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Amazing Things Your Automobile Can't Do

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the but-it's-got-a-hemi dept.

Technology 641

dslmodem submitted this NYT story on nifty automobile technology that isn't coming to the United States. The report suggests that legal liability is a significant reason for not offering various driver-distracting options in the U.S.

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Mine can't (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633288)

Poop, or Hump, or show me her teats???

good, we don't need that crap. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633299)

If you're going to drive an urban assault vehicle, then get off the phone & keep your eyes on the road.

Re:good, we don't need that crap. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633535)

Typical wimpy geek response. Grow a set of balls.

Stuff British cars have (5, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | about 10 years ago | (#10633303)

I haven't read the article, but I assume American cars won't have ejection seats, machine guns and rocket launchers hidden with a flip of a switch like those British Aston Martins have.

Re:Stuff British cars have (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633326)

Roger Moore was the best James Bond. Discuss.

Re:Stuff British cars have (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 10 years ago | (#10633328)

i would mod you up, but i used up all my mod points yesterday.

Re:Stuff British cars have (5, Funny)

dcphoenix (528517) | about 10 years ago | (#10633477)

.....American cars won't have ejection seats, machine guns and rocket launchers.....

Why bother using a foreign car to blow stuff up and get tossed into the air? Buy American - get a Pinto!!

Don't bother (2, Funny)

GeckoX (259575) | about 10 years ago | (#10633518)

Any that are still and haven't blown up already are probably lemons anyways.

Re:Stuff British cars have (2, Funny)

dfj225 (587560) | about 10 years ago | (#10633519)

For a "reasonable" fee I would be willing to install some "aftermarket modifications" for you ;)

Glad (4, Insightful)

jdc180 (125863) | about 10 years ago | (#10633307)

I'm GLAD that those features aren't available in the US. I don't need the added worry that they guy in the car next to me is reading slashdot, or trying to keep up with the lyrics on some karaoke song!

Re:Glad (5, Funny)

SlamMan (221834) | about 10 years ago | (#10633356)

But I have to admit, people around DC drive like they're trying to play Dance Dance Revolution.

Re:Glad (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | about 10 years ago | (#10633376)

I don't think "driving" is the right word. Driving implies a sence of trying to get to a destination, the people here in DC are wrecking, which is the act of looking for a way to be involved in an accident.

(-1 Offtopic), Replied to sig (0, Offtopic)

BurritoJ (75275) | about 10 years ago | (#10633455)

I stole your sig... but I decided to stop. Please contact me for the address to send the $500.

Thanks,

Re:Glad (0)

morganjharvey (638479) | about 10 years ago | (#10633493)

Ah yes, DC... The only city where people stop for the green and go through the red.

Re:Glad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633405)

yea, lets make everything illegal that way we can all be safe from each other all the time. no ive got a better idea lets just make it illegal to be an idiot.

I want to be Free and Safe, but if i have to choose between the two, I think I choose Freedom.

And dont bother replying to this thread, Darwin Doesn't care what you think about his law, and neither do I.

Video would be nice (3, Interesting)

erick99 (743982) | about 10 years ago | (#10633308)

I would like to be able to watch tv or other video when stuck in traffic. Having the video system turn off once the car starts moving over 3mph sounds like a great idea. But, here in the US, you can sue anybody for anything and stand a good chance of winning so I understand the car makers reticence.

Re:Video would be nice (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 10 years ago | (#10633363)

A system like that wouldn't be too bad. The problem is those that don't stop at over 3 miles an hour. The minute the driver can watch TV, you'll see a huge spike in accidents. We're better off without these features.

Re:Video would be nice (0)

codemachine (245871) | about 10 years ago | (#10633404)

Considering that a motor home company got sued by someone who put his vehicle in cruise control, then went to the back to sleep (he won with the defense "the manual didn't tell him he couldn't"), I imagine you're right about this.

It seems the defense "I'm too stupid to live" is quite valid in court nowadays, so you can just see all sorts of lawsuits about how these great new features distracted Joe Blow from paying attention to the f#%!ing road while driving.

Re:Video would be nice (5, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 years ago | (#10633433)

Urban legend [snopes.com] .

Re:Video would be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633415)

Oh great now only the elderly drivers with be able to use this!

