey import (heck, I could probably just buy one from some embassy hack up in DC:) but it's much more difficult in the US than in the UK (and presumably elsewhere).

    As a matter of fact, just read in a UK VW magazine that prices for optioned cars can run as much as 30% higher in the UK vs. a couple hundred miles down the road in Germany.

    Anyway, if I were grey importing, I'd save my pennies and dimes and grey import one of those 3 series BMW diesel wagons.
  • Nope. Actually, I can't thank you later. You just made my point (err, sorta) The 2002 Golf will specifically not be made available with the 150 HP or the 180 HP gas diesel. That is unless something has changed, but as of two weeks ago, official word was 2.0, turbodiesel, or nothing in the five door Golf.

    Check the forums linked from the page you listed. That will confirm my interpretation.

  • Yeah, actually, I would prefer two doors, but a little package arrived at the doorstep (okay, in a hospital:) that sort of mandates four doors. And I've also liked the insurance cut on four doors.

    One thing I liked about the Golf vs. Jetta is that comparably equipped, the Golf was about $2000 less. I also prefer the styling.

    Anyway, I'm glad you see the source of my frustration. I just wish you were right:)

  • (BTW, please flame me. I don't really give a rat's ass what the VW defenders have to say. I'm not making judgements based on business or anything other than the fact that they make something that I want, and they will not sell it in the United States. It's my right as a consumer in a capitalist country to bitch to high heaven about what I want, can afford, but still can't get.)

    So, we can get a stripped golf with a built-in MP3 player (BFD) but we (in the US) will NOT be able to get the four door Golf with the 180hp turbo gas engine? (Before flaming, read that spec carefully, and then go research it. I know I did. That's exactly what I want, and according to VW, I can sit and spin).

    So, Herr Piech, stick it up your ass and light it.

  • i like IBM [zdnet.com]'s internet-capable car implementation better than the golf.

  • Not to mention exchanging all sorts of other data about the cars - think about it, black boxes, etc could be incorporated to tell who did what when, and how each driver reacted, giving more evidence for the insurance companies and cops to hash over, in addition to any witnesses who (oh so rarely) happened to stop (as a witness for several accidents, I have seen people blatently lie about what happened, especially if they are the ones in the wrong. It pisses me off)...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • Imagine the potential for destruction were the Internet-ready PC to be connected to the car's engine, steering, brakes, etc.

    ...to say nothing of the software crashing...it could give "blue screen of death" a whole new meaning. Which do you suppose would be worse: a pop-up reading "3y3 0wn j00r c4r j00 sux0rs 3y3m s0 31337" or "A fatal exception 0E has occurred in VxD STRNGCTL at..."?

  • The main story in last Thursday's Circuits section in the NYTimes was all about this. The byline: "The restless desire to get away from it all has been replaced by an anxious desire to stay connected. And for an increasing number of Americans, that means turning the car into a fuel-injected, free-range workstation. " click here [nytimes.com] to read.
  • this [vw.com] mmmm, new beetle al a dune. They got a little pickup truck that looks pretty goddamn sweet too.
  • Remember the 6th Day? With Arnold Schwarzenneger? Computer chauferring will probably start on the highway first, like cruise control. According to the manufacturers, cruise control doesn't work below 30 mph because if you're driving slower than that, you're not on a highway and therefore need more control and need to be more alert.

  • by joq ( 63625 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @08:23PM (#147719) Homepage Journal

    As if cell phones and driving didn't spell enough danger now we have to worry about people driving and getting into an accident for typig fp
  • by mesocyclone ( 80188 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @09:09PM (#147720) Homepage Journal
    In all seriousness... the trend to put more and more gadgets in cars (and I have a *lot* in mine) shows how badly we need robotic cars... except for those who can afford chauffeurs.

    Computing and sensors will ultimately solve this problem (except, perhaps, in the US where the tort legal system will make them impossible to deploy).

    I hope that the fallout from the military, always useful to the personal technology industry, will bring autonomous vehicle technology before I am too old to enjoy it!

