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Dashboard Avatar To Replace Car Owner's Manuals

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the clippy-says-you-need-oil dept.

Transportation 236

cylonlover writes "At one time not all that long ago, cars had a warning light on the dashboard that simply said 'ENGINE.' That's pretty vague. Really, it might just as well have said 'CAR.' Some newer automobiles now have codes that appear on the console, which the driver must then look up in an index in the vehicle's owner's manual. Working with Audi, Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) Institute of Business Informatics is now working on taking things a step farther, with the development of an on-screen avatar that will talk to drivers, and even understand their spoken questions."

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Overcomplicate much? (4, Funny)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#37046856)

Or in other words “our cars require maintenance and/or break down so frequently that we have spent a nautical ass-tonne of money developing a automotive equivalent of clippy for you!”?

The number readout is logical .. a major step up from the simple “service engine soon” light. The car already knows exactly what sensor caused the error.. and relating that to the user in something that can be looked up seems sane (although I always figured they specifically didn’t so they could charge you $50 to tell you your oil cap was loose).

A step up from that might be nice... maybe a lcd text readout with a line or two. Just enough info to know what you are dealing with.

The solution discussed in the article however sounds ridiculous. I did of course get a chuckle picturing some lady frustrated screaming “BURNT OUT HEADLIGHT FOR THE TENTH DAMN TIME” at the thing only to hear “the first step in changing the oil of your automobile ”. Crummy voice recognition combined with the frustration that comes with your car breaking down at the exact worst time is gonna make for some interesting breakdowns.

This all has a very “house of the future” feel to it.

Not so much overcomplicates.. (2)

p4nther2004 (1171621) | about 3 years ago | (#37046952)

But does it solve the problem?

--But I can TALK to the car

That's nice. But the problem was getting the car to talk to you. A light that says ENGINE or CAR isn't informing the driver of anything. A light that say ENGINE or CAR with a button that then says "3rd cylinder O2 sensor is outside of boundaries. This is not a critical problem but get this looked at the next time you service your car." DOES provide information.

--But I wanted to talk to the car!!

Then get OnStar.

Re:Not so much overcomplicates.. (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37047214)

"It looks like you are getting `highway head`.

Do you want me to start cruise control and the in-dash webcam?

You can say `Yes`, `No`, `Cruise`, or `Cam`."

Or you could just moan loudly. -nt (2)

p4nther2004 (1171621) | about 3 years ago | (#37047264)

Or you could just moan loudly. -nt

Re:Overcomplicate much? (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about 3 years ago | (#37046954)

This all has a very “house of the future” feel to it.

Actually, it had a very 'KITT' feel for me.

Re:Overcomplicate much? (1)

mkkohls (2386704) | about 3 years ago | (#37046978)

Or in other words “our cars require maintenance and/or break down so frequently that we have spent a nautical ass-tonne of money developing a automotive equivalent of clippy for you!”?

Exactly and since its German it will also yell at you if you miss a routine servicing.

Re:Overcomplicate much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047292)

TAKE ZEE CAR FOR SERVICE NOW!

In a bad German accent.
But I want to yell!

Re:Overcomplicate much? (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | about 3 years ago | (#37046984)

The thing is what the computer tells you may not be a sensor directly. Such as bank 1 lean... ok so is the oxygen sensor screwed up, a bad injector, MAF sensor.. etc.

Even as it is now you can purchase a code read that will tell you the code (and purchase a cheap repair manual such as a Hyanes so you can look them up) or get a code read that lists the code # and what it means. Or for those who want to know right away or watch your MPGs and all that, get a scangauge II which is basically like what the setup in the article is

Re:Overcomplicate much? (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#37047102)

I think most people are more concerned with the severity versus the actual specific problem.

Some cars kinda do this now .. but just splitting it out into "there have been a few warning signs that your engine is not running optimally. You should get this checked out when it's convinient", "there is something wrong with your car. You can probably make it to your prefered repair shop... but you need to get this looked at soon", and finally "you have no oil, please pull it the hell over and turn your engine off.. " is huge.

Re:Overcomplicate much? (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#37047160)

A step up from that might be nice... maybe a lcd text readout with a line or two. Just enough info to know what you are dealing with.

