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In-Car Technology Becoming More Important Than Horsepower

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the windshield-doubles-as-a-screen-for-a-driving-sim dept.

Security 344

Gunkerty Jeb writes "It seems, and I think a lot of people have prophesied this for some time, that in-car features like internet radio and assisted driving technologies are surpassing horsepower, handling and design as automotive selling points. I just hope manufacturers have put in the time to consider all the security dangers that exist in owning internet synthesized cars."

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I get it now (3, Insightful)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796320)

Well that explains why Acuras suddenly became so damned ugly.

Re:I get it now (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796736)

It certainly has. I'm reminded of a very catchy ad [youtube.com] with a pretty face and cool music (Pa Belar) utterly spoiled by an astoundingly ugly car.

But Maybe because the Accura is "internet synthesized"?

Just what the hell does that mean anyway? Did the submitter mean synchronized?

How does one "synthesize a car", and assuming you can do such, how do you use the internet to do it without using robotic welders, assembly plants, and actual real engines, tires, etc.

Re:I get it now (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796844)

Ya well, that's Honda for you. All of their cars look lame now. And just when I was hoping for a re-release of the 2nd gen CRX Si(R), they provided an underpowered bastardization version of it in the form of a hybrid called the CRZ.

For budget thrills, Mazda is the only player left in town. How sad the auto industry has become.

Re:I get it now (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796888)

As a guy who's owned 3 CRX's and still has 1 of them, I can say they should'a named the new one CRY. What an underpowered dog.

Re:I get it now (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797150)

So your saying the Y chromosome is an underpowered dog compare the the X chromosome?

Though i happen to agree with you.

Re:I get it now (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797148)

Most makes are designed to gradually upsell you. So they degrade their lowest-end cars, which makes them more "affordable" but eats the quality out of them, over a period of about 10 years. They trade customer loyalty & brand recognition for margin:
Toyota -> Lexus
Ford upsells you to their larger vehicles
VW -> any of the German makes (Audi if they can hook you)

But Honda? I really don't know what they're trying to do. Their Acura line seems to be all of its luxury as they refocus downward. What that means for their Accord / Civic / Odyssey / CR-V, can't be good. Maybe they're gradually becoming the new Toyota? (Now that Toyota is becoming so focused on Electrics.) I feel like they lost their way when they let VW take a big chunk out of their marketshare.

Assisted driving tech saves lives (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796344)

And what's wrong with assisted driving technology? It saves lives!

The technology that assists the driver of a modern car drive it safely is amazing. Radar assisted cruise control helps avoid driver frustration because their speed doesn't match the speed of the car ahead of them. Blind spot systems that watch the corners of your vehicle you can't see out the windows and in the mirrors. Backup cameras to avoid running over your children in the driveway. Collision avoidance warning indicators flash a simple red light bar and sound a tone to startle the driver in the event of an impending collision. Head up displays help to keep eyes on the road. Traction control helps avoids spinouts. Stability control helps avoid rollovers. Antilock brakes help stop shorter and quicker. Pre-charged brakes help stop suddenly if the driver isn't assertive enough when attempting to avoid a collision. Voice control to operate the technology without removing your hands from the wheel or eyes from the road.

And then there are the tech features designed to improve survivability of an accident. Pretensioning seat belts. Adaptive airbags. Autodialing 911.

All those mean much more to Soccermom Sally than the difference between 225HP and 235HP. Yes, the gearheads want their superchargers, and they're available too. But the market sells to everyone, not just the Top Gear enthusiasts. And a lot more paying customers value safety and comfort over raw horsepower numbers.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796500)

There was a car commercial on the radio today (actually a dealer commercial) touting one of their cars as having automatic high beams. That pretty much interested me. I love my self-dimming rearview mirror, too bad the outside morrors don't have that tech (I hate being in fron of one of those damned bigassed pickup trucks with the headlights at the same heights as a sedan user's eyes).

Most of this stuff ISN'T a security risk; the keyless entry and strating are the only two I can think of (covered here yesterday).

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796958)

Automatic highbeams only help if the OTHER GUY buys them.

It will take 20 years for that technology to be the norm, unfortunately.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796992)

The jury is still out for me. I'm tempted to not use the auto high beams any more. They don't work nearly as well as you might hope. They go to high beam just fine, but they don't dim themselves as early as I would choose to do so, and I find I'm constantly overriding them.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797044)

I remember Mercury Cougars in the late 80's/early 90's had autodim headlights. They had this huge bulky photosensor between the rearview mirror and the windshield.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

whitehaint (1883260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796678)

Assisted driving technology, such as ABS and similar things are good. Cameras, radar and such only keep idiot drivers from having to pay attention. Blind spots? Most can be avoided by using a simple shoulder check. Self parking cars? Your a damn idiot. Performance and handling of a car are much more important than being able to plug your ipod into your car and being able to find the nearest restaurant. Live dangerously and drive down the road and see what is there!

