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Home > India > Business > Business Headline > Technology News

Future cars to send e-mail, health report

December 05, 2007 12:08 IST

Pesky breakdowns in the middle of a busy street due to engine trouble would become a thing of past as future technologies would enable a car to flash a 'health report' well in advance indicating 'all was not well with it.'

"Your car could send an 'e-mail' telling you that it is time to drop in for a health check-up at your nearest service centre," said Dr Alan Taub, executive director, GM Research and Development in Warren Michigan, while tracing the future technology in the automotive industry.

"It could warn you well in advance that it was having an engine problem or that the brake pads were getting worn out or that the battery has not been charged enough," he said.

The component of electrification and electronification of value-added software in vehicles, especially in the high-end segment, will go up to 40 per cent by 2015, said Allan. The vehicle would have sophisticated software that could be serviced by just downloading a patch of software.

GM, which has already made available parts of this sophisticated technology in the United States, is working on increasing the content of sophisticated software that could be addressed through remote applications, Dr Nady Boules, director, Electrical and Controls Integration Research Lab told PTI.

The technology which will be made in India in the future, would enable the driver to receive a 'once-in-a-month' report from the vehicle telling you its health status.

The technology would help monitor the critical systems in the car from time to time and send indications if it was going to face some trouble, said Boules.

"The indicators could be available in various ways: you could have a green indicator that says it is time for a check-up, a yellow one that could indicate that you need to hurry, and red which means that you swerve immediately to your service centre," said Boules.

GM is working on software at two ends, one that could be made available on the driver's panel and another that could be availed through remote control, he said.

"Next time you find you have locked your car and left the keys inside, you could call the back-office of the company, inform them and they could in turn 'break in' the software and unlock the car. Or if you find there is some problem that needs to be immediately attended to they could attend to it immediately through remote application," he said.

In the US currently, a driver whose vehicle has been stolen, could intimate the company back-office, which, through the GPS (global positioning system), would track the location of the car.

The software which could be remotely controlled could actually "slow down the car and prevent the thief from running away. It would take out the control of the car from the thief's hands," he said with a chuckle.

Such technology could help immensely in preventing vehicle thefts and free the owner from worries about the car being parked in dim-lit corners of a road.

These back-office services could be availed of even during other crises with regard to the car. "The person driving the car could simply call up the back-office of the company, inform them of the specific problem, which could be attended to immediately with the help of the advanced software," he said.

In the US, currently in case of an accident, the back-office is immediately alerted through an automatic system which then calls the driver to understand the gravity of the situation. Help is immediately deployed to the site of the accident.

Such accident alerts could be extremely beneficial for India too where the driver in a serious situation could get help immediately, he said. The bursting of the airbags could send out the alert signals to the office.

"Currently GM is working on components like engine control, steering, safety controls in the process of introducing more electronification of the vehicles," he said.

Once the sophisticated software is in place, it would mean that a car breakdown would have to be struck off from the list of 'most common excuses' doled out for showing up late.

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