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Android Transportation Software

Renault Opens Up the 'Car As a Platform' 318

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
pbahra writes "Renault has launched what it describes as a 'tablet,' an integrated Android device built into its next range of cars, effectively opening the way to the car-as-a-platform. At the Le Web conference last year, Renault's chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, announced the company's intention to open up the car to developers, safety considerations not withstanding. 'The car is becoming a new platform,' said Mr. Hoffstetter. He said the seven-inch device can be controlled by voice recognition or by buttons on the steering wheel. 'We need help now,' he said. 'We need developers to work on apps.' When it launches, there will be about 50 apps bundled with the device, mostly written by Renault. 'We will open a Renault app store for people to download their own apps,' he said." While I like the idea of such apps for certain purposes — a maintenance interface, less-inconvenient navigation and stereo controls, interesting driving stats — I'm skeptical of the average driver's ability to use one of these without turning his car into a 3,000-lb angry bird.
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Renault Opens Up the 'Car As a Platform'

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:18PM (#38331074)

    The automotive market is ultra-saturated, fewer people buy cars because of the crisis these days, so we'll come up with any useless concept to sell them.

    • by masternerdguy (2468142) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:20PM (#38331090)
      And you get car malware.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Already had one of those, I've owned a Ford.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eXFeLoN (954179)
          Funny thing is, I've driven my Ford 272226 miles as of today with very minor repair work done. Maybe in your case, to use a computer analogy, it's user error?
          • Ford's infotainment system uses Microsoft technology (hilariously so does GM).

            And guess what? They both fucking suck at infotainment stuff.

            Bring on the android powered cars so I can install cyanogenmod on them, fuck yeah!

      • by msauve (701917) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:05PM (#38331362)
        "And you get car malware."

        Could be worse. Could be Microsoft/Ford Sync.
    • by Larryish (1215510) <larryish@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:29PM (#38331146)

      New show on "SyFy" network:

      Hack My Ride

      • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:40PM (#38331234)

        Your car drives you to a remote location, locks your doors and refuses to relinquish control until you buy $1000 worth of generic viagra.

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:13PM (#38331388)

      That's very lacking in imagination. Having computers with UIs in cars is well established. Whilst they provide some useful features there are plenty of useful things third party app developers could supply.

      e.g. Apps to direct you to car parks with space. And in future to an actual parking space. Or an app that accesses data in fuel prices and how much fuel you have in your tank to intelligently recommend where to refuel.

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Sunday December 11, 2011 @12:41AM (#38332402)

      Not every car company is like the US ones. Renault is doing just fine. This is just the logical extension of selling your car with an iPod/USB interface.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @01:12AM (#38332536) Homepage Journal

      This isn't useless.

      If the platform can read OBD, CAN, and other automotive buses, it is possible to write the equivalent of a Tech-II app, design your own gauges, your own trip efficiency calculators (and "most efficient" driving route), and possibly even design your own tuning profile (timing, fuel curve, boost pressure, etc.) or install a tuning profile from your preferred tuner, as well as enable vehicle options (e.g., if you change your head unit, add a disc changer (does anyone still bother with those?), add fog lights, etc.) and program driver profiles. There is a lot this can do for you.

      The down side is: if everything (HVAC/defroster, radio tuning presets and volume control, etc) is done through the touch screen, I could see an increase in avoidable collisions occurring. They should never replace physical controls but merely augment them.

      • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic@@@gmail...com> on Sunday December 11, 2011 @02:00PM (#38336308)

        They should never replace physical controls but merely augment them.

        An interesting question - what is a physical control? AFAIK the gas pedals in almost all modern cars is merely a computer interface, asking the car's computer to make the car go faster. So it's a physical control in one sense, but a computer control in another. And of course in every recent car I've driven the dashboard instruments (speedometer, tach, etc.) are all computer output - you can watch them go through the start-up calibration sequence. I haven't kept up but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the same is true of the various knobs and buttons on the dashboard.

        As sensor and display technologies march on, I suspect it will get harder to determine whether a given dashboard item is a physical device or some form of touch-screen technology. The actual squishy dashboard material itself could be the display.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have to agree with the poster ....... the more gadgets you put in a car, the more accidents you get.

