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Ford Engineers Test 'Predictive Logic' To Improve Cruise Control

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the clippy-is-actually-old-enough-to-drive dept.

AI 112

cartechboy writes "Sometimes what we think of as 'car tech' is colored by sensational coverage of things like autonomous cars. But real engineers are working behind the scenes every day to make existing auto technologies more efficient. Take cruise control: Today, even adaptive cruise systems just throttle up when the car's speed drops and ease off when speed rises or a car gets too close. Today's cruise-control systems aren't predictive--meaning they don't plan ahead. At all. Now, engineers at Ford are adding predictive algorithms and more sophisticated powertain mapping to reduce the built-in overcompensation that ends up wasting fuel. Ford has mapped each vehicle's powertrain in much greater detail, and their prototype control systems look at grade steepness, load on the engine, and other variables every few seconds to predict what's likely coming up. Will the hill level off soon? Will the driver ask for more gas, or let up on the accelerator? Down the road, connected-vehicle and cloud-based data will build on these predictive developments--as will those autonomous vehicles you hear so much about. Think of this as a building block to the future."

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AWS ControllingMy Auto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756469)

I wonder if Bezos will be kind?

Re:AWS ControllingMy Auto? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756547)

Bezos will pull down your pants and fuck your ass bareback in front of your friends, family and/or co-workers. And even after spooging in your butt he won't give you a reacharound.

Accel (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756475)

First coast!

It's not fuzzy logic anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756521)

I see. Is this a way to get around patents by Kosko?

Today's cruise-control systems aren't predictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756535)

Really? The cruise control in a 10 year old TDI has a D component. Unless I forgot all my control theory that is predictive.

Re:Today's cruise-control systems aren't predictiv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756861)

You must have because no 10 year old car has a predictive cruise. Dynamic is not predictive. Even a brand new European Touareg (not US) has adaptive cruise, which is still not predictive.

Re:Today's cruise-control systems aren't predictiv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757323)

The derivative term in a P[I]D control loop is predictive.
Car manufacturers misusing standard terminology is not my problem.

Re:Today's cruise-control systems aren't predictiv (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757405)

That's the great thing about "standard terminology", there are so many standards to choose from. One industry's standard may mean something different in another. Cruise control PIDs aren't really predictive anyway. They are simply responding to the rate of change of error.

Since the robot will soon be driving anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756543)

Let's integrate the cruise control and ABS logic into the robot driver!

Some might call that an architecturally flawed design, but those people have been proven to be fucking morons [oreilly.com] in similar technical discussions.

Re:Since the robot will soon be driving anyway (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45756709)

Let's integrate the cruise control and ABS logic into the robot driver!

Some might call that an architecturally flawed design, but those people have been proven to be fucking morons [oreilly.com] in similar technical discussions.

What an interesting idea... It seems like I've heard it before:

"Down the road, connected-vehicle and cloud-based data will build on these predictive developments--as will those autonomous vehicles you hear so much about."

i'm all for it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756545)

... if it means the legions of cars who drive 35 on a 75 MPH highway whenever the road goes up a slight grade because they haven't worked out that they've slowed down and are creating a huge bunched up traffic jam for miles behind them, when there road ahead of them is empty.

Re:i'm all for it... (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45756629)

Its not the cars who drive that way, its the Drivers. (And to an extent, under powered trucks who decide to occupy all lanes passing each other in precisely those locations where they obstruct everyone).

Basic Cruise Control from the 60s and 70's could handle that situation. The problem is there are too many people who won't use cruise control, and too many entry level vehicles that don't have cruise control (it cost a couple hundred bucks for after market kits, and less if you buy it included in a new car).

Modern Adaptive Cruise control will keep pace with a preceding vehicle (up to you set speed), and detect potential rear-end collisions long before the driver might.
Usually that costs much more because you need optics or radar (25ghz) to detect distance of the car in front. But it saves gas, collisions, and aggravation.
(I'll never own another car without adaptive cruise control).

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756697)

You don't need cruise control to drive at an even speed, rather than 35 MPH uphill, 95 downhill, and 75 on flat ground. You just have to pay a tiny amount of attention.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 8 months ago | (#45759049)

Hmm, That is not the issue. on a crowded road, there are 100 cars. If one of those drivers is not using Cruisecrontrol, and not paying attention, all the cars behind him have to break. And since the road has less capacity below 70 km/u ( ~50 mph) a traffic jam is created.

