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  1. #1
    Senior Member Two Rings GTA's Avatar
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    Feb 08 2013
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    2003 Audi A4 1.8TQ, 5-Spd
    Toronto, Ontario

    Tech in modern cars - Love 'em or hate 'em?

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    Last night, when I was finishing my clutch job at my friend's shop, a Caravan was brought in on the hook. It starts and runs but doesn't go into gear. It should be a simple fix as either a cable or part of the shifting mechanism broke.

    This got me thinking about all the shift-by-wire in modern cars like pop-up shifter knobs (Jaguar) and push buttons in Lincolns. This may save space on the console but most of them have a delayed action when switching from D to R and back. What if you're doing a quick U-turn ahead of an 18-wheeler barreling at you and need to make a 3 point turn? You may die because the transmission has to think about what it's instructed to do?

    Could it be using servos, actuators, sensors in a transmission the only way to make them more efficient for better mileage? I'm no engineer but it doesn't sound plausible.

    Are we that na´ve that we have been programmed to think that the more screens and gizmos in a car makes it better? Don't we have enough distractions in our daily live (texts, emails, Wastebook, Twatter, Netfucks, etc) to welcome more while we're in our little metal cocoon fighting a losing battle to get to work and back?

    I'm sure there are merits to high-tech screens for navigation, surround view cameras and rear-view cameras to make maneuvering in tight spaces more manageable for people who don't bother to do it themselves by turning their heads and actually looking at where their going.

    But why integrate everything like climate controls and other controls into a screen? Look at newer Hondas - they don't even have a stereo volume knob. And new Porsches; they went from buttons galore to touch panels. Isn't that just a distraction from driving? There's no tactical movements to help you feel that you've done something. And how many taps on the screen is it practical to turn on your rear defroster? Or to change the speed of the fan? Funny that it's mostly illegal to text (or talk) and drive on your phone but it's a common thing to remove your eyes from the road to tap-tap-tap... just to turn up the heater.

    Aside from the complexity and costs associated with this tech, troubleshooting and repairs may end up being a nightmare down the road when these things take a crap.

    Who are you gonna sue if you get side-swiped by a distracted driver and get hurt? I used side-swiped because there's automatic braking nowadays. Will your lawyer sue the government for allowing this shit? Or the automakers for making things so complex? Or the other driver for being stupid enough to buy one? Or yourself for being on the road at the wrong time and place?

    What about the on-board Wi-Fi? Since there are two camps on the dangers posed by RF radiation; one side says that it's not harmful at certain frequencies, Rf levels and exposure duration, while the other says that it may be causing harm but the effects may be unknown for decades. Think asbestos - harmful effects can take decades to appear.

    I'm an RF technician by trade and in my line of work, there are safety precautions in any RF site and most are restricted from anyone not poperly trained in the field. My view is that since Rf fields are all around us and but it's origins are far enough away not to cause any real (immediate) damage. RF energy is calculated in logrithmic form and the farther away you are, the energy dies off pretty quickly.

    If you're bombarded by the Wi-Fi signal in your car which may be located no more than 5 or 6 feet away from your noggin, does that cause a concern? I'm not smart enough to know but I know enough to stay away. In my home, I deliberately mounted my Wi-Fi router in the mechanical room and not near the computer where I would be bombarded by RF energy when I'm near it. It's a precaution. How many people actually think to do that? Very few, if any. Very few still even stop to consider what it is and how it works.

    Electronic E-brakes? WTF? How are we suppose to drive like Carlos Sainz if there's no lever to pull?

    I can go on and on but enough of my babbling. Maybe I'm old and have lived in better times or maybe this is a way to market vehicles as newer and better, I don't know. I think I'm sticking to my B6 and have zero temptation to getting a newer car any time soon.
    Last edited by GTA; 09-04-2017 at 12:45 PM.
    It's mind over matter. But if you don't have a mind, it really doesn't matter.


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