Cole, who knows the automotive market as well as anyone in the country, cites the lack of success of Tata Motors' Nano, a bare-bones city car that retailed for a scant $2,100 and still missed its mark, even in India's economically challenged market.
"It's been a bomb in the market," he said. "Many people don't want a car with no extra features."
The debate over cellphone use is also complicated by the question of whether a cellphone really is a distraction. Few would argue that texting while driving is a safety issue, but many phone users cite the availability of Bluetooth headsets to eliminate potential distraction. With Bluetooth, they say, a phone is no more a distraction than a car radio or a crying child in the back seat.
Still, Bluetooth technology doesn't help drivers deal with center console displays, many of which have gotten maddeningly complex. Some use as many as 15 buttons and require drivers to step through a menu of four or five nested screens, all of which qualify as a major distraction. Cole predicts that the auto industry will ultimately settle the problem with the development of reconfigurable displays that can change to meet the individual driver's needs. Those who have difficulties with complex features will be able to simplify the display to minimize the distraction, he said.
Of course, that won't help clueless drivers who seem incapable of understanding when they're distracted. "This is a huge dilemma for the industry," Cole said. "You're dealing with human nature here. People want what they want. And sometimes they want more than they should have."
To keep up with our EV coverage, go to Drive for Innovation and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director Brian Fuller. On his trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is driving a Chevy Volt across America to interview engineers.
It is really very risky using the mobile phones while driving one should have little common sence .At least in turnings they should avoid not only using mobile phones but all the other things and devices that create distraction during driving
The only thing new is the device. The bureaucratic desire to prohibit and regulate continues.
The June 1935 issue of Radio-Craft magazine explained the battle being waged between state legislators and radio manufacturers: "Ever since auto-radio installations became popular, a controversy has been going on—between legislative authorities and insurance companies on one hand, and radio manufacturers and car radio owners on the other—as to whether auto radio presented an accident hazard or not."
Of course people oppose regulations that are often implemented in a heavy handed way. Remember the 55 mph speed limit in 1974. It took 13 years to get rid of it. And who wants to give a cop another reason to search your car or pull you over.
As a member of focusdriven.org, I strongly oppose the use of cell phones and other distracting technology while driving. Inattentive motorists are an even bigger threat to public safety than DUIs, because they are so plentiful. The crash statisics speak eloquently and tragically for themselves.
I don't care if it's hands-on, hands-off, whatever -- do the ethical, responsible thing and HANG UP AND DRIVE!
and then you see the folks with the push to talk phones holding the phone in one hand, talking and attempting to make a left hand turn that requires all four lanes of the intersection since they can't steer hand over hand. Signaling? Not likely.
My observation is, I am following a car in fast lane that suddenly for no apparent reason the driver slows down by 10~15 mph and maybe weaves a little but continues in fast lane. When I pull to right and pass I observe driver is on cell phone. My conclusion is that, unconsciously the cell phone user recognizes they are driving while distracted and they slow down.
Even before cell phones their were distractions. Ive seen drivers reading the paper, eating, putting on makeup and once I saw a driver making out while driving. All those are aside from the battery of controls that distract the driver from his/her primary job of driving the car. Adding another layer of distraction isn't a good thing. Perhaps voice activated controls and true hands free commmunications are all we can hope for, but it won't keep silly people from doing silly things while driving.
I'm surprised to hear that about Toyota, Chuck. Seems like intrusion into the customer's ability to run the device -- even if it does improve safety. It sounds like that also would hamper a front-seat passenger's ability to utilize the system. Or maybe there's an override for passenger operation.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.