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Complete PC instead of a Car Stereo 259

An anonymous reader submitted linked to a PC that fits in your car stereo slot. It's a bit spendy at $1k, but its got CD/DVD, PCMCIA, USB, Keyboard, Mic, Headphones, VGA, more. And besides being powered by your car, it also has built in GPS. Lots of interesting hacking ideas here for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars then me ;)
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Complete PC instead of a Car Stereo

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  • by perdida ( 251676 ) <thethreatproject ... inus threevowels> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:38PM (#2829235) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, if it becomes widespread, more jobs may require computer use and more jobs may force commuter time to be worktime.

    I for one will miss my opportunity to sing at the top of my lungs while I sit there trying to drive on the freeway while fielding phone calls and writing voice-controlled spreadsheets.

    Others, though, may like the notion of getting paid for their commuter time.

    Will you be able to use these in New York State, which outlawed hand held cell use while driving? Not until voice control technology gets richer and broader.

    • It's very similiar to the non-commercial open-source dashpc project. The link is: dashpc.com [dashpc.com]. It's been slashdotted before. I think it was called "dashboard linux". The code for it was just submitted to sourceforge recently.

      Something about this "commercial" vehiclepc seems very fishy though...

    • Unfortunately, if it becomes widespread, more jobs may require computer use and more jobs may force commuter time to be worktime.

      Yeah, that's exactly what I want. It's not enough already that people try to talk on the phone or read ( READ! for ****'s sake!) while in bumper-to-bumper traffic. No, I want them to be playing UR2 [slashdot.org] over 802.11b with the guy next to them.

      Eh, what the hell.... The increase in commuter accidents and deaths will help perk up the economy by increased cash flow into the automotive repair, health care and funeral services industries....

    • New York State, which outlawed hand held cell use while driving?

      Those laws don't cover it all yet... I often type emails into my cell phone more often than I talk into it. The joys of slashdot on the road. Watch out!
  • Slot Loaded... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jawad ( 15611 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:39PM (#2829238)
    They should have used a slot-loaded optical drive instead of the tray. It would be less of a jump for people to grep if it was more like a regular car cd-player.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yes but the tray can now really be used as a cup holder!
  • Road Rage (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I can see it now... Most people hate drivers speaking on their mobile phones whilst driving, too deep in conversation to notice the road conditions. Just imagine what's going to happen when they're busy downloading porn...
  • Empeg? (Score:5, Informative)

    by strags ( 209606 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:42PM (#2829254)
    Although the Empeg [empeg.com] (now known as Rio Car) isn't Intel-based, it runs on a decently powered StrongARM CPU, and includes a nice screen as well. Runs Linux, and I believe is somewhat hackable.

    Since they've stopped production, they're selling off the last ones really cheap - $399 for 60GB version. If you want a nice, hackable in-car computer to hack around with you might want to snap one of these up before they're all gone.
    • Re:Empeg? (Score:2, Informative)

      by crimsonhead ( 542233 )
      "Although the Empeg [empeg.com] (now known as Rio Car) isn't Intel-based, it runs on a decently powered StrongARM CPU"

      StrongARM is an Intel product [intel.com], so your system isn't Pentium based but it still is Intel based.

      • You're right of course, but I think most would understand what I meant. Incidentally, how much of the StrongARM is actually Intel-designed? Does Intel actually design a chip around the ARM instruction set, or do they actually use ARM-designed hardware?
        • Intel couldn't design a decent architecture to save the company. All of their expertise lies in process technology. They can shrink the die down so that they have higher yields and the thing will run faster and get less hot.
          In that way, they beat out the competition.

          The StrongARM is just an ARM core, only built by Intel so that it runs at 200+ MHz. There might be some modifications or extensions to it, but I don't think so.

    • You said, "...they're selling off the last ones really cheap - $399 for 60GB version."

      They said, "Rio Car prices have been further reduced for final clearance. The 10GB model now costs just 140 UK pounds, with the top end 60GB model at 350 UK pounds. Add VAT to these prices if you order within the EC."

      At current exchange rates, £350 = $506.91 [yahoo.com].