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796738)

Cameras, radar and such only keep idiot drivers from having to pay attention. Blind spots? Most can be avoided by using a simple shoulder check.

Since these people are going to be driving anyway, why would you be against giving them things that make it less likely that they are going to kill someone? To live in a world where everyone is a perfect driver is just never going to exist. If some safety feature can help cut down on car accidents and deaths by even a few percent is well worth it.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (2)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797144)

It's interesting you should bring up the cutting down on car accidents thing. Statistics don't bear that out. We're still having roughly the same number of wrecks as we always did, and roughly the same number of fatalities. There's an interesting book, "Traffic," by Tom Vanderbilt that explains the psychology behind that. As cars and highways become "safer," they feel safer as well. You feel safe enshrouded in a big car with airbags and driving on a wide highway that doesn't have buildings with nooks and crannies that a kid could pop out of, and so what do you do? You drive more recklessly. You speed up, you eat, you talk on the phone, etc. Conversely, if you're driving on a steep slippery mountain road in a raging snowstorm, both hands are on the wheel and you're concentrating 100% on the business of driving, because you don't feel as safe.

The book talks about how when ABS became standard, everyone thought rear-end collisions would plummet in frequency because people would be able to stop easier. They didn't, because people assume that ABS means "I can stop, so I don't have to drive as smart as I used to."

The same holds true for all the other safety systems. They work fine, but their effects are counteracted by people driving more recklessly than they did before they felt as safe in their cars.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796766)

Your a damn idiot

Have you been drinking Powerthirst? Because you are suspiciously good at IRONY!

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796834)

Yeah, yeah. You're a driving god and superior human being who would NEVER allow himself to get distracted or make a mistake. We get it. However, some of us mere mortals do appreciate the extra help these tools provide. Oh, and I like the fact that MOST blind spots can be avoided by a 'simple shoulder check'. What about the rest of them? And of course during that 'simple shoulder check' you are keeping your attention on the road in front, right? And the act of turned your head for the 'simple shoulder check' could NEVER cause you to turn the wheel in the direction you are looking, could it?

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (4, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796710)

And what's wrong with assisted driving technology? It saves lives!

It creates a false sense of security and far too many drivers see it as an absolution of responsibility.

Unintended acceleration - fault of the car, what about the driver shutting the car down or putting it in neutral or using the parking brake (gently!) ?
4-wheel drive - I see this once every winter. Some yob with all wheel drive blows past me, then promptly loses traction on all 4 wheels at a higher speed and needs to be fished out of the ditch
ABS - Better braking is good. Leaving more room and braking sooner is better still.
traction control - see 4-wheel drive
On Star - For not emergency situations having a basic toolkit, first aid kit, and enough water and blankets to survive a few hours would beat the hell out of OnStar. I do actually like this once the shit has hit the fans. Treat it like a fire alarm not a personal assistant IMO.
tire pressure sensors - Check your damned tires when you get fuel. It gets you close to your car and during that process you may spot a problem that doesn't have a sensor watching for it.

Applying power is also an acceptable response to some situations. Accident avoidance when there are cars behind you can actually be helped by a quick application of power to move the car out of the way and free up an extra few feet for other drivers to stop. Applying power and avoiding is acceptable if braking is not an option. Being able to promptly accelerate and merge instead of having traffic stack up behind on an onramp is also helpful.

I agree that technology can help and is generally beneficial, its the attitudes around its use that bother me. Its an asset or a tool not a replacement for personal responsibility when operating heavy machinery.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796882)

It creates a false sense of security

No real difference than without these features. These same drivers by SUVs because of the same false sense of security and then they go around tipping their SUVs over or generally being a nuisance to all the other drivers on the road since they are now basically a moving obstruction.

and far too many drivers see it as an absolution of responsibility.

Because stripping them of safety features is going to change this? No, it'll just mean they have no sense of responsibility and will be MORE dangerous.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797030)

No real difference than without these features.

Not exactly. [wikipedia.org]

There is evidence that all these new technologies actually cause some people to drive much more recklessly. In the case of ABS in particular, you didn't see the dramatic drop in rear end accidents promised, partly because the driver in front of you likely has ABS too, thus negating any extra time to stop, and people simply follow more closely now because they can brake faster. Several studies have shown this definitively.

In essence, all we are doing is making our cars more complicated, more expensive, less reliable, heavier, and lowering the gas mileage, with much lower benefits than advertised. The sole exception to this would be the third (center) brake light.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796906)

I agree that technology can help and is generally beneficial, its the attitudes around its use that bother me. Its an asset or a tool not a replacement for personal responsibility when operating heavy machinery.

You may feel that way, but Sally Soccermom doesn't give a damn what you think, and she's out there driving, too. As far as I can tell, she outnumbers you about 10 to 1. So anything that gives her a chance to drive safer without running me off the road in the process is a plus.