    One example, people driving off cliffs and into lakes .... because the GPS told them too.

    • by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @12:00AM (#38332210)
      Blaming people driving off cliffs and into lakes on GPS devices is a little like blaming car accidents on the consumption of bread the prior day. Yes there is a correlation, but that doesn't make it the cause. Barring mechanical failure, or a road hazard, anyone that would drive into a lake or off cliffs is already driving their car in a manner that is completely unsafe, and an accident is inevitable anyway. Blaming the GPS for those kinds of accidents is like driving massively stoned and then blaming the the billboard for you smashing into the car in front of you because "The sign was soooo trippy...."
  • Basically what the last line of TFS said, but not from an accidental misuse, but because of someone who thinks he's "an awesome programmer/hacker" and somehow mixes his coolant fluid with the oil. (Yeah, yeah, not possible, hyperbole allowance).

    • Another case where a walled-garden approach to apps is best. Let someone other than the developers and the drivers decide what is reasonably safe and what isn't.

      • so only the dealer fix stuff and why can't you say have the maps from the provider that they want and you can't pick the the data provider for the 3g / 4g to wifi link that you want or use a sim from a other network so you can say get spirit over verizon or say get a Canadian sim for the time you may be in Candida so you don't pay insane roaming fees.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        No, it isn't. There is no excuse for this system to have write access to anything that is a safety or basic car functionality feature. The ability of the system to create any unsafe situation beyond distraction (which is going to be there whether this system is involved or not) would indicate that the system was designed incorrectly from the start. Using safety as an excuse to force a walled garden would be nothing more than a con.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you know what sucks more? having to deal with that onboard computer a decade later when the car is still driven by someone on the roads.

  • Phone interface (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:20PM (#38331086) Journal
    I don't really want a lot of intelligence built into my car. Instead of having a screen built into the dashboard I'd rather have a standard way of docking my phone so that I could use its built-in navigation and audio functions.
    • I don't really want a lot of intelligence built into my car. Instead of having a screen built into the dashboard I'd rather have a standard way of docking my phone so that I could use its built-in navigation and audio functions.

      And that might be just what you're getting:

      The device does not replace existing instrumentation, but rather provides additional services to both the driver and passengers. The device will have access to the vehicles telemetry information and will have mobile connectivity, allowing a number of mobile services to be delivered he said.

      OTOH, Did you ever think it was possible that you could answer 'yes' to the question 'Does that car run Linux?'.

      • OTOH, Did you ever think it was possible that you could answer 'yes' to the question 'Does that car run Linux?'.

        That was one of the goals with meego [meego.com]

    • Mercedes already has this.
    • Why on earth would you not want intelligence built in? You scared of Skynet or something?

      A purpose built sat-nav device (from Garmin say) is far superior to the sat-nav built in to Android. The same will apply to other aspects. Better to have a specialist computer for automotive needs and a separate smartphone.

      • Let's use Microsoft Sync as an example. I bought a new car with it in 2009 and while it works relatively well there are a few problems.

        The hardware is built into the car and thus it never gets updated unless I buy a new car.

        Software updates are infrequent and a PITA to accomplish

        It came with a 1 year free trial of some crappy voice navigation feature that I never ended up using because the Google Navigation app on my phone is superior

        I'm already paying for a data connection as part of my phone bill so any a

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      For under three hundred dollars (as little as $120 or so for a crap can) you can get a head unit with bluetooth including phone support. I get in the car and my $20 crapfone is detected by my $120 crappy jvc and if I get a phone call I press one button on the head unit and I get to yak it up.

  • Mercedes has been doing this for years. First they did it with the iPod integration where the iPod was fully integrated into the COMAND unit and controlled by steering wheel buttons/paddles with the display routed to the cockpit display. Next was the iPhone integrated into the smartcar and now the smartphone integration with full app support.
  • Obsolesence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:32PM (#38331178)

    The real problem is that the hardware will be hilariously outdated in 18-24 months, whereas the car has a much longer expected lifespan.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      Only a "problem" depending on whose perspective you are looking at.
    • Re:Obsolesence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:28PM (#38331466)

      Compare and contrast with Voyager 1. Made 35 years ago, and the technology is so reliable it's still sending data back home from outside of the solar system.

