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Beth Stackpole
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High demand, but low utility?
Beth Stackpole   5/29/2012 7:31:23 AM
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There's no doubt that driver aid features like back-up cams and some of the newer innovations are in hot demand. But just because you provide a technological advantage doesn't mean the driver will take advantage of the capability and benefit from assistance or safety. I'm a perfect example: A back-up camera on my car didn't stop me from having a minor fender bender recently. And the other party had the nerve to cite my back-up cam as a reason why the accident shouldn't have happened in the first place. Really??? Human error will persist

tekochip
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Platinum
Re: High demand, but low utility?
tekochip   5/29/2012 8:24:11 AM
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You're right Beth.  I'll bet every car has that cutting edge device, turn signals, and how often do you see those used?

naperlou
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Re: High demand, but low utility?
naperlou   5/29/2012 9:08:28 AM
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It is amazing how many microprocessors there are in cars these days.  I was talking to an engineer and he pointed out that in many cases, instead of using a centralized processor and a sensor that a unit would be built with its own processor.  One seemingly simple example of this is the temperature sensor.  These generally have a small MCU to report the temperature.  The reason is tied into how the automotive industry works.  The automakers design the car and work with suppliers who provide the parts.  This is great for the MCU industry. 

As for the sensors that you don't use, I have seen that in many situations.  I think it was in this site that there have been articles about the automated highway.   There was a comment in one about how the automated vehicles actually stopped at the stop sign (a pet peeve of mine).  I have been in cars where the vehicle gave the operator mutliple ques about what was happening.  The drivers often become used to ignoring them.  Sort of like Beth, come to think of it.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: High demand, but low utility?
Beth Stackpole   5/29/2012 2:00:10 PM
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@Naperlou: Multiple cues from the car--well, that's harder to ignore than a back-up cam that always makes things appear further away than they actually are. Ok, that's my excuse!

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: High demand, but low utility?
Charles Murray   5/29/2012 7:50:02 PM
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Beth: I suspect, but cannot prove, that auto engineers see a lot of these features as pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle. So you might never use them, but the autonomous vehicle will use them. Lanekeeping and collision avoidance, for example, might one day just take over for you, whether you want them to or not.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: High demand, but low utility?
Beth Stackpole   5/30/2012 8:07:17 AM
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That makes sense. Laying the groundwork now and refining the designs as they become a standard part of the car's BOM. I imagine what we see now in terms of driver aid systems will be nothing compared to what we see in the future.

ervin0072002
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Gold
Re: High demand, but low utility?
ervin0072002   5/30/2012 9:48:40 AM
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Keep in mind that some of these MCU's are replacing older Analog, Electromechanical, Hydro mechanical or just plain mechanical systems. The mass reduction and simplicity of applying the MCU's makes them ideal. Yea sure Cert time is a little tough but some of these MCU's add cost saving. Other options like collision avoidance etc. are added at the buyers' expense however they are there mostly for brownie points from the car manufacturer. This is what competition does. They add all these features at a few pennies to the dollar and it's all done to lure average Joe to purchase their car instead of the competitors. I personaly still ignore all the background noise and look at the amount of money it takes to buy and maintain a car.

ChasChas
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Platinum
Re: High demand, but low utility?
ChasChas   5/30/2012 11:24:29 AM
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Cars are getting like musical instruments, not everyone can play them.

Some of us can only hum along.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
The electrified car
Rob Spiegel   5/29/2012 1:24:16 PM
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I remember just a few years ago, analysts were amazed that electronics made up about 10 percent of a car's total cost, an estimate of about $2,000. By 2018, it sounds like that figure will have grown considerably in the percentage of a car's cost as well as total amount. 

If the car is safer, and if the car lasts longer, these costs will be worthwhile. Only time will tell whether the added costs pay off in value.

NadineJ
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Platinum
Re: The electrified car
NadineJ   5/29/2012 4:23:23 PM
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Good point Rob.  Are there any stats on what the new devices will add to the car's total cost?

To Beth and naperlou's point, how often will these extras be used?  If they're offered as an option and too pricey, consumers may choose to opt out.  Turn signlas and seat belts are mandatory, back-up cameras and parking sensors are not.

I still lament the loss of actual driving skills but I learned to drive in San Francisco in a '68 Mustang.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Charles Murray   5/29/2012 7:55:10 PM
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Nadine, I think it's safe to say that the costs will be absorbed by virtually all automotive consumers, because many of these features will be offered in bundles, whether you ask for them or not. Breaking out the cost of a single feature is unfortunately difficult.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Rob Spiegel   5/30/2012 11:41:17 AM
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Wasn't the Mustang the car Steve McQueen drove through San Francisco in Bullet? At the time that was the greatest car chase scene ever. 

As for optional electronics, I'm not convinced consumers would choose these electronics if you had to pay for them individually.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Charles Murray   5/30/2012 8:40:14 PM
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You're right, Rob. If we had to pay for them individually, not many people would get these features. It's too many permutations, though, so automakers would never do that. regarding Bullitt: Yes, it was a Mustang. And a Dodge Charger, I believe.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Rob Spiegel   5/31/2012 12:59:25 PM
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Hmm. I spelled Bullitt wrong, Chuck. I looked it up and it's the Steve McQueen character name. Apparently, Ford came out with a Mustang Bullitt on the 40th anniversary of the film.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Charles Murray   6/1/2012 6:03:30 PM
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It's cool that Ford came out with a 40th anniversary Mustang Bullitt. But I have to admit, my kids laugh at that chase seen because, by comparison to today's movies, it seems so crude. I still watch it when it comes on TV, though.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Rob Spiegel   6/4/2012 11:52:38 AM
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I'm with you Chuck. Bullitt was the best chase scene until the French Connection with Gene Hackman. I think the French Connection equaled Bullitt (but didn't surpass it).

Too many movies now begin with a chase scene and the whole movie is a chase scene. And it's all computer animated It takes the life out of it.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Charles Murray   6/4/2012 4:33:54 PM
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I saw a movie called Drive recently that has some pretty good chase scenes, but I still prefer Bullitt and the French Connection.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Rob Spiegel   6/5/2012 11:28:50 AM
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Yes, Chuck, my son has been bugging me to see Drive, saying it's a good movie. I'm always open minded to new chase scenes, but there is something so analog beautiful about Bullitt and French Connection.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Charles Murray   5/29/2012 7:51:19 PM
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I think the content figure has already reached about 40%, Rob.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: The electrified car
Rob Spiegel   5/30/2012 11:44:19 AM
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40%! Wow. That's quite a figure, especially since it wasn't long ago that the percentage of elecronics was half that. Again, though, if the additional electronics make the car safer and make it last longer, that's a huge consideration.

apresher
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Blogger
Driver Assist Features
apresher   5/30/2012 3:32:49 PM
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Chuck,  Excellent story.  It's amazing to me how quickly driver assist seems to developing as a feature set. Certainly all of the compute power is readily available to make it happen.  Thanks.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Driver Assist Features
Charles Murray   5/30/2012 8:43:25 PM
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Thanks, Al. Yes, driver assist features seem to have come out of nowhere. Some of them have been worked on for about a decade, but once they make it to production, it moves fast. In contrast, electronic stability control was in production for almost 15 years when it really took off.



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