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Auto Industry's Fastest Processor Is 128Mhz

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the hot-in-here-or-is-it-me dept.

Transportation 397

afabbro writes "GM stated that the 2011 Buick Regal will have the auto industry's fastest processor: 128Mhz, and 3MB of flash. 'Three meg of flash memory and 128MHz clock speed doesn't sound like a lot in terms of computing power until you consider the environment these controllers have to live in. Our controllers are made to operate reliably up to 260 degrees (127C) and down to -40 degrees (-40C) for the life of the vehicle.'"

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This is cool, but not revolutionary... (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220372)

128MHZ for a rugged CPU for automotive use is a good thing, but clock speed is just one of many factors. TFA was a tad light on information and worded as an ad (which is to be expected from GM's press website), but other than just mentioning vague details and the fact that Freescale made it, this doesn't really mean much without factoring in other details.

Will this mean the 2011 Regal will be leaps and bounds over the 2010? Yes. How much is debatable.

Will this matter in the total scheme of automotive technology? Not really. ECMs have been improving each year, so the 2011 Regal may have a bump in the control CPU's clock speed, but perhaps some other car maker would have a different architecture in place (multiple modules controlling different functions such as PATS/antitheft, O2 sensor, fuel sensor [1], etc.)

Will other car companies have improvements in their technology? Assuredly. Ford has some new engines going in the mainstream line of vehicles. Other vehicle makers may be bringing diesels to the US.

The big question in all of this: Is there a car example I can go on here?

[1]: I'm sure all cars in the US will eventually be going Flex-Fuel (talk about bumping gasoline from 10% to 15% is happening in some places here in the US), so having the circuitry in place to handle varying amounts of ethanol will be crucial.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220438)

It's a special use, being more like a very powerful microcontroller, it only needs so much power, and it has to last. While the average life of a car is nearly 10 years, it's not so terribly uncommon to keep a car going for almost 20 years, in contrast very few 20 year old PCs are still in regular use, I think a lot of people would be very hard pressed to find a ten year old computer being used daily, and PCs don't have to worry much about environmental factors.

If the system is flex-fuel, it has to be able to take any range from 0% (occasional exemption from ethanol) to 85% ethanol. There is no control over what what the next tank will have, and you'll have some residual, making your ratio almost constantly varying.

I thought most of ethanol's benefits were pretty reasonably debunked, at least corn ethanol anyway.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (4, Informative)

SirThe (1927532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220556)

Yes, the reason people don't have old PCs is because they break down, not because newer and better technology comes out.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220564)

I thought most of automobiles' benefits over horseback riding were pretty reasonably debunked, turn of the 20th century automobiles anyway.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (3, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220596)

Really? This is your response to my comment on ethanol? I wonder if you're trolling. But anyways, I'll bite in case you aren't. For instance, the main reason corn ethanol is even financially palatable is because of US government subsidies.

Corn ethanol's environmental benefits are shaky at best if you're interested in reduction of CO2 emissions.

When you factor in all the energy needed to raise the corn and make the ethanol, it makes very little new energy, some estimates suggest that there is no new energy being made, basically as little as one gallon's equivalent being made from one gallon's equivalent burned to make that gallon.

Other plants can be used to make ethanol, but it's not being done widely. When cellulosic ethanol is workable on a mass scale, then the value of ethanol production might change to something that's of a net benefit to society.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220654)

Was not one of the selling points of ethanol that it could reduce our dependency on foreign oil? That could be considered beneficial to society even if one gallon of ethanol had to be consumed to make another gallon of ethanol available.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220686)

What? Zero gain only when it comes to ethanol (but with all the negative consequences of mass agriculture, resources for auxiliary equipment, etc.) would be beneficial?

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (5, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220902)

Other plants can be used to make ethanol, but it's not being done widely

Sure it is. Brazil has been producing efficient sugarcane-based ethanol for decades, and now accounts for almost 40% of the world's ethanol fuel production. Not that it matters much to the US, because of the quotas and massive tariffs to protect the crappy corn ethanol industry...