Of course, I'm not so sure I want to be sharing the road with Aaron "I don't need no safety shit to tell me how to drive" Arrogant, but I apparently have no choice in that matter, either.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796880)

whenever anybody asks me why cars today still get worse gas mileage than cars in the 80s did, i point at the curb weight of the myriad of safety features on these cars today. you know today's sedans and hell, PERFORMANCE vehicles, are over 2 tons? we'd have been laughed out of the design meetings in the 60s and 70s for suggesting that. The challenger is a portly 4200lbs... for a 2 door coupe. That's just silly.

And while I like my bells and whistles as much as the next guy, hp and performance still is my main selling point. You're not going to sell me an 85hp car.

Well, unless it weighs 600lbs.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796904)

And what's wrong with assisted driving technology? It saves lives!

Does it? Are there any hard figures to prove that?

Don't all the digital gadgets simply provide another layer of distraction and an excuse to take one's mind off the task at hand?

(I can watch this in-dash movie, yak on the bluetooth, sip my coffee, because the white line detector will alert me if I wander out of my lane, and the approaching object detector will slam on the brakes if I get too close).

These things haven't been out long enough for any traffic fatality statistics to be released yet. The jury is still out.

A cruise control with a "match car ahead" would be great for interstate driving as long as it enforced a safe following distance, but other than that, most of the features you tout allow and encourage careless driving habits.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796950)

These things haven't been out long enough for any traffic fatality statistics to be released yet. The jury is still out.

Check out this [dot.gov] link. While it isn't a true showing of a causal relationship but you can notice the general trend of Fatality Rate Per 100,000 Population and Fatality Rate Per 100,000 Licensed Drivers has almost consistently gone down year over year.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796996)

Driving assistance tech just takes drivers attention off the road where it belongs. The assume the assistance will take care of their lack of attention.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797074)

Do you have any actual statistics to show otherwise? Considering how the actual figures [dot.gov] show an almost consistent downtrend in fatal accidents per 100,000 population, per 100,000 licensed drivers and per 100,000 Registered Vehicles. And yes, yes, one can not account everything towards safety features, but to try to claim that they have no net positive effect is completely asinine unless you have some sort of alternate explanation for why those per capita figures show a ~30%, ~22%, and ~31% drop over a 15 year period.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797004)

And what's wrong with assisted driving technology? It saves lives!

The technology that assists the driver of a modern car drive it safely is amazing. Radar assisted cruise control helps avoid driver frustration because their speed doesn't match the speed of the car ahead of them. Blind spot systems that watch the corners of your vehicle you can't see out the windows and in the mirrors. Backup cameras to avoid running over your children in the driveway. Collision avoidance warning indicators flash a simple red light bar and sound a tone to startle the driver in the event of an impending collision. Head up displays help to keep eyes on the road. Traction control helps avoids spinouts. Stability control helps avoid rollovers. Antilock brakes help stop shorter and quicker. Pre-charged brakes help stop suddenly if the driver isn't assertive enough when attempting to avoid a collision. Voice control to operate the technology without removing your hands from the wheel or eyes from the road.

And then there are the tech features designed to improve survivability of an accident. Pretensioning seat belts. Adaptive airbags. Autodialing 911.

All those mean much more to Soccermom Sally than the difference between 225HP and 235HP. Yes, the gearheads want their superchargers, and they're available too. But the market sells to everyone, not just the Top Gear enthusiasts. And a lot more paying customers value safety and comfort over raw horsepower numbers.

Can you imagine the havoc from the first Buffer overflow that allows a remote user to control the vehicle... All by leveraging the radio controls built into the steering wheel...

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797020)

All that fancy stuff is great until it fails or you rent/borrow/buy a car that doesn't have it. We shouldn't need radar assisted cruise or collision avoidance because we should be paying attention. We shouldn't need blind spot systems because if you're not too lazy to turn your head you don't have blind spots (and that's not even going into the "mirrors out" technique which eliminates blindspots with just the mirrors). Backup cameras I'll give you - They're great for parking when there's a pole or a wall behind your spot, because the ass end of modern cars is so freaking high that you can't see properly.

Traction control/ stability assist is great, until you're expecting the car to behave a certain way and stability assist decides to mess with your head. Those of us who take driving more seriously than most know what cars do in the snow. We set up our turns to compensate for the extra understeer we get in the slick. And then the damned nannymachine pops on and suddenly we're oversteering, swearing, and cursing the cow-like public who's shitty driving skills necessitate such things. And that's in a car with good TCS/ESC like my 07 TL. The '11 Escape I drive for work just slams on the brakes for its ESC. I've almost been rearended several times thanks to its shenanigans. And no, it's not just that car, because we've got 8 of them and they all do it.

I do like voice control for the reason you listed (and because it's cool) and I like GPS because I'm otherwise very good at getting lost. But those aren't driving-interference systems. ECS/TCS/ABS/etc are. It's nice to bring a shitty driver up to some semblance of competence with machinery, but the machinery can't match a good driver, so it brings those who are down in competence.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797132)

Antilock brakes help stop shorter and quicker.

False.

