Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

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George the original one
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Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by George the original one » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:53 pm

Generally speaking, we think of automotive technology's progress as more powerful, more efficient, more comfortable, and safer. Kind of lumbering forward in broad, slow moves.

However, if you haven't shopped for a new car in the past 5+ years, what is available today might come as a shock. All the old tech (ABS, traction control, stability control, ergonomic adjustments) now comes standard on new cars. Today's options (that will soon be standard) remove more opportunities for driver error: adaptive cruise control that brakes/adjusts speed when something blocks the forward path, rear automatic braking that keeps you from backing over children, steerable headlights, automatic bright headlights, automatic mirror dimming, blind spot alert & automatic lane changing. Then you have the whole realm of self-driving cars...

What seems to keep the latest tech from becoming standard, apart from costs, are that they're not yet perfected. They work well most of the time, but can still be fooled. For instance, adaptive cruise control might have trouble with rainspray and rear automatic braking mistakenly activates when you back down a steep driveway onto a level street. The tech often relies on cameras with lenses that get scratched/opaqued or sensors that become damaged/disconnected.

Right now, though, if you're buying cars with this sort of technology, beware how the option bundle is sold to you. Does it require a subscription? Is it only useful if you have satnav? If the car integrates with a cellphone, how easily can it be hacked via Bluetooth to unlock the car (Subaru=easy <ahem>)? Does it include other options you won't use?

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chenda
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by chenda » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:20 pm

It usually means you'll have to get repairs and servicing find from an authorised dealer, using bespoke parts unique to that brand of car. Cars are too complex now for Mike the mechanic to fix from his little garage...

I expect car leasing to become the norm, if it's not already ?

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Ego
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Ego » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:34 pm

I was discussing this with a friend who owns a small garage and is a Grease Monkey Philosopher. His take is that manufacturers began computer-controlling individual components to achieve infinitesimally small benefits at the expense of exponential complexity for the exact reasons chenda mentions. He suggests pre-2010 luxury cars and about 2012-3 standard cars/trucks. His favorite is the base model 2010 Toyota Tacoma.

I expect uber/lyft to become our model soon, with daily rental when needed.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:50 pm

It usually means you'll have to get repairs and servicing find from an authorised dealer, using bespoke parts unique to that brand of car. Cars are too complex now for Mike the mechanic to fix from his little garage...
This is the same story that has been rolling around for decades. Computers in cars? How will anyone fix that?!?

But, I have owned cars manufactured from 1971 to 2012, and computers make much of this easier. I can use a $6 dongle to link my car to my phone and watch what the car is doing, real time, while my wife drives.

Honestly, the 90's supply chain simplification revolution started by Nissan was a bigger problem. Some genius figured out that you can get a 300 percent mark-up on every screw you sell, but a 10 percent mark-up on assemblies is still more profitable. So now, rather than order a new headlight bezel for $10, you order a headlight assembly for $300.

Eventually, someone will just replace all the interface hardware with a phone jack, as phones advance far faster than cars get replaced. Then the manufacturer can just program an app to work with the model you bought.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:51 pm

And a bit of history, this is nothing new, a hundred years ago, Chrysler was using reverse threading on all their parts to cut down on aftermarket parts sales.

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vexed87
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by vexed87 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:52 am

I recall reading an article linked by Charles Hugh Smith, sorry can't find the URL now, but the report said to expect the used car market to go to 0 (or close) for traditional cars in the near future should autonomous driving kick off, the logic holds, because if everyone wants in on the self-driving, hail a fleet car model craze that's getting hyped right now, who wants the expense of running and insuring a last gen manual driving car?

Not that many people here will be buying new and thus care about resale value of their current cars, but is an interesting argument in favour of short term leasing, let the dealer take on the resale risk by leasing during the transition to full autonomous cars.

I'm not crazy about owning new cars, in fact, I'd rather we all got along without cars altogether, but DWs isn't ready for that yet, and her lease is up in March next year. We need to start thinking what she's going to replace it with. I'm starting to think twice about recommending her to adhere to the standard frugal car buying advice of buying a 2-3 year old japanese car with 50k miles on it, it really could become worth literally nothing in just a few years time. At least if DW leases the car, she can just hand it back without a second thought to it's value.