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (2)

RavenChild (854835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220676)

Are they not using 20 y/o technology? I'm suspecting that they have just ruggedized a 20 year old processor/architecture for their use. Isn't the military doing the same? (Think about the P1's being used in aircraft)

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220776)

well a 90Mhz processor is around 1995 and a 120Mhz was around 1996, then the Pentium II's came out at 266+

So perspectively, it's a 15 year old "speed" in a "new" car expected to last until maybe 2030. So by the time the car is junked the speed "spec" will be that of a 35 year old PC. Or roughly comparing what we currently have with a IBM System/360 in 1964 or when the ARPAnet started.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (1)

evanism (600676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220880)

I loved my P2-266. It felt like I had lightning in my pants and its farted thunder. Man, it was so fast. It even ran Linux Redhat!!

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220990)

That is still way overpowered, you really need very little to run things at speed, look at the true old skool 8-bit computers - ZX Spectrum for example clocked at 3.5MHz and had only 48KB or RAM. There was a game called "Elite" that managed to squeeze vector 3D into it, entire galaxy with countless of star systems, trading simulation, AI for 3D space dog-fighting, asteroid drilling and other interesting things.. all coded directly in CPU machine code for the best efficiency.

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0001601 [worldofspectrum.org]

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220796)

Haha...you ever work in corporate IT? They are so damn cheap it's hilarious what they will do to keep those machines going. It's especially amusing seeing how much they would rather have me bill them to keep that machine going rather than just replacing it. At least those caps & PSU have to die some day!

Oh, and ethanol has pretty much been a scam for corn farmers from day one. Still a bit annoyed they put ethanol in regular gasoline because it's fractionally cleaner. Fractionally cleaner in a sense that you have to burn more volume to get the same distance as regular unleaded gas whiiiich ends up being just as polluting. Gawd it makes me angry these people pushing for ethanol can do fractions, but not division. Wooo...two for two in the random segway rants XD

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34221010)

They are so damn cheap it's hilarious what they will do to keep those machines going.

It's almost always because it would be far, far more expensive to replace an old PC than keep it running.

Have you got the couple of million $local_currency that it could cost to replace an aging 486-DX100 - and the custom software that won't run on anything faster, the custom IO cards that drive the multi-million piece of machinery it controls, *and* all the approvals process to make sure it's not going to break anything or start cranking out defective products?

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (3, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220478)

This progression is to be expected. But the thing people should be asking is: does the new Buick ECM have an interface exposed that third parties can build readers for? Is there an assessable API? Probably not, so all this power will only be available to dealerships.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220608)

How is the parent "offtopic"? Good grief!

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (3, Informative)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220842)

This progression is to be expected. But the thing people should be asking is: does the new Buick ECM have an interface exposed that third parties can build readers for?

Yes, It is called the OBDII port.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220804)

ECMs from the 80's can handle flex fuel just fine, provided they have the additional fuel curves stored. They don't need a fuel sensor, as you can induce ethanol content from the O2 sensor and current injector pulse width and coolant temp.

Re:This is cool, but not revolutionary... (3, Informative)

inflex (123318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220820)

Agreed, it's not revolutionary - but each generation is a nice improvement.

The tech is new but the design is biased towards factors other than outright performance (obviously). If you consider microcontrollers like the very popular Atmel AVR32 series, they're barely pushing the speed but their technology is very current. Things like integrated ADC/DAC/SPI/TWI~I2C/USARTS/USB/CAN/opamps/comparators/counters~timers/safety-circuits/power-savings (down to nA range) are what's important. The modern microcontroller is an amazing toolkit of modules, vastly reducing your board build complexity and improving your longevity.

  Looking at the highres photo of the board, you can see it's mostly just a hell of a lot of power regulators, switchmode-controllers and MOSFETS (for the switchmode power) with a couple of ASICs. There's also a lot of safety bits on there such as polyfuses. My first impression of this design is that there's a lot of isolated power channels to ensure that even if one goes down everything else keeps on going.

Considering... (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220378)

That in the early 90's that would have been a top end pc, and it's still probably more computing power than the space shuttle.