      For cars I can imagine something similar to car audio. You get something up-to date with a new car, and you put up with the fact that it ages. Eventually someone purchases it as a used car and decides the audio isn't good enough, and fits an updated one.

      Between those two points, the actual music (the apps) change with the times, even if the hardware doesn't.

      • by mccalli (323026)
        For cars I can imagine something similar to car audio. You get something up-to date with a new car, and you put up with the fact that it ages. Eventually someone purchases it as a used car and decides the audio isn't good enough, and fits an updated one.

        Completely agreed, which is why I think form factor and interface need to be standardised rather than operating system. I can fit another stereo because I reliably know the original is a single or double DIN device, so my replacement will fit and can be p
    • by cvtan (752695)
      I don't want my car to turn into a computer. There are a dozen computers in my house and when I was working, there were computers in every room I walked into. Computer hardware turns into junk in a few years and the most valuable part ends up being the power cord; I don't need my car to be junked because the hardware is no longer supported or the software has fatal security "issues".
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Too late. Your car already has a computer.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Quite possibly more computers than your house.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            My house? Not a chance. I doubt more than most houses. People just like to redefine 'computer' once it becomes common enough and unobtrusive enough.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        I assume you drive a car that is at least 25 years old then.

        And if you are driving a relatively modern one, like one bought in last 5 years, you can be sure that everything from power steering to ignition is either fully controlled, or at least monitored by a computer.

        • by msauve (701917)
          Only for some definitions of "computer." I don't consider anything with a CPU a computer, and most of the automotive devices you're alluding to, I would call "controllers," not "computers."

          My car has many controllers, but not a single computer, which I believe implies a device which is more general purpose and readily programmed than any in my car.

          OTOH, by some definitions, the classic vacuum/centrifugal advance distributor would be a (analog) computer.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      The real problem is that the hardware will be hilariously outdated in 18-24 months, whereas the car has a much longer expected lifespan.

      Manufacturers have been churning-out ~1GHz ARMv7 Android v2.x smartphones for 24 months now, and there's no sign of that changing for the next few months here... The first change will likely be the OS to 4.0, then maybe dual-core CPUs, but otherwise, things aren't changing very much.

      The part that gets me is SD cards... We've been stuck at 32GB max for years and years, and

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:32PM (#38331180) Journal

    While I'm a big Android supporter, having Android in your car sounds (mostly) like a downgrade. The in-car systems now are VASTLY more reliable than and smartphone/tablet I've come across, and running very reliable real-time OSes like QNX. Unlike phones, they have to meet the regulatory requirements of all other new car parts... being fully functional for 10 years, and working on the last day of the 10th year exactly like they did on day 1. It's a very different model.

    The desire to have better in-car navigation systems is completely understandable, but car companies are well aware of this need as well, and will soon be addressing these concerns without throwing away their entire systems. (No, I can't provide any details)

    The fragmentation of smartphone platforms is much more significant of an issue than in-car systems. Apps need to be cheap or free to entice end users. But when it's bundled with your vehicle, even a couple hundred bucks for an app is lost in the noise of the car's sticker price. With that kind of money available, in-car systems can be as fragmented as the manufacturers want, and they'll still attract developers because the smaller market and specialized skills are more than made up for by the larger sale price.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      And QNX (Now owned by RIM) has been in the embedded car market for years so it is already integrated with all the drive systems. They have even opened up the platform. [qnx.com] In fact for everyone espousing RIM's death because of their missteps with the BlackBerry platform should take a look at all the places QNX is entrenched. [qnx.com]
    • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:39PM (#38332098)
      They won't be running all car computer systems on this, only the display/console bit. Brakes, engine, climate and all those computers will still be the same, connected via CAN buses and all that.