Conclusion: the cruisecontrol has to be mandatory to solve the problem.

Modern cars just need 3 extra buttons (on/off, up, down) to implement cruise control anyway. Motor control is electronic anyway. with normal cars margins and priceup those 3 buttons would cost 100 dollar/euro.

Re:i'm all for it... (3, Interesting)

Grey Geezer (2699315) | about 8 months ago | (#45756745)

It's even more complicated than that. Cruise control is all too often a safety hazard on the interstate. Safety requires space, the more the better, between vehicles. All to often cruise control is the reason cars remain in close proximity, mile after mile. Sometimes a cruise control cretin will bogart the passing lane simply because his cruise control is oh so slowly allowing his vehicle to pass an only very slightly slower one. Safe driving requires constant adjustment of velocity in order to maximize space between vehicles. Driving safely is space and energy management.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756869)

If you are "constantly adjusting velocity" while driving you are driving very, very wrong and are creating a hazard to those around you (and killing fuel economy).

Re: i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758873)

Wrong. The engine fights air resistance, rolling resistance, car housekeeping (lights, ac, power steering etc.) and of course dissipates waste heat through its mechanisms and the brake pads. While continuous acceleration-deceleration (I'm not talking about braking, just coasting) increases waste heat, it's not the only factor, and constant speed is not the optimal solution in real traffic. Sometimes I'm speeding up a bit for passing another car when there is an even faster car behind and the alternative is that either I'd brake and let the fast car pass us or I force the fast car to brake because of my minuscule fuel advantage.

Re:i'm all for it... (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45757059)

Cruise control is all too often a safety hazard on the interstate. Safety requires space, the more the better, between vehicles. All to often cruise control is the reason cars remain in close proximity, mile after mile.

Oddly enough, there are virtually no traffic statistics that back up your claim.
There is some speculation that cruse control would lull drivers to sleep, but in fact this happens no more with CC than withoug.
As for slow passing, that's mostly a fallacy, because every cruise control allows driver over-ride, and passing a slower vehicle at one mph difference in
speed is not some how more dangerous than passing at 5 or 10 mph. The same driver that will allow the CC to take them slowly around another car would pass slowly if managing their speed manually.

Constant adjustment is part of the problem. People yoyo-ing up and down the highway are the real risk inducers.

Re:i'm all for it... (2)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 8 months ago | (#45757681)

As for slow passing, that's mostly a fallacy, because every cruise control allows driver over-ride, and passing a slower vehicle at one mph difference in speed is not some how more dangerous than passing at 5 or 10 mph.

Actually, it probably is a little more dangerous. People in too big a hurry* do get mad about this, and some of those people are mad enough/have poor enough impulse control that they'll take out their anger in unsafe manuevers (starting with tailgating and unreasonably close passing once it is clear, all the way up to actually attempting to run the slow-passer off the road).

The same driver that will allow the CC to take them slowly around another car would pass slowly if managing their speed manually.

That's mostly true -- while I imagine some drivers would pass faster if they were already controlling speed, but just don't care enough to move their foot back to the gas pedal if they're already on cruise, this is probably a far smaller effect than the one where many drivers would have their speed varying widely as they go up and down hills, also angering people and potentially endangering you by way of their response, so I think it does refute GP's argument that cruise control causes slow passing and thus is unsafe.

*If you're in a big enough hurry that waiting an additional 30 seconds to pass a vehicle is really enough problem to get mad about, you're in a big enough hurry to say "damn the law" and pass on the shoulder instead of sitting there stewing. Almost all the time, though, application of a little perspective will reveal you're not in that big a hurry.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 8 months ago | (#45758291)

As for slow passing, that's mostly a fallacy, because every cruise control allows driver over-ride, and passing a slower vehicle at one mph difference in speed is not some how more dangerous than passing at 5 or 10 mph.

Actually, it probably is a little more dangerous. People in too big a hurry* do get mad about this, and some of those people are mad enough/have poor enough impulse control that they'll take out their anger in unsafe manuevers (starting with tailgating and unreasonably close passing once it is clear, all the way up to actually attempting to run the slow-passer off the road).

Much more dangerous is, by slow overtaking you're prolonging the time spent in the blind spot of the overtaken car, which is why for instance German law forbids overtaking with less than 20 km/h difference in velocity.