  • by DrD8m ( 307736 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:46PM (#2829263) Homepage
    You could try to do it yourself if you dare follow this link [sorgonet.com] or in spanish [sorgonet.com] It's simple a conversion from car 12v to the voltage needed by the mainboard. (no monitor yet).
  • by Hollins ( 83264 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:49PM (#2829273) Homepage
    Now the bozo in front of me is going to be tweaking perl scripts instead of getting his lazy ass through the next yellow light.
  • by rickthewizkid ( 536429 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:50PM (#2829276)
    to the term "crashing your computer..."

    "But officer, I was only trying to reboot linux..."

    • Of course he would arrest you, linux doesn't need rebooting. He might buy it if you said you were rebooting Windows ... new meaning to "blue screen of death".
    • by Ldir ( 411548 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:04PM (#2829324)
      "But officer, I was only trying to reboot linux^H^H^H^H^H Windows ...

      Just curious, on a car PC, do you reboot by hitting [Brake], [Accelerator] and the [Glove Compartment Knob] simultaneously?

      Is the horn the [Any] key?

      Are you comfortable with, "A Fatal Exception has Occurred ..."?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

  • by BadDoggie ( 145310 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:52PM (#2829280) Homepage Journal
    You really outdid yourself here, Rob.

    An anonymous
    reader's submission linked to a PC which fits in your car's stereo slot. It's a bit spendy at $1k, but it's got CD/DVD, PCMCIA, USB, Keyboard, Mic, Headphones, VGA and more. Besides being powered by your car, it also has built-in GPS. Lots of interesting hacking ideas here for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars than me. ;)

    There's people out there who have to "fish" this site and come up with garbage when you write "then" instead of "than". IIRC, you were supposed to learn the difference in 2nd or 3rd grade in the US.


    Spelling doesn't matter? So where do I get a compiler that can handle IF...THAN statements and won't bitch that some variable hasn't been declared simply because I misspelled it on second use? Sheesh!

    • It's "There're", not "There's". There's would be There is. ;)

      But you're correct, he is pretty retarded :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There's people out there who have to "fish" this site and come up with garbage when you write "then" instead of "than". IIRC, you were supposed to learn the difference in 2nd or 3rd grade in the US.

      Perhaps There are people. Pluralize! You only make yourself look like an idiot when you fuck up a roast.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ... and it should be "people who prefer to spend more time in their cars than I" unless you're referring to people who like being inside you.
      • It absolutely should not. "I" is the nominative form, and cannot be used as the object of a preposition, which is "than" in this case.

        Grammar is necessary in human language to avoid misinterpretation, just as strict syntax is necessary in programming to ensure unambiguity.

        • It absolutely should not. "I" is the nominative form, and cannot be used as the object of a preposition, which is "than" in this case.

          I'm confused on this. My understanding is that the actual sentence should be:

          "Lots of interesting hacking ideas here for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars than I (do)."

          Where the "do" is understood, as in the sentence "Go.", where "(You) go." is the understood complete sentence.

          It certainly doesn't make any sense to me to say that the sentence should be:

          "Lots of interesting hacking ideas here for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars than me (do)"
        • Oops. I was wrong here. "Than" is not a preposition in this case, but a conjunction. I got too excited, I guess.

    • by DaveBarr ( 35447 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:18PM (#2829366) Journal
      Mod me down, but I for one appreciate comments like this.

      Proper spelling and good grammar is one of those things that matters only when it's lacking. Being good at grammar and spelling won't make you more persuasive, but the inability to understand the difference between "its" and "it's" or "lose" and "loose" will ensure many people (especially influential people) won't give you the time of day.

      If we expect ourselves to be taken seriously by the world, this is one of those things we just have to suck up, turn off your spell checkers, and learn to do it right.

      (Sure, this is just an article about a dash PC, but if you can't do it now, what will you do when an issue about privacy or intellectual property or individual freedoms comes along?)
    • Not quite:

      An anonymous reader's submission linked to a PC that fits in your car's stereo slot


      An anonymous reader's submission linked to a PC, which fits in your car's stereo slot

      Using "which" requires a comma, as it introduces a subordinate clause. "That" doesn't.

      Oh, and unless some people like spending time in Rob, the last two words should be

      than I

      I see your woof, and raise you two barks.
      • I am currently writing my master's thesis, and it is in english, which is not my native language.
        I have actually wondered i bit over when to use "that" and when to use "which". Could anybody clear that up for me in even more detail, than the parent of this post? It would be appriciated...

        Please wait a bit with the off-topic mods.