      The worrisome bit is that car manufacturers are once again getting away with proprietary hardware hookups, so it's hard to replace your "car stereo" or "navigation device" once it becomes obsolete. There was a time where you could just get a DIN or double DIN car stereo and put it in your car, regardless of what brand car or what brand stereo you'd like to get. It seems those days are over and we'll once again be forced to use overpriced proprietary devices that age much quicker than the vehicle.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Citation please. I don't think I have seen a single car that didn't have SOME part fail within the first 10 years. The entertainment system failing in in some way in less time than that is down right common.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        My father still drives his 1997 opel vectra. That car has gone through serious punishment, including several Eastern European countries, and he drives around 1000 km on it every week during last two years or so. He's also a very cautious driver, the car has been maintained constantly, and is yet to have a single failure of any significant kind beyond things like motors on door locks freezing occasionally and some entertainment system button lighting going out about a year ago because he can be bothered to p

      • by tinkerton (199273)

        I don't think I have seen a single car that didn't have SOME part fail within the first 10 years. My car needed a tiny bulb replaced in the dashboard during that time. Does that count?I have to say the safety belts don't roll up very well anymore.

    • The desire to have better in-car navigation systems is completely understandable, but car companies are well aware of this need as well, and will soon be addressing these concerns without throwing away their entire systems. (No, I can't provide any details)

      That's not the real problem.

      I was going to tell you what the problem was, but then you beat me to the punch with your next paragraph.

      The fragmentation of smartphone platforms is much more significant of an issue than in-car systems. Apps need to be cheap or free to entice end users. But when it's bundled with your vehicle, even a couple hundred bucks for an app is lost in the noise of the car's sticker price. With that kind of money available, in-car systems can be as fragmented as the manufacturers want, and they'll still attract developers because the smaller market and specialized skills are more than made up for by the larger sale price.

      This attitude that a "couple of hundred bucks for an app is lost in the noise of the car's sticker price" is the very reason that you've already lost my trust as a consumer.

      Do you really want to engender a feeling of disgust every time one of your customers browses your app store? You may make money in the short run, but consumers will learn to stay away from your car brand ju

  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:36PM (#38331210) Homepage Journal
    You could fall if you stand over a moving platform
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:41PM (#38331238)

    Speaking as a road user who is not in a 4,000lb box - this is the last thing we need. Apps for your car? Seriously?

    Hang up the phone.
    Drink the coffee at your home/work/coffee shop.
    Stop texting.
    Stop picking out your favorite song on the playlist.

    DRIVE. YOUR. CAR. Please. Your car is not an entertainment system, smartphone, web browser, etc. It's a powerful, heavy, moving object. Capable of inflicting life-altering or mortal injuries and enormous property damage, which must be piloted accurately to within less than a few feet at speeds humans were never designed to travel. Treat it as such, which means PAY ATTENTION and keep BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL and your EYES ON THE ROAD. Nowhere else, any time your vehicle is moving.

    I'm tired of people telling me, "gosh, bicycle? It's SO DANGEROUS!". Yeah, guess why? It's because the same person who declared it "dangerous" can't for one second take seriously piloting a machine capable of so much death and destruction, and instead is texting someone while sipping a mocha grande while checking out that cute person in the shop window.

    You want to know why it's so dangerous to jog or walk or cycle along the road? Look in the mirror., across the table at dinner or a business meeting.

    It doesn't help that running over a cyclist or (sometimes) a pedestrian is an almost guaranteed way to get away with murder. 99% of the time, the most the driver gets is a traffic ticket for saying "oh, I was changing radio stations" or "the sun got in my eyes." Hell, one asshole in Colorado recently claimed it was "new car smell" in his Mercedes S-class that caused him to pass out, hit a cyclist, and then drive on without stopping until he was across town, where upon he put the damaged bits of his car in the trunk and called for roadside assistance (not 911) for a tow.

    • DRIVE. YOUR. CAR. Please. Your car is not an entertainment system, smartphone, web browser, etc. It's a powerful, heavy, moving object. Capable of inflicting life-altering or mortal injuries and enormous property damage, which must be piloted accurately to within less than a few feet at speeds humans were never designed to travel. Treat it as such, which means PAY ATTENTION and keep BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL and your EYES ON THE ROAD.

