I had a chance yesterday to take a ride in and drive GM’s newest and acclaimed Crossover SUV, the GMC Acadia. It was fun to drive, handled well and is part of GM’s bid to build attractive luxury SUVs downsized from its mainstay Yukon. I liked the Acdia. The 275 hp V-6 in the AWD model boasts 16/22 MPG and the 2007 I rode in was full from electronics, from rear seat DVD players to OnStar. The onboard computer says we were averaging 20.6 MPG on a secondary two-way highway in a blizzard and then a driving rain. We did get stuck in about 18 inches of plowed snow and had to dig out, but any vehicle with a mere 7.4 inches of ground clearance would have gotten hung up.
What seriously bugged me about the car was the windshield defroster and the back seat. The defroster only defogged the middle of the windshield unless you run it full tilt for 20 minutes, raising the cabin temparture to 95. The vehicle’s owner and wife were upset enough about this as a safety issue and were planning to write the dealer. The car had no ports to clear the left-most fifth of the windshield. How could GM overlook this when this car was built for snow and foul weather!?
The backseat bench is scarely 14-inches deep, thus providing very little support for an adult passenger’s upper legs. Kids probably wouldn’t notice, but I was squirmy and uncomfortable for our three-hour trip home from a ski area in New Hampshire.My guess is they skimped on the back seat to provide more leg room in an otherwise cramped setting. A deeper bench would have eaten up leg room.
Those two negatives aside, the Acadia is handsome, well-built, adept in snow and fun to drive. But after taking a lot of bumps from ice ruts in the road, riding in a car seemed like a magic carpet ride. Maybe my age is showing.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.