    Furthermore, once robotic cars are working (and not on those silly, very expensive automatic highways), mileage will go up, pollution down, safety up (which means I may not need my monster SUV to protect me from other drivers), etc. All around... good stuff if it ever gets done!

  • I would love to buy a hybrid or electric car, but liveing in Minnesota I have my doubts.

    When it is -30 F the car battery can hardly power the starter to start the car. I can not imagine a battery powered car working very well. And without the combustion where would the heat come from -- more battery drain.

    I am still waiting for a reduced emission car that would work for me.
  • I can hear it now... the AOL-guy informs me that I've exceeded the posted speed limit, and I now have an e-ticket waiting for me.

    Fuck that.

  • You can get any color that the maker offers for any of their brands.. As long as you special order it, and will probably cost extra (but not a whole lot more)

    For example, if you buy an Audi you can get it in any Audi/VW/Porshe color.

    If you pushed hard enough I bet you could get a Golf GTI in the Beetle's Reflex color.


    --

  • This is stupid. I've been looking up stuff on the net after hearing on a radio show that out of the top 10 accident causing distractions that cell phones are #9. Ranked BELOW messing with the radio, eating, and smoking.

    Germany is either already, or going to ban smoking while driving. And until they ban eating, drinking (non-alcholic beverages), listening to the radio, and other such distractions. They should leave cell phones alone.

    Some studies have even pointed out that after you hang up the phone and think about your recent conversation is more likely to cause an accident then when you were on the phone. Are we going to ban thinking while driving now too?? Oh yeah, no more talking to your passengers as well.


    --

  • Oh, sorry I didn't include this.

    Here's some examples of what I'm talking about:
    http://199.97.97.16/contWriter/yhdweek/2001/03/19/ medic/2607-0105-pat_nytimes.html [199.97.97.16]
    http://www.motorists.com/issues/cellphones/policy. html [motorists.com]

    --

  • My grandkids will know of such things ... why? Because I will always drive big ass trucks that could never go hybrid for if they did, they would loose all the power that I need. You won't catch me in any such car any time soon
  • If you have an employer that has you work past the 8 to 5 hours and you are willing to work them, make sure you get over time. Don't forget that if your boss calls you and wants you to simply ping a server, or they want you to read and article on ars overnight, that is a minimum each time 2hrs 'on the clock.' Do not let your employer screw you out of what is yours. If they even slightly threaten that, pop the money for a lawyer, and take their asses to court for breaking federal law.
  • Only a public school student/teacher would give that post a C+. He failed. F. FAILURE! No need to give him a friggen C+. That is almost a B.
  • Nein. Pr0n dates back to the ol school BBS days. ASCII pr0n. Later it filtered into the gaming world for a few quake servers that would kb people with porn in their names or used mm1 and said porn. Thus, pr0n translated over. Tambien, if a filter-spider see pr0n ! porn, the site won't be filtered (hopefully).
  • I don't know the last time you drove in Kansas but, if I am going from Wichita to Radium and I am on US50 and limited to a god awful 60mph with troopers waiting for me to pop 70, I Damn well better be able to make generic posts to /. that will 'bring my karma down'. I could intently read a webpage while tracking through mp3s, cruise control on, hands off the wheel, and w/ good alignment I would expect from a new car, drive perfectly straight, never even swerve into the other lane (not plural, 2lane) for a good 10-15 minutes.
  • by OmegaDan ( 101255 ) on Saturday June 16, 2001 @12:28AM (#147731) Homepage
    this is just german efficeny in action -- immagine: your driving down the street, you log into your bank and find your tech stocks have crashed. Distraught, you use your navigation software to find the neareset bridge to drive off.
  • (which means I may not need my monster SUV to protect me from other drivers)

    <sigh>... which also means that I may not need that force-field to protect me [rpi.edu] from you [rpi.edu].