ABS only makes stops shorter and quicker on dry surfaces. However, on loose traction surfaces (gravel, snow, wet leaves, etc), ABS actually *increases* the braking distance fairly considerably. In this case, you are giving up braking distance for more control. (See here: http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/Other/RACV%20ABS%20braking%20system%20effectiveness.pdf [monash.edu.au] )

Personally, however, I would rather have a low braking distance. I hate ABS. Almost caused me to die one time when I slid out on a patch of ice and, when I went to hit my brakes, they ABS kicked in and I didn't stop where I should have. Instead, I rolled right into the middle of an intersection with a couple cars coming at me fast.

Re:Assisted driving tech saves lives (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797142)

All those mean much more to Soccermom Sally than the difference between 225HP and 235HP. Yes, the gearheads want their superchargers, and they're available too. But the market sells to everyone, not just the Top Gear enthusiasts. And a lot more paying customers value safety and comfort over raw horsepower numbers.

Gearheads pay more attention to the power-to-weight ratio than they do the actual bhp that the engine produces. Case in point, the car I just recently bought (as in, I put the deposit down yesterday, and take delivery when it arrives from Japan) has less horsepower than some of the other options I had, but it's got a better power:weight ratio, more torque, and a shorter wheelbase for more agile handling. On paper, it'll go 0-100km/h in under 4.5s, and I did it in about 7s on gravel during the test drive. And it's available with a manual transmission. All of those add up to a car that's more fun to drive, when/if I take it out to have fun, and are the kinds of things that gearheads look for in a car. (along with the ability to turn traction control off)

But like most modern cars, it also has a lot of safety options in it. As you say, they're good selling points, but any self-respecting car manufacturer puts them in every car they make these days... I bought a Subaru Impreza, which is the cheapest car they make, and I'm still looking at bluetooth, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, front- and side-impact airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock vented disc brakes, traction control, stability program, and assisted braking. Admittedly I didn't get the base model, but of the above the bluetooth and steering-wheel mounted audio controls are the only options that don't come with the base. I had to look very hard to find a manufacturer that didn't have all of the above in every car I was looking at... in fact, none of the cars I looked at when I was shopping around lacked any of the above safety features. It's just taken as a given: at least one of the manufacturers I looked at didn't even list some of the safety features because they assumed everybody has it. (there is, for example, no point in mentionning that your new car has keyless entry and an alarm/immobilizer: they're required by law.)

TFA isn't talking about safety technology though. It's talking about stuff like Microsoft Sync (which Ford puts in their cars, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't trust Microsoft not to crash, and don't want it anywhere near my car ^.~), in-dash DVD players, game consoles, Internet connectivity, SatNav, and the like. Those, I think you'll probably agree, reduce driver safety by providing one more distraction, not the other way around.

This is a good thing, in the long run. (2)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796362)

In the short run, this leads to distracted drivers, which is bad... ...but in the long run, this takes us ever closer to self driving cars and removing humans from behind the wheel.

Whoever wants to drive manually in my utopian future can do so on a track, for what I care. People kill too many innocent other people by being stupid behind the wheel.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796422)

What a good job cars that drive themselves will never really be a realistic prospect. It's just plain too complex to get a computer to respond safely to the changing conditions on roads. Yes, you can make a car that can drive itself around quiet streets and even park itself. Yes, you can make an autonomous 4x4 that can race up a quiet hill track faster than a human driver. You're in your autonomous car, with another car a little close behind when an oncoming car swerves into your lane to avoid debris, just as an obstruction (let's say, a bloody great stag) jumps in front of your car. Which way does the computer steer? Hit the brakes so you get rear-ended? Head for the weeds?

Welcome to real-world driving.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (2)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796578)

The current auto-drive stuff Google is testing will handle much of what you describe. And current humans are already quite bad at handling the rest of it, as the complexity and speed of it unfolding does overwhelm many of them.

I don't think it would be any worse than many of the regular drivers out there, and far better than most cell phone users or drunks.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797054)

Actually, NO, the current stuff google is testing handles uneventful driving on carefully selected courses.

It still drives thru every pothole, can not handle sudden avoidance maneuvers safely, and has no clue about the child running toward the street from behind a row of parked cars, can't get out of the way of emergency vehicles, or even anticipate the jet-wash of a passing semi.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796582)

Why can't the computer in your vehicle be communicating with the computers in the vehicles around it? There is no reason that a sufficiently advanced program couldn't anticipate such a scenario and avoid it altogether.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796598)

Because they still won't be able to anticipate changing road conditions as well as a human. You'd just have all the cars in the surrounding 500 metres suddenly having a shitfit.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796914)

But like I said, cars are perfectly capable of communicating with each other in order to resolve conflicting interests and they can react far faster then any human could ever hope to. Not only that, but a computer wouldn't panic and "freeze up" when confronted with a dangerous situation.