        • Keep in mind, of course, that "which" is an interrogative word (which book should I buy?), and that "that" is a demonstrative adjective (this car; that book; etc.).

          In the context being discussed, "which" and "that" are syonyms--they are both clauses which indicate that we are specifying or describing in more detail a noun. "Which" is a little less common and a little more formal.

          In paragraphs which a lot of these kinds of subordinate clauses, it is a good idea to switch between "that" and "which", so that the paragraph does not use the same word too frequently. In addition, it is better to use the word "which" in a sentance which already uses "that" as a descriptive pronoun (e.g. this book and that book)

          Finally, 'which' is never placed after a verb, e.g. one can say "I think that Slashdot has too many trolls", but one can not say "I think which Slashdot...".

          I fantasize about, one of these days, moving to a foreign country and becoming an English teacher for the foreigners there.

          - Sam

    • for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars than me

      I spend much more time in my car than I spend in CmdrTaco. If anyone here doesn't, we probably don't want to hear about it.

      Who said grammar wasn't important?

    • if you wanna correct someone, make sure you are right:

      the word 'which' should come after a comma. rob's use of 'that' is actually correct.
    • While we're at it, what the heck does "spendy" mean?
    • translations into, spanish; then to english, using the fish, we arrive at:

      An anonymous program of reading put under connected a PC that fits in its groove of estereofonia of the car. Spendy in $1k is a bit, but its obtained CD/DVD, PCMCIA, USB, keyboard, Mic, earpieces, VGA, more. And in addition to being driven by its car, also it has constructed in GPS. Lots of ideas that cut here interesting for the people whom it prefers to pass more time in its then cars I;)
      It would seem that my car can learn to read for only $1000, and that by learning to read my car can gain a bunch of computer gear too.
    • ...because he was obviously trying to match the style of the linked article:

      "Makes Car Smarter", yes, SmartVehiclePC.com has worked out an intelligent vehicle PC system for solving worldwide solution of how to make automobile more vivid.

      all your worldwide solution are solve by us!

    • There are people out there...

      Spelling flames are lame because everybody makes mistakes. There is no reason to hold Rob to higher standards than you set for yourself.

    • /. wouldn't be /. without Rob butchering the English language. If he started posting in coherent English, we'd all think something happened to him. :)
    • Almost right.
      It's a bit spendy at $1k, but
      it has CD/DVD, PCMCIA, USB, Keyboard, Mic, Headphones, VGA and more. Besides being powered by your car, it has built-in GPS. There are lots of interesting hacking ideas here for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars than I do.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I didn't see the stop sign, sir, a program caused an Illegal Operation - why don't you give IT a ticket?!"
  • My Setup (Score:5, Informative)

    by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:56PM (#2829294)
    I have a computer in my car.

    No display, but it's got plenty of music. I got a cheap 300w Power Inverter for something like $50 from Wal Mart. Plugs into the cigarette lighter.

    From there, I have a P166 in a tiny little case under the passenger seat plugged into the inverter. The computer has a network card and a Sound Blaster Awe64. Line Out from the sound card runs to a Ground Loop Isolator (to eliminate the interference buzz from the inverter, $14 at Radio Shack), and from there, connects to my car's factory radio via one of those CD-Player Cassette adapters.

    The computer has no display, and is controlled via PS/2 keypad. Around 370 mp3-format songs are loaded on the Western Digital hard drive, which has proven remarkably hardy in all kinds of driving conditions. It also has a built-in NIC, so I can upload new songs.

    Cost? About $200. (Computer was around $70, wires - $20, inverter - $50, keypad - $10, GLI - $15, Sound Blaster - $10, Cassette Adapter - $3.) Much cheaper than the above novelty, and much more flexible and expandable.
    • Re:My Setup (Score:3, Informative)

      by sporty ( 27564 )
      Perhaps you should write something to copy the ones you want to ramdisk and let the drive auto sleep. OR use dvd-ram or something similar.
  • Clarion Auto PC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:57PM (#2829296) Journal
    It seems to me like Clarion's "Auto PC" was almost the perfect device of this type. I guess the price was too high for people though, so it got discontinued.

    It gave you a pretty normal car stereo/CD player with MP3 capabilities, built-in GPS, and anything else you wanted to develop for its Windows CE environment.