      I heartily agree with you. Cars are dangerous and should be treated with proper respect. Every single god damn day there are news of people crashing or hitting someone, and in almost every case it's because of lack of respect for the dangers a car poses. It's easy to dismiss all the warnings and claim you're totally in control, but when you eventually end up in an accident it's not a laughing matter anymore and you could well have destroyed complete families in the process.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a walker, I've noticed it is usually drivers of upscale vehicles (BMW is especially bad) that try to kill me as I cross streets.

      I always assumed it was that only assholes bought status symbol cars, but maybe it isn't just that. Maybe those cars with all the silly worthless crap like windshield wipers for the headlights have more worthless, but distracting, entertainment crap inside them too.

      • by CBravo (35450)
        They also have big 'safe' cages blocking view. If entities are on collision course then the angle doesn't change and you are not/less seen because the pedestrian only 'becomes bigger'. That is why a small change in speeds really helps.
    • I kinda agree, but on the other hand this could provide real world relief for the distractions that people are going to do anyway. I dread to think how many people have died because of retarded interfaces on car radios. This is something that's gotten harder over the years. A nice voice-activated or large-button touch interface OTOH would mean people taking their eyes off the road for less time.

    • On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, the quicker we hand over the actual driving to the computers the better.

      Between those two extremes there's room for apps that add safety. That warn of a driver that's likely to jump a red light. That alert the driver to vehicles in blind spots etc.

      Heck I think satnav has added to safety. Whilst it has distracted some people, it's also stopped other people trying to read paper maps whilst driving.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      You want to know why it's so dangerous to jog or walk or cycle along the road? Look in the mirror.

      I do that every morning while shaving on my way to work. I assure you that it didn't help me avoid all the joggers and cyclists that stupidly got in the way of my car though.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Hm. As a biker, do you obey all the traffic laws? Complete stop at all stop signs, never go through lights, no riding on sidewalks or using crosswalks or passing slow or stopped traffic on the right in the non-lane between traffic and parked cars or the curb?

      Speaking as someone who moved from a place where bikers DO obey traffic laws to somewhere where nobody, bikes, cars or pedestrians, obeys traffic laws, if there's a problem it seems to very rarely be exclusively with the drivers.

      • Hm. As a biker, do you obey all the traffic laws? Complete stop at all stop signs, never go through lights, no riding on sidewalks or using crosswalks or passing slow or stopped traffic on the right in the non-lane between traffic and parked cars or the curb?

        If you run a red light, can I shoot you in the head a week later? No?

        Anyway - yes, actually, I do follow all my state's laws (okay, you got me, I once gave a lady friend a ride on the back rack of my bike, which is illegal.) Two notes, though:

        1)Ridin

  • Is this much complication of an existing purpose-built and already complicated machinery, necessary ?
  • Translation... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:17PM (#38331408)

    Translation...Your car will now cost even MORE to keep fully functional.

    Seriously, retired automotive mechanic here.

    Does anyone really think auto-repair shops actually fix this stuff? They do not, for one reason--they are far too complex for the average mechanic to understand, let alone repair. Stuff like this, and others (electronic compasses built into rear view mirrors, sound systems, navigation systems, etc) are simply removed from the vehicle and replaced with a new one when they have failed. At best, the device is sent off to the original manufacturer for repairs--the cost of repairs and shipping is passed onto you. Cars now require specialists, much like the medical field, as a result of the continuing "advancements" and most shops cannot afford to employ these specialists. The result is not having any choice but to bring the vehicle to the dealer for "repairs".

    On another note, most new-car dealerships make more from their repair departments then their sales departments.

    • car repairs on things that are not the electronic compasses built into rear view mirrors, sound systems, navigation systems, etc. But the dealer has the info to fix it but not the non dealer places.

  • Given how many French cars are sold in the US. Oh wait, it's NONE. This from an industry that once bragged that they have nothing to learn from the Japanese.
  • We need laws so all this smart car crap does not lock you into the dealer for all service work even oil changes. Why not make so that any shop can use the platform to get car diagnostic info in full or at the very least they should have the right to hack the software so they can get that info.