Actually I would argue that a program can anticipate a dangerous situation better then a human because humans can only track a small number of things simultaneously and can be easily distracted.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797046)

But like I said, cars are perfectly capable of communicating with each other in order to resolve conflicting interests and they can react far faster then any human could ever hope to.

Ha-ha-ha... yes, because every car on the road will actually be communicating and everyone will be using the same standard and none of them will be sending bad data and there'll be nothing on the road other than magic communicating cars.

The real reason this won't happen is because the car manufacturers will be sued to hell every time a super-safe automatic car kills someone.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797072)

Changing road conditions? Don't you mean unchanging tunnel conditions? If humankind gets technology to the point that all travel can be automated, then subterranean will be the way to go, as you don't have to worry about flow rates or disruptions caused by accidents.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796862)

Chicken-and-egg.

At the moment, even if every car manufacturer made all of their cars with such a system and every consumer were forced to buy it on any new car, it would be over half a decade before there was a 50/50 chance the car who just tried to pull out in front of you had a computer yours could honk at.

The best systems are independently defensive and merely informative to those around you (they don't depend on the people around you to act).

Then, of course, there's the notion of hacking.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796866)

Except for the stag. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have an onboard computer (yet). Never the less, I agree in general. A computer (at least not the current models and likely not for some years to come) is unlikely to be able to drive with the level of skill and awareness of the best drivers, but as your sibling points out they're likely even now to be able to be close as good as the average driver. More to the point they can drive as well as an average driver consistently. Even the best human drivers are not at their best every time they sit behind the wheel. They get distracted, tired, hungry, or bored.

Add in a smart road grid that can talk to the cars and manage traffic flow, cars that can talk to each other to negotiate following distance, lanes and speed, and GPS to make sure it's all happening where it's supposed to... You could be talking revolutionary levels of driving safety. On the other hand we're no where near there yet, and if we got there we'd also have a mountain of privacy issues to work through. Nothing is ever simple :-)

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796778)

Hit the brakes, and tell the computer in the car behind you to do the same. Also, the car behind you was using radar-assisted cruise control, so it actually wasn't tailgating you.

Obstacles like deer, weather, falling trees, etc. are far less dangerous than the other people on the road. If you can get the rest of them to drive safely and react reliably and quickly, then things like deer are much easier to handle.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796782)

Welcome to real-world driving.

Which a lot of current human drivers are pretty bad at currently.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796434)

That's a great idea, then you will only be able to drive your car to government approved destinations, or at least the government will know when you drive your car to "inappropriate" destinations.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796606)

The government doesn't care if your car is at an inappropriate destination. They already can see if your cell phone is there.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796620)

In the short run, this leads to distracted drivers, which is bad... ...but in the long run, this takes us ever closer to self driving cars and removing humans from behind the wheel.

Whoever wants to drive manually in my utopian future can do so on a track, for what I care. People kill too many innocent other people by being stupid behind the wheel.

In the long run it keeps us in the electronics industry employed. Thank you automotive sector and your army of customers! I like all the fancy beer that I drink and the continuation of my mortgage payments, although I can't quite understand why you need a backup camera, a GPS, or an electric drivetrain that is a net polluter.

As far as distracted driving goes, I never pay attention to the road anyways, often zoning out for half an hour at a time. It's fine.

Re:This is a good thing, in the long run. (1)

box4831 (1126771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797114)

As far as distracted driving goes, I never pay attention to the road anyways, often zoning out for half an hour at a time. It's fine.

I tend to do most of my slashdot postings from my smartphone on the road and I have never wrec

D'uh? (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796366)

You think a normal person cares about horsepower? Or top speed for that matter? Even handling is a bit borderline. You're going to be as driving as fast as you feel comfortable in that situation. If I live in a built up area I don't need an engine that could accelerate a car to lightspeeds.

But the 'techy' stuff is cool.

Re:D'uh? (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796472)

The only thing I care about is automation. Until I can type in a desired destination and take a nap or read a book until I get there, I don't care about any other innovations.

Re:D'uh? (1)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796662)

You think a normal person cares about horsepower? Or top speed for that matter? Even handling is a bit borderline. You're going to be as driving as fast as you feel comfortable in that situation. If I live in a built up area I don't need an engine that could accelerate a car to lightspeeds.

But the 'techy' stuff is cool.

I would agree with you except that people with social lives like sports, cars, and cats, often combining their passions together, or using one to get the others, or falling back on one, when the others aren't working. It is normal for a person to have a fetish about technology that is car-centric.

Re:D'uh? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796706)

Well, good mid-range acceleration is nice to have. It makes a car feel responsive. Although even that's not important for someone who does nearly all their driving in the city. Then I agree. You just want a car that's pleasant to be inside.

Re:D'uh? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797006)

As an owner of a 2004 toyota echo, I crave the 5x more POWAH that the bmw 1 series M will bring me:)

Droid/iPhone (1)

KevMar (471257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796380)

They need to just focus on smartphone integration. The people craving these features are the early adopters that already have a smartphone. You can get navigation and internet radio with that already.