Yes, bit of a long shot to assume that the model of ownership could change that rapidly, but it's made me think twice! :roll:

ducknalddon
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by ducknalddon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:35 am

I just bought an e-bike and I see the same sort of issues, the motor is integrated into the frame so once it can no longer be serviced that is the end of the whole thing. You buy a motor and battery that happens to be wrapped in a bike.

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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by enigmaT120 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:07 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:51 pm
And a bit of history, this is nothing new, a hundred years ago, Chrysler was using reverse threading on all their parts to cut down on aftermarket parts sales.
I thought that was just their lug nuts. Man I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to get a tire off. Good thing I didn't have a breaker bar/pipe handy or I would have broken the bolt.

Farm_or
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Farm_or » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:03 am

The automotive industry has always been a fascination of mine. Competition and technology has driven innovation in product development faster than any other industry. The evolution of modular unit manufacturing was started by Ford and still being improved upon almost daily. Everything that is more difficult or expensive to repair was originally intended to lower cost of production and increase profit from the sale.

The other fascinating thing is the marketing. The survivors of this industry are genius about developing a feature or luxury that you never dreamed that you needed. But now that it's available, the masses believe that they must have it. Incredible! When you look at it from an outsider's perspective. It's those little tweaks and add ons that makes a vehicle profitable.

Self driving tractors have been a development in Ag for quite a while now. There is still a big market for the manual driven tractors. I don't think any new development is going to result in radical culture change. I expect a compromise to be the greatest factor until the development advances. Did you read about the horrific accidents of the first self driving cars? Maybe not, because Tesla has become a main stream media darling...

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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:21 am

There was a study done a while back on the net effect of back braces on injury occurrence in a warehouse setting. Braces are designed as safety devices to prevent back injury while lifting and are proven to help, so they should definitely reduce injury, right? Well, it's not that simple. The moment people put on a brace, they immediately thought it was safe to lift anything and everything without asking for help because they assumed the brace would protect them. Many companies found that buying braces for their employees markedly increased injury rates and ultimately decided it was best to ban them.

I personally think a lot of the new "safety" features in cars (adaptive speed control, lane change warnings, collision avoidance, etc) will end up the same way. They sound great on the surface, but actually encourage people to adopt unsafe behaviors while assuming the technology will be the responsible party in the car. IMHO, it's raising a generation of crappy drivers.

Farm_or wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:03 am
The other fascinating thing is the marketing. The survivors of this industry are genius about developing a feature or luxury that you never dreamed that you needed. But now that it's available, the masses believe that they must have it. Incredible! When you look at it from an outsider's perspective. It's those little tweaks and add ons that makes a vehicle profitable.
That's a standard issue product management tactic. Costs for the same components tend to go down over time, but product managers really don't like lowering the cost of their product. But you can't simply bank more profit, as eventually the competition will under-bid you for the same product. A favorite strategy is to anchor the sticker price and continuously add new features while maintaining the same profit margins as components get less expensive. That's how you get cars with a dozen useless "safety" sensors and how it's impossible to find a simple printer without a color LCD that you'll never look at and app integration you'll never use.

My personal philosophy is to purchase products that do their primary task really well and to avoid all of the extraneous add-ons as much as possible. Think of them as a pile of unnecessary future failure points included just so you couldn't get a cheaper price.

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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by OTCW » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:26 pm

I bought a new car (sue me) in January. I had to look hard to not get a bunch of that stuff. In 5 years, I'd say it will be impossible.

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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Farm_or » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:03 am

We just bought our daughter a 1992 Toyota. Been shopping a lot of cars for awhile. It is old enough that it doesn't have driver distracting touch screen video display, no rear camera, no antilock brakes, heated seats, auto position mirrors and seat, corner illumination, photo sensitive lights or constant velocity transmission. It does have power windows, locks, sunroof, stereo, power steering and brakes, and a driver side airbag.

We do kind of wish it had the side impact airbags, antilock brakes and most of the more modern safety features. But lacking those, we will emphasize driving skills, defensive driving, and especially non-distracted driving!