Re:i'm all for it... (2)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 8 months ago | (#45758655)

Much more dangerous is, by slow overtaking you're prolonging the time spent in the blind spot of the overtaken car, which is why for instance German law forbids overtaking with less than 20 km/h difference in velocity.

There is no such law.

The wording in the law (article 5 StVO [dejure.org] ) translates as "considerably faster". No numbers.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

fisted (2295862) | about 8 months ago | (#45760745)

Right, (well actually a more fitting translation (IMO) is ``substantially faster'').
Nevertheless, 20km/h is what is typically taught in driving schools, and seems to be a good rule of thumb.

So..

There is such a law, it's just worded in a slightly different but equivalent fashion.

FTFY

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 8 months ago | (#45761819)

Eh, I've heard that argument, but I'm not convinced it's a very big problem.

(To be clear, I agree that passing with a decent speed differential is best practice -- I'm just arguing as to whether it's substantially more dangerous to pass at 1 or 2 mph, even though that's already a bad idea for other reasons.)

First, when you change lanes, you're supposed to check your blind spot by turning your head. (Not everyone does, but quite a portion do.) Second, people don't change lanes all that often, so the odds of it happening while you're passing them are quite low, even for slow passes. When they do, it's likely because of a slower vehicle in front of them, which makes the situation eminently foreseeable by the slow-passer, giving them time to get their foot over to the gas pedal and speed up (like they should have to start with). Third, if you're going almost the same speed, then the relative velocity is quite small and almost entirely sideways, and unless the car who changes lanes while the slow-passer is rear-wheel drive (increasingly less common, at least in the US), they're unlikely to PIT themselves -- both vehicles really have a very good chance to remain more-or-less in control. As collisions go, it's not the safest, but far from the worst.

Of course, the existence of a law against slow passing is not evidence that it's dangerous -- the law could just as well exist due to the frustration and/or traffic flow problems that it causes.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45763421)

Furthermore the existence of the law against slow passing applies only on two lane highways, not on four or more lane freeways. So it is totally not germane to the cruise control issue.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758467)

"damn the law" and pass on the shoulder

I've had that happen to me!!! And there were no cars in the left name either! One moment there's a station wagon behind me, and the next, it comes up from my RIGHT, driving on the GRASS, to overtake me... (that was at ~60mph; on NJ palisades right off GW bridge).

It's amazing what folks would do out of stupidity.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

Grey Geezer (2699315) | about 8 months ago | (#45766381)

I hope you are not arguing that a bunch of closely spaced cars, traveling at high speed, often through interchanges with merging traffic, and drivers distracted by cell phones, is just as safe as well spaced cars, driven by engaged, and considerate drivers? If you have never encountered cruise control cretins in your travels, consider yourself lucky!

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 8 months ago | (#45756823)

How many cars are sold without cruise control these days? A quick glance suggests that it's only on the very most basic trim level of the very most basic cars that you don't have cruise as a standard item.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45757069)

You might be surprised. Its usually bundled in with a lot of other more expensive options. Kids thing they don't need it because they are never going to cruise as the jack rabbit from one stoplight to the next/

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45760053)

I don't get it because it's slightly cheaper and if for some reason I pass out I'd rather naturally slow down before I hit a billboard than cruse directly into it at 70mph. I know that's very unlikely, but it also means I have to pay more attention when I drive and it's harder to zone out for a few miles. The less I'm paying attention the slower I end up going. Not having curse control is a built-in safety feature.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45760905)

Traffic accident statistics do not support your ridiculous claims.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about 8 months ago | (#45761403)

Curse control. I love it. We could use more of it.

Re:i'm all for it... (2)

PSXer (854386) | about 8 months ago | (#45757771)

Or, you know, you could actually drive your car. I bet you have an automatic transmission, too.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45758649)

So do you also churn your own butter? Cut out the automatic gain control on your stereo and TV?

I get that some people just enjoy driving a manual, I don't get the ones who look down their noses at people who prefer an automatic.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

PSXer (854386) | about 8 months ago | (#45758975)

Any more than I get the people who look down their noses at people who don't use cruise control, i'm sure.

Re:i'm all for it... (2)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about 8 months ago | (#45757827)

Basic Cruise Control from the 60s and 70's could handle that situation. The problem is there are too many people who won't use cruise control

So true.

I have basic, stupid cruise control on my car and it rarely varies more than 5mph (+/- 2.5mph) on a grade when set at 65. But it seems like any time I drive for more than 30 minutes on an uncongested freeway it is inevitable that I'll run into at least one numbnut who isn't using cruise control and lets their speed vary by 10-15mph. They'll catch up to me, sit in my blind-spot until I put on the brakes and force them to pass. Once they are well ahead, I turn the cruise-control back on at my original speed and then I catch up to them, at which point they speed-match me again. If I gun it and get past them, as soon as I settle back at the set speed they start to catch up again. I can not figure out what the fuck is going through their heads, but it is super aggravating and it happens all the fucking time. Vast open stretches of freeway and these guys must be lonely because they won't leave me the fuck alone.

Re:i'm all for it... (2)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45757887)

Nothing is going through their mind. Most of them haven't a clue about what is going on around them, they are probably yakking, and singing along to the radio, etc.

They recognize two situations, too far, and too close and that's about all. Their speed doesn’t even enter into their mind.

Re:i'm all for it... (2)

ftobin (48814) | about 8 months ago | (#45758017)

I think what is happening is that people can be paced easily. I see it when traffic starts to roll at a traffic light -- people will match the car beside them often.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758381)

Indeed. Cruising along by myself, cruise on, car overtakes me and immediately pulls in front and drops speed. WTF??? And yeah, happens ALL. THE. TIME.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756631)

One can only hope. But another thing that would be great would be if it was adaptive to traffic in front.
If the studies regarding traffic jams are correct then adaptive cruise control could be the thing that makes them disappear.
Even if only a fraction of the drivers uses it a dampening effect on the oscillations human drivers causes would help a great deal.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45756731)

One can only hope. But another thing that would be great would be if it was adaptive to traffic in front.
If the studies regarding traffic jams are correct then adaptive cruise control could be the thing that makes them disappear.
Even if only a fraction of the drivers uses it a dampening effect on the oscillations human drivers causes would help a great deal.

If every car uses the same algorithm, some traffic conditions might cause resonance across all cars that makes traffic even worse.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757149)

Actually, adaptive cruise control will typically get much closer to a car in front than a human, and will often amplify the effect of standing wave jams.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757119)

In many cases, this is because of underpowered vehicles that simply can't accelerate up these hills, so once they get down below a certain speed, they're staying there.

bad for fuel echonomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757303)

It bad for fuel economy to let the cruise control slam on the gas to keep the speed up

Re:bad for fuel echonomy (2)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 8 months ago | (#45758513)

>bad for fuel economy to let the cruise control slam on the gas to keep the speed up
that is/was true for cars with carburetors, fuel injected gasoline engines are going to be most efficient with least intake restriction at near peak torque engine speeds. (throttle pedal just varies intake restriction, less throttle more restriction, the ECU then determines fuel from the resulting air flow.) Automatic transmissions will get less efficient the higher the engine speed, and higher the torque, that could make it slightly worse efficiency to slam on the gas for a short period of time, instead of increased throttle for longer durations, but doubtful, or slightly. Of course at the same speed you will burn more fuel at more throttle, but if you were to go from 10% throttle to 80% throttle for 10 seconds to maintain your speed up the hill, then back to 10% versus going to 20% throttle for 30 seconds It will likely save total fuel to gas it for the shorter duration (definitely true in a manual transmission car.)

Re:bad for fuel echonomy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45759955)

>bad for fuel economy to let the cruise control slam on the gas to keep the speed up

that is/was true for cars with carburetors, fuel injected gasoline engines are going to be most efficient with least intake restriction at near peak torque engine speeds.

Yes, but we're talking about acceleration, not cruising.

Automatic transmissions will get less efficient the higher the engine speed, and higher the torque,

Just like manual transmissions.

if you were to go from 10% throttle to 80% throttle for 10 seconds to maintain your speed up the hill, then back to 10% versus going to 20% throttle for 30 seconds It will likely save total fuel to gas it for the shorter duration

There's no way to know unless we know the vehicle.

(definitely true in a manual transmission car.)

Stop pretending like lockup torque converters don't exist. They do.

Re:bad for fuel echonomy (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 8 months ago | (#45760725)

>Stop pretending like lockup torque converters don't exist. They do. And they don't equate to a manual, I am not saying Autos are significantly worse, I am just acknowledging the math isn't as simple with a auto.
#1 at anywhere near full throttle lockups drop out, most don't have the capability to handle full torque without risk of damage to the transmission.
#2 the biggest losses are from spinning and pumping the fluid around, the lockup doesn't change those losses one bit, your still spinning pumping and pushing the same fluids around at the same engine speed, and the losses are not linear with engine speed like a manual. Lockup more or less just gives the transmission another gear, a good thing, but doesn't make it anything like a manual.
>Yes, but we're talking about acceleration, not cruising.
Yes, exactly my point, we want to be in the most efficient operation for the engine while accelerating (full torque output), while cruising we want the lowest fuel burn. The quicker we get from accelerating back to cruising the more efficient we will be.
> There's no way to know unless we know the vehicle.
That was truly the only reason I brought up the manual, It's losses are truly linear with torque all are equal. With all the differences in autos, and hybrids, knowing the engine efficiency without knowing the transmission losses could change the equation.

Re:bad for fuel echonomy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45762291)

#1 at anywhere near full throttle lockups drop out, most don't have the capability to handle full torque without risk of damage to the transmission.

So what? Many people never do that. Also, people often abuse their clutch when applying a lot of power.

#2 the biggest losses are from spinning and pumping the fluid around,

Small cars have CVTs now, completely different in design and also enabling the engine to remain in its power band more often. Traditional automatics typically have more speeds than manual gearboxes now, except for the heavy, complex, and expensive DSGs, which likewise permits greater efficiency.

we want to be in the most efficient operation for the engine while accelerating (full torque output), while cruising we want the lowest fuel burn.

Actually, peak efficiency is usually attained at about 80% of peak torque output.

That was truly the only reason I brought up the manual, It's losses are truly linear with torque all are equal.

Not at all. In fact, the losses increase more than linearly in both cases. The automatic is simply more complex. You have to take the lubricant into account in both cases. But there's also clutching to consider.

As well, in the near future KERS is going to become more common, with the TC replaced entirely with an electric motor which also replaces the alternator and the starter. It's getting cheaper and it's been proven out on all sizes of vehicle. The motor can also have magnetic lockup, which takes surprisingly little power to maintain but which won't wear out like a clutch.

Re:bad for fuel echonomy (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 8 months ago | (#45762451)

> enabling the engine to remain in its power band more often.
Exactly, the better the transmission the better you can stay in the power band, the more fuel is saved by stabbing the throttle to climb the hill, then going back to cruise mode faster.
>peak efficiency is
at peak torque for almost all gasoline engines, which is usually at 80% of peak power. Regardless much higher than at cruise speed, reinforcing my original point regardless.
> The automatic is simply more complex...
Not true for automatics with torque converters, again the reason I point out manuals are simpler case, you cant use the clutch with the cruise control on, having the cruise, or driver floor it to get back up to speed doesn't waste fuel.
>> KERS... Bringing more complexity into the question about something that doesn't exist in production cars reinforces why I say manual trans, it may not be the best, but it is simple math. Floor it to get back up to speed in a manual wont reduce fuel economy.
Everything said still reinforces my original post, correct?

Re:bad for fuel echonomy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45766325)

the better the transmission the better you can stay in the power band,

Well no, the more gears the transmission has, the better you can stay in the power band. And automatics usually have more speeds.

The automatic is simply more complex...

Not true for automatics with torque converters

Wait, what? Now you're confusing yourself.

you cant use the clutch with the cruise control on, having the cruise, or driver floor it to get back up to speed doesn't waste fuel.

It doesn't waste fuel if you do it in an automatic, either. The TC stays locked in the majority of conditions. You are 100% wrong about it staying locked under full power, which it in fact does in pretty much every case. It's not about that at all, it's about accelerator position vs. demand. The TC on my 1992 Ford F250 7.3 with E40D stays locked up hard as I go up a hill with a load of wet firewood. The TC on my 1982 300SD stays locked as I go around a corner with the hammer down completely. And these are fucking antiques by modern standards; in the USA, the Mercedes literally is.

Bringing more complexity into the question about something that doesn't exist in production cars reinforces why I say manual trans, it may not be the best, but it is simple math.

The math isn't even as simple as you make it out to be. And the fact is that in some cars, the auto gets better mileage than the manual, because it permits staying in the power band more often.

Re:i'm all for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757751)

Better yet: Integrate this into the radar collision avoidance systems, and make it possible to establish "flow rate" cruise control, where you attempt maintain the perfect following distance from the car ahead of you (possibly also with compensation for how closely the car BEHIND you is following). This would take the frustration out of all the random minor speed fluctuations as cars merge on/off a busy freeway.

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 8 months ago | (#45759227)

I'm all for it if it can keep my vehicle at a steady speed. The cruise control in my 2011 GMC pickup is terrible at keeping a steady speed - down to about 62 going uphill on the interstate and up to about 80 going downhill. I call it "Driver-assisted Cruise Control". It's almost totally useless.

Note that my daughter's Toyota 4-Runner has excellent cruise control, even driving over the same interstates. Does Japan know something that Detroit doesn't?

Re:i'm all for it... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 8 months ago | (#45759617)

Does Japan know something that Detroit doesn't?

Math...

Isn't this obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756553)

This is basic control theory. They haven't been doing this all along? Fire the lot of 'em, I say!

Maybe planes need more predictive tech too... (1)

spacefight (577141) | about 8 months ago | (#45756559)

... after it has been found, that the cause for a crash of an Embraer 195 in Africa has been linked directly to the captain being alone on the flight deck, putting the engines to idle and descend rapidly... http://www.aeroinside.com/item/3416/lam-e190-over-botswana-namibia-on-nov-29th-2013-captain-intentionally-crashed-aircraft [aeroinside.com]

Re:Maybe planes need more predictive tech too... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45756779)

... after it has been found, that the cause for a crash of an Embraer 195 in Africa has been linked directly to the captain being alone on the flight deck, putting the engines to idle and descend rapidly...

http://www.aeroinside.com/item/3416/lam-e190-over-botswana-namibia-on-nov-29th-2013-captain-intentionally-crashed-aircraft [aeroinside.com]

Airplanes already have the technology that lets the aircraft fly better than a human in normal conditions, but pilots don't want to give up complete control and want to be able to override the computer in exceptional conditions - taking over in conditions that the designers didn't plan for [wikipedia.org] is why we still have pilots in the cockpit. There could be a good reason why the pilot wants to override the aircraft and put the engines in idle, so even if the plane tried to take over, a captain that wanted to do something stupid (either because he wants to crash the plane, or he's more confused than the plane [wikipedia.org] about what the right thing to do is), he'd just hit the override button.

Re:Maybe planes need more predictive tech too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757653)

It's deliberate, decisions are left to the flight crew where practical. Just take a look at the predictive tech for a Nav Display in a 737, the TCAS and track information is great. Unless you completely remove the crew, tech alone won't solve malicious intent.

Still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756713)

Still trying to unnecessarily save fuel. This all goes along with stopping global warming that doesn't exist, finding the origin of man which was God.

Re: Still? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756963)

I'll take your share of fuel.
God told me that's the way it has to be.

Modeling the powertrain seems like a lot of work (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 8 months ago | (#45756741)

Why model the power train. Why not instead ship cars with a system designed to learn the characteristics of your power train? It needs to be adaptive anyway to deal with variables like vehicle loading, towing, altitude and wind.

Re:Modeling the powertrain seems like a lot of wor (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 8 months ago | (#45756859)

Because the variability is minimal in a EFI system. You can just code a LUT. This is how your engine works today anyway.

Make cars simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756755)

Make them lighter too.

not good for cars with multiple drivers (2)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 8 months ago | (#45756783)

"Honestly, officer, the car thinks I'm my wife going to a salon appointment, and the cruise control was trying to get me there on time!"

"The car sped up just as some blonde bimbo passed me in a Corvette convertible. I have no idea why..."

Re:not good for cars with multiple drivers (1)

confused one (671304) | about 8 months ago | (#45757719)

The car can identify the unique keys by the embedded chip. Even my sub-compact economy car has that capability. It can definitely tell the difference between the keys, the software allows me to program operation limits based on which key is in the ignition.

Re:not good for cars with multiple drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45765691)

And if you share a key?

solutions to problems that don't exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756801)

Feature bloat in cars. Solutions to problems that don't exist.

I give it 2 years before some security researcher is showing how to override the new "adaptive cruise control" and peg the throttle.

Why predcitve? (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about 8 months ago | (#45756803)

Seems like we all use the same roads... if we just log with altitude and accelerometer readings, we can make a 3d model of all the road surfaces, and layer this into the road database. Problem solved.

 

Re:Why predcitve? (1)

adolf (21054) | about 8 months ago | (#45758807)

Problem:

You assume that there is a singular road database, and that it is correct, and that it is somehow able to be automatically updated in such a fashion that deliberate maliciousness is somehow either impossible, very difficult, or simply unlikely, and that there are facilities in place for such updates to "the" road database to be distributed easily.

These assumptions are are all wrong.

deliberate maliciousness (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 8 months ago | (#45759075)

Why bring up that point.

If the road database is not correct, the only result is that some extra fuel is burned because the predections were wrong. En even then i think that not a lot is won this way. (compare the combusion engine efficiency of a Volt and a prius and you can see ford still has a huge gap to fill)

The driver still is fully responsible.

The fully automated prototypes still have lot of scanners and cameras to do the 100% automatic driving.

Re:deliberate maliciousness (1)

adolf (21054) | about 8 months ago | (#45765959)

What is this singular form of "road database" to which you refer? (Please be specific: A URL to a .tar.gz would be ideal.)

Because in my country (not surprisingly, also the home of Ford), such a database simply does not exist.

(And if "the" road database is incorrect, the only result is that the fancy goddamn cruise control system doesn't work and that millions of dollars of development costs are wasted -- by the consumers who ultimately pay for such development -- under the guise that it ought to work, but it cannot.)

That all said: What were you going on about, again?

I hope... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45756915)

Ford really isn't this far behind. From the results I've seen in the heavy trucking industry, 'predictive logic' isn't all that. Creating a responsive powertrain with a few set conditions will probably lead to a product a customer wants to drive, not something which will make a customer second guess the system.

I haven't driven an American car in awhile, but I always remember the CC systems to have terrible wind up in the system. This wind up would give the prius a run for the money.

Cruise control in the cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757023)

Down the road, connected-vehicle and cloud-based data will build on these predictive developments

It's cruse control for frack sakes, not global weather predicting. Cars/trains/planes/boats have had mechanical/electronic cruise control devices since the first road trip made holding the pedal down boring and they've worked successfully for decades. Why does it now need the power of 'the cloud' to do this job???

Peer Reviewed by the Public (2)

djbckr (673156) | about 8 months ago | (#45757115)

After reading this article [slashdot.org] (yes, I actually read the article and the deposition) I think automobile software should be reviewed by anybody that wants to review it. Let's face it, the software may be somewhat sophisticated, but it shouldn't be rocket science. Certain algorithms could even be patented for all I care, but the code quality must be reviewed. For those of you that haven't read the deposition from the link above, the upshot is that the expert witness saw horrible software practices being performed in a vacuum - as it were - he couldn't even take a pen and notepad in the room where he could view the software. He had to exit the room, make notes, then come back in after a security screening. This is the worst kind of software, and people are driving with it every day. Until software that has my life in its hands is peer/public reviewed, I'm going to buy only older cars for as long as I can. I sold my Prius after reading the above article.

Re:Peer Reviewed by the Public (1)

djbckr (673156) | about 8 months ago | (#45757155)

By the way, the deposition isn't where it used to be. Here is one [safetyresearch.net] that still exists (PDF warning).

Re:Peer Reviewed by the Public (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45757899)

Good luck with that. Transparency culture is barely making its way into medical devices, it's nowhere near automotive/industrial, and military application is a pointedly anti-transparency culture.

Some customers are demanding process adherence, but even that is a rare thing in basic service providers.

As an economic culture, we're still a bunch of ostrich with heads buried in the sand, jealously guarding the same damn egg designs that everyone else has.

Re: Peer Reviewed by the Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758685)

If it is anything like other safety critical code, the general public will not have a damn clue and will just wrongly think the code is done "wrong".

You have stuff like doing the calculation twice with a different algorithm and with/without FPU and compare results, etc.

Re:Peer Reviewed by the Public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45759639)

I agree that automobile software needs to be reviewed for safety. But I disagree that letting anyone do it is the way to go. Avionics must be certified to the DO-178B standard (and now DO-178C). If that is good enough for airplanes then it is good enough for cars. I write software for avionics and I was shocked when I learned that automobile software does not need to conform to any standard.

While they're at it: Integrate with tow/haul mode (3, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 8 months ago | (#45757467)

On my recent model F150 there's a very handy feature: "Tow/Haul" mode. It changes the transmission shift behavior so that touching the brakes makes it downshift and STAY downshifted (and doing it again downshifts another step on the many-gear-ratios transmission), while touching the accelerator lets it shift back up. This is GREAT for long downgrades in mountains, even if you're NOT towing.

But it doesn't interact well with the cruise control. The speed control raises the throttle setting to keep you from going under the setpoint. But when you're over it just goes down to idle and lets your speed runaway. Touch the brakes to enable engine braking and the cruise control disengages. No automatic speed control for YOU on the downgrade. When the grade starts to level out the speed drops, and even before that you're back to watching the speedometer and doing manual adjustments,

Result: On mountain roads you're constantly disengaging and re-engaging the speed control.

They should integrate the two: When tow/haul mode is engaged, the speed control should send downshift signals to the transmission to control too-fast as well as too-slow conditions.
When tow-haul is on the speed control should signal the transmission to downshift when necessary, to keep the speed from running away and requiring the driver to brake. (The speed control's acceleration when too-slow will handle the upshift correctly.)

You'll still have to touch the brakes or tap-down the speed setting for curves and other locally slow zones. But then you'd just hit "resume" or tap-up the setting. Meanwhile the automation would handle the non-exceptional condition of preventing overspeed and runaway on downgrades.

Re:While they're at it: Integrate with tow/haul mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758039)

My Toyota Sienna (2006) and Camry (2007) also downshift when you brake on a grade (though I don't know about how long they stay in the lower gear - it could only be until you let go of the brake) and they also don't do this with the cruise control. I would love it if they did. It's not just pickup trucks and/or towing that this would be great for.

Re:While they're at it: Integrate with tow/haul mo (2)

Wingsy (761354) | about 8 months ago | (#45758835)

Maybe you should try a Dodge truck. My Charger downshifts without me doing anything if idle throttle results in not enough braking force down a grade. It always holds the speed to +/- 1mph. It also has adaptive cruise - the one option I appreciate the most, times 10. It really shines on a rainy night, when the guy in front hits his brakes enough to light the brake lights but not enough to slow his speed. It doesn't slow down unless he really does slow down, and without it I'd be tapping my brakes whenever I see his light up. And it's collision warning has saved me once from a fender bender, or maybe worse. I can't say enough about the software in my Charger; everything it does is just what I'd want it to do.

Re:While they're at it: Integrate with tow/haul mo (1)

karnal (22275) | about 8 months ago | (#45760009)

That's not "Adaptive" in the sense that they're talking about here in my opinion. That's just an offshoot of what some companies will call radar cruise, to where the car maintains a set position behind the car in front of you. I like the premise though, I'm sure it works rather well - and on long highway drives, I wish I had it.

In my personal opinion, I would think an adaptive cruise would work similar to what I do to attempt to get a leg up on milage. I have a car with a pretty healthy v6 in it - and it also has an instantaneous MPG gauge. The hills around here aren't many, but if I control my speed +/- 10 mph to the limit (up to -10 on a long uphill, +10 on a downhill) I can keep my milage in a much better range than the cruise control attempting to limit me to +/-2 mph when set. Over the course of a tank, I've seen a 2-3mpg gain, which translates into real (albeit a small amount of) money back into my pocket.

Re:While they're at it: Integrate with tow/haul mo (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 8 months ago | (#45760109)

So you're one of THOSE guys, eh? :)

Re:While they're at it: Integrate with tow/haul mo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45759925)

On my recent model F150 there's a very handy feature: "Tow/Haul" mode.

Welcome to the 1990s, when that started to show up on vehicles. Our 2000 Astro LS has the same feature. It changes the shift points, that's about it.

Result: On mountain roads you're constantly disengaging and re-engaging the speed control.

Sigh. It says right in the owner's manual that the cruise control isn't for that.

Just improve the "resume" mode! (2)

dnay (86973) | about 8 months ago | (#45757565)

I just want a cruise control that doesn't go to 100% throttle when I want to resume 70MPH after slowing down.

Re:Just improve the "resume" mode! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45759933)

I just want a cruise control that doesn't go to 100% throttle when I want to resume 70MPH after slowing down.

A Mercedes from the 1980s has that. Maybe you should look at a better car instead of a newer car.

Improving traffic (2)

mrprogrammerman (2736973) | about 8 months ago | (#45757735)

Traffic would be less of a problem if more people learned how to use cruise control. It's an easy way to maintain a constant speed and increase fuel efficiency.

Euro cruise control (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#45757789)

I mostly drive American cars but have noticed that Euro cruise control has long been quite smooth. In my second last American car the cruise control was so twitchