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Slideshow: Car Electronics, From Dashboard Nav to Autonomous Vehicles
10/14/2011

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Measuring approximately 8' x 6' x 1', Autonet Mobile's in-car Internet router, introduced in 2008, is similar to the size of a home router. With the device, Autonet said, 'the kids can be in the back seat, doing online gaming or going to Facebook. All the stuff they can do normally, they can now do in the car.'    (Photo courtesy of Autonet Mobile.)
Measuring approximately 8" x 6" x 1", Autonet Mobile's in-car Internet router, introduced in 2008, is similar to the size of a home router. With the device, Autonet said, "the kids can be in the back seat, doing online gaming or going to Facebook. All the stuff they can do normally, they can now do in the car."
(Photo courtesy of Autonet Mobile.)

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Beth Stackpole
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Re: What IS a car today?
Beth Stackpole   10/14/2011 3:44:47 PM
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I have to agree with Alex about the trend of loading up modern vehicles with too much electronics, especially for the average consumer. I have a pretty new car loaded with GPS, rear-view camera, built-in bluetooth, etc. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to use all of this stuff and forget about trusting the camera for backing up--no can do.

I can't even imagine relying on all the sensors and other electronics involved in automatic parallel parking or waking up the driver in the event they fall asleep at the wheel. While there's definitely a role for modern technology, at what point is it overkill, over complicated, and more of a detriment in terms of driver distraction?

Alexander Wolfe
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What IS a car today?
Alexander Wolfe   10/14/2011 10:48:14 AM
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I used to think of a car as a mechanical system with some electronics. In the past six months, it's clicked into my head that the modern automobile is actually an electronics platform, with (usually) an internal combustion engine as a component (sitting in the front like a refrigerator sits in the kitchen), though not necessarily an ICE; it could be a battery pack. Or a fuel cell (well, not really, that's not happening, though that's actually what I believe to be the most promising alternative technology). I guess my point, even though I'm an EE, is I think maybe we've hit a point where there's TOO much electronics in the modern car.

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