I rode a street bike almost daily for eighteen years and took the advanced "star" training classes. Applying motorcycle safety to driving a car is highly recommended, but little known. Having both hands, legs, eyes and ears dedicated to one task cannot be overstated.

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Chris
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Chris » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:36 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:21 am
I personally think a lot of the new "safety" features in cars (adaptive speed control, lane change warnings, collision avoidance, etc) will end up the same way. They sound great on the surface, but actually encourage people to adopt unsafe behaviors while assuming the technology will be the responsible party in the car. IMHO, it's raising a generation of crappy drivers.
Reminded me of Tullock's Spike.

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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by J_ » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:50 am

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:21 am
I personally think a lot of the new "safety" features in cars (adaptive speed control, lane change warnings, collision avoidance, etc) will end up the same way. They sound great on the surface, but actually encourage people to adopt unsafe behaviors while assuming the technology will be the responsible party in the car. IMHO, it's raising a generation of crappy drivers.

My personal philosophy is to purchase products that do their primary task really well and to avoid all of the extraneous add-ons as much as possible. Think of them as a pile of unnecessary future failure points included just so you couldn't get a cheaper price.
Yes, I recognize this. I drove a sophisticated automatic geared car (Mercedes) but noticed that my concentration diminished during driving. I have changed drastically. Now I drive a small agile convertible (MX5), 6 hand gears, no telephone, and always open as long as the weather is dry.
Last edited by J_ on Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

ducknalddon
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by ducknalddon » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:05 am

J_ wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:50 am
Yes, I recognize this. I drove a sophisticated automatic geared car (Mercedes) but noticed that my concentration diminished during driving. I have changed drastically. Now a small agile convertible (MX5), 6 hand gears, no telephone, and always open as long as the weather is dry.
I sometimes wonder about this when I'm cycling, most of the close calls are up-market cars, I wonder if these vehicles insulate the drivers from the road too much.

George the original one
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by George the original one » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:09 am

ducknalddon wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:05 am
J_ wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:50 am
Yes, I recognize this. I drove a sophisticated automatic geared car (Mercedes) but noticed that my concentration diminished during driving. I have changed drastically. Now a small agile convertible (MX5), 6 hand gears, no telephone, and always open as long as the weather is dry.
I sometimes wonder about this when I'm cycling, most of the close calls are up-market cars, I wonder if these vehicles insulate the drivers from the road too much.
In my experience, it's not that they're insulated from the road, rather they're involved with their telephone and/or the sense of entitlement (as implicated in a study of stop-sign behavior).

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stayhigh
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by stayhigh » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:16 pm

Let's face it. When this:
Image

is replaced by this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFk8Pc-vakw

I call it regres, not "rapidly changing technology". It's less user friendly, slower, more dangerous to operate.

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luxagraf
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by luxagraf » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:59 pm

As someone who all too regularly works on a 1969 Dodge motorhome (my home) and an newer vehicle 2004 honda (which just died) I agree with Riggerjack. I happen to like the old stuff and prefer working on it, but it isn't really any harder to work on modern cars, they just require a much different toolset (like a computer) and different set of skills.

For me those skill are less developed so I regularly bitch about modern tech and how it all sucks (and I only have a 2004, so not even that modern) but that's really saying a lot more about my skills than anything else. :)

ducknalddon
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by ducknalddon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:47 am

[quote=stayhigh

Now I know why it's always Lexus owners trying to mow me down when I'm cycling.

EMJ
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by EMJ » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:59 am

Worth listening to
We're racing down the highway to autonomous cars, whether it takes 10, 20 or 30 years. But what happens to our economy, the shape of our cities, and even our century-old car-centric culture once the vehicles arrive?
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/autonomy- ... -1.4284446

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Lillailler
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Re: Rapidly Changing Automotive Technology

Post by Lillailler » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:04 am

"to expect the used car market to go to 0 (or close) for traditional cars in the near future "

Did anyone else see this as an opportunity?
If in 2020 you can sell your 15 year old car for 0 dollars and buy a two-year old car with 10+ years left in it for close to 0 dollars that has to be good, right? ( I guess it depends on the meaning of 'close to')
Somehow I don't think it's going to happen like that.

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