@Ariella, that's a good link, and I do agree somewhat on their overall concern.
This is a tough one. On one hand, it is clear consumers want more connectivity built-in to their cars. On the other hand, certain features could truly affect consumer safety: besides the obvious problems associated with distracted driving, you certainly wouldn't want someone to be able to defrost, as Barbara mentions.
I think it's very important to ensure that implementation of such control schemes will not potentially leave the driver unable to perform certain crucial tasks. It's fine if they can't play MP3s, but if they can't access basic, expected features that have been standard in cars for 10-20 years, that's a big problem.
All this being said, I think there are less issues in regards to putting technology into the backseats of cars to keep kids entertained. If anything, the ability to keep kids occupied and entertained may result in increased driver safety!
@DennisQ Car manufacturers have included the option of built in devices for the entertainment of those in the backseat for quite a few years now. I've made do without it as a parent, but I can understand the attraction for those constantly badgered by "Are we there yet?" or the bickering that tends to ensue when children are bored of sitting for so long.
Often, while I am hearing about tech for introducing entertainment media inside cars, attitude in welcoming innovations, becomes concerns on risks. No to say driver needs full silence around him to avoid 100% incidents, but any source of possible deviation of driver's focus, even for only a bit, could be evaluated in depth. Maybe in case of long travel, right way should be public transportation, but sometimes it is not doable due to lack of connections.
Sure, distractions of any kind can compromise safety. That's why some point out that drivers should not speak on the cell phones even if they are hands free. The conversation itself can divert the driver's attentions. Another thing that studies find is that, though people acknowledge the dangers of drowsy driving, many still admit to doing it.
Thanx Ariella, I agree and definitely drowsy driving is indipendent of tech evolution. It could be very interesting to know for example correlation between number of cell phones on the market (sold to end users I mean) and car incidents happened during same timeframe. I don't if anyone, for instance, has ever launched that kind of investigation.
In the case of cell phone use while driving I agree on not using the phone if you have to hold it while talking on it. On the other hand, I see no danger in hands-free use. Why? Because there is absolutely no difference between the driver talking with someone in the car or someone on the phone.
Based on past experience, I would be wary of touch screen technology in anything more important than a handheld game or small appliance. In an automobilr appication, I expect a 10 year life at a minimum for essential devices. I think your article title says it all.
It is ok to introduce new technology to gate edge in market. However, many a time, new concept is pushed too hard and testing and quality gets secondary treatment. In this case, products gets tested on field and it becomes very costly for company. Product designer should get proper time for design. All other department should help them for this new implementation.
I think, Ford has not tested the software thoroughly. For software exceptions can be happens at any time, whenever they encounter any interrupts, so they have to make sure that the software is capable to handle all types of interrupts and exceptions. Verification and Validation has to be done during Alpha and Beta releasing phase.
You have to at least hand it to Ford for taking the initiative of being a technology leader in the automotive space.I do agree that more testing should have taken place as it seems the issues that are arising are not obscure ones, but obvious ones.I also agree that there should be a combination of touchscreen and manual buttons in vehicles and not all or nothing.
Your right dave, Ford might have taken a big step in car gadget technology but from a customers point of view, safety, fuel consumption and style is what i feel should be of great importance, other things should build on these basic platform. i know its a big competition for car companies but ford needs to consider a customers view of an ideal car.
Dave, you're correct in saying that Ford should be given the credibility in being a technology leader in the automobile industry. Ford did right by providing these gadgets in the name of innovation and competition.I just think, extra care is required when testing these devices to ensure customer satisfaction.In addition, I think safety, reliability and fuel consumptions are of great importance to its customers, hence more focus is highly required in these areas too if Ford wants to compete effectively and further attract customers.
I agree Jacob, it is one of the most important critical point even for several industries (aerospatial for instance) good results in terms of stability and minimun risks have been achieved. That said, issue could be raised on costs: how much does it cost? Hence, could be convenient for Car Makers, put in production that technology, considering (maybe) high costs for certification to transfer on the market?
I am a long time loyal Ford fan, having used Ford cars for many years. I am really dissapointed to hear about this rush to join the band wagon of touch screen electronics, and deviating from Ford reliabilty. I agree with all the people who believe the focus should be on safety and higher gas mileage per gallon.
Good post from Ms Daisy allows to outline one point more; car makers' investments in gadgets to introduce is good, but where we are with regard to "green"? Even some steps forward have been done for producing prototypes of green care, we are still quite far in terms of final products to bring on the market. Cars based on solar energy or rechargeable battery don't still allow a sufficient autonomy as per people need. Why investments are in gadgets instead of trying to finalize definitely green?
Ford needs to focus on styling, reliability, safety and fuel consumption. Yes, having the latest gadgets in your car is a great thing and makes some people envious that they don't have the set up in their car. The issue is when these new electronics have serious faults and failures. When key vital operations can't be run due to system errors, consumers have a big issue. When key features fail, the view of the entire car becomes garbage and troublesome.
Ford needs to focus on the majority of consumers concerns; fuel consumption and safety. Work on those two factors and Ford will be successful. That is unless they try and sell a box on wheels.
I do keep hearing this noise that the automakers are under lots of pressure to put more technology into the vehicles. So who is putting on this pressure? I can assure them that it is not me. I really don't want touch-control anything in my car. Also, I don't want multiple level menues for any function that I might need to control while driving. In fact, I would really prefer to have quite a few less features in general. If the automakers are really interested.
So it would be quite interesting if somehow we could find out who these people are who are demanding all of these features.
The reality is that a car is not like a disposable piece of consumer-grade garbage, where it does not matter if it fails after a few weeks. Some of us do not get a new vehicle every few weeks, and product longevity is important to us. The marketing wonks should be made to understand that.
Readers--glad I am not the only one to question the proliferation of electronics in vehicles. In fact, most of the electronics have worked very well--ABS; air bags -- many of the safety features that are now SOP in most vehicles. Under the hood systems seems to work really well--it's the "cockpit" electronics that are the problem. I find GPS distracting (voice activation may cure that); cell phones a nightmare and I want nothing to do with touch screen dashboards. Lest I be considered an anti-technology heretic, the dials, knobs, buttons, LCD screens and everything else on the dashboard all work better thanks to good old electronics. A good point about people "clamoring" for more electronics--I don't know any of those people either ;-)
"Readers--glad I am not the only one to question the proliferation of electronics in vehicles."
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but as they say "too much of something can become a nuisance". Unfortunately, car manufacturers will not understand that, because they have to follow the technology race and make sure they are ahead their competitors. But they have to do it right to maintain their credibility.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.