    (yeah, the mr2 really is my car, the blazer ran a red light)

    ---

  • They will have an MP3 player, a computer and a mobile phone but hey - why stop there?
    Scenario One: Repo Man is Obsolete
    Why hire a heavy to get back a car when a customer fails to keep up payments?
    John Doe walked to his car this morning, opened the door, put his key in the ignition - and nothing happened.
    John Doe had missed a car payment, and his dealership's computer knew this. The dealership's computer simply failed to activate John Doe's car for the coming month.
    John Doe walked to work.
    Scenario Two: Accident Mode
    John Doe just had an accident with Mary Contrary. Both automobiles automatically registered the "jolt" and through GPS located one another. They have already exchanged pertinent data such as insurance companies and the time of the accident before the police arrive on the scene.
    Scenario Three: The LA Freeway Avenger
    The FBI has long sought the identity of what locals call the LA Freeway Avenger, a nasty individual who deliberately hacks into automobiles traveling at high speeds on the LA freeways, disables them, and causes fatal accidents.
    Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, the company which makes the Internet connection software for today's vehicles, refused to comment.
  • Looks like you know your VWs. Have you been to vwvortex.com? The biggest VW forum.

  • The 1.8T engine is a real machine. The 2.slow is a bunch of metal pieces slapped together. I have a 1.8T and man, that thing rules!

  • Yeah, but chicks dig the Jetta. That's why I got my Wolfie.

  • I can't drive with both hands on the wheel. Who would shift my gears if I did?

  • Have you been to vwvortex.com? The biggest VW forum. Some cool stuff there.

  • The ABC article says the golf will include a MINI COMPUTER. I'm hoping for one of the DEC PDP machines myself - you could hack while driving.
  • by kuiken ( 115647 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @08:45PM (#147740) Homepage
    After i overclock my car, i can frag that trucker who cut me off !

    No realy, spending a lot of time stationary in trafic jams (+30 mins a day ) this is nice,
    sending a few mails from the trafic jam, checking where the speedtraps are, ircing already like the idee
    building a beowulf in the trafic jam
    sorry could not resist

  • The new car, available only in a German pilot program, comes only in blue

    I think they should have went with beige.

  • And all this time they have been saying that computers would save us time and make us work less... Funny how we work more and watch that damn hourglass flip over and over and over and over..

  • They already have the "robotic" car! In most places is better known as a Bus.

    Cars are built for fun, there's nothing better than a nice long drive. Why would you ever want the car to do the driving for you? If you don't like driving, then find alterative means of transportation.
  • Some needs are better left unfulfilled.

    Yup. Sad, but true. Volvo (if I'm not mistaken) built a car that could sense when it was not between the lines of a lane and correct it by steering a little. And I recall some manufacturer (also Volvo?) who built some kind of radar into the front of the car, so that it could slam on the brakes when the driver overlooked a car in front of him. Would you think these things get implemented in road-going cars? Little chance, because those guys can figure themselves in court with some driver who parked his car upside-down in a ditch because he relied on the car to correct his steering. Or someone who's playing with his telephone and smashing into a traffic jam, because the radar happened to fail. I mean, if a smoker can drag a tobacco producer to court because his docter discovers cancer because of smoking, why would someone driving with his eyes shut and crashing into something be less successful in a lawsuit against the builder of the car?

    Technology could bring us a lot of good things, but sadly a lot of things will not be implemented because of these complications...

  • This is not the first car with this kind of features. Citroën [citroen.com] has the Xsara Windows CE [citroen.com], which is already featured in the commercials as being almost shipping.
  • Hmm, I didn't know about the options on the XM. I do know the Xantia Activa, based on the prototype Activa II [citroen.com], which was both revolutionary and beautiful. I drove the new C5 [citroen.com] a few weeks ago, AFAIK it's got (almost) the same suspension as the Xantia Activa and yes, it drives great!
  • I think it's Farhgenügen, pleasure in driving. Although I can hardly imagine Fahrgenügen in a Volkswagen :)

    Try the new Renault Laguna [renault.com] or Citroën C5 [citroen.com]. After all it's not a coincidence that limousine and comfort are French words :)

  • Hehehe, I saw a glimpse of Married...with children on German TV some time ago... IN GERMAN! Can you imagine Bud saying ah, dad, das ist cool? Even worse, I saw a piece of Saturday Night Fever. I can tell you: John Travolta sounds like a complete sissy when he speaks German :)

    To all our German /.ers: Entschuldigung, ich mache nur Spaß ;)

  • Blue Jetta of Death? Actually, that would be BGoD -- Blue Golf of Death.

