"Glass Cockpit"


#1

Many aircraft now use a computer based “Electronic Flight Information System” with a 7 to 10 inch screen that combines GPS and other navingation, airspeed, engine info, etc. Why wouldn’t manufacturers come up with a similar wireless system that might be based on an I-pad type platform that would replace the common dashboard? As a wireless, all thos sensor wires, lights, ect that crowd the dash could be eliminated, Engine computer upgrades could be downloaded from the net and then to the car. The entire dash could be removed for the maximum of theft security. What do you think?


#2

Probably because it’s too complicated and very costly. I can’t see the increase cost justification.


#3

Probably the FCC has their hand in it with the transmissions to and fro the unit…they dont want many or would like to reduce as many RF frequencies as they can inside an aircraft…thats my guess.


#4

Already there. Several 2011 cars have LCD panels for all but the speedometer. The ‘wireless’ part of the equation doesn’t make much sense to me, though.


#5

I like the idea, but 7-10 inch display to replace a dash several feet long? People don’t seem to see warnings the way it is now. I’m afraid a smaller disply might be too crowded and not visible enough.


#6

They have. The 2010 Range Rover has a partial glass-cockpit. The Tesla S will have a full one.


#7

We’ve already passed that level of technology. But people prefer gages. I do too.

What I wish they’d incorporate is a display of the actual fault codes and their associated verbage rather than just a CEL. The whole step of having to plug a reader in and read the codes is just totally unnecessary to me.


#8

That’s the “come give the dealership money” feature included for free! in all new cars!.


#9

Some are coming, Others I hope never come. Too much stuff means too little attention to driving while watching the light show.


#10

Right. And perhaps to prevent people from messing with their high technology. But couldn’t they at least put an LCD in the underhood fuse box or somewhere like that?


#11

Not for me thanks, I used to drive a loaded up Chevy Surburban at work that you had to go into a menu to get in the right screen to change the blower speed on the heater. Try doing that without pulling over. If you think you can do that safely while driving you are probably an idiot who phones or texts while driving.

Both cars I have now have simple rotary controls for the heat and a/c and that is one of the reasons I bought them.


#12

I guess some clarifications are needed to keep from being lumped in as a texting idiot. After many years maintaining nuclear plants, flying planes and admiring the advances in technology that have made automobiles safer than ever before, I appreciate that we no longer use coal-oil headlights, unsynchronised transmissions, mechanical brakes or all-steel dashboards.
The type of system I alluded to was an automobile adaptation or an aircraft technology.
The actual device could be as simple and inexpensive as a Google “Android” based tablet computer now selling at about $250. It could run GPS, engine info including the explanations of all the trouble codes. Speed, Tach, radar detection. It could control heat and AC by voice command. Voice-- might even be simpler than rotary switches!
As far as the wireless… The current WI-Fi is likely too powerful. Bluetooth is a better candidate with its low power digitally coded identifiers limited to around 3 meters range. This means that devices like oil pressure sending units, MAF sensors and such would need only 1 small power wire, their info then send by bluetooth to the engine computer and other sensors (speed, tire pressure, back-up cameras, forward-looking anti collision radar) would go to the glass cockpit device.


#13

Oldtimer, this tendency for the designers to incorporate common controls into menus has irked me for some time now. Even in my own car, in order to chenge the vents through which the heat is moving I have to look at an LCD screen while I move through a sequence of options. It used to be that I could make whatever adjustments to my systems in my car that I wanted just by feel, without ever taking my eyes off the road. No more can I do that.

The media constanatly talks about lack of attention and “taking your eyes off the road”, yet none of them talk about the current designs’ contributions to the problem. In fairness to the automotive media, I have seen some of them complain about this tendency, but I’ve yet to see the mainstream media mention it.


#14

Nukedaddy, I for one didn’t interpret your post in a manner that would have lumped you into an undesirable category. I interpreted it as opening a discussion on, and perhaps advocating for, integrated control and warning systems in automobles, the data to be presented on a touch screen.

The “bottom line” difference that I see is simple: an automobile driver’s principle safety responsibility is to watch the road and the traffic around him. IMHO the type of controls you’ve described detract from that. A pilot’s principle safety responsibility is to maintain and keep safe the aircraft within it’s environment, a fundamentally different task. A car driver keeps safe by watching the road and the traffic and adjusting accordingly. A pilot keeps safe by watching his altimeter, his HSI, his true airspeed indicator, his navigation instruments, etc. A driver’s job is to watch the road, a pilot’s job is to watch the instruments. And forr landing and takeoff, a pilot has the runway to himself (not necessarily the taxiway) and the benefits of such things as localizer and glideslope and the ever-present ATC.

Even in the B-52 aircraft of my youth in the military, the knobs and switches were all designed with dramtically different shape, sizes, and feels so that the AC could know what he was adjusting by feel and with gloves on. That approach is what I’d prefer to see with automotive design.


#15

Probably the FCC has their hand in it with the transmissions to and fro the unit

That technology is already here…it’s called Blue Tooth.


#16

Believe it or not Analog gauges in many circumstances are easier to read then a digital read-out. Analog gauges give you an instance description of status.

Example…An Analog temp gauge - you look at gauge and the needle is in the middle of the scale and in less then 1 second you know if the car running in a safe temp.

With a digital readout you see a temp of 210…you now have to analyze is that 210 good or bad. You may know that 210 is PERFECT…but it still takes your brain longer to analyze it then just looking at a simple analog gauge.


#17

This is something that can happen now and is where we are heading in the future. When the cost of doing it via a screen is less than a gauge cluster and associated wiring then it will show up in mass produced “everyday” cars. For now this will be in experimental cars, pre-production “show cars”, customized cars, and high end luxury cars production cars.

Like a computer with software glitches, I’m not sure I see this change as a good thing. When the computer behind the “screen” fails are we stuck on the road? The AAA truck will show up and “reboot” the system to get us on our way again?

I’ll let the high tech lovers test out this technology in the Cadillac, and Acura models it will show up in first. I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see it in a Toyota Corolla.


#18

That’s one reason I chose my 07 TL. It’s got the touch screen stuff, but it’s also got a physical button for all the common controls, and the common functions can also be voice-activated.

I was disappointed when I had mine in for service and drove a newer model to discover that they’d replaced the intuitive touch screen with an i-drive like system that required menu hunting for just about anything.


#19

Well, aircraft displays generally show you both. You’ll get a ribbon or circular-bar gauge that gets higher up the hotter the engine gets, and also changes color - green when normal, yellow when getting slightly hot, red when you’re approaching danger. And right next to it is the number display so you can further analyze the temps if you need to.

Aircraft also back up the critical gauges with analog ones, so that if the screen fails you don’t loose all your information.

BTW, bluetooth isn’t secure. A different technology should be used to make the gauges wireless if they’re going to go that route. WiFi would be better - encrypt the hell out of it, like a 256 character passphrase. But really, just run all the sensors to a central processor (the ECU, of course) and then run a single datacable from the ECU to the screen. Your computer monitor displays millions of different types of information via a single DVI cable. There’s no reason you can’t do that with the car display either.


#20

Let’s hope you’re right. There’s a sort of “proportional relationship” in analog devices that lets me know what’s going on at a glance, without having to interpret numbers. For example, I can see at a glance roughly how much gas I have left, or whether I’m approaching redline, or whether the engine temp is hotter than normal. I’d hate to lose that.