[EAS]Computers on Wheels

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Jan 8 16:05:39 EST 2003

Subject:   Computers on Wheels

(from INNOVATION, 8 January 2003)

Taking a cue from the PC industry, Detroit recently unveiled several
concept cars that take high-tech to a new level. Ford's Model U car
features an interior that's basically a series of slots to
accommodate  interchangeable components, sort of like the processors
and motherboards in  personal computers. The seats, the instrument
panel, even the door panels,  can be slid out of the slots and
replaced or reconfigured, enabling the  Model U to be instantly
customized, personalized and upgraded. All onboard  entertainment,
navigation, telephone and climate control functions can be 
voice-controlled, and a night vision system enhances the driver's
view  through the windshield. The Model U's gearshift is a wireless
device that  can be moved around for optimum driver comfort and
side-mounted cameras  take some of the tension out of maneuvering
via pre-collision sensing  technology. Meanwhile, DaimlerChrysler is
touting its new Flash Technology,  which enables a vehicle to be
taken to a service facility, plugged into a  computer, and have all
the control software "flashed," or instantly  updated. "The
technology enables the software in vehicle electronic systems  to be
updated as easily as the software in a PC," says Klaus-Dieter 
Vohringer, DaimlerChrysler's executive VP for research and
technology. And  GM is pushing the envelope with its drivable
concept car that combines a  hydrogen fuel cell and its Hy-Wire
technology. Hy-Wire allows steering,  braking and other driving
functions to be controlled electronically -- via  a computer
joystick -- instead of mechanically, as with a traditional  steering
wheel. And you thought those video games your kids were playing 
were just a waste of time! (Detroit Free Press 6 Jan 2003)

.... and a whole new legal specialty area that promises to employ
many engineers turned lawyers. In the intellectual property area,
successful integrated circuits have at least one patent infringement
suit in progress. just think what cars like this will do for
liability law. --PJK

More information about the EAS-INFO mailing list