    I see them on eBay all the time - and wish I thought to buy one before I blew $350 or so on my new double-DIN head unit for my car. Oh well....
    • I beleive Clarion's AutoPC was discontinued because it was underpowered, impossible to upgrade, hard to use, prone to failure AND really expensive.
    • now that is funny... Hearing the name Autopc and perfect in the same breath.

      The autopc was/is crap. (I know I have one) the Nav system sucked horribly, but this was due to the really brain-dead decision to use a over-priced and crappy to begin with map data set from Navtech. Most cities are sparse, and most towns are simply not there. (they intentionally left out cities and towns with less than 500,000 people.) the hardware that the Autopc uses is horrible. The tuner module is based on a phillips low end car audio tuner module The audio section was limited to 12 bit and 18Khz stereo and the CD changer is a horribly overpriced and over engineered device (The cd changer CAN read cdroms but clarion refused to enablethat feature... later it was discovered that the Autopc was so under powered that it COULDN'T read data from a USB drive without causing nasty delays. The choice of the Hitachi SH3 processor was a great idea, but they stuck with the 1995 66mhz version instead of updating the processor when it went into production in 1999. The cellphone cradle for it only worked with 2 ORA cellphones that were out of date by the time it launched (NO DIGITAL CELLPHONES SUPPORTED) It's email and messaging reciever usually made the GPS fail to operate unless you mounted it as far away as possible (under the other seat or in the rear) and didnt work most of the time and was horribly overpriced... ($29.95 a month for traffic reports in cities that I dont live in? and one way email (incoming) that usually failed and was limited to 500 characters, and limited to 20 messages per month) and finally the car interface that allowed you to read the car's rpm. speed, fuel mix, etc.. only worked with non US cars... if you drive a dodge, GM or ford it WOULD NOT WORK until 2001.

      Sorry, everyone I know that has owned an autopc and bought it when it cost $1600.00 has been pissed cince day one. Also every owner I knew reccomended to people to NOT buy them.

      Oh and a side note. it had a major hardware bug that Clarion REFUSED to admit... if you turned the unit on, and then turned the ignition on,off,on you will lock the unit up hard and require a hardware reset. I have yet to find an autopc that I can-not reproduce this bug.... making the autopc hell for anyone driving a sportscar with a stick shift and a racing clutch (or people that stall a car alot)

      Autopc? it sucked... and it sucked bad. I'll probably give mine away when I have time to rip it from the dash, the firewall, under the drivers seat, trunk and the damned GPS antenna.
      • Hmmm... Thanks for posting that. That's really the first time I've heard all of that negative info about the unit, and it makes me glad I didn't buy one after all.

        Nonetheless, I wouldn't have paid $1600 for one even when it first came out. Seems ridiculous to me to pay over $500 or so for any car audio device, honestly. I guess some people spend a *lot* of time in the car, or just earn a lot more than I do -- but I can't cost-justify it for the hour or so per day I spend in my car, max.

        My thinking was this: Auto PC's (even new in the box) go for around $400-500 on eBay all the time, and that's including the optional GPS device and map CDs. Therefore, you get an in-car GPS system, a CD player stereo, and an MP3 player, all for around $450. People are spending more than that for Kenwood MP3 CD car stereos, and not getting any GPS functionality with those.

        The ability to read the car's diagnostic info is another "free bonus" for those of us (like me) who own foreign cars.

        Now, if you're saying the tuner and CD player itself are poor quality (sound bad) - then *that's* a really good reason to skip one of these things. That, after all, is the *primary* function of a car stereo. Some of the other stuff, like lack of cellphone support, I couldn't care less about. None of my previous car stereos interfaced with my cellphones, and it's never been an issue for me. (Wow - I hit one "mute" button to silence the thing if my phone rings... I can handle it.)
  • Someone goes to overclock the computer, and the headlights go dim. Instead of people buying high-powered batteries and alternators for their stereos, they'll be doing it for their overclocked bay of 8 networked PCs.
  • I have been wanting to build an in-car MP3 player for sometime now. For 1K, I don't know how economical one of these systems would be. I mean really: get a power inverter, rig up some input interface, and hook up the sound and you've got an in-car MP3 player.

    Sure, I will admit for 1K all of that in one combined unit is pretty cool.
  • I have been shopping around for something like this for quite a while. This thing is not very impressive to me. I haven't really cared much about the computer component of the thing. I can grab a small footprint pentium something-or-other for really cheap.

    This is just the PC part, for $1000, why bother? You still need to spend another $800-$1000 for a TV BASED screen for in the dash, and that's only if you have a 2DIN stereo hole. Otherwise you can't get video into the front seat without mounting something onto the dash instead of in it.

    I would rather see a 10.4" VGA/SVGA screen in a 1DIN footprint for $1000, that would be usefull.

    Just my 2cents
  • by Calle Ballz ( 238584 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:01PM (#2829314) Homepage
    ...and save your stereo slot.

    My stereo slot is very very important to me since I like really really loud music. But I also wanted a computer in my car so that I can have mp3's piped through my stereo. I have the World's Smallest PC [cyberpowerpc.com] with it's audio output going into my car stereo. As a screen I am using a 5" LCD screen [overclockershideout.com] very sloppily mounted in the passenger side sun visor. With a happy hacker keyboard and a wireless trackball... I don't need to leave my car.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Will it work in a heatwave or at -20?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:09PM (#2829340) Homepage
    Auto dashboards shouldn't have something of that complexity. Too distracting. Pilots call this "head-down time", time spent looking at the controls instead of the window, and a big problem in modern cockpit design is reducing head-down time. But aircraft have autopilots, big planes have two people, and in cruise flight in uncongested airspace, near-term trouble from the outside is unlikely. None of this applies to automobiles.
    • by C. Mattix ( 32747 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <xittamc>> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:13PM (#2829350) Homepage
      Why can't the auto manufactures develop a decent HUD. Imagine something that could project the centerline of the road on the window when it is snowing or raining hard. Or perhaps, it could incorporate itself with the collision avoidence systems and show when obstacles are in the way.

      You could even have a game in it, you know. . if someone cuts you off on the highway, then you press a button on the stearing wheel, and it sends a projected missle at it or something.

      Seriously, I think HUDS in cars would be great, and it would definitly limit the above mentioned "head-down" time.
      • Just thinking about this... all you really need in order to get a half-decent HUD would be a monitor/light source you can stick on your dash, and a driver that can enable you to correct for the deformation of the image that occurs because of the shape of the windshield.

        Since LCD panels are now affordable, the first requirement is met. Now all we need is someone to
        write the video driver....
        • If you dont' want to mess with drivers, just get one of those aftermarket LCD panels they use for installing TV's into headrests and such. Most have NTSC inputs, so you just use a video card with a TV out, like a matox or something (or a scan coverter). A few have VGA inputs, but they tend to be pretty pricy.

          My dream is to remove all the dash equipment, install three wide-screen 7" LCDs (two vertical beside the steering column, one horizontal above it) with touch screen controls on them, and have a fully configurable dash running linux.
      • My dad was actually working on this for Ford Motor company over four years ago - they got as far as a system that would fit in a van, recognize the road and draw lines accordingly, recognize vehicles in the road of differing shapes, etc. IIRC, there was even an ad during one of the olympics. But then Ford pulled the progect....
      • Why can't the auto manufactures develop a decent HUD. Imagine something that could project the centerline of the road on the window when it is snowing or raining hard. Or perhaps, it could incorporate itself with the collision avoidence systems and show when obstacles are in the way.
        This already exists. Some snowplows here in MN (& some in Iowa) have HUDs that show road boundaries & markings so they can plow in even zero visibility.

        I did a Google search & found this link [umn.edu] to the research done at the Univ of MN. Unfortunately, one of the researchers [msn.com] now works for Microsoft.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Offtopic)

    by $lacker ( 127735 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:11PM (#2829344)
    Lots of interesting hacking ideas here for people who prefer to spend more time in their cars then me ;)
    Uhh.... I spend a LOT more time in my car than I spend in you....
  • It's really nice except where I life it vcan get below -20C and it's normal in winter to be below 0C. What this means is, I have to get some kind of device for it that keeps it warm if it gets too cold and another that doesn't let it turn on until the car is warmed up.

    Who is this for? People who live in Florida or California?
  • Dangerous? (Score:3, Informative)

    by seymour ( 386 ) <cgushueNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:13PM (#2829355) Homepage Journal
    This does seem pretty neat, if used for things like Police cars, ambulances, etc. For regular people though, I just see it as yet another way to cause an accident. Cell phones are bad enough...
  • by Associate ( 317603 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:19PM (#2829372) Homepage
    1. A machine that interfaces with the on board computer so you can see what codes, translated into meaningful messages, are being sent to the car's computer.
    2. With the above, remind you when to perform routine maintenance like oil change, tire rotation, coolant flush, transmission flush, usw. This would also give you a good idea if your mechanic is honest or not. (Don't give him root.)
    3. Firewire
    4. Voice control
    5. HUD
    6. There might be some benefit to incorporating the security alarm.

    From what I know, all of these things are possible. But someone, maybe one of our own, need's to build it first.

    I can't think of anything else right now.
    • Oh, I know how to do this! I just bought an adapter [obd-2.com] plus software to interface a PC to the on-board computer. This thing works like a charm.

      I don't know that all on-board computers know when the oil was changed or coolant was flushed, but I'm sure a couple perl script could take care of schedule maintenance.
    • I've got a Pontiac Grand Prix, and this car does some of the things you mention already.

      1) The OBD-II computer system that manages the engine does have great troublecode information. However, it's stored as a code which is not human-readable. There is a dongle and software called "AutoTAP" that will let you see what the OBD-II system is doing in real time, but that requires a laptop or other PC to be hooked to the car. The AutoTAP also allows the operator to upload new ignition timing and injector parameters, as well as transmission shift points, to further tune the car's performance.

      2) The car has an onboard display in the dash that displays:

      Oil Life in % of estimated life

      Tire Pressure Warnings

      Various fluid level warnings

      Fuel mileage and estimated range-to-empty

      3) No firewire. :(

      4) No voice control, but it does have steering wheel mounted controls for the stereo which also feed into: THE HUD.

      5) Yes, the car has a Heads-Up-Display. This is my favorite part. It displays current MPH, along with blinker status, Hibeam indicator, and fuel warnings. When you hit one of the buttons on the steering wheel to control the stereo, the HUD displays what you're doing - I love being able to change the radio station without having to take my eyes off the road.

      6) No alarm tiein, other than the factory security system.

      I dig the car - it's fun to drive, has lots of room, gets decent mileage, and has lots of geektoys. I'm working out how to interface an old laptop into it so I can have MP3 and other multimedia tied into it. I don't want to lose the HUD functionality - it's one of my favorite features. Now, if some manufacturer would figure out that all of these features are what people want...

  • Just imagine playing Carmageddon while you're stuck in a trafic jam...
  • Nav software (Score:4, Informative)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:20PM (#2829379) Homepage Journal
    They mention using navigation software and GPS. This pretty much leaves Linux out unless there is a good navigation package for Linux of which I am unaware (and I've looked long and hard, beleive me).

    The closest I've been able to come is using older versions of Delorme's MapNGo under Wine, but that is still rather twitchy.

    I've pestered Delorme to make a port, but they don't seem interested.
    • a decent one is GPSDRIVE it is actually useable but you will need to build your own map sets with the "download map" button. it doesnt have any automated nav system built in (and let me tell you that is a GOOD thing... the few times I tried my autopc nav it bitches constantly if you deviate from the route a bit or the GPS get freaked for a moment nothing like "off route, recalculating route" every 15 seconds while you start mashing buttons and swerving at 70mph (yes I drive the speed limit unlike the other turds on the road)

      I have used gpsdrive and it works well except for the extra work needed to download about 30-40 maps for your general area to get good detail.
  • by simetra ( 155655 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:27PM (#2829414) Homepage Journal
    That's what we need... a Game Boy Advance ported to a steering wheel... display in center, buttons on wheel. Or, projected hologram-type screen which appears to float about 10 feet in front of the car.
    Now that would be cool.....
  • Other examples (Score:3, Informative)

    by interiot ( 50685 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @03:32PM (#2829433) Homepage

    This is good. Previously, the best commercial computer-in-car setup was the Q-PC [q-pc.com].

    Otherwise, many people have just hacked an old PC to work in their trunk or under the passenger's seat, see MP3Car's [mp3car.com] registry.

    Hopefully my car will be on there soon. I'm going to try straping a wireless keyboard around my neck, and type with my right hand with a half Qwerty [half-qwerty.com] setup, with sound output only, for safety's sake. There's already software [sourceforge.net] written for this setup-- visually impared people have to work with this type of setup every day.