    The Jetta (called the Bora everywhere but North America) is built on the Golf IV platform. So is the New Beetle. So is the Audi TT (surprise!). You can get far, far more aftermarket parts for a Golf than you can for a Jetta simply because of the fact that the Golf vastly outsells its Jetta counterpart in Europe -- I have some lovely aftermarket taillights (not Altezzas; you're safe!) on mine that look very tasteful and were made by Hella, who made the OEM units. The Golf is also more practical and has more rear-seat headroom because the roof doesn't slope down at the rear as it does on the Jetta.

    In fact, the Golf and Jetta are so closely related that you can switch the front bumper, grille, headlights, hood, and front fenders between a Golf and Jetta and wind up with a pair of "Jolfs" -- a Jetta with a Golf front end and a Golf with a Jetta front end. I've seen it done both ways.

    The US Jetta Wagon is just that -- a Golf Variant with a Jetta nose grafted on it. Why? Because the Jetta is better-known to US buyers and VW reasoned that it would sell better that way. True, I suppose, but the Golf has far superior headlights and you can get aftermarket fog light kits from Hella for the outer grilles -- not so for the Jetta, whose bumper is slightly different.

    I am indeed the proud owner of a 2000 Golf GLS. Love it!

  • The Mojave Beige [buran.org] color (the white one in the background is mine; the beige one is my boss') will be available on the Golf starting in 2002. Previously it was a GTI-and-Jetta-only color.

    The blue on the eGolf is probably either Galactic Blue or Indigo Blue (medium lovely somewhat-deep blue and a deep blue, respectively.) Though there's a chance that it's Jazz Blue, which is an iridescent blue that was only really imported into North America in Canada, though there are a few running around the US.

  • The 1.8T engine was available on the Mk4 Golf for the 2000 and 2001 model years. I researched this a bit also and found that about 10,000 2.0-liter Golf GLSes (the four-door) were sold here, compared with about 2,500 1.8T GLS models. That told VW that there wasn't enough interest in continuing to sell them. (I admit that I bought a 2.0, but I didn't want to pay extra for an engine that has more potential problems -- yes, I know it's covered under the powertrain warranty, but that's still downtime -- and requires fuel that costs 20 cents per gallon more -- 91 vs. 87 octane.)

    You can get the 1.8T engine for 2002 in either a Jetta Wagon (which offers the cargo room it seems you may be looking for) or in a GTI or in a Passat, though I agree with what I think you're thinking: the Golf is pretty rare but shares parts with the Jetta, so it's not difficult to keep in good order, looks distinctive from all the sedans and the increasing number of wagons on the road, and can still carry an amazing amount of stuff.

    That, and it's still the only four-door hatch that I know of that's sold new in the US, though Ford will be bringing its four-door ZX5 Focus hatchback to the US starting this fall.

    Now if they'd bring the V6 4Motion Golf GTI here, I'd be set for life.

  • "You can get any color that the maker offers for any of their brands.. As long as you special order it ... If you pushed hard enough I bet you could get a Golf GTI in the Beetle's Reflex color."
    Not in the US, you can't special-order a VW.

    VW does not allow customers to order cars from the factory the way they do in Europe. When you "order" a car, your dealer either tries to dealer-trade for it or keeps an eye on what is in the production pipeline and does their best to get that car for you. However, if on the way to your dealership it gets bought by someone else (I've heard stories of them getting bought off the truck at the dealer before the buyer's on the truck's route) or another dealer trades for it before you, you're stuck.

    In Europe, you can specify exactly what is on the car from the ground up, and it is built just for you. You want a 4Motion four-door Golf GTI with HIDs and navigation system? Fine! If you ask for that here, not only are the AWD, GPS, and HID headlamps unavailable, you wouldn't be able to "lock" the car down to yourself. VW also doesn't do European delivery right now ... believe me, I looked into it!

