The gaming car (Tech we don’t need – part 1)

This article on the Register prompted me to start what could well become a new series of posts on this blog: the “Technology we don’t need” series.

The first post of the series honors a concept design by Nissan and Microsoft where the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals double as joystick controls to play racing games on a Xbox 360 embedded somewhere in the car while viewing the game on a flip down 7-inch display.

The manufacturer is quick in informing us that gaming is only possible when parked, but I’d be curious to see what precautions have been taken to avoid adrenalin-hungry 17yos circumventing protections and actually gaming on a moving car.

I long have believed that the more technology in a car. the more error-prone the same car becomes – a loyal Merc driver for almost 20 years, I have witnessed the failure rate of my cars grow with every replacement of a boring sedan with an identical boring sedan every three to four years from nonexistent to recalls, failures and malfunctions, all concentrated in the forest of three-letter acronyms that infest my otherwise excellent motor vehicle.

Anyway, my biggest worry in all that is if Microsoft gets to write the operating system of our cars – an old joke used to describe the nefarious effects of such an industry transformation:

  1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
  2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
  3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
  4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
  5. Only one person at a time could use the car unless you bought “CarNT,” but then you would have to buy more seats.
  6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive – but it would only run on five percent of the roads.
  7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “general protection fault” warning light.
  8. New seats would force everyone to have the same sized butt.
  9. The airbag system would ask “are you sure?” before deploying.
  10. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, you car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the antenna.
  11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally Road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car’s performance to diminish by 50 percent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.
  12. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
  13. You’d have to press the “start” button to turn the engine off.

3 thoughts on “The gaming car (Tech we don’t need – part 1)

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