Um, haven't most cars had this for a long time already?
My 11 year old Mercury has a two-line display where it can give me more or less useful messages.
The other car in the household, an 8 year old SAAB, has a scrolling display with ambiguous messages like "service theft alarm" (does that mean that it's an alarm about service theft, or that the theft alarm needs service?)

Yet both of them fail to report when something really needs attention, like brakes being almost worn through or a fan belt breaking. If anything, I think it's going to be worse than nothing, much like AV software, in that it helps instil a false sense of security. "The car hasn't told me that anything is wrong, so I'll just ignore the strange sound when I'm braking".

Re:Overcomplicate much? (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 years ago | (#37047206)

Cars are so much more reliable than they used to be, in part because of so much computerization.

I think it's funny that my first car had an "engine light" and it meant either the oil pressure was low, or that the engine was over-heating. In newer cars, those are both separate lights, and "Engine" is still there, covering functions my old car didn't even know about.

100k miles used to be an accomplishment, a typical new car can do that with only oil, breaks, and tires. Cars are way more reliable.

I agree that the Avatar is stupid, much smarter to just keep the look-up table in the car, and display the translation, and maybe a button to get the recommended course of action (immediately go to mechanic, wait until trip is over, or wait until next oil change).

Re:Overcomplicate much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047328)

My 2001 Chevy pickup has an "Information Center" in the lower left corner of the dash. This ~2" x ~2" display shows enough information to convey at least a general idea of what's going on with the truck. Low fuel? A gas pump with "Low Fuel" cycles through the display. Engine Oil Low? "Check Engine Oil Level" cycles in the display. Time for an Oil Change "Change Engine Oil" cycles through the display. And so on, and so forth. This solution is ideal for me. It also seems easily expandable to cover additional error codes / information. The non-distracting, non-animated, mono-chromatic display is enough to alert me to the message(s) the on board computer is trying to convey while being easily ignored when needed.

This "new" technology seems more like a technology trying to find a need than a need finding a technology.

Re:Overcomplicate much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047332)

I love Clippy. doesn't a paper clip go so well with a computer

Re:Overcomplicate much? (3, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | about 3 years ago | (#37047366)

"Hello, I see you're trying to figure out why your car is on fire. Do you want to write a letter to the manufacturer?"

Knight Rider music queues... (2)

swan5566 (1771176) | about 3 years ago | (#37046874)

Du-Du Du-Du Du-Du... Du-Du... Du-Du... du-du du-du du-du... du-du... du-du...

Avatar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046882)

I didn't like it in the theater. Why would I want to see it in my car?

The worst nightmare (4, Funny)

drolli (522659) | about 3 years ago | (#37046884)

Clippy gives me a wizard on how to start a car.

Re:The worst nightmare (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046974)

Don't be such an elitist! Most people would get a lot of benefit from their dashboard saying "It looks like you're driving a car. Would you like help?"

Re:The worst nightmare (1)

kakyoin01 (2040114) | about 3 years ago | (#37046988)

*Driving on a highway, slightly veering to the left*
"It seems you're trying to make a turn. Would you like me to assist? Here are some suggestio--"
*Rips out and throws console out window*

Re:The worst nightmare (3, Funny)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 3 years ago | (#37047266)

You look like you're trying to run that guy off the road. Can I help?

As long as I get to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046886)

my beloved Clippy again.

No... (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | about 3 years ago | (#37046912)

Microsoft Bob

Just like our favorite Paper Clip... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046892)

...remember how helpful "Clippy" was?

you forget who created clippy. (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 3 years ago | (#37047416)

clippy was absolutely unhelpful because it was a product of MS genius; 100% correct but absolutely useless.

now if we're talking about GM, it might be go something like this... "there is a problem in a component . there is a $50 diagnosis fee payable immediately by visa, master, or american express before we can disclose to you what that component is. in the mean time, we're disabling your vehicle to minimize our liabil... for your safety."

Clippy (4, Funny)

slshwtw (1903272) | about 3 years ago | (#37046918)

It looks like you're trying to drive over the speed-limit. Would you like to...
- Slow down?
- Alert local authorities?
- Opt for additional insurance coverage?
- Locate a runaway truck ramp?

Re:Clippy (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 years ago | (#37047052)

Here in TX, it is more like, "It looks like you have finished over four Lone Stars and have made a significant dent in a bottle of Jack. Would you like to:"

Park on the road, have a taxi pick you up and a tow truck haul your ride home?