  • and do I need 2 Battery's to power all this stuff?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:50PM (#38331884) Homepage Journal

    I see a lot of virtually identical comments about driver distraction, but none about reducing it. What about a PID climate control system that learns what temperatures you expect and when, and how quickly the cabin can get there based on outside temp and coolant temp? Sure, climate control is becoming more common but it's not everywhere yet. What about a better road atlas that's easier to use so that the driver spends less time dicking with the computer? Tune the stereo based on the GPS region. Hell, tune the engine based on the drive history and the traffic conditions. Use the vehicle logging system and fault codes to give the driver information that's useful right now instead of lighting a little picture of an engine on the instrument panel. None of these are new ideas but being able to put them all in one computer and be able to replace pieces of them if they suck is a fantastic idea.

    • by Xtifr (1323)

      Yeah, my initial reaction was like a lot of other people's: this is a bad plan. But even before seeing your post, I realized that there's some positive potential there as well. Something as simple as leaning over to change your radio station is a mild distraction, and forces you to take your eyes off the road. Trying to dial through your music lists is far more so. With decent voice recognition, you could simply ask the car to play you a particular song or band. With the "listen to me" button on the ste

  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:52PM (#38331894) Homepage Journal

    SAAB was first with this concept, in their IQON system:

    http://media.saab.com/press-releases/2011-03-01/world-first-saab-saab-iqon-open-innovation-car-infotainment [saab.com]

    Too bad it will likely never see production since SAAB is probably going to be dead next week. (one could argue SAAB is already dead and the mortician just hasn't declared time of death yet)

  • Quote : "We need developers to work on apps"

    Hmmm, no the monetization in the android market sucks so bad I don't even waste my time hitting the compile button for a android release.

  • OBD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-board_diagnostics [wikipedia.org]) included in the car? No more trying to get a USB cable to work with a laptop just to read the stuff that's been being recorded by my car for a decade+ now?

    Yes, have some.

  • 1. I want the car to function in some capacity even if all the modern electronics go *zap*.

    2. I want access to sensor data so I can turn the built-in screen into... wait for it.. a REAL GUAGE PACKAGE instead of "idiot guages".

    3. I don't want access to certain control systems. Passive readouts only. If my *job* were writing control systems for autos I think I could do it well. I'd still want several engineers reviewing my code, and I pray that's how the professionals at the car companies do it. I cert

  • Current Renaults* have excellent user controls. A level above pretty much everything else on the road. Brilliant cruse controls, fast onboard computer, efficient stereo, aircon etc. Better than the VW/Audi clones. Entry - startup and off-exit from these vehicles is superfast. Someone in Renault spent a lot of time in cabin design and driver operation. It is well thought out and very much appreciated.
    Now by adding a device that can show you proper telemetry would be a real bonus. Not only that, but you get s

  • by Terrasque (796014) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @07:49AM (#38333872) Homepage Journal

    Most people here are negative, but I say it's about time. I've been thinking about something similar for years now.

    There is a lot of interesting potential in it, if they do it right. For example, allow apps to read (not write, just read) car data, like for example real time fuel use, speed, gear, engine rpm, voltages, brake events, and so on. I can already think of a few apps using that data.

    And, many modern cars come with electric control of seat height and angle, mirror position and so on. Why not make a profile system of it? You set things just so, save it, lend it to your son.. And when you get it back (and fixed that bulk on the side), you can just select your profile, and everything turns back the way you wanted it. Steering wheel, radio channels, mirrors, seat, climate control... You could even have different profiles for different situations. One for driving to work in the morning (a bit stiffer back angle, higher temperature), driving around for fun in the summer (own playlist, lower seat, a bit stiffer steering wheel)..

    There are a lot of possibilities in it, but most people here only seem to think "Angry Birds on a car!" for some reason.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @10:11AM (#38334520)

    They are just bundling a tablet with the car, there s nothing in the article indicating that the owner will get access to the inner functions of the vehicle.

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