    When I bought my Golf, I originally wanted black. My dealer found a black 2000 four-door GLS with all the options I wanted plus the extra of the Monsoon sound system, in the interior color I wanted. Unfortunately, he said it was sold before he was able to contact the dealer who had it. This can either mean that's what actually happened (VW dealers aren't known for being forthcoming) or the dealer who had it didn't want to trade. Since I had given a list of colors that I wouldn't mind, in my preference order, the sales guy went down the list. On the dealer's other St. Louis lot was a white Golf with black interior, lux package, cold weather package. They simply drove it from one lot to the other -- I had to buy it from that dealership due to the way my car broker works -- and I had my car in about a week or so from when they started looking.

    Turns out that black VWs are a pain to keep clean and scratches show up far more easily. I'm glad now that I got white -- there's not many white Golfs/Jettas on the VW enthusiasts' site I use. I'm somewhat unique. :)

    However... the Golf and GTI are already available in silver!

  • It is true that you could drop the 1.8T into a 2.0 Golf. In fact, you could drop in the VR6 -- the GTI is just a two-door Golf, after all -- or even the TDI (we do get that as a factory option). Europe gets several TDI engines, a V5 (!), and a V6, though I don't think they get the exact same 2.0 we do. In fact, I've even heard of someone sticking an Audi engine in there. So if you wanted to be gutsy, you could get a cheap 2.0 Golf, then do an engine swap.

    The 2.0 gets called the "2.Slow" on the owners' forum I use by people with 1.8T or VR6 engines, but I'm delighted with mine. I don't care what other people think!

  • Indeedy... I'm Buran on there. Big surprise. :)
  • I'm still waiting for a chopper in every drive way like they said in the 50's
  • ...now I'll be stuck in a Beowulf 10 miles long travelling at 5MPH on the way into work!


  • It's not just VW. For some reason no one thinks Americans want sports cars. I guess for a long time we didn't because of the SUV craze. (by "we" I don't mean me!)

    Thankfully things are changing a little. Subaru brought us the WRX, though it has a lot less power than the Japanese/Euro version. Mitsubishi is bringing the Lancer over too I hear, but again we get less power.

    There must be a damn good reason for capping the HP of imported sports cars. Wish I knew what it was. Is it our insurance? Is there really that big a difference in insurance between ~240HP and ~280?
  • Great, now accidents will be caused by people distracted by p0rn.

    I wonder if laws will be passed prohibiting people from viewing p0rn while driving.
  • ...disturbs me. Not to sound like a Luddite, but what happened to the idea that technology would free us from the 'bonds' of work for more pleasure. Now, this is not a workstation in an auto or anything of that nature, but how long before our employers require us to have computers in the car to work while we drive. If and when the highways and surface streets of the cities of the world are wired to drive our automobiles for us, what will replace driving for our attention? If it is anything like now, take every chance to increase your 'productivity'.

    My thought has always been that the purpose of technology is to increase our time to improve ourselves and our quality of life. What has happened with the advent of connecting the world? The requirement by our employer invades into our private life more and more with the further higher technology reaches into our lives.

    I work for a social service agency. I have a cell phone, in case my truck breaks down. However, because I have patients in residental living, and staff at the homes often need to contact me, then I get contacted. Wherever. I realize, this may be a matter of keeping the number a secret, but the thing is that one is expected to make one's self available at all times, if the potential to do so exists.

    Quality is the other issue, in my humble opinion. After all, placing an emphasis on quantity inherently suggests that the quality must take a backseat, when the only thing important is pumping out productivity.

    end of rant

  • Why not just get a grey import?
    Anyway, I wouldn't have thought these little 4 and 6 cylinder engines were big enough for USians :-)
  • Your grandchildren will never know a gasoline-only car or one without internet access.

    This makes a pretty big assumption about how old your readers are...

    Anyway, my old car ran off damn near anything I poured into it. Volvo 340, with the 1.4 PRV engine, twin-choke Weber and contact breaker ignition. You could set it to run on anything thin enough to pour. Of course it ran *best* on petrol, and you needed very careful setting up to make it run on diesel...