Re:Video would be nice (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633486)

"here in the US, you can sue anybody for anything and stand a good chance of winning..."

Between 95 and 97 percent of all lawsuits filed end in settlement [mediationtools.com] .

80% of all lawsuits are filed by businesses, not individuals. These suits are usually not brought because of their merit, but because they have some business purpose. For example, maybe someone wants to buy a piece of property for less than the offering price. They bring a suit against the party selling the property, that in some way casts the ownership of the property in doubt. Even though their suit is groundless, while the seller is waiting for the case to come up and be dismissed they can't sell the property. The plaintiff makes an offer for less than the property's worth, and the seller concedes. An attorney friend of mine handled just such a case.

We live in a litiginous society not because individuals sue others so readily, but because businesses use groundless or just-barely-justifiable lawsuits as weapons against their competition, and because lawyers love lucrative class-action suits. Dismiss the frivolous suits within days instead of months or years, and make class-action suits less lucrative for greedy lawyers, and a lot of these lawsuits would disappear.

We are not a litigious society (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633310)

Yours sincerely, Darl McBride

Re:We are not a litigious society (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633330)

I'm not sure I completely understand what's so great about these extra features in these cars. Could you please explain, perhaps using an operating system or music distribution methodology as an analogy?

good! (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | about 10 years ago | (#10633312)

i dont want the people passing me watching TV while they're driving. the only thing they should be doing is driving. i dont want cars that park themselves, and i dont want cars that alert me when i'm getting sleepy. its unfortunate that the move is cowardly, but fortunate that it's the safer result.

here come's the story (1)

samyool (450631) | about 10 years ago | (#10633313)

/me wonders how many times the GM ceo versus Bill Gates story is going to be posted now. Hell, I bet it even gets modded up.

Wow... point and click parallel parking... COOL! (2, Funny)

Delta-9 (19355) | about 10 years ago | (#10633314)

"This device automatically parks the car, maneuvering the Prius backward and into the space. To activate it, the driver first pulls alongside the forward vehicle, then drags a picture of a flag marker and parking triangle on the car's touchscreen display, until they are positioned where the vehicle should wind up."

Re:Wow... point and click parallel parking... COOL (2, Insightful)

RetroGeek (206522) | about 10 years ago | (#10633341)

positioned where the vehicle should wind up

And we all know that this is 100% repeatable, don't we...

Re:Wow... point and click parallel parking... COOL (3, Interesting)

compro01 (777531) | about 10 years ago | (#10633472)

IIRC someone in the UK came up with the mathmatic
formula for parallel parking a car perfectly.
i'm pretty sure that everything in math is repeatable.
link here [www.exn.ca]

Re:Wow... point and click parallel parking... COOL (5, Funny)

StevenHenderson (806391) | about 10 years ago | (#10633344)

To activate it, the driver first pulls alongside the forward vehicle, then drags a picture of a flag marker

...Sounds like Minesweeper. :)

Re:Wow... point and click parallel parking... COOL (2, Funny)

ppz003 (797487) | about 10 years ago | (#10633406)

So what happens when you hit a bomb? Does the car crash into the vehicle in front of you?

Re:Wow... point and click parallel parking... COOL (1)

Little_Grabbi (756173) | about 10 years ago | (#10633443)

It probably uses the same GUI, sans copyrighted parts.

Gets rid of those #&%! kids and their soccer b (3, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | about 10 years ago | (#10633480)

Also it can run over any annoying kids and soccer balls if they get in the way of your urban assault vehicle. Guess you don't get sued for that in Europe or Japan. Damn US legal system!

People in Europe or Japan spend most of their time crawling in traffic anyway, in their toaster size cars with 700 cc engines. I *like* that about Europe and Japan. Isn't there a nationwide 50 mph / 80 kph speed limit in Japan?

haha (1)

badpenguin (793665) | about 10 years ago | (#10633315)

The cure to AIDS! Only you cant have it

Superflous. (2, Insightful)

Raven42rac (448205) | about 10 years ago | (#10633320)

I really want my car to do 1 thing, get me from point A to point B, reasonably efficiently and safely. A modicum of comfort does not hurt either.

Re:Superflous. (1, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | about 10 years ago | (#10633419)

Then you have many options that will work for you besides cars.