Re:Considering... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220646)

yea that is silly, I understand that it takes time and money to beef up a chip to deal with the harshness of space, but I know they can do better than a 386 in 22 fkin years, all in one cpu's in a microchip were not even 22 years old when the 386 came out, and it didnt take that long for them to be in shuttles

Re:Considering... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220718)

What for?

Re:Considering... (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220864)

But the 386 does a specific task. It's adequate for the purpose. Might as well stick with it.

Re:Considering... (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220876)

but I know they can do better than a 386 in 22 fkin years

How do you know? Are you a rocket scientist with a second degree in EE? Dare to show the diplomas?

Re:Considering... (1)

Vegigami (32659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220672)

Would have been REALLY nice on Apollo.
None of those nagging "1202" alarms.

Ahh... automotive, that brings back memories (2, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220400)

Environment similar to mil spec, durability like industrial, prices like consumer products.

Re:Ahh... automotive, that brings back memories (3, Funny)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220516)

Ex Honda Mechanic here(1982-1989). "Environment similar to mil spec, durability like industrial, prices like consumer products".

1984-86 Honda Accord/Accura igniter units(Fires the igntion coil at the right time), it was more like "Environment as in a home in winter, durability like a chinese small engine, and prices like a haliburtion supplied widget".

If i'd replaced 200 of these things. Yes, i am sure todays automotive embedded stuff is better but its been a long road.

Re:Ahh... automotive, that brings back memories (2, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220674)

Metro's 90-04 were about the same. The block containing the electronic controls for the engine would actually corrode from the inside out. Things with automotive electronics only started to get "good" around 94 when GM first kicked out the 3800 series that was fully electronic controlled, and everyone and their grandmother saw "it was a good design" and copied the piss out of it.

By around '96 things were leaps and bounds ahead of where they were even 2 years before that.

Re:Ahh... automotive, that brings back memories (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34221012)

Things with automotive electronics only started to get "good" around 94 when GM first kicked out the 3800 series that was fully electronic controlled

94? The 3800 has had efi and coil packs for full electronic control since 88.

I'm in IT (0, Offtopic)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220414)

I'm in IT and Indians are taking my jobs. What is a MHz? I'm certified in Java!

Re:I'm in IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220434)

I'm Indian and I took your job. I do have an opening for someone to suck my cock though; interested?

Re:I'm in IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220530)

No. But you should hire someone to find it first.

Re:I'm in IT (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220670)

Rob Malda has an opening for your cock. Two in fact.

Not true (0)

Timo_UK (762705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220420)

There are digital signal processors in production for years which go up to 333MHz, like ADI SHARCs. BMW had one in their E70 X5 audio system. I am sure there are more examples. I will check at work tomorrow but I am sure there are also higher speed C out there.

Re:Not true (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220448)

There are digital signal processors in production for years which go up to 333MHz, like ADI SHARCs.
BMW had one in their E70 X5 audio system. I am sure there are more examples.

I will check at work tomorrow but I am sure there are also higher speed C out there.

Erm, you realize this is talking specifically about engine micro-controllers right?

Re:Not true (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220468)

There are digital signal processors in production for years which go up to 333MHz, like ADI SHARCs.
BMW had one in their E70 X5 audio system. I am sure there are more examples.

I will check at work tomorrow but I am sure there are also higher speed C out there.

The device in the article is a microcontroller that runs at 125MHz. While there is research to merge the two functions, DSP processors and microcontrollers are not generally considered to be in the same product category, so unless there's another microcontroller out there that beats this one, the article is correct.

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220560)

There are digital signal processors in production for years which go up to 333MHz, like ADI SHARCs.
BMW had one in their E70 X5 audio system. I am sure there are more examples.

I will check at work tomorrow but I am sure there are also higher speed C out there.

The device in the article is a microcontroller that runs at 125MHz. While there is research to merge the two functions, DSP processors and microcontrollers are not generally considered to be in the same product category, so unless there's another microcontroller out there that beats this one, the article is correct.

This is BS. We have been putting 200MHz uCs in ours for several years now.

