Saturday, September 15, 2007


Some of you may know me well enough to.. well, to know that my dream job would be developing car avionics. You know - in modern jet fighter airplanes we have these MFDs*, and I just thought that the same principle could be applied to cars.
It was a couple of years ago (my final years at Technical University) that I dreamed about having this small customization company that would integrate this approach into modern cars. Imagine a car that has one huge, high quality digital display instead of all of those speed and rpm dials, temp meters and fuel gauges. Replace all that with one display that may be customized to display whatever driver wants and however driver wants. If you want digital speed indication you get just 122 kmph. If you want analogue you get beautiful circular dials. And since it would run on some Linux derivative you could implement 3D, custom skins, etc. Fun!
Additionally this is not that difficult to integrate. Modern cars have all sorts of digital sensors that provide all that info to central computer - all we need to do is to extract it and present in user-friendly way ;-)

Of course next step would be to use HUD** as they use in F18F, that could prove to be more challenging...

Yet there is this one company, that constantly reads my mind and steals my ideas. During recent Frankfurt show Lamborghini presented a car named Reventón with customizable dashboard.

Why don't I do that? Well, for starters I ain't got - correction, my friend tole me that's bad English - I don't have half of million of dollars for starting.

* MFD - Multi Function Display
** HUD - Heau-Up Display


yacoob said...

What a joyful subject! :)

First of all - have you seen Earth the Final Conflict? It's sff series, not worth watching past 1st season but there's one remarkable thing: they use shuttles that have very neat way of interfacing with them. HUD + gestures interface. *Very* neat.

Next, my idea is, we'll move to full automatic navigation for cars (or whatever will be in use by then) in 20 - in worst case 40 - years. I do believe we have most of the technology needed, just need some neatly programmed expert system to take decision. Good tradeoff for folks that enjoy driving a car (like me :) would be to impose such automatic control in cities, letting people drive outside urban area. Of course this would nullify most of the jams too.

As for huds - yeah, it could be very neat. Including people that would cram all possible information on their screens (same people put a lot of unnecessary information on their computer desktop), making their field of view kind of tankish. And of course one would need unified API, to get a lot of people to design interfaces. And of course one would need another set of APIs for designing extensions. And of course there would be people designing malicious addons :D

Boy, what a set of possibilities! What are you waiting for?! Get a job at a company that researches something like this!!!

November said...

Yo, dude, I was thinking about doing this for myself, not for some big buck company. Besides - had I had such connections, I'd've worked for EADS doing just that but for Eurocopter or something...

Generally I think that that would be the future. UI has only as many controls, you can use softmenu and stuff (forget touchscreen and iPhone-like UI), so if people can implement things like Firefox modules and Winamp skins - why not? Don't see a problem here...

As to onboard AI - grid compter made of cars? LOL

yacoob said...

Well, you can laugh, but I've heard of p2p network put to use for automobiles:

Simple idea, but it will take a lot of time to gain enough adoption on the roads to be actually useful.