Electronic News & Comment

Slideshow: Automotive Infotainment Still 'Bugs' Luxury Vehicles

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Infotainment Issues
rosek   4/16/2014 5:17:15 PM
Weird. I drive a 2012 Ford Focus and I've not noticed any issues with the infotainment system. I use the hands-free blue-tooth link all the time and with the exception of mis-interpreting some of my spoken replies, it works great.  I guess my Focus isn't classified as a luxury car.....

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bobjengr   4/15/2014 6:29:19 PM
I think the good news is the essential components and assemblies are basically becoming more reliable; i.e. engines, gear trains, power steering, brakes, etc.  One considerable "downer" is the ignition switch problem GM is having with several models.  GM really missed the ball on this one.  You had a very interesting and informative post on that problem several days ago.  Year after year GE Appliances records their number one and number two field problems as: 1.) Electronics and 2.) Electrical.  Even with a "static" device such as a range, electrical is difficult, not to mention putting electronics and electrical systems on moving vehicles.  I think the real bottom line is having great reliability with "mission critical systems" or those components that must operate properly or injuries result.  Great post Charles.

Jerry dycus
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Re: getting better
Jerry dycus   4/15/2014 6:02:43 PM
What happens 5 yrs when the formats are obsolete?  In 10 yrs?, 20 yrs?

I'm making not having any of these in my subcars for sale as a feature.  If anyone wants they can have far less costly upgradable electronics installed as they wish.

If you want infotainment, GPS, etc , just put your tablet or smartphone on the dash.

And I believe car hacking will be big soon it allows.

Sometimes, maybe most times, 'improvements', are not.



Elizabeth M
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Re: getting better
Elizabeth M   4/15/2014 11:39:23 AM
I have to say, I agree with you, Lou. I personally am not really a fan of these infotainment systems--well, I think things like GPS are helpful, but when it comes to things like entertainment in an automobile, I think we already have enough distractions to our driving with mobile devices. And as you point out, these systems don't threaten the original purpose of the car, which is to take us places safely and efficiently. So if something has to suffer, this is a good aspect of contemporary vehicles to do it.

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Consumer Reports unbiased car reviews
Reliabilityguru   4/15/2014 10:05:22 AM
Save your money. American made = bad. German or Japanese made = good

William K.
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Re: getting better
William K.   4/15/2014 9:53:14 AM
Automotive powertrains are indeed getting better and more reliable, not only because the designers are higher up on the learning curve, but also because of the higher emmissions standards,mwhich mandate better operation.

The info-tainment area is different in a number of ways. First, all are attempting to "differentiate" themselves from the other brands, which always leads to attempting functions in a different manner, mostly without adequate understanding of what would be the best choice. Second, this system is often designed by outside vendors whose main goal is maximum profit, which leads to minimal quality, equating to "just barely meeting specifications" instead of being better than the absolute minimum needed quality. (This definition of quality includes durability and robustness.) The third area leading to problems in the info-tainment area 9is the programming, which typically runs into the tens of thousands of lines of code, written to vague specifications by programmers who are vaery different from the folks who will be using the systems in the finished product.

So it is not certain that the vast proliferation of computational products into the automobile is actually of any real benefit. Certainly it provides lots of features, but the value added is much less certain.

What is absoluetly clear is that the number of distractions from driving is increasing a whole lot.

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getting better
naperlou   4/14/2014 1:59:07 PM
Chuck, this is basically good news.  The Infotainment, while something that attracts some drivers, costs money and is useful to some drivers, is not going to stop you from getting where you want to go.  Even the sat nav feature in the car may soon be made obsolete by the smart phone.  I have an older car.  Satellite navigation was an option, but I never got it.  I have a new smart phone and I get that for free.  It even talks to you.  I also find people using their phone for music and, sometimes, to make a call. 

One thing that would be iteresting to see is the numbers of failures for some of the things you mention.  I expect all will be quite small.

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