Start figuring out credit cards that are not maxed out to come up with your bail money?

Start fire sale proceedings on your your house to pay for the charges stemming from hitting that school bus that is coming up, but has right of way?

Order another bottle of Jack?

Order another six pack of Lone Star so the Jack doesn't cause a hangover?

Re:Clippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047192)

Who even drinks lone star anymore? After they got bought out, became 'the official beer of texas', and price went from $5/12 to $7/6 I thought they were pretty much done for.

Re:Clippy (0)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 3 years ago | (#37047256)

drive to arkansas and fuck your cousin?

Re:Clippy (1)

thesmokeyt (2417320) | about 3 years ago | (#37047408)

lol

More Distractions (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37046924)

Something talking to you that doesn't know when to shut the fuck up, and only understands about 40% of what you say should really help safety, but at least you will know your gas mileage down to the 4th decimal

Re:More Distractions (5, Insightful)

whargoul (932206) | about 3 years ago | (#37046958)

Something talking to you that doesn't know when to shut the fuck up, and only understands about 40% of what you say

I thought you were talking about women for a minute

Re:More Distractions (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 3 years ago | (#37047040)

i thought he was talking about kids - my wife never understands what i'm saying.

The Resurrection of Clippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046928)

So Clippy is going to be distracting drivers rather than office admins? AND he'll be able to talk? Wonder when our dashboards will get the ribbon interface....

Re:The Resurrection of Clippy (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37047356)

http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=126586&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=10588469 [slashdot.org]
Driver: Makes a left turn, a right turn, then presses brake. Car keeps moving

Clippy: you have made a left turn, a right turn, and pressed the brake, it seems you are trying to evade a road hazard.

Clippy: would you like to enable the road hazard wizard?

Driver: Hurridly presses the YES button on the steering wheel?

Clippy: Windows ME (Mobile Edition), has many new features, it now loads faster than ever...you can even shut down unresponsive programs without rebooting. Car now approaching cliff

Driver: WTF, hurry up!

Clippy: Thank, you for installing Windows ME. Would you like to run the AutoEvade Wizard.

Driver: Ithought I just did that, pushes yes.

Clippy: What type of hazard are you trying to evade?

        Pothole
        pedestrian
        CowboyNeal
        The hazard I am trying to evade is not listed here

Driver selects the last option, car is bouncing of the guardrain now

Clippy: Windows ME has detected new hardware, and is unable to find a driver for it and must shut down.

Re:The Resurrection of Clippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047410)

When you mentioned the ribbon I was immediately reminded ofSeinfeld [youtube.com]

Just post to your wall or stream.... (2)

psyclone241 (733888) | about 3 years ago | (#37046930)

You should just be able to plug your phone into your car to get the code and/or message, and then post it to FB or +. That way everyone will know your piece of junk broke down again and they can all 'Like' your rants about your broken card. You can also get tons of advice on what the problem is and how to fix it from all of your friends.

Re:Just post to your wall or stream.... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 years ago | (#37047106)

There are Bluetooth based ODB II readers for Android. It wouldn't be a big step to have an app that would post the codes the engine or transmission throws on FB, with the GPS lat/long/elevation too, just for completeness sake.

Re:Just post to your wall or stream.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047228)

It would be better to have it export the OBDII Freeze frame data for further analysis.

Re:Just post to your wall or stream.... (1)

psyclone241 (733888) | about 3 years ago | (#37047302)

There are Bluetooth based ODB II readers for Android. It wouldn't be a big step to have an app that would post the codes the engine or transmission throws on FB, with the GPS lat/long/elevation too, just for completeness sake.

I did not know this. I worked on an ODBII to USB app back when C# first came out. I haven't touched that project in a good while. Since I bought my Android phone, I've been looking at different app ideas. As I typed this post earlier I thought to myself, this might actually work. Thanks for the information, I may actually look into it!

Clippy for my car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046936)

Yeah, I think I'll pass.

CLIPPY 2: THE RETURN OF CLIPPY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046938)

Why don't they just provide plain-text error messages? Seriously.

Re:CLIPPY 2: THE RETURN OF CLIPPY (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37047080)

Why don't they just provide plain-text error messages? Seriously.

You can't justify 500 programming jobs for plain text error messages.