    Hey, remember kids, don't try this if you've got strict emissions laws!

  • Yep, some cars really are that much more expensive here.

    Torque is *good*. I've got an '85 Mercedes W123 estate, the 2.3l, 136hp version. Now its top speed isn't that important, since most of the roads I drive on have dozens of speed cameras, but its acceleration is brilliant. Even with its Thirstymatic transmission, it pulls away from lights quicker than a BMW 323! Plus, of course, motorway cruising at 70mph is nearly silent at around 2900RPM.

    Top whack is around 120mph, just where the speedo runs out of numbers. But that brings up 5500rpm or so, and the red line's getting pretty close by then...

  • He is only missing the word "it", and since the subject of the sentence is the same as the subject of the previous sentence, it doesn't seem to matter much because an intelligent reader would realize that.
  • Personally, I have a bet going that there will be cars that drive themselves within 20 years. I say there will be, and I can't wait. I'm not "in the field" or anything. It's just my gut instinct, considering Moore's Law, the combined R&D budgets of all interested parties, and what little I know about AI.

    A poster in a previous story about this topic, pointed out just how difficult this problem is. They brought up an example of a human driver seeing a ball bouncing over a fence, and inferring that someone was playing nearby. The human then drives more cautiously.

    This illustrates how hard it is to make a computer drive as well as a good, concentrating driver. To be a boon to safety and convenience, however, a computer only needs to drive better than the average driver. I submit the average driver misses the inferrence, too. While the computer misses it, the computer might be more cautiously to begin with.

    Making a computer, that understands enough about human culture to make all of the inferences of the type above, won't happen in 20 years. Safe computer drivers will exploit the strengths of computers (really good reflexes, GPS, no blind-spots, etc...) rather than duplicate the intelligence of humans.

    I think that Moore's Law and AI research, means that they'll be able to out think us, eventually, but that's another bet.

  • I already get blank stares from some of the younger folk when I try to explain leaded gas to them.

    Bryguy
  • by empesey ( 207806 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @08:48PM (#147766) Homepage
    When will the care industry stop trying to make vehicles more like mobile homes? They spend all that time and money in crash tests, but then turn around and add distractions that can only be detrimental. Certainly people can do without these features while they're commutting from place to place.

    Sooner than later, we're going to start clogging the courts with lawsuits involving people in accidents where these toys were involved. Cell phones included. When the time comes, I say they do the same thing they did with the tobacco industry. Slap them with a hugh lawsuit. It's not like anyone can't see it coming. Of course, the people using these devices are equally as guilty.
  • C'mon don't you remember the commercials from the old days?

    -Jeff
  • I might also add that I haven't spoken any German in my life so if Farfagnugen is spelled wrong, sorry in advance.

    -Jeff
  • "Your grandchildren will never know a gasoline-only car or one without internet access."

    Didn't you see the recent poll [slashdot.org]? Only 26% of the votes actually (said they) had children!

    But who am I to quote a /. poll...? CowboyNeal probably stuffed the ballot box anyway...

  • This "innovation" will disappear as quickly as the video screens and dashboards, (for some reason, GM still seems to like these...), that infected cars in the eighties, not to mention "Bitchin Betty" that kept telling you "Your door is ajar!" I can only hope the same thing happens for car-based cellphones...
  • Well, not quite yet.
    I have a p120 with 32 megs of Ram running Mpxplay (Gasp! Dos!) on boot.
    I am also in the midst of buying a 4x40 Text lcd, and that goes in my second Din Slot.
    For input, I have a numeric Keypad Velcroed to the dash.
    I was really looking into getting a 4" NTSC LCD, but you would then have to buy a GPS system, since it is illegal to have a LCD in view of the driver if it does not have GPS.
  • The AOL CEO Steve Ballmer was in a car crash earlier ths evening while testing one of the new VW Golfs, after drifting over into the left lane. The AOL CEO was quoted as saying "It wasn't my fault Officer! I got distracted by the car repeatedly telling me "You've got mail!"
  • Like hell my "grandchildren won't know of a gasoline powered car without net acess". As soon as those little shits can use thier opposable thumbs they're learning to change fluids in cars from the glory days of the 40's - 70's. The time when cars were simple and your neighbor had a copy of the shop manual so if one wanted to do it themselves they could but mechanics weren't over priced and over worked like now so they could do it.

