It’s little wonder why car sales are down. We have less money to spend, cars last longer and the new negative trend for the auto companies is we are driving a less – a lot less. In September, pre-plunge gas prices convinced the nation to drive 10.7 billion miles less or 4.4 per cent than in September, 2007. We drove a total 232.8 billion miles for the month and 3.5 per cent less for the first nine months of 2008 as compared to 2007.
The numbers are compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, which is part of U.S. DOT. This year will be the first annual decline since 1983 with the biggest drop coming in the south where gas was not only expensive, but scarce in some areas. Of course, the low gas prices of the past six weeks will bump up the miles a bit, but the recession will likely balance that increase out. Read the reams of stats.
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.