A) Walk
B) Bike
C) Moped

You can also buy the bottom of the line models that the manufacturers sell without radio or anything else. I, however like to listen to music while driving as it helps me concentrate.

My does (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633322)

Does your drive straight forward ?

:: fingers crossed :: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633323)

Let's just hope that car blow jobs aren't in that list ;)

Re::: fingers crossed :: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633392)

What, you don't approve of autoeroticism?

Re::: fingers crossed :: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633418)

What a great idea, a blowjob machine for the driver. It might calm down some of the idiots driving around here. Better yet, make it so that it stops giving you blowjobs when you exceed the speed limit, or "gets a headache" when you run a red light!

Hell, I'll settle for a mandatory soundtrack that says "my what a big dick you have," with more enthusiasm the slower you drive.

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Re:GNAA declares victory over Ashlee Simpson (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633429)

Timecop, up for flames eh ? :) You are obsessed with GNNA :)

We still don't have a lot of 'em.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633327)

One thing that is very cool that they have in Europe is 'TMC' -- radio stations will broadcast traffic alerts on where there is bad traffic. This will automagically update the route computers in most cars' naviation systems to find an alternate route around the traffic jam. No-one in the states has it, but it is standard with all VW/Audi/Skoda/Seat NAV+ units in the EU. Absolutely shameful.

Re:We still don't have a lot of 'em.... (3, Informative)

samyool (450631) | about 10 years ago | (#10633391)

Am I missing something?

This feature has been available since the early 90s in the UK to anyone with a http://www.radioandtelly.co.uk/rds.html [radioandtelly.co.uk] RDS (Radio Data System) enabled set.

Re:We still don't have a lot of 'em.... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 years ago | (#10633393)

That's only useful if you don't know where you're going. I had a GPS in my car, and only used the navigation features when I had a trip to an unfamiliar place. Using it around town is kinda pointless. It's good for seeing where you are, but I never used route navigation. I never saw any taxis do route navigation, either.

Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633329)

News for nerds. Matter that stuffs.

Tort Reform Redux (5, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | about 10 years ago | (#10633331)

The tort system does need revision, but the only proposal I've seen so far gives relief exclusively to corporations. For tort reform to work, it will have to include:

1) eliminating slap suits,
2) limiting damages that individuals must pay to corporations (what's good for the goose, etc), and
3) shifting the burden of proof from the defendant to the plaintiff (same as for criminal cases).

Then I can support tort reform.

Otherwise tort reform is yet another corporate bailout.

Re:Tort Reform Redux (5, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | about 10 years ago | (#10633422)

  • The tort system does need revision, but the only proposal I've seen so far gives relief exclusively to corporations.
While I agree that we need Tort reform in general, in this case I don't see the threat of lawsuits as a problem. Frankly these are things that aren't needed in cars, especially not for the driver. Even with reasonable restrictions in place (shutting off the video when the car goes faster than 3mph) wouldn't stop idiots from killing themselves and others because of these distractions.

While a lot of the resulting carnage would probably be from people disabling built in safety restrictions, ultimately it's hard not to blame the company for selling something like a TV screen built-in to a car for the driver's usage. In this case the fear of lawsuits is probably helping to prevent many, many deaths due to unnecessary, distracting, potentially deadly car accessories.

You and Tim Robbins, man (0)

I am the Bullgod (797123) | about 10 years ago | (#10633451)

"It's the corporatey corporate corporateness".... - Tim Robbins - Team America

Re:Tort Reform Redux (3, Informative)

SlamMan (221834) | about 10 years ago | (#10633453)

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff in civil cases. The issue is that a civil case quit requires a "preponderance of evidence" to win, versus "beyond a reasonable doubt" for a criminal case.

Re:Tort Reform Redux (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 years ago | (#10633469)

One of the other ideas that is often thrown in is a "loser pays" aspect. I'm of mixed feelings on this one, though the idea seems pretty common in other countries. Any thoughts on it?

Re:Tort Reform Redux (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | about 10 years ago | (#10633482)

2) limiting damages that individuals must pay to corporations (what's good for the goose, etc),

Is that really a problem? Haven't heard too many egregious instances of individuals getting hit with massive judgements against them by corporations. The only ones that come to mind are the copyright infringement suits that allege zillions in damages. On the other side of the coin, however, you have individual executives who get sued by their former employers and shareholders (like the Computer Associates and Conseco guys). These suits against individuals can go into the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, and yet are completely reasonable....