And No Onstar is at the top of my list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796394)

I won't be buying any cars with Onstar in them.

You forgot rims. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796408)

Big, fat, 25" rims... as in, "yo, we herd u like rimz, so we put rimz inside your rimz" rims.

Re:You forgot rims. (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796468)

Big, fat, 25" rims... as in, "yo, we herd u like rimz, so we put rimz inside your rimz" rims.

I still see spinners more often than I should. Glad the neon craze has passed.

Re:You forgot rims. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796784)

Don't worry, it'll be replaced by an even stupider craze.

Re:You forgot rims. (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796922)

Don't worry, it'll be replaced by an even stupider craze.

Like when the electric cars are required to make noise to warn pedestrians and people start using sounds from their computers and phones instead of fake engine noise?

Depends on what exactly you're lumping together (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796412)

Horsepower? Sure, I've never cared much about that (most cars are "good enough" for my needs). Handling and "design", though? Not so much. Somehow I can't picture handling being less important than dicking around on twitter, or whatever.

Re:Depends on what exactly you're lumping together (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796494)

The only time I see horsepower becoming important is in a post-apocalyptic society, when I need to be able to out-run the other guy and also put a cow-guard on my car and drive through another guy's vehicle, cutting it in half.

Re:Depends on what exactly you're lumping together (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796618)

Horsepower used to be a big deal, when people didn't have nearly as much of it. Nowadays even a tiny 4 banger will get you to highway speeds in reasonable time (barring some exceptional cases) so it's not much of a concern. Our speed limits aren't going to go up anytime soon. That's why car makers are now scrambling to differentiate themselves some other way.

Tell that to my Beloved! (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796440)

I like all the comforts of home in my F250 (no, I do not own a farm, but I am a truck gal) and my guy makes sure everything works, even things I did not know were broken :)

I get uncomfortable when things approach too much tech, like Gunkerty Jeb notes. Over the life of this relationship, I have learned a lot that I should have known anyway about vehicles. Like "the good old days" when a wire went to a switch that controlled a solenoid or a motor, instead of going to a computer that controls everything until it doesn't and you still have a switch and a motor to replace when they die.

Him, horsepower is king. He cares about the shine, heat and AC in his trucks and is always messing with something to get more horsepower.

Re:Tell that to my Beloved! (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796696)

I like all the comforts of home in my F250 (no, I do not own a farm, but I am a truck gal) and my guy makes sure everything works, even things I did not know were broken :)

I get uncomfortable when things approach too much tech, like Gunkerty Jeb notes. Over the life of this relationship, I have learned a lot that I should have known anyway about vehicles. Like "the good old days" when a wire went to a switch that controlled a solenoid or a motor, instead of going to a computer that controls everything until it doesn't and you still have a switch and a motor to replace when they die.

Him, horsepower is king. He cares about the shine, heat and AC in his trucks and is always messing with something to get more horsepower.

Yeah this article is probably not taking into account the truck driving gals in the world who have husbands that also drive trucks.

Now if the article was about the number of truck drivin' ladies with husbands who also drive big ol' trucks? I imagine that % would be very high indeed

Also probably a sign of the times, the article only really mentions one "truck"; the 2012 Explorer, which may not qualify as a "real truck" with you or your Gravedigger drivin' man.

Re:Tell that to my Beloved! (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796892)

He likes working on Explorers in his shop, just not in his own driveway :) Oh, we are not married yet but hardly anybody can tell the difference these days.

Re:Tell that to my Beloved! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796874)

I didn't know the FBI drove trucks! Imagine that..

Re:Tell that to my Beloved! (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797050)

I didn't know the FBI drove trucks! Imagine that..

Hopefully the only female body beloved is inspecting is mine. Maybe I need to visit VS for some insurance.

Re:Tell that to my Beloved! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796920)

I get uncomfortable when things approach too much tech

Er, what are you doing here, then? And with a truck that big, you really NEED horsepower (and lots of money for gasoline)

Re:Tell that to my Beloved! (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797018)

I get uncomfortable when things approach too much tech

Er, what are you doing here, then? And with a truck that big, you really NEED horsepower (and lots of money for gasoline)

Oh, paleeze! It is not a /. requirement that every person on here have a 3D HUD in their vehicle. All that horsepower will come in really handy when I tow something really heavy with that tow thingie in back. If you can't afford the gas, you can't afford the truck ;)

I can't wait for spring, I need to wax the bed.

Cars aren't about transport anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796452)

I always thought cars had more to do with sex than getting from A to B, ergo we've just found some more socially acceptable and ecologically friendly way to get laid.

My bicycle works quite fine, except for the not-having-a-girlfriend part.

Re:Cars aren't about transport anyway. (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797060)

you dont need a girlfriend with internet in your car.... mmmm road pron.....

Farmville (3, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796454)

The first car to add Farmville support will become the best selling car in the country.

Re:Farmville (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796488)

The first car to add Farmville support will become the best selling car in the country.