  • Doesn't cold ruin electronics? I love all these new gadgets but what happens if my car freezes in a snow drift before I can dig it out? Will I have to plug my car into a heater when I come home every night?
  • I see this more of a fleet vechical system than something that you'd want in your car. Memory and CPU speeds aren't really up to snuf to do the things I'd wanna do, like a HUD on the screen with night vision and directions / mapping, and a entertainment system for everyone else (something that allows both DVD and audio playback at the same time).
    Also, a lot of legacy system support is provided, which just isn't needed.
  • As the victim of a recent stereo theft [slackersguild.com], I'm doing some hardcore shopping with the insurance company's money. I had a Kenwood z919 (MP3), but the problem was no removeable faceplate. I read the link (couldn't get the PDFs), and it looks like it has pretty much the same problem.

    Considering that I'm shopping with someone else's money, I'd like to get something with the all-important geek factor. I just don't want to have it ripped out of my car again.
    • Re:No anti-theft (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      removeable faceplates stop ZERO car thefts. that removeable faceplate doesnt slow them down or even deter them because replacement faceplates are very very easy to come by. the only safe solution id to undock the whole stereo... or better yet, add supplimental insurance and hope it keeps getting stolen.

      I leave my car unlocked all the time and never remove the faceplate to my autopc. but then I dont park where my car can get ripped off, or broken into. nor do I live in a crappy neighborhood. It's choices...and I found the easiest is to keep the car unlocked so I dont have to pay for windows or doors and have my insurance company buy me a new stereo every X months.

      removable face is NOT anti-theft. the only car stereo I have ever seen that is anti theft is Blaupunkt. if you remove the stereo fromthe car next power up it display's STOLEN STEREO, enter 6 digit pin. and you have 3 tries to enter the pin, after that the stereo is trash. and yet it still didnt stop them from getting stolen... Thieves are the stupidest people on the planet... otherwise they would actually have jobs.
      • You'll probably never read this, but I was parked at a somewhat upscale movie theater in a good neighborhood. If you were a car theif, would you rather hit a parking lot full of nice cars with potentially quality stereos, or bank on a shitty neighborhood where the original VW bug is the most commonly sighted car?

        Bottom line: if you have a car, and you want to keep it safe, leave it in the garage and take the bus. And pray your home doesn't get broken into.
  • by Cinematique ( 167333 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @04:25PM (#2829639)
    want something small, x86, and 1ghz? check check this out. [tigerdirect.com] slow bus speed... but it's $500.

    Specs (truncated)

    1. ~ Intel Celeron 1GHz processor (FCPGA) ssor socket w/ 66MHz bus

    2. 128MB SDRAM; Upgradable to 256MB
      ~One 144pin DIMM slot for PC100/PC133 SDRAM
      ~10GB UDMA hard drive
      ~24X Max. CD-ROM drive ( swap for dvd / cd-rw )
      ~56k modem & 10/100 ethernet
      ~Intel 82810E built-in full motion video accelerator w/ 4MB shared video memory
      ~Supports 1280 x 1024 pixels resolution at 24bit color
      ~S-Video / RCA composite Out ports
      ~Speakers and Audio: Built-in 16-bit stereo (Sound Blaster / Adlib compatible)
      ~Built-in speaker
      ~microphone in / line out port
      ~Peripheral Connections: Two USB, one 9-pin serial port, one 25 pin parallel port (EPP / ECP) PS/2 mouse & keyboard ports
      ~Dimensions: 157mm x 146mm x 45mm (6.18" x 5.75" x 1.77") & approx. 950g (2 lbs)

      * One Year Manufacturer Warranty
      * No Operating System Included
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @05:12PM (#2829835)

    Put a cradle and power supply in the aux slot of your car and then put your music(mp3's) on a CF card. There you have it. You could use the rs232 port for gps features too. If you want more disk space then use the IBM microdrive (1GB).

    The iPaq would work too but the Zaurus has both CF and SD/MMC slots along with the IR and RS232 ports and it ships with Linux already installed.

    Thanks for bring this topic up because you made me realize I already had the solution to getting MP3's into my Toyota Prius. This will be very cool and when I get the VGA CF card I can drive the touch screen built into the Prius too.