This Article is a POOR platform for Tort reform (0, Troll)

mekkab (133181) | about 10 years ago | (#10633492)



This balding guy [mercola.com] (so you know he must be right!) confirms what the real car accident problem is; the driver is distracted. Cell phone, rubbernecking, in-car-Tivo, it doesn't matter.

From the article:
Besides nervousness over lawsuits, the American auto market has also been more cautious in offering features like television or karaoke, which are widely available in other countries. Some features will probably not be available here for years, if ever.

Uhm... what? Television?! STFU and drive!
As for karaoke, my car has a stereo; you KNOW I am screaming/singing at the top of my lungs!

Lawsuit as the Jackpot (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | about 10 years ago | (#10633524)

Has the lawsuit taken on some of the roll of a lottery in the US? Winning a lawsuit becomes like winning the Jackpot.

In the old days, you worked hard, and you got ahead. IMHO, that's no longer true, for the most part. You usually can't get ahead without working hard, but 'merely' hard work is no longer sufficient. More and more, it also takes connections an luck - being in the right place at the right time with the right idea. Furthermore, simply knowing how to build the better mousetrap isn't enough either, you have to also know how to market that mousetrap, or at least license its IP.

All in all, I suspect the American Dream is getting farther and farther away, for most Americans. Is the increasing number of state-run lotteries because of legal relaxations, or is it because more people are giving up on earning their way up, and figure their odds are about as good gambling their way up? Consider lawsuits in that light...

Here's something amazing my car doesn't do (4, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | about 10 years ago | (#10633335)

Here's something amazing my car doesn't do...it doesn't wrap itself around a tree while I try to check my email and read a fax at the same time.

Gee, I can't figure out why this is bad... (2, Funny)

codemachine (245871) | about 10 years ago | (#10633338)

From the article:

"In many vehicles nowadays, you can check your e-mail, view Web sites, even watch television, from the comfort of your driver's seat."

How can't it be a bad thing if US drivers start watching porn on the TV/web while talking on the cell phone while driving and listening to loud music?

I would think that even if these options started to appear in the US, that insurance for vehicles equipped with them would be expensive.

Car Insurance (3, Insightful)

donnyspi (701349) | about 10 years ago | (#10633352)

My collision and comprehensive coverage are friggin high enough. Keep this distrating technology away or face higher premiums.

Another Big Reason... (1, Insightful)

diagnosis (38691) | about 10 years ago | (#10633353)

The article suggests it's not just that obvious punching bag, litigation, that causes these features not to appear in the U.S. The real reason may be that people don't actually *want* the ability to watch broadcast TV in their car:

"Safety and security are our winning features," said Terry Sullivan, vice president of communications for OnStar, the communications system owned by General Motors and available on 50 of its models as well as those of other manufacturers.

"While customers can hear their e-mail using OnStar's Virtual Advisor service, the number that do is minuscule, in the low thousands," Mr. Sullivan said. "More telling is that 80 percent of its 2.7 million customers buy the air-bag notification system, which sends a signal to a central office when a car's air bag is deployed, to dispatch emergency services.


-----------------
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(Flat screens and Desktop PCs too)

Re:Another Big Reason... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | about 10 years ago | (#10633501)

Yeah, well, as someone who grew up in the suburbs, I like this feature:

Fear of legal action has also stopped Toyota from offering its Intelligent Parking Assist feature, which is now available on the hybrid gas-electric Prius model sold in Japan.

This device automatically parks the car, maneuvering the Prius backward and into the space. To activate it, the driver first pulls alongside the forward vehicle, then drags a picture of a flag marker and parking triangle on the car's touchscreen display, until they are positioned where the vehicle should wind up.

While the system seems ideal for congested streets like New York's, "we have no plans for the U.S.," said Jon Bucci, corporate manager for advanced technology at Toyota Motor Sales. "This is a very litigious society."


Just cause some idiot gets himself killed doing something he shouldn't have been doing in the first place if he used an ounce of common sense and his family makes a rucus doesn't mean that I'm a moron thats going to do the same thing.