    The gas/electric hybrid is great, but it's not for me and many other people in all nations. These cars are very complicated. In fact most new cars (built after 1980) are so full of electronics and "proprietary" equipment that it has become increasingly difficult to work on one's own car. I like the older classics, they have more power, more style, and are much easier to work on. Body panels can be fixed with a hammer and some time, where as today body panels are usually replaced which take more time. A major repair can be done without any knowledge or special tools for the #%^&^ computer components.

    Now on to the internet within a car. I find it bad enough dealing with drivers who use their cell phones while driving. Cars are becoming filled with more distractions and drivers are not being taught to deal with them in a responsible manner. Even something ass innocuops as an mp3 player could be dangerous. Think, you're driving along and know you have a song in your playlist that you really want to hear, but you dont know where it is. As you scan through the 100 or so titles (that take 1/2 sec to display)in the list your eyes are off the road for even more time than if you were just dialing a fone. Adding technology to cars should be given serious thought before its done.

    I apologize for my ramblinig, but i think it got the message out.
  • I agree. Why are they spending time on gadgets. I just read in Popular Science today that Ford has had a "new" idea of using an x shaped race inspuired seatbelt. Hmmm, an extra piece of steel in the roof and a 5 point racing harness would add less than $200 to the cost of a car if they kept the airbags and existing saftey systems in. Now keep in mind these racing harnesses are designed for 150+ mph crashes none of this pansie assed 80mph sheit. Car companies are looking in the wrong directions. Whats better: Making a seatbelt and airbag system controoled by complex computer modules, ooor a racing harness that is guaranteed to keep your entire torso in contact with the seat at all times with some nylon straps, a bit of roof bracing to anchor to, and some good strong bolts.
  • ...In perhaps the first time in US history a group of six teenagers aged 17-19 were arrested for reckless endangerment, homacide, vehicular mansloughter, and 225 counts of capital murder. They were reportadly playing the game 'Carmegeddeon 2: Carpolapypse Now' and thought it would be "more fun" to play it on downtown streets. They reportadly attached touch sensors to their cars 'to record kills', that is, hitting pedestrians. This is possibly the worst case of violence resulting from 'mobile LAN parties' that use modified car computers and advanced wireless communications systems to connect drivers and vehicals. According to one of the participants, who wished to remain anonymous, "The detail levels were inspirationally realistic! It was even better than on my 61 inch plasma screen. He mentioned that his "next project is to build some realistic Quake III weapons and have my very own backyard fragfest."

    Anchorperson: Mr. Katz, what is your take on this?

    Jon Katz: Well, I have to admire the inginuity of these kids, and after all, they were running their server off of Red Hat linux. In addition, they killed at least two satanistic Microsoft employees, which could be considered a public service...

    Maskirovka

    Disclaimer: This is a joke. Don't take it seriously.

  • by jrwillis ( 306262 ) on Friday June 15, 2001 @08:38PM (#147777) Homepage

    The new car, available only in a German pilot program, comes only in blue.

    I suppose when these crash we can say it was a Blue Jetta of Death. Sorry, but I just had to say it. (:

  • i agree... there is no point to this unless you live in a damn car... which noone does. (actually i've contemplated living in a van for quite a while)
    Other than using this while the car is immobile, it will only cause accidents- half the people i know can't surf the net and talk to me at the same time much less drive... oh well

  • Hybrid cars [howstuffworks.com] are pictured at the North American International Auto Show 2001" [howstuffworks.com].
    Flying cars [howstuffworks.com] are cool!
  • Finally, there's something in a golf that makes it worth more than a yugo...

    Hmmm, wonder if they'll keep the retro thing going and put an Amiga in the beatles?

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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