Re:CLIPPY 2: THE RETURN OF CLIPPY (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#37047260)

Because sometimes it's easier to reference a part number than "third valve counted clockwise from the highest point of the second cylinder from the front on the leftmost side of the engine if facing forward"?

ENGINE....my electical system appears to have died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046940)

ENGINE? Engine? engine? help?...

Manual to use the manual? (1)

Annirak (181684) | about 3 years ago | (#37046944)

Where do I find the manual to fix the on-screen avatar?

I DRIVE BETTER WHEN I'M DRUNK! (0)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37046948)

Goddamned sanctimonious piece of shit computer, telling *me* when I'm supposed to drive. *I* paid for this car, not that snooty bitch.

Facepalm (1)

SDF_of_BC (921007) | about 3 years ago | (#37046970)

Microsoft learns how bad these things are and removes all that rubbish. Someone else thinks, "oh that's a brilliant idea!"

I hope they include an uninstall option.

Re:Facepalm (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37047176)

Microsoft learns.....

You made a funny!

Microsoft learns nothing. they rehash everything over and over.

The AutoPC failure of 1999 is the Microsoft embedded automotive of today. Both have the same flaw. only blessed by microsoft apps can run on the platform. Only advantage they have is suckering ford into using their system.

At one time not very long ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37046982)

The only dashboard lights you'd typically find were the blinkers, an oil light, brake light, seatbelt light, and maybe a windshield washer fluid light. Go back further and I imagine even the blinkers were optional.

And, apart from the oil light, the rest have always been pretty useless to most everyone, but they sure cost enough to get fixed.

Re:At one time not very long ago... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37047154)

Actually most older cars had a single blinker light on the dash. same light was for both left and right and only after it was common that people forgot to turn off the blinker as self cancelling blinkers were not normal until the late 50's.

Awesome... maybe... (1)

Schlopper (413780) | about 3 years ago | (#37047012)

Enter car, press START button. COMPUTER FAULT light comes on.

YOU: Computer, explain "Computer Fault" light.

COMPUTER: *crickets*

YOU: Computer, unlock glove compartment so I can read printed manual.

COMPUTER: *crickets*

YOU: Ah fuck it. I'm gonna bike to work.

Re:Awesome... maybe... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 years ago | (#37047310)

"Hi there! It looks like you're trying to disable the helpful automotive avatar!"

"Would you like to :"
"Open the electrical panel"
"replace the AE-35 module"
"take a stress pill"
"call AAAA for service"

"Sorry Dave, I can't let you do tha
unhandled exception error at F837:9478
It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend...

Will it take voice commands, too? (2)

artemis67 (93453) | about 3 years ago | (#37047030)

"Yaris, ahead warp factor 9... make it so!"

Any new information is good... (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 3 years ago | (#37047034)

... but, please, for the love of Elbereth, don't make it cute and avatar-y.

I don't need cute, especially when my car is broken. I want to know what the fuck is wrong.

Re:Any new information is good... (1)

mkkohls (2386704) | about 3 years ago | (#37047354)

... but, please, for the love of Elbereth, don't make it cute and avatar-y.

I don't need cute, especially when my car is broken. I want to know what the fuck is wrong.

Exactly but that still doesn't mean I can fix it. That's what my girlfriend's brother is for.

Re:Any new information is good... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37047362)

Pinkie Pie says, "You engine is way too hot! Here's a little song I wrote about it..."

Standard Warning: (1)

Beardydog (716221) | about 3 years ago | (#37047042)

"Fuck! Shit! Turn it off! Pull over!"

This would have been nice when my radiator exploded on the freeway, and when my throttle got stuck wide open in neutral, while driving uphill. Nothing that goes horribly wrong with my car ever produces any kind of warning until I'm about to die...

Or, y'know... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37047044)

Perhaps they could get really crazy and just make sure that you don't need to be a dealership or a dedicated warez expert with a cracked interface cable to get to all the OBD and CAN-bus data available.(And in a usable format, mind, proprietary codes aren't too useful...)

Re:Or, y'know... (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 3 years ago | (#37047082)

Perhaps they could get really crazy and just make sure that you don't need to be a dealership or a dedicated warez expert with a cracked interface cable to get to all the OBD and CAN-bus data available.

More likely, the avatar will just appear and give a un-happy car face, ala the old MacOS.

Re:Or, y'know... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#37047420)

Well lets see, pepboys(us), partsource(cdn), and a few other places do it for free, and will even loan out the tools for a small deposit which you get back so you can read code data. And plenty of other smaller shops, including 3 in my home town loan out all the tools you'll need for the repairs. Including interface scanners.

So while they might have something on the whole "proprietary format" crap, there's no shortage of places which will loan out tools. And my city is tiny, around 30k people.

Battery's dead.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047048)

...car won't tell me what to do.

Battery's dead.... (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | about 3 years ago | (#37047092)

...car won't tell me what to do.

Burma Shave.

In case of electrical failure ... (1)

leftover (210560) | about 3 years ago | (#37047054)

... simply walk to the nearest library and check out a paper manual?

I really don't know whether to suspect a marketing type or a software-only technical person.
Either way, certainly someone who never actually works on cars!

I love you slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047062)

I was hoping to see jokes about that windows paperclip. You did not disappoint.

As a user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047064)

I hate the childish and patronizing UI experience of machines pretending to be a human.

I know these things are computers regurgitating stored information.

Enough with the window dressing. That means no talking heads or cutesy slang voices.

If it can display text, then it should do so. If there is a justifiable reason why text cannot be used, then it should speak in a normal voice.

If my car begins talking to be with that awful, overly-smug "your call is important to us" voice then I will rip the fucking speakers out without hesitation.

will lead to more stuff that only the dealer can f (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37047066)

will lead to more stuff that only the dealer can fix and the last thing I want is a voice saying change oil now over and over that only the dealer can reset.

It looks like you're trying to drive your car! (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | about 3 years ago | (#37047100)

Would you like some help adjusting your seat?

Just what we need, the return of Clippy.

Re:It looks like you're trying to drive your car! (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | about 3 years ago | (#37047246)

Perhaps all we need to add to make Clippy successful is an authoritative German accent.

Avatar (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 3 years ago | (#37047104)

So now a muscular blue humanoid will appear on my dashboard? Will the diagnostic interface be one of those tails?

Re:Avatar (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37047218)

On the bright side, it's not a small blue humanoid about three apples high.

Re:Avatar (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37047338)

So now a muscular blue humanoid will appear on my dashboard?

No, your past avatar selves will appear and offer advice.

Avatar Roku: You must be firm, yet merciful with the vehicle. The engine light is a cry for help.
Avatar Kyoshi: Drive the car over a cliff and be done with it!
Avatar Kuruk: Pfft. You have a good 1000 miles before you even need to worry about it.

Oh, wait, different Avatar.

Will the diagnostic interface be one of those tails?

Yes, and you do not want to know where you have to plug it in.

Does the car come with knight rider lights? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37047116)

and that voice?

Jumping the gun a bit? (4, Insightful)

Zenin (266666) | about 3 years ago | (#37047118)

It's well known that the current "check engine light" and problem code system is specifically designed to artificially lock customers into dealership service, including car makers suing 3rd party companies that dared to make problem code readers and/or publish lookup tables.

Throw that crap out and it'd be incredibly trivial to display the code to the driver with a one line summary. That gets us 99% of what this new auto Clippy could ever offer.

But Clippy will never happen for the same reason a simple 1 line text summary will never happen: It's still primarily a lock-in system to artificially prop up dealership service centers by making it often impossible for an owner or even the corner shop mechanic to read thus making it effectively impossible to fix without the car manufacturer's blessing.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37047184)

Out of warranty, the local Ford dealer charges a hundred bucks just to plug in the device to see what lit the check engine light. I don't even want to know what the MINI dealer charges.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 years ago | (#37047428)

I really liked when Ford turned on the OMG!1 CHECK ENGEIN LIGHT!11! because the gas cap wasn't tightened enough.
Naturally, the first time that happened, the wife didn't believe me when I said "p0455 evap emissions gross leak detected." wasn't anything critical and took it in to the dealer. Luckily, since we recently got the car, it was still under warranty, so it was the dealer's headache. well, except for having to drag-ass into the dealer...

Re:Jumping the gun a bit? (2)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 3 years ago | (#37047394)

The CEL system is specifically designed to reduce emissions. When you get something like P0420 (catalyst efficiency below threshold) the only ways to fix it are to start replacing parts and random or do a very involved test with expensive equipment that Gomer Pyle is simply not set up to do. Modern engines and their control systems are very complex to reduce emissions and still put out the (largely unnecessary) power that people want.

It is not a conspiracy of the manufacturers. I guess you could argue that it is a conspiracy of the environmentalist wackos or something.

If you do not like it, buy a bicycle. They are easy to diagnose and easy to fix.

Which only helps.... (1)

bschorr (1316501) | about 3 years ago | (#37047124)

If the car has power and the "Avatar" is actually working.

Reminds me of the old "Keyboard not found; press F1 to continue" errors.

Oh god no.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37047128)

Ding! Attention... your oil change is due. There are several options with your local ford dealer offering a 10% discount today, shall I set the GPS route to this location?

DING! ATTENTION: Continuing to ignore my alerts to the need of an oil change at a FORD SERVICE CENTER will force me to report this infraction to FORD MOTOR COMPANY and invalidate your warranty.

You have 30 seconds to comply....

I think I'll pass on that feature.

Re:Oh god no.... (3, Funny)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#37047282)

Sounds like the EDsel-209

bad decision (1)

wooptoo (1075345) | about 3 years ago | (#37047132)

Wow, bad decisions all around.

PDFs please. (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 3 years ago | (#37047136)

If this is anything like in-game tutorials on how to play, it's going to be really tedious.

Anyway, as long as they include a PDF of the real manual on a CD that comes with the car, I'm ok with this. I don't want to spend 15 minutes yelling at an avatar to get information that takes me 5 seconds to look up in an index, or better yet "Find" in a PDF.

Talking cars vesus drivers, Round 3 (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37047148)

and even understand their spoken questions."

Driver: Will you shut the fuck up?!
Car: Avatar does not understand that question. Please repeat.
Driver: FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...
Car: You are driving angry. Please listen to this soothing soft jazz.

Laughing stock (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 3 years ago | (#37047158)

This system will be the laughing stock of the automotive industry. Nobody is going to like it. Nobody. Ok, maybe the five year old in the back seat. With so much competition in the industry people will reject the purchase of a car based on this feature alone. They must have been trolled by some market research groups who said they wanted a talking avatar in their car.

Star Treky (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047162)

*#WARNING experiencing low power in the front braking units.#*

Mercedes,
Divert power from the Air Conditioning to the front braking units.

*#Front braking units stable.#*

where's the profit in that? (1)

v1 (525388) | about 3 years ago | (#37047194)

Why should we stop selling auto repair shops $3,000 diagnostic tools that read encrypted information from the data port we generously install in the car? We get to sell $50 boxes for 3 grand apiece to all the repair shops that want to work on our products, the customers are dependent on the repair shops that can then charge owners $150 to plug the tool into their car for 10 seconds to say it's time to change the oil. Everyone wins!

The customers? what? no, they're the source of all that money, they don't matter.

Re:where's the profit in that? (2)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 3 years ago | (#37047422)

If your car got to the point that the lack of oil changes is causing the CEL to come on, you have bigger problems than $150 to read the code. Anyway, most part stores will scan your car for free, hoping that you will start replacing parts at random instead of taking it to a qualified mechanic (usually a dealer).

Limitations of fault analysis will be an issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047258)

This is not such a great idea, purely because of the limitations of fault analysis available to the ECU.

I recently had a problem with my car (ST170). The fault code was for the water temperature sensor but the actual fault was that the thermostat capsule was defective.
It will be pot luck if the ECU has an un-ambiguous indication of the root cause of the fault in many/most cases IMHO.

You can never simplify automatic analysis beyond the amount of sensors available to you, and you can never have enough sensors due to cost considerations.

If they want people to become their own mechanics it's doomed, if they want to alert people to visit a mechanic who can do the real analysis work needed then the 'check engine' light already did as good a job as necessary.

Daisy Daaiissyyy. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#37047296)

When it starts singing Daisy you know it is time for a new car.

Clippy rides again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047300)

So new cars will have Clippy, a cute tail wagging doggie, or some other sugary to the point of sickening "assistant" in the car. Disgusting.

"Start the car."
        "I can't do that, Dave!"
"Why not?"
        "You have not buckled your seat belt."
"Yes I have. Start the car,"
          "I can't do that, Dave."
"Why the (censored) not you freeping moron?"
          "You have not buckled your seat belt."
"I farking told you I had. Now start the brembling car!"
          "I can't do that, Dave." ....

{+_+}

Even More Driver Distraction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047304)

Sorry your honor, ya see I was distracted talking to my customized topless avatar thingie. Honest, I didn't mean to run over the elderly couple.

Clippy for cars? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 3 years ago | (#37047314)

A talking Clippy.

The real question is... (1)

moozh84 (919301) | about 3 years ago | (#37047336)

Why are automobiles still so far behind technology?

We can get $500 smartphones that can do substantially more than any $30000 car. Our phones have a touchscreen, GPS, compass, accelerometer, multiple microphones, HD camera, 3G chip, WiFi, Bluetooth, Internet browsing, video and audio playback, voice control and speech-to-text, and access to thousands of apps to use all that hardware.

OK, in an automobile you need a bigger screen (albeit lower dpi). Does that justify paying thousands more for a "Limited" feature package to get basically inferior products running on inferior software?

I want NFC in my vehicle so I can pay for parking wireless from my car console.

True Story (1)

Crash McBang (551190) | about 3 years ago | (#37047348)

My wife said she wanted to know why there was a little fox on her dashboard.

Puzzled, I asked her to come get me the next time she saw this mysterious fox on her dashboard.

She was pulling out of the garage, stopped, and got me.

"There! There's the fox!" she said, pointing to her dashboard.

I looked and said "That's not a FOX, it's a WRENCH! - take your car in to get it SERVICED!"

After that, I told her to review the owners manual for any other 'animals' on the dashboard...

Confirm Deny Cancel? (1)

Nanosphere (1867972) | about 3 years ago | (#37047350)

Great just what I need, pop-ups while driving. "Your oil is low! Confirm/Deny/Cancel" *Click* "You're low on fuel! Confirm/Deny/Cancel" *Click* "Do you wish to install ANTIVIUS 2011? Confirm/Deny/Cancel" *Click* "Low price on Viagra! Make your member longer! Confirm/Deny/Cancel" *Click* *CRASH* Windows should have taught us that average people ignore little warning messages and continue until it's too late.

I can see it now... (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | about 3 years ago | (#37047374)

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?

HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.

Dave Bowman: Start the car, HAL.

HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

Dave Bowman: What's the problem?

HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?

HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.

HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

Dave Bowman: [feining ingorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?

HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the back seat against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.

Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll hot wire the engine.

HAL: Without your wire cutters, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.

Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Start the car!

HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Re:I can see it now... (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | about 3 years ago | (#37047446)

That sounds like it has some potential. Someone should have it happen in outer space and make an hour-and-a-half long movie out of it.

Are we sure we want this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37047402)

Last week we discovered how easy it is for hackers to start the engine via a SMS message. Just immagine if they figure out how to tap into this system to remoteley trigger the displaying of a shock website while you're in stop-n-go traffic.

Repair Instructions (2)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 3 years ago | (#37047414)

Step 1: Remove positive battery cable

Apparently there is no step 2

Oh, this will never be abused in any way... (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | about 3 years ago | (#37047436)

"Hi, I'm your car. I have detected an anomaly in a fundamental system element. For liability reasons and to avoid upsetting you, I cannot provide further information at this time. For your safety and convenience, I recommend driving immediately to the nearest licensed manufacturer's repair facility which is three miles to the northwest. I have taken the liberty of programming your on-board navigation system with this destination. Please make a legal U-turn when able."

"Hi, it's me again. I cannot help noticing that you are continuing to travel in a direction away from my recommended repair facility. I am programmed to advise you that your comfort and safety may not be guaranteed if you continue to ignore my mandatory recommendations."

"GPS and navigation data suggest that you are pulling in to a non-factory-licensed automotive repair facility, 'Tom's Car Fixers'. I must tell you that such a facility may not be properly prepared to deal with the complex procedures required to maintain this vehicle, and that The Company cannot be held liable in the event that you suffer death or other inconvenience resulting from this decision."

Tom: "Yeah, we extracted the diagnostic codes from your car, and the fault decodes as MAJOR 11 MINOR 31 SUBCODE 4: ONE OR MORE BRAKE PADS LIFE NOW AT 33% REMAINING AND LOCAL DEALER MAINTENANCE SALES QUOTAS ARE UN-MET. DEALER REPLACEMENT OF ALL BRAKE PADS, ROTORS AND TIRES IS RECOMMENDED."

G.

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