Er, thanks, but no thanks (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | about 10 years ago | (#10633354)

In many vehicles nowadays, you can check your e-mail, view Web sites, even watch television, from the comfort of your driver's seat.

I would love to have this stuff in my car. However, it makes me tremble to think that the 'average' driver would have these things.

I'm glad it's not happening in the USA; it scares me enough already to see all the jackasses in mini vans with cell phones pasted to their ear yakking and laughing like fools as they try to merge onto the interstate. I don't want to see such simpletons watching a movie and surfing the web at the same time.

Stop sueing everybody! (4, Insightful)

SteroidMan (782859) | about 10 years ago | (#10633355)

Darn it, look at all the cool toys we could have if we would just take some personal responsibility for our actions.

Re:Stop suing everybody! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633439)

Huh. Why is it everyone is acting like you can only get these features if the car companies supply them?

Yer a slashdotter! Hack something together!

Re:Stop sueing everybody! (3, Interesting)

temojen (678985) | about 10 years ago | (#10633528)

Darn it, look at all the death, chronic pain, and permanent disability we could have if we just had more distractions while driving.

lawyer suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633358)

lawyers suck maximum vacuum

I ride a motorcycle (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633361)

I ride a motorcycle and spend enough time watching out for idiots talking on their cell phone who wander over into my lane. The last thing I need is someone singing a Jessica Simpson song turning me into roadkill. You are driving an automobile and are putting other lives as risk. You should not be eating a big mac while talking on the phone while you are crusing down the highway at 75mph.

the only thing I care about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633365)

is whether or not it can fly!

Instead of adding, why not remove shit ? (4, Insightful)

phoxix (161744) | about 10 years ago | (#10633374)

Lets start with those damn ultra-bright lights. Holy cow are those super annoying. I'm not even driving but walking down the streets with those suckers turned on is enough blind me.

Sunny Dubey

Re:Instead of adding, why not remove shit ? (1)

red floyd (220712) | about 10 years ago | (#10633417)

How do you carry the power supply for your ultra-bright lights when you're walking?

Paranoia (5, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 10 years ago | (#10633381)

Terrorism has also created a switch in what consumers deem to be necessary equipment as they drive. It is the ability to communicate, not to be entertained, that seems to matter most to Americans, some industry officials have concluded.
You know what? Please don't mod me troll, but do I wish USAians would get over this terror thing. Countries like the UK and Spain have had to put up with terrorism and the the threat of terrorism for decades, but they haven't developed a culture of fear, and it has not stopped them from getting on with their lives as normal. This 'but what would the terrorists think?' automatic reaction to just about everything is starting to get a bit old.

And another thing, I could have sworn that it was illegal in the UK to have a TV playing within view of the driver.

Re:Paranoia (5, Insightful)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | about 10 years ago | (#10633490)

Do their leaders do everything in their power to reinforce the culture of fear?

Re:Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633517)

Ahhh, but without the culture of fear, the Bush administration would have to resort to having actual platforms to stand on. Instead we just get "The terrorists will attack us again if Kerry is elected."

Re:Paranoia (1)

jd (1658) | about 10 years ago | (#10633540)

I believe you are correct, but I think if the vehicle is stationary, some of the rules are loosened. It's telling, though, that all the examples are in countries other than Britain.

Gas (2, Insightful)

StevenHenderson (806391) | about 10 years ago | (#10633382)

nifty automobile technology that isn't coming to the United States

Like fuel efficency, maybe? That *for sure* won't be coming to the US anytime soon!

Re:Gas (2, Interesting)

NardofDoom (821951) | about 10 years ago | (#10633478)

Diesel engines in the US get horrible emissions ratings because we have shitty diesel. You can get around this by burning veggie or biodiesel, but it still keeps most car companies from send diesels or hybrid-diesels (mmm... 65 mpg in a family sedan on free fuel) our way.

Re:Gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633523)

Like fuel efficency, maybe?

"My car gets forty rods to the hog's head, and that's the way I likes it!"

Litigous == good?! (2, Interesting)

stomv (80392) | about 10 years ago | (#10633385)

From the article...

---NY Times quote---
While the system seems ideal for congested streets like New York's, "we have no plans for the U.S.," said Jon Bucci, corporate manager for advanced technology at Toyota Motor Sales. "This is a very litigious society."
---NY Times quote---

So, to recap: the fact that the auto-parallel park will continue parking even if a 3 year old steps in the way is not a reason to withhold the feature. No, the threat of a lawsuit is the reason.

