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  • 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:

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20014492-48.html

    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?
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  • #2
    where in the linked review does it mention the navigation <-> suspension link? I couldn't find it....but then again I was skimming.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
      where in the linked review does it mention the navigation <-> suspension link? I couldn't find it....but then again I was skimming.
      You actually need to go to the full video review which is linked from that page.
      Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
      Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
      Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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      • #4
        I think when you're talking about car devices such as suspension and brakes reacting to some infotainment events, you're never going to be as advanced as these guys as no one here has the means to make a safe robust system through proper testing.

        I think we mainly innovate infotainment here, but hack OEM devices to utilise them more or better. For instance, some BMW's lights can change the angle as you go around a bend, and they go up/down when you're going over a big hill to ensure max lighting over the road ahead. This means the light is omnidirectional and this can be controlled if hacked. Now we enter and probably find that control, connect it up to a motion based camera, and turn the lights on to scare an intruder... (I just thought of this... hmmm!)


        Pretty damn cool system on the A8 though
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        • #5
          I'm going to add this link to this thread, if you don't mind - I came across it this weekend. It shows off some of the other OEM systems coming out either now or soon.

          I was trying to figure if it was news or not - it seems that most of my posts lately have been about features the OEMs are working on. Does this kind of thing interest people, or should I go looking around for more lower level stuff?

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          • #6
            i am interested in most of it. out of habit, i very rarely look to the oem's any more after so many years of the only their infotainment options being only am/fm/cd..

            it is sometimes nice to see how close they are to actually adding carpc's...
            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


            next project? subaru brz
            carpc undecided

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            • #7
              Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
              i am interested in most of it. out of habit, i very rarely look to the oem's any more after so many years of the only their infotainment options being only am/fm/cd..

              it is sometimes nice to see how close they are to actually adding carpc's...
              They might be close, but once they do there won't be anything unique or special about what we do, because everyone will have one, kind of like those of us who were building automotive mp3 players back in the 90's, the nice thing about it is the fact we will all have to stay one step ahead of the game, creating new and exciting toys and gadgets for our rides in the future, I'm interested to see how things are going to be 10 years from now
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              • #8
                Originally posted by tripzero View Post
                I just listened to cnet's review of the Audi A8 and was blown away:

                http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20014492-48.html

                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.

                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.
                AFAIK the new Infiniti NAV and Cruise control engine for the 2009 FX35/50 had something like that. Not only it would stop the car to the standing still in heavy traffic, and accelerate back again, but also the cruise control would read the road ahead from the GPS/Nav data even if there was no route set, and it would adjust the speed accordingly (sharp turns or slow flowing turns). Same thing should be now on for the new M and QX.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by david69leonard View Post
                  They might be close, but once they do there won't be anything unique or special about what we do
                  I think to stay ahead in the game we should focus on hacking the OEM systems now. We had a lot of expertise hacking windows, PSUs, LCDs and USB devices. Now that part is solved.

                  The next breakthrough will happen when somebody/some firm comes with something to greatly facilitate OEM BUS system understanding and hacking. Some kind of universal translator tool that you would hook up to the CAN BUS for any brand that you'd connect to the computer via bluetooth/USB and it would allow you to integrate steering wheel buttons, windows, send route info to the OEM nav, everything.

                  A bit like the CARPC joy con, only it wouldn't read resistance, but it would read and write CAN BUS instructions and messages and it would allow us to manipulate them with a cool easy application that would talk to the front ends. That would be a dream device!

                  Also I feel we don't trust/don't know much/don't like bluetooth devices as much as we could or should, but I think voice control of the car+carputer will be a great paradigm shift for the carputer scene. Most OEMs are also behind in the bluetooth integration dept. and maybe we could be using the spec to its full capacity...
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RipplingHurst View Post
                    AFAIK the new Infiniti NAV and Cruise control engine for the 2009 FX35/50 had something like that. Not only it would stop the car to the standing still in heavy traffic, and accelerate back again, but also the cruise control would read the road ahead from the GPS/Nav data even if there was no route set, and it would adjust the speed accordingly (sharp turns or slow flowing turns). Same thing should be now on for the new M and QX.
                    Hmm...I had no idea it read information from the Nav system. The FXes equipped with the laser-guided cruise-control will measure the distance between the FX and the car in front of it and maintain the correct speed to keep a safe distance. I believe that same package includes the brake assist, which will hit the brakes for you if needed. Then again, that stuff isn't that new...I think Mercedes or Lexus did it first, and it seems like a lot of the luxury cars have it now.