And within a year the actuarial tables will show that they are the least insurable.

Re:Farmville (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796492)

And then will immediately become the most accident-prone car in the country.

But then again, these are people playing Farmville..... Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Farmville (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796728)

How do I mod something +1 Deeply Horrifying?

Re:Farmville (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797084)

you have the buy that option for $1.99.

In Car technology I want (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796510)

I think this is theoretically possible, not 100% sure.

I want to see the sources of all mobile phone use within 100 ft of my car. Of course, ideally I would want a head's up type projection on the windows, showing all the morons using their phone (texting or voice - hands free or regular), in red. But I would settle for a 30 ft warning telling me that the guy in the next lane was doing stupid, dangerous stuff.

One simple way to know which idiots to be extra careful of.

Re:In Car technology I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796624)

And I bet you're one of those people who say "I'm a good driver! I know how to multitask and text and talk and drive and abuse the kids in the back seat. I'm no danger on the road".

Every person with a cell is guilty of talking/texting while driving at least once.

Even me.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796664)

First question that pops into my head: How are you supposed to be able to tell if it is the driver or the passenger on the phone? Unless you subscribe to the "any phone use in the car is dangerous, even people in the back seat" theory.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796726)

I think this is theoretically possible, not 100% sure.

I want to see the sources of all mobile phone use within 100 ft of my car. Of course, ideally I would want a head's up type projection on the windows, showing all the morons using their phone (texting or voice - hands free or regular), in red. But I would settle for a 30 ft warning telling me that the guy in the next lane was doing stupid, dangerous stuff.

One simple way to know which idiots to be extra careful of.

Actually, I would love this, because then you could correlate my clean driving record with my phone usage and it would disprove your hangup. Some people can really do two things at once with skill and safety.

In all seriousness, though, it would be great to show you a radar with relative hazards based on driving record. You could even correlate if someone was just in front an accident before it happens. (I have a theory that there are jerks out there that regularly cause accidents immediately behind them. Maybe we can finally single out those 12 people on the road everyday who cause all the traffic jams.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796752)

I want to see the sources of all mobile phone use within 100 ft of my car. Of course, ideally I would want a head's up type projection on the windows, showing all the morons using their phone (texting or voice - hands free or regular), in red.

Does this include data use? If not, why is using email or VoIP different than texting or regular voice calling. If, on the other hand, it does, why do you care that I'm listening to Pandora through my iPhone rather than listening to my radio?

It seems to me that however you do this its not a good way to get at what you are interested in. You either end up with lots of false positives or lots of false negatives -- or both.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

KyleJacobson (788441) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796908)

If you choose to listen to Pandora on your iPhone, so be it. It would still be better to know that maybe you need an extra couple feet while I pass you, rather than know nothing at all.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797088)

If you choose to listen to Pandora on your iPhone, so be it. It would still be better to know that maybe you need an extra couple feet while I pass you, rather than know nothing at all.

Uh, why would I need that. What is magical about radio waves being translated into sound by a device hooked into the cars sound system that happens to also have the capacity to be used as a phone vs. by the in-dash radio that results in this need?

Same thing for a dash mounted phone being used as a talking GPS navigator (accessing map data via the internet) vs. a dash mounted dedicated talking GPS navigator with map data in local memory?

The fact is, that "has an electronic device that is currently in use connected to a wireless data network" (whether you restrict it to voice/text cell use or include data use) doesn't meaningfully relate to "is more distracted than someone without such a device".

You'd be safer if you just assume that everyone else on the road is distracted, whether or not wireless data or an electronic device is involved.

The detector suggested in GGP would just be a source of distraction for the driver using it that wouldn't provide meaningful information about who else on the road is distracted.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796760)

Does posting on /. while driving count as textin!@#!.........

Re:In Car technology I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796858)

Behold the perfect convergence of post and sig.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796842)

Possible.....sure, maybe. Cell phone signals are designed to travel for miles.

The transmitters are variable power, so it would be very difficult to determine distance based on signal strength. To do that, you would need several receivers to triangulate.

I say forget what other drivers are doing in their cars; get proof of what they do with their cars.

The tech I'd like to see (and I've considered building it) is a series of cameras that record in timeshift mode. That is, video from the cameras is stored for a pre-specified period before being replaced. I think 15 minutes would do. Upon detection of a crash, or activation by the driver, the video is permanently stored for use as evidence along with telemetry. If you're in an accident, you'll have video and telemetry of what you were doing, as well as video of what all the cars around you were doing. Additionally, it could be used as proof of innocence (or guilt) when pulled over for a moving violation or to record an event that occurs around your vehicle.

Throw a few MS Kinect cameras into that mix and you can have distance information for objects surrounding your vehicle as well. That opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities.

Re:In Car technology I want (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796926)

I'm sure we could integrate this with some Vulcan cannon tracking too.

No thanks (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796562)

I rather have a vehicle with great handling and horsepower; cause in point Porsche GT3 it does with any standard feature such as radio or AC/Heat just pure raw horsepower and handling.

