Questionably Useful Technology Watch

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
questionably useful technology watch

From wings to wingdings, the automotive industry has long been obsessed with adding technology to its products, often simply for the sake of adding new technology to its products. Two such “innovations” are coming down the pipeline from Honda and Audi, the first a camera system to offer a birds-eye view of your vehicle and the second a system which communicates with traffic lights. Automotive News (sub) brings news of the Honda system, which is set to debut o the J-market redesign of the Honda Odyssey minivan. The system would offer a bird’s-eye view of the car to help with parking and visibility in blind corners and intersections. Four wide-angle cameras placed around the vehicle offer the Gran Tourismo-like option of viewing your vehicle in the third person, theoretically making it easier to drive in congested urban environments. Similar technology has already been developed by Nissan. From Audi comes word of a new system known by the annoying “Travolution” moniker, which combines the terms “travel” and “convolution.” According to Automobile magazine, the system communicates with traffic signals and tells drivers how fast they should drive to minimize their time at red lights. After spending two years and 1.2m Euros to develop the system, Audi Audi has produced an A5 and an A6 Avant capable of communicating with three traffic lights in its hometown of Ingolstadt, Germany. That’s 400k Euros per light, in case you’re wondering. Undeterred by such expense, Audi plans on expanding the pilot project to include 20 cars and 50 lights. Automobile sums up its chances of a US debut with snark-laden terseness. “There is no word yet as to when such a system could migrate to the United States, although ‘never’ might be an appropriate guess.” And technology marches on.

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Sep 24, 2008
    Hmm…can we be very far away from electronic transmitters that purposely stall your car as you approach a yellow light so you can’t run it…... Don't worry about this would cut off revenue, and revenue is the purpose for all this. Safety certainly isn't the purpose. Fleece the sheep, but try not to kill want them alive so you can fleece them again. And again. and again....

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 24, 2008

    Roundabouts are awesome. Yeah I spent three years living in Europe courtesy of the US Navy. Insert clueless American and they don't work as well. I say build more and the clueless will learn or they will get old and quit driving and the next generation will get it. Both gadgets sound pretty good. I seldom ever have to parallel park though. The traffic lights around here favor the gas stations. Start, accelerate, and then ride the brakes to the next red light. I swear I pass through 7 lights each way to/from work and get caught by all of them every day. Raises wear and tear on my car, wastes fuel and makes pollution. I would much rather use round-abouts where I could slow and then go on without stopping. Dad told me story about a guy in a pickup that Dad was following one day. Pickup truck got to the round-about near my parent's house in Chattanooga and stopped. Didn't know what to do. Sat there for a good ten seconds thinking about it and waiting his turn. Finally the dude punches it and drove straight over the center island of the round-about with squealing tires and catching air. Idiot... If round-abouts can frustrate the average idiot American driver into staying home more or educating themselves a little then I'm all for installing roundabouts at all intersections.

  • Jalop1991 I'm sure they knew exactly who the modern Cherokee buyers were, and responded with the Hornet.
  • CoastieLenn I'm wanting the keen readers among us to pay attention to the comments in this article compared with the one that immediately followed it. They contain the exact same amount of usable information yet, because one is Ford and one is Toyota, we're seeing the Ford get chit on and the Toyota will be seeing praises. Toyota isn't exactly the shining star they once were and the newest generation of Tacoma was outdated 6 months after it began production... pertnear 10 years ago.
  • Ajla @Arthur: Yes if you are the first reply to a comment and then someone else replies in the same thread it is about 75% odds your comment will disappear.
  • Deanst Any skoda station wagon. But I guess the issue is just making the vehicle available in North American.
  • NJRide Yea the Compass took its place. Probably something more rugged between the Bronco/Bronco Sport in size (and electrified) is the best bet.I don't see the nearly 60-year old Belvidere plant in high-tax Illinois getting another product though. Stellantis will drop to 5 US Assembly plants