Tech in Audi A8 is 2 years ahead of the community
I just listened to cnet's review of the Audi A8 and was blown away:
One of the more advanced features of the car is the ability for the suspension system to get route+gps information from the headunit and adjust the suspension accordingly. I have yet to see a carpc system that's advanced enough and integrated enough to do that. So putting on my engineer hat, I started thing of what we need in software to be able to do something like that and ran into a few not-so-easy-to-solve problems. Of which problems leads me to believe we are a couple years behind these advanced features.
The biggest problem is that current navigation APIs are limited. I could be wrong, but I don't know of any commercial or open navigation product that allows you to get information on "the next turn" with or without an actual route set. Maybe I can be proven wrong on the windows side. I know Linux has no such concept at the moment in any apps that I know of.
The qt-mobility location API's (which are cross-platform) help, but that's just a start. With these API's we can figure out what road we are on, the direction, and possibly grab the next turn. Then we can use something like nobdy to get data and do things contextually to the vehicle via the CAN bus. To illustrate:
[Qt-location backend service] => [nobdy plugin] => nobdy => suspension ecu.
In time, this is possible, but it's not very generic as each vehicle has a different protocol it speaks for adjusting the suspension (if it even supports it at all). All this leads me to believe that without intimate knowledge of the car, we'll always be behind as it's trivial for manufacturers to deliver these kinda of features on cars where they already have intimate knowledge from the bottom up.
Are we going to be playing catchup from here on out? Are there other areas we can innovate in?