Re:No thanks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796980)

Because that's what matters to the Average Joe, who sits in traffic each day at a earth-shattering speed of 15mph...

Yes, and it's bad (3, Insightful)

cowtamer (311087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796600)

Having recently purchased a car, I can't tell you how many really nicely equipped, horribly underpowered tin boxes I got to drive. Most of them had the option to upgrade the gizmos, but did not even offer a usable engine size. I don't know if this will keep up for long, though -- they sell you "keyless entry" for $1000 (when you can clearly see that the "base model" has everything needed except the remote already built in), a nav system for $2000 ($1000 actually, but it ONLY comes with the leather seats), and the ever insulting "alloy wheels" (like anyone has ever cared) etc. The electronics can't be _that_ expensive to produce, and I think a couple of the Asian manufacturers will end the game and call everyone's bluff by giving these features out for free (Hyundai seems to be going this route).

Re:Yes, and it's bad (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797002)

Having recently purchased a car, I can't tell you how many really nicely equipped, horribly underpowered tin boxes I got to drive.

We recently bought a new car. It's considered a small economy car and has the smallest, least powerful engine of the cars we looked at, but it's more powerful than my supercharged stationwagon from the 1980s, and a third more powerful than the two-seat sports car I used to drive... however it weighs about 20% more than the stationwagon and 50% more than the sports car.

The problem is not so much lack of power, but massive bloat.

Just more crap to go wrong (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796656)

With parts made by the cheapest Chinese no-name bidder and slapped together by minimally trained clock watchers in Detroit, you can be sure that while the Car of Tomorrow may not fly, it will become obsolete, broken down and uneconomic to fix quicker and more efficiently than ever before. Recycling essentially roadworthy cars with a couple of busted black boxes is certainly going to be a growth industry - unfortunately, it'll all be done in China as well.

More technology is just a way to raise prices (3, Insightful)

Yold (473518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796688)

Manufacturer automotive electronics are a ripoff. For example, look at an OEM GPS unit. On a new car, it will cost you $1000 - $3000 vs. $200 for a top-end Garmin aftermarket (external) unit. Even the in-dash aftermarket units are substantially less.

Now that cars have aluminum VVT engines, heated seats, anti-lock, and traction control, car manufacturers are running out of shinny new mechanical features to market. Solution? Cram shit like Microsoft Sync into cars.

I don't want any more infotainment technology in vehicles; I deal with enough assholes tapping at their smartphones during my commute.

Not me... (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796790)

You might think that I would enjoy a technology-rich driving experience; I'm a software developer, after all. However, my ideal driving experience involves a close connection between me and the road. I want to be in control, and I don't mean I want a lot of LED readouts telling me what the car is doing for me... I want the smooth mechanical feel as I change the gears. I want to feel the engine roar responsively as I press the accelerator. And why would the need for great handling even be questioned?

I definitely don't want another big gadget to keep synchronized with my others.

Safety (1)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796804)

One might argue that competing on Horsepower is a path to mutual destruction - as cars get bigger and more aggressive, accidents are more dangerous. On the other hand, if people are more concerned with enjoying the time in their car, than driving fast and aggressively, it could be a net improvement in safety.
BTW nothing you do will make people pay more attention to driving - they will always pay only as much attention as is necessary 95% of the time.

Are you kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34796916)

I hope they HAVEN'T thought through all the implications! I look forward to the quickly approaching day when all of us have more power than mechanics because we're the only ones who can root & customize our cars. Not like the rest of the suckers on the road with mandated speed caps, GPS tracking, and so on... :)

All of that is fine... (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796966)

...so long as you can turn them off when you get to a track.
As a geek I like my car to be...geeky but I also want it to give me a facelift when I stomp on the gas; the Nissan GTR and Audi R8 come to mind (personal favourites).
My point is that for those of us who can actually handle a car and know when it is OK -- and legal -- to cross the line we should be allowed to do so.

Priorities (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34796970)

It's a car; it's transportation, not a lifestyle. If you're treating it as a lifestyle, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Priorities (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797146)

What the hell are you talking about? To many people computers are gaming and masturbatory aids, to all the people here they are not.
To you cars may be just a means of transportation, to people who can appreciate a good car and what went into building it they are not -- at least not just.

Someone didn't read slashdot: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797078)

"I just hope manufacturers have put in the time to consider all the security dangers that exist in owning internet synthesized cars."

They haven't, not even with the wireless sensors to measure tyre pressure. 'twas on this very forum not too long ago.

BMW - Best of Both Worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797094)

No wonder people buy the ugliest, slowest, most marketed crap the roll off the assembly line. I'll stick with the BMW, best of both worlds. Looks good, drives good and next gen will use Nvidia tegra2 chips :P

just give me a coherent interface to my smartphone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797162)

The only electronics I need in my car is an easy to use, powerful interface to my smart phone. It has everything I need to play music, check email, message, surf the web, navigate, etc.

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