                    Originally posted by RipplingHurst View Post
                    Also I feel we don't trust/don't know much/don't like bluetooth devices as much as we could or should, but I think voice control of the car+carputer will be a great paradigm shift for the carputer scene. Most OEMs are also behind in the bluetooth integration dept. and maybe we could be using the spec to its full capacity...
                    I don't understand why we don't have more bluetooth phone integration solutions. It seems like everything we do have either doesn't work right all the time, is dead with no support, or only works with certain devices. The OEMs have managed to include integration that works with nearly every device, but the CarPC community can't do so. Even a hardware device paired with a software plugin for the front ends would be fine.

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                    • #11
                      So much technology is being developed for vehicles now that I wonder if the carpc community will even be able to keep up in 10 years time. The way I see it is that OEMs are integrating more technology into their vehicles, but this technology is not standard, so it's very difficult for anything aftermarket to be able to tap into it. Take the radio for example. 10 years ago, almost every car uses a single or double DIN universal standard. Nowadays, the radio is becoming integrated with everything else and it's difficult to replace or modify it without vehicle specific parts/adapters.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Freak4Dell View Post
                        Hmm...I had no idea it read information from the Nav system. The FXes equipped with the laser-guided cruise-control will measure the distance between the FX and the car in front of it and maintain the correct speed to keep a safe distance. I believe that same package includes the brake assist, which will hit the brakes for you if needed. Then again, that stuff isn't that new...I think Mercedes or Lexus did it first, and it seems like a lot of the luxury cars have it now.
                        What you described is on the FXs since 2004, not sure on the brand since when. Since 2009 it brakes to a stand still AND accelerates back according to the traffic flow, so it's great for stop and go traffic. But I can't find now any info on the read ahead capabilities. I'll try again later.


                        I don't understand why we don't have more bluetooth phone integration solutions. It seems like everything we do have either doesn't work right all the time, is dead with no support, or only works with certain devices. The OEMs have managed to include integration that works with nearly every device, but the CarPC community can't do so. Even a hardware device paired with a software plugin for the front ends would be fine.
                        I agree. But most OEMs do not exploit the newest bluetooth protocols.
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                        07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RipplingHurst View Post
                          What you described is on the FXs since 2004, not sure on the brand since when. Since 2009 it brakes to a stand still AND accelerates back according to the traffic flow, so it's great for stop and go traffic. But I can't find now any info on the read ahead capabilities. I'll try again later.

                          I agree. But most OEMs do not exploit the newest bluetooth protocols.
                          That's cool. We just bought a 2010 FX a few months ago, and now I wish I had done more research into that and known all the capabilities. I didn't bother to get the package that had the cruise-control and brake-assist capabilities, since I figured it wasn't worth it.

                          And yeah, other bluetooth protocols would be awesome, but when the community has yet to figure out an older one completely, I think it's a little overly optimistic to think about the other ones. I'm sure this community could figure out all of them quickly, though, if the time and dedication were put towards it. There are lots of very smart people on these forums.

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                          • #14
                            I test drove an FX50 when it was lauched, and tested the stop and go part. It's great. On My 07 FX it just slows to sub 30mph with alarm bells ringing loudly, I have yet to find a dummy hail obstacle to test if it will eventually stop, but so far, i got to hit the brakes or the car will get a nervous breakdown...LOL It never accelerates back when below 30mph, it was built for cruising really.

                            And I hope you're right about the bluetooth part. Apparently BT 4.0 specs are out, while support for 2.1 is still lacking, so we have a long way ahead.
                            Worklogs: 08 Sequoia Platinum Carputer (In Progress!)
                            Skin: MetroSex on the Beach preview

                            07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

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                            • #15
                              It's too difficult to keep ahead of proprietary purpose-built systems like in the Audi. As a community of hackers, any solution we develop would be unlikely to apply to all cars, be cost prohibitive, and vehicle-specific.

                              This is not our niche anymore than cruise control or airbag deployment is. [Insert manufacturer name] will beat us every time in that category.

                              The place that we can innovate and easily surpass the manufacturers is in the in car experience from a software perspective. We are already building and installing much more flexible systems that use community developed software that is extensible. No manufacturer does that.

                              The next frontier that we can innovate on is in taking advantage of the connectivity aspect. What automotive manufacturers DON'T want to do is welcome the mobile phone into the car beyond allowing BT connectivity between the phone and stereo.

                              Consumers already own powerful portable computers in the form of the Android, iPhone and so forth. If manufacturers allow those devices to become part of the in car experience, they will lose control of the distribution mechanism.

                              We, on the other hand, could care less. We WANT more integration between our in car systems and our phones. However, the aftermarket will eventually see that their niche needs to do more with the phones. They will eventually sell products that do a better job of connecting to the phone and permitting things like the terminal mode that just_chat discussed at afkfest.

                              So, our community will need to look even further out to innovate. And the next place to do that is to leverage the data connectivity that we increasingly have and combine it with the computing power and services on the network to provide context to our mobile computing. The OSDash project is one approach to that idea. Others will follow, I'm sure.
                              Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                              I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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