Re:Not true (1)

IB4Student (1885914) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220610)

My GPS system and display has a pretty decent CPU in it, too. Oh, and a 3.2 Ghz Triple core CPU: http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/12494/Suzuki-SXBox-Xbox-360-Concept-Car-Pictures/ [teamxbox.com]

Re:Not true (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220984)

My GPS system and display has a pretty decent CPU in it, too.
Oh, and a 3.2 Ghz Triple core CPU:
http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/12494/Suzuki-SXBox-Xbox-360-Concept-Car-Pictures/ [teamxbox.com]

Please do not compare engine ECU processors to GPS interface processors. The GPS units do not have runtime requirements (just like in Windows). The ECUs have to make some calculations at very small reccurence. Missing such a timing can have dezastruous effects. Think about this: and engine at 8000rpm will complete one rotation in 7.5ms. So the better control you have over the injectors and spark plugs, the better fuel efficiency you can get from one burning cycle. While a diesel will probably not reach 8000rpm, just think about this: a fuel injection cycle has 3 stages, pre-injection, injection and post-injection. In the pre- and post-injection the fuel quantity is pretty small compared to the injection phase, but all this is done during half of rotation (maybe a little more, as I don't know about the advance). So at 5000rpm (at which some diesels cut fuel), you have 12ms for one rotation, that means 6ms for making 3 separate injections. And you also have to monitor many sensors to prevent some damages. If you would rely on windows (even CE), you would kill you engine pretty quickly.

And what they are talking about is currnet products (released engine). I can tell you that they are already working on a 133MHz processor which can also run at 180MHz (Infineon Tricore 1782). But projects based on these will probably not see the day in 2011.

Also, if you compare a core2duo, you should be aware that we are talking about less than 1W microcontrollers. Also processors which are rated for 15 year in 125 C ambiental conditions. Your C2D would have tripped the shutdown signal long before your engine was getting warm, as it's around 100C at junction level, not ambiental.

Should be (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220422)

128 MHz should be enough for every car.

Re:Should be (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220814)

Who and why settled on such round number?

Is that the best they could do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220424)

Fancy Mars Spacecraft. [wikipedia.org]
Launched several years ago with a faster processor (133MHz!), more storage, and a worse environment.

Re:Is that the best they could do? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220576)

And didn't have to compete on commodity cost. Your point?

not fastest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220428)

my car's built in GPS is probably more than 128mhz so I don't think that's the highest automotive CPU

Re:not fastest (4, Informative)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220470)

Your GPS unit is not an "automotive cpu"... It is a consumer product fitted into a car.

The automative processor is what controls your fuel injection, ABS and other such functions.

There is a world of difference between the two.

Re:not fastest (1)

Macman408 (1308925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220652)

And how is the environment of a built-in GPS really significantly different from the ECU? Both are subject to the same dirty power supply, the same environmental extremes, and longer-than CE durability (eg 3-year+ warranty versus 1 for CE, typically). Perhaps it's not expected to be fail-safe, and perhaps it's not a huge deal if it dies after 8 years instead of 15, but I bet it's still built for automotive specifications. Heck, the NVIDIA Tegra is getting used in Audis now; that could be up to 700 MHz or more, though it's possible they might underclock it for better reliability and thermal tolerance.

Re:not fastest (3, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220684)

And how is the environment of a built-in GPS really significantly different from the ECU? [...] Perhaps it's not expected to be fail-safe...

But that's the whole point, isn't it? Your vehicle isn't a useless lump of metal and plastic if your GPS unit fails.

Re:not fastest (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220826)

Ummm...they are so different it's disgusting. Automotive CPUs have to be mil-spec specifications with industrial reliability. It has to be when the consequences of failure can easily lead to death. If your whiz-bang dodad of a GPS unit fails they don't have to worry about your engine's timing being spot on every time, every second, of every day, autocorrecting continually to keep it from throwing a rod, and all but killing the engine, or brakes suddenly not responding correctly.

Oh, and your GPS unit doesn't get hit by the dirty power supply correctly if made right. The power hits a conversion to the internal battery the unit then pulls from. Of which, you can still kill those hokey little GPS units real easy from those dirty power sources cars provide. Thankfully your going to have a 5-10amp fuse keeping things from going sizzle sizzle.

Re:not fastest (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220870)

And how is the environment of a built-in GPS really significantly different from the ECU? Both are subject to the same dirty power supply, the same environmental extremes, ...

You are correct up to the environmental conditions. The ECU is in the engine compartment and must withstand operational temperatures during the summer that can reach ~200 F. Your GPS may hit 200, but it will be off.

Measurement Fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220442)

260 degrees (127C) and down to -40 degrees (-40C)

Um what?

Re:Measurement Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220454)

Those conversions are correct you idiot. Durrr math is hard.

Re:Measurement Fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220502)

Durr, I was referring to redundancy duuurr

Re:Measurement Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220662)

durrr it would be inappropriate to exclude one of the figures. They both must be present for consistencies sake. Communication is hard durrrrr. fuck head.

Re:Measurement Fail (4, Informative)

jx100 (453615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220462)

-40F is equal to -40C

Re:Measurement Fail (1)

kerobaros (683745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220482)

Considering the ECU is, most often, mounted in the engine bay, both are temperatures the controller could experience.

Re:Measurement Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220624)

most of the ones i've seen have been mounted inside the car, either in some kick panel or under the seat/floorboard... hondas/mazdas anyway

30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220444)

Today while I was filling up my 2003 Corolla with gas, a guy drove up to the next pump in his 1952 MG convertible. Which gets 30MPG. My Corolla gets 27MPG.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (2, Insightful)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220466)

I hope that's 27 city, because jesus christ, either there's something wrong with your car or there's something wrong with you.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (4, Insightful)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220496)

His 1952 MG also crumples up like a soda can in an accident, whereas your Corolla is stuffed to the gills with crumple zones, traction-control gizmos, and eight thousand-odd computer-controlled airbags. On the other hand, it also weighs twice as much as the MG and handles like it, so good luck avoiding an accident that he could.

On the bright side, you probably don't have to keep a fire extinguisher in your car to put out the daily wiring harness fires.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220524)

You forgot to mentio is also has Positive Earth. As much as I miss my MG, I don't miss the English "Engineered" electricals.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220712)

On the other hand, it also weighs twice as much as the MG and handles like it, so good luck avoiding an accident that he could.

Handling might not necessarily follow greater weight like that - a lot of old cars had quite horrible one; suspensions/brakes/etc. greatly improved over the decades, plus now some electronic aid might help you out.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (3, Interesting)

Loualbano2 (98133) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220746)

"On the other hand, it also weighs twice as much as the MG and handles like it, so good luck avoiding an accident that he could."

The Corolla probably handles better. See this article about an autocross race between an 2003 Honda Odyssey, a 60's Porsche 356 and a 60's Jag XKE.

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/soccer-moms-revenge/ [grassroots...sports.com]

ft

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (2, Insightful)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220898)

"His 1952 MG also crumples up like a soda can in an accident"

His 1952 MG also has a chassis, so I doubt it will crumple like a soda can.

Chassis, something modern cars do not have.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (2, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34221018)

I have a much newer 1975 MGB and it got hit by a pontiac 6000. There was antifreeze all over the ground where the cars made contact and the women said she was sorry for breaking my cute car and making it leak. I opened the trunk to make sure the spare antifreeze was still in its bottle and it was. The only damage the accident caused my car was it realigned the frame. The impact also fixed the trunk light switch some how and another light started working again so my car came out better. Her car had to be towed away.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220690)

Today while I was filling up my 2003 Corolla with gas, a guy drove up to the next pump in his 1952 MG convertible. Which gets 30MPG. My Corolla gets 27MPG.

I was at a car show today, marveling over the newest crop of hybrids that get up to 41mpg. Wow! My 2001 Jetta TDI (diesel) just delivered 46mpg on a road trip a few weeks ago, and my car is in _rough_ shape.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (1)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220756)

Today while I was filling up my 2003 Corolla with gas, a guy drove up to the next pump in his 1952 MG convertible. Which gets 30MPG. My Corolla gets 27MPG.

I was at a car show today, marveling over the newest crop of hybrids that get up to 41mpg. Wow! My 2001 Jetta TDI (diesel) just delivered 46mpg on a road trip a few weeks ago, and my car is in _rough_ shape.

Yes thats about right a diesel engine is really fuel efficient which is why trucks use it.
I think I read somewhere diesel fuel gives about 30% more energy compared to the same amount of petrol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency [wikipedia.org]

Hybrids real reason for development was to meet California's emissions laws the that fact you get similar fuel economy to a diesel is a bonus.
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/solutions/advanced_vehicles_and_fuels/ca-zev.html [ucsusa.org]
http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/background.htm [ca.gov]

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34221030)

Yes thats about right a diesel engine is really fuel efficient which is why trucks use it.

I'm not sure that "efficient" is the correct term for a diesel cycle engine. The diesel cycle itself is less efficient. The thing is a gallon of diesel fuel contains 30% more energy than a gallon of petrol.

Re:30MPG 1952 MG Convertible (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220800)

Does the 1952 MG have aircon, soundproofing, safety structure, rear seats...?

He may get 30mpg but most people wouldn't want it.

PS: I've seen the doors pop open on those things when you go round corners too fast.

YO DAWG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220456)

Obligatory:

Yo dawg, we heard you like to drive, so we replaced your 128 MHz GM CPU with an Intel Core i7-980X 3.6 gHz processor so you can simulate driving while you drive.

-40? (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220460)

Only -40? How do new cars do in REAL cold, anyway?

Re:-40? (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220518)

I have to agree here - I mean, I spent a year out in Saskatchewan, and it definitely got colder than -40 outside...

Re:-40? (2, Insightful)

Squeeself (729802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220554)

While the engine is running though? Show me someplace that gets 260F for that high end. It's talking engine temperature, which will likely stop working at low enough temperatures regardless of cpu when things actually do freeze...And when the engine is working, will keep warm enough to run properly anyway.

Re:-40? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220692)

I have to agree here - I mean, I spent a year out in Saskatchewan, and it definitely got colder than -40 outside...

If they built a car specifically for Saskatchewan winters, they would overclock it to run at twice the speed with no concerns of overheating.

Re:-40? (1)

(TiC)ShAdGhOsT (740092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220584)

I live in a place where -40 is regular each year, and most of the time the colder it gets the less people drive, not only that imbetween all of the heating elements that you plug in every night i am sure the computer is never truly that cold (and never had a car not start due to computer that was too cold)

Re:-40? (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220590)

Your never going to start the car with the engine at -40 though. A block heater will be more than enough to warm up the ambient temp in the engine bay I would think.

Re:-40? (2, Interesting)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220656)

Uh, yeah, you are. Sometimes you've got to park all day someplace without power outlets.

It's bad for the engine, and a bad habit to get into, but on older cars (good ones, anyway), you could, assuming a good charge on the battery and the starting system in good working order, start them at LEAST as cold as -50F, without block heaters.. (That being the coldest I ever did it.)

Re:-40? (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220762)

True. I've started a vehicle in such temperatures without a block heater.

Re:-40? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220916)

You can't run an engine that's a -40. It will not work. You keep it warm, and start it. Once it's running it keeps warm.

And Wind chill doesn't effect the engine. So we are talking about it actually being 40 below. Not a large customer demographic.

Re:-40? (1)

shking (125052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220974)

In a large part of Canada (from the north of Lake Superior to the Rockies) you can guarantee at least a couple of days below -40 every winter... for real, with no wind chill fakery

Made to last (1, Funny)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220488)

So... 3 years or 25 000 miles...

Made to last... (3, Funny)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220494)

3 years or 25 000 miles...

Flash ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220680)

128mhz and 3mb stockage ? Does this mean that there will be no Flash support on the 2011 Buick Regal ?

Time to burn some karma (-1)

iinlane (948356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220714)

Maybe he was referring to US auto industry; they still build pushrod engines with carburetors. I seriously doubt that Nissan GT-R relies on 128MHz processors.

Re:Time to burn some karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220760)

Name one new US car with a carburetor.

Re:Time to burn some karma (2, Insightful)

RalphP (1039404) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220778)

I agree with AC - name one current (2010 or 2011) American vehicle (I'll even grant trucks, including the over the road tractors!) with a carburetor. As a matter of fact, name one made since 1999 ...

Re:Time to burn some karma (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220926)

And I just ran out of points. darn

-1 ignorant. If memory serves, the nissan GT-R processor is 20MHz RISC.

Re:Time to burn some karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220992)

carburetors

No.

That's what happens when you use UAW labor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220738)

No money left for decent parts.

All we really care about. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220774)

Will it run Crysis?

Re:All we really care about. (1)

yanyan (302849) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220786)

Does it run Linux?

Re:All we really care about. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220966)

It probably won't. Most ECU's have a very small RTOS, usually based on OSEK or AUTOSAR standard.

Many more computers needed, add on to existing (1)

beachdog (690633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220794)

Sure a car can have computers, even my 93 Dodge has some kind of controller.

Hey we could have another TCP/IP type revolution here... add layers and gain functionality.

What is needed is to connect existing automobiles to an autonomous vehicle interface. The autonomous vehicle interface would provide a connection point for an autonomous vehicle computer to be attached.

The autonomous vehicle computer would query the interface device and get a description response of all the controls and sensors available. The interface would organize and scale the data available from the car. The interface would convert autonomous vehicle computer data into the signals expected by the devices attached to the automobile.

Think of the autonomous vehicle interface as an Arduino Mega that is wired into whatever the vehicle has available. The interface would be like interaction with a python interpreter.

Now the autonomous vehicle computer, think of that as a Linux netbook running a variety of programs for the car. There could be add on sensor devices attached to the autonomous vehicle computer. Like a GPS, a data cell phone and a 802.g wireless connection to nearby vehicles and 802.g radio equipped traffic devices.

http://lessco2essay.blogspot.com/2010/11/proposal-for-autonomous-vehicle.html [blogspot.com]

So what to do with such a modification: Completely end drunk driving accidents. Reduce the kWh per 100 passenger-kilometres. Do aggressive dynamic insured and paid ride sharing.
Dramatically reduce distracted driving damage. Reduce direct fuel use by coasting up to stoplights. All of this with existing vehicles.

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c20/page_118.shtml [cam.ac.uk]

The exciting part of doing AVT autonomous vehicle technology like this is: It is not proprietary and locked up in islands of make and model specific functionality. Some aspects of AVT can be backported to most older cars and real energy and safety benefits accrued.

Sounds like plenty to me... (3, Interesting)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220818)

Three meg of flash memory and 128MHz clock speed doesn't sound like a lot in terms of computing power

Guess that depends on your point of view, a car travelling 360Km/Hr is travelling 100m/s, so in a millisecond travels 10cm or about 4 inches. Assuming one instruction per clock cycle you can do a lot of useful stuff with 128,000 instructions, or put another way probably about one million for every revolution of the wheel

3MB of FLASH is huge as well when you aren't loading a lot of crap like multimedia, not that it would run Linux but I just took a look at the last kernel I built for an embedded platform and it came in under 2MB with quite a generous set of modules loaded.

OCing? (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220834)

I overclocked mine to 350 using an extra heatsink.

For the life of the vehicle... (2, Funny)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220858)

Since we are talking about GM, I guess they could put in an uncooled Athlon XP. That would best match the CPU MTBF to the useful life of the vehicle.

You should actually watch this talk ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220908)

Watch this talk ... it is eye opening ...

http://win-dms-ms1.caltech.edu/five/Viewer/?peid=f2da15a3da764d1aa5d968568b739069

x

about vehicle entertainment systems (1)

Flector (1702640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220924)

Where's the blu-ray disk player that has thousands of mp3's in a disposable format?

Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34220952)

Ugh, watched the video on that site.. some people either need to prepare what they are going to say, or just do retakes.. Also the interference mentioned in the clip sounds like bull, a psp is not going to interfere with an iphone and viceversa.
How ever it's pretty cool that we have tough freescale processors, wonder why they didn't use arm.

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