The Big Think

June 15, 2010

Why Not This?

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 3:28 pm

Okay, here’s a techie idea I’ve been thinking about.

Now that we’re seeing GPS’s pretty much everywhere, and GPS data is incorporated into everything nowadays (google maps, photos, etc), why not a GPS equipped… cruise control?

One of the little issues with my new Tacoma is that the cruise (any cruise, really) is totally ignorant of road conditions and hill angle. All it sees is that my speed is dropping and so it firewalls the throttle to try and keep it at the speed I set.

If the cruise control was smarter about the upcoming road- how steep the hill is and how far it is until the top- then it could more efficiently goose the throttle to save gas. Sure, I’d lose a couple MPH on the way to the top, but I would be happy to give that up in return for not indiscriminately dumping gas into the engine while the stupid cruise control tries to keep me at 70. So why not provide some sort of look-ahead GPS altitude information to an automotive cruise control so that the cruise knows that you’re about to hit a short hill and can vary its behavior to take that into account?

It seems like this is a good marriage between car tech and computer tech and I’m curious if some enterprising car company will give it a try.

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