Seems to me like this is a classic example of why US lawsuits are a good thing (tm). They're preventing companies from rolling out products that could run over little kids without allowing the operator to override.

Re:Litigous == good?! (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 10 years ago | (#10633436)

Ummm...That's why there are the brakes.

And no, the brakes can't be overpowered by the engine.

Re:Litigous == good?! (3, Interesting)

monoi (811392) | about 10 years ago | (#10633526)

Seems to me like this is a classic example of why US lawsuits are a good thing (tm). They're preventing companies from rolling out products that could run over little kids without allowing the operator to override.

Who said the operator couldn't override it? I think the point the article was making was that in the US, people like to look for someone to blame other than themselves. So, if a three-year-old did get run over because of the driver's negligence when using the system, a US citizen would be likely to blame the car manufacturer for their own failings.

Note that I am not a US citizen, and therefore may display bias in this interpretation :-).

Re:Litigous == good?! (1)

rale, the (659351) | about 10 years ago | (#10633534)

Assuming you actually stay in your car while its parking, which I'm guessing is a requirement, you can probably hit the brakes to stop all the same. My non-assisted car sure wont stop on it's own if a kid runs infront of it, thats my responsibility as a driver.

Um... (1)

Little_Grabbi (756173) | about 10 years ago | (#10633398)

Personally, I love gadgety cars... But the price tag is just a wee bit high unless you go hardcore and strap your old Slot-A computer in the trunk. Nevertheless, kudos to Fiat, Toyota, BMW (drool), and Mercedes... etc.

It's not all about legal liability (2, Interesting)

lashi (822466) | about 10 years ago | (#10633400)

When I lived in London, I drove a Bora which is a European version of a Jetta. Now it had a 1.6 l engine vs Jetta's 1.8 turbo engine. But the Bora had a few nifty features like a rain sensor that controls windshield wiper speed automatically, an auto dimming rear view mirror that I didn't have to flip when someone highbeams me and it had a really informative display that tells me mpg, outside temp and so on.

A friend went to visit me and thought those features were really cool because he had a Jetta but didn't have any of those.

I don't see how VW would get sued for having those features. But I think in North America, the car makers think we don't care about knowing mpg, outside temp or having a rain sensor as much as like having a bigger engine and faster car. It's about preference.

Personally I don't agree with how car makers perceive NA market. My friend thought he would rather have a smaller engine but better features. He prefer the Bora to his Jetta. I think there is a good market for car that are not powerful but more high tech.

Re:It's not all about legal liability (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 10 years ago | (#10633494)

Yeah, I always see cool stuff we don't have overseas. That, and a few amazingly cheap cars that don't suck entirely. I guess it is a function of the market. That, and a different corporate culture that makes different choices.

Karaoke?? (1, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 10 years ago | (#10633402)

Gimme a break. This is a car, fer crissakes. Not a mobile party room. What's next? A stocked wetbar that pops out of the glove box?

How about we drive, and not kill so many of us doing it.

I was hoping... (1)

soulctcher (581951) | about 10 years ago | (#10633423)

it would transform! Woohoo, two front page stories, same response! http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=127163&cid=106 30081

Top 10 Lists of Things Car Can't Do (2, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 10 years ago | (#10633425)

10. Automatically incinerate Kerry or Bush bumper stickers placed on them.
9. Go to Hill Valley whenever the car reaches 88 mph.
8. Make really cool "putta-pa-put-put-putter-pa-pa-put-pa" bubbly sounds when Fred McMurray drives it through the air.
7. Make Steve Jobs shit his pants.
6. Not enough room on the hood for the Trump logo.
5. Why won't anyone invent the full-windshield TFT display so we can play Doom 3 while we drive? Come on now!
4. Annoy David Hasselhoff.
3. Get 400 miles to the gallon (we KNOW Exxon-Mobile has warehouses filled with home-garage built super carburetors).
2. where's the middle headlights??? Too bad Tucker is dead.
1. "Take out the trash".

Automotive Technologies Slightly Ahead of Time (2, Interesting)

jejagua (738519) | about 10 years ago | (#10633432)

Just about the time these technologies are officially outlawed, auto auto-pilot will become widely available. We'll have nothing better to do during our auto-commutes than pick our noses, floss or gawk at attractive female commuters....slightly less dangerously than we do currently.

This is too bad (0, Troll)

Zilfondel2 (662431) | about 10 years ago | (#10633438)

As a consultant who spends upward of 6-7 hours a day in my car driving to and from different clients, I would really like to see some of these features in cars in America. Currently, I already eat, shave, brush my teeth, change clothes, make phone calls, check email, etc on the freeway while driving at 60 mph. So I really don't see why I shouldn't have the option of watching a movie or having an auto-park option in my car.

Are people distracted while driving? Absolutely. In fact, I've heard of statistics saying that 90% of drivers on the road in America right now are unfit mentally to drive, either through emotional stress or just not paying attention. The result? We have the highest level of auto accident death rate in the entire industrialized world. 44,000 die each year. Well, that's what you have to pay for the luxury and freedom you get with a car. I fully expect one day that my mangled corpse will be pulled out of my car, electric razor still in hand with my brains splattered on my windshield. Too bad for the person I hit, but I'm sorry - this is technology that I need to use right now.

Besides, much of what they are offering can already be had in a car nowadays - albeit through laptop hook ups and stuff, which are a lot harder to use than a system that's built in. If you don't believe me, try using a laptop writing a document with the laptop in the passenger's seat while driving in stop-and-go traffic.
Much easier if the car were to allow you to do this with your eyes forward on the road.

I don't want to sound like a free rights bastard, but if you don't like other drivers doing other ativities while driving...then don't drive. You can ride the bus.

I think it's because of the infrastructure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633440)

You might be able to get away with this in big cities where traffic generally creeps along very slowly. But most people I know commute into the big cities from the suburbs. You can generally travel on a toll road around 60 MPH, where these kinds of distractions would be rather unsafe. Maybe I'm misinformed, but I think of Japan as being a very crowded place with very crowded streets and not a lot of vast open highways like the U.S. has. A lot of Europe seems to be the same way, though they do have more highways than Japan. Or maybe we are just a bunch of litigious bastards. Though I would be interested in some of this technology (NOT karoke), I can't blame the manufacturers for keeping it out. As usual, you have to blame the users.

More annoying than being regulated out... (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | about 10 years ago | (#10633444)

I just want the damned navigation system for my car. It's available in Europe and even Canada, but GM has decided that they'd rather sell OnStar in the US because it has a recurring revenue model, and that navigation systems interfere with OnStar premium subscriptions, so they decided not to offer the feature in the US.

The one thing I *don't* want is anything that requires a monthly fee. I'm sure I could come up with some choice words about where they can stick their recurring revenue.

Can't you just see it now??? (2, Funny)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 10 years ago | (#10633445)

d00d,I just r00t3d y0ur C4r

or even worse...

Road Rage takes on a whole new meaning after the first couple of "hot teen xxx site" "enlarge your %RND_BODYPART%" spams

No thanks, I'm happy with my handleld mapping GPS. If I really need to get on the net that badly while I'm traveling, I can always use that and the laptop to wardrive for a convenient unencrypted wap. (just kidding*)

*sort of

Reason why the parking system is not in the US (0)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 10 years ago | (#10633448)

Because it is fucking broken mister genius. Geez. A piece of heavy equipment that moves with crushing weight without a safety switch? Good fucking luck getting that passed.

It would be like making an elevator whose doors just close on time and don't bother with sensing if anyone is behind them. A train or similar wich is operated by a driver who cannot see what is happening behind them without an emergecy brake.

I can just see this parking sytem in use. Stupid car owner puts the system on, child gets in between the system whole idiot is on te phone, child gets crushed because the car can't sense a collision and just keeps pushing.

Isn't the whole point of parking helping system that they STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING ACCIDENTS? A system that makes people give up control and not pay attention can only be successfull if the system can pay attention.

Like the elevator wich check if something is between the doors and does not work until everything is clear.

Surely I don't even have to explain why video for the driver isn't a good idea? Lawsuits are not all evil, often they are the only way for the average voter to influence society. For every frivolous lawsuit there important ones who get society or companies to clean up their act.

Re:Reason why the parking system is not in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10633531)

It would be the stupid car owners fault, not the auto park feature. The owner trying to shift the blame is why the US is lawsuit happy. If people were responsible for their own actions, the US would be a better place.

Blame lawyers! (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | about 10 years ago | (#10633450)

If lawyers weren't so quick to find holes, and bend laws, we'd have all this cool stuff and more.

They should restrict lawyers to only the QA department. Their attention to details and ability to break what seemingly is good logic (No hot coffee in lap) should definitely improve software, both OSS and proprietory!

Cell Phones - Hazard on the Road (1)

reporter (666905) | about 10 years ago | (#10633459)

We should ban anything that distracts the driver from the actual driving. The exception would be the radio.

Consider a study done by the American Automobile Association [aaafts.org] . Cell Phones are a distraction. Having prior experience with using such a phone during driving does not reduce the likelihood of distraction.

Some states now ban the use of a cell phone while driving.

If you hate what is happening to our nation, the USA, then write the following on the November ballot.

president: Bill O'Reilly [billoreilly.com]
vice-president: Tammy Bruce [tammybruce.com]

Lawsuits (5, Insightful)

slars (410355) | about 10 years ago | (#10633462)

This strongest point I got from reading the article (Yes, I actually RTFA!) is that auto makers, and probably many other companies, are hesitant to introduce new stuff to the US market, whether we need it or not or if it's stupid or not, for fear of being sued.

Our country has turned into a lawsuit machine. It's become too easy for Bubba to sue S&W and Coors for shooting himself in the foot after downing a 12-er or Coors Light. Who knows - he'd probably win.

TV screen - that's nothing (1)

geneing (756949) | about 10 years ago | (#10633464)

I was driving a few months ago (in California) and a minivan in front of me had at least 8 TV screens: 1 for the driver, one for each passenger and one more big screen for everyone in the back.

Move over Audi... :) Custom mods rule :)

Great.... (2, Funny)

rsborg (111459) | about 10 years ago | (#10633476)

so we're gonna miss out on car based web-surfing (imagine a laptop keyboard "nipple" in your steering wheel!) when more distracting Car DVD players [google.com] are available?

Sigh... I guess i have to get my commuting pr0n from dvds and not the web :-(

Maturity and necessity ... (1)

fygment (444210) | about 10 years ago | (#10633498)

... differs between North America and the other G8's. Having experienced traffic jams in Europe (esp. Autobahn funnily enough) who wouldn't be relieved to be able to surf or watch TV? That isn't the situation encountered on North America's interstates and trans-Canada.
It seems a telling comment on national maturity when the US attitude is to sue ("It's someone else's fault, not mine!") to the point that it actually inhibits the introduction of technology to a market. Or maybe, the most mature and effective legal systems are found in the US. Sad, either way.

Nothing even remotely tantalizing... (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 10 years ago | (#10633505)

I was expecting to find at least one thing in the article that I would enjoy having in my car... but I didn't.
Cars are expensive enough as it is. Hell, I don't even want navigation - I've never really missed it yet, so all it would do is add a couple grand to the price of the car. I use my car to drive from point A to point B (although often by the most indirect route - driving is fun given the right roads).


I think one reason (beyond the obvious issues of litigation - isn't it nice to hear about places where people are actually assumed to be responsible for their own actions?) these sorts of systems haven't caught on in the U.S. is that the car is one of the last places we Americans can go to escape TV, email, etc., etc... we (I) don't want these things in our (my) cars.

This nailed it. (0)

poofyhairguy82 (635386) | about 10 years ago | (#10633511)

Executives contend that most American drivers are more interested in advanced safety systems than in entertainment options.

Exactually. Thats why us Americans buy SUVs that "feel" safe and spend billions on another war against an -ism. This would be fine, except from the two examples I have given you can see that our collective motto is "a good offense is the best defense."

It's too easy (1)

klugerama (823835) | about 10 years ago | (#10633525)

Keep in mind that almost anybody can get a license with minimal effort in America. It's not nearly as easy to get a driver's license in Europe - I've been told that in Germany, the written driver's test alone is practically a book, and takes several hours, as does the practical test. It's many pages, as opposed to the single/half page written multiple choice/multiple attempt joke here in California. I don't know about Japan.
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