  • by z4ce ( 67861 ) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @07:46PM (#2830410)
    Anyone else notice the operating temperature of this thing is 0C-50C. I hope that no one buys this thing somewhere it freezes. You would think in a car stereo replacement they would design the thing to handle freeze...

  • I have built two computers, one for myself and the other one for a friend.

    Regular Case with inverter/300watt
    Garmin Trakpac 35
    An Analog LCD with Case. http://www.flat-panel.com
    Wireless Keyboad with the mouse built-in.
    DVD with Sound Blaster 16. Manual switch form
    the car deck to the sound blaster. No ground loops.
    Creative Labs DVD hardware decoder for the DVD movies.

    Perfect Setup........
    • There's no problem with temperature. They have been running for two years and counting.

      Also have the ECM interface hooked up to the computer. There are some nice programs which let you change the information in the car's ECM.
  • Years ago, I thought how great it would be to combine GPS with an organiser, so that you could be reminded of something you wanted to do at a particular location(s). For example, "get toner cartridge" linked to computer shops in your organiser To-Do list, would cause an alarm when you are close to a computer store according to the GPS+map.

    How about online petrol prices? When you drive up to a cheap petrol station, you could enter the petrol prices for that station, which would then be entered into an online price database. Meaning that when vehicles are approaching a cheap petrol station, the driver could be alerted to the price and location if the car is low (defined by user) on fuel.

    How about this computer hooked up to not only the GPS but also your GSM mobile phone with caller ID? Someone calls you, and depending on what disturb/do-not-disturb setting you have for them, they may or may not be able to disturb the mp3/ogg you have playing. If disturb is OK, your music should pause, and the car PC announce who is calling, allowing voice prompting for "pick up" or "ignore", leading to either a phone call or hang-up with the music resuming.

    Since our car PC has GPS and GSM, what say we turn this bad boy into a car alarm also, complete with a few CCD cameras? If the car alarm is triggered, the PC could take a shot of the offender, dither it to 1-bit fax resolution, then fax it and the car location to the local police station! To boot, display the offenders full colour image on the internal display with a voice warning of what is occuring, regarding thier soon to be imprisioned (sore) arse. Hopefully this will cause the offender to flee on foot. Of course, this car has multiple points of immobilization right?

    Now back to all those CCD cameras... pop your car in reverse, and the display switches to the rear CCD (mounted on the top rear spoiler, pointed downwards) to assist reverse parking. Indicate right below a certain speed (say 5 kph) and the front right CCD is displayed (mounted near front right bumper, pointing to the right) giving greater visibility to the right, past parked cars etc without having to put your nose out too far, when turning at an intersection. Indicate right at a speed higher than 5kph and the top right mounted CCD is displayed (pointing backwards), for lane changes etc. Vice-versa these for left, etc.

    With a larger display, or two displays, both indicate cameras could be shown for more flexibility, etc etc.

    With voice prompting, usage of sampled phonetic voice "synthesis" could be employed, for natural sounding prompting. Warning of fuel, temp, etc, illegal speed in zones that according to the GPS+map indicate legal speed, school zones, etc, etc.

    Speaking of speech synthesis, I want that british womans voice from Forsaken, "So-lar-is!". She sounds like a babe. And when the alarm is armed, it should be complete with her voice (with echo added), counting down from 10 to "Warning: system alarm activation complete, all systems halted, core de-activated." "Core" of course being the engine, at which time a "turbine powering down" sound effect could be nice. ; ) And of course, turning the key in the ignition to "ignition" could activate the "turbine powering up" sound, REALLY LOUD, with "Core status: OPERATIONAL!"

    Man, I want one! All I need now is a car!
  • I suppose playing Carmageddon on this thing while driving whould be a Bad Thing?
  • This made me think of truck drivers, who can have a legit excuse for an automotive PC. I have an uncle who does this for a living, and he can send e-mail on the road. A full PC would be a logical extension from this system. He could listen to MP3s, listen to web sites via TextToVoice applications, transcribe emails, etc while driving. A whole voice control system might not be feasible.. I don't really know how well this technology is. When parked for the night, he could even play games and do anything a computer user at home could do.

    Here is a link to a maker of GUIs (!) for trucks: http://www.diversifiedsoftwareindustries.com/ivis/ index.shtml [diversifie...stries.com]
    I have more faith in these companies merging PCs and vehicles than a pc maker just making a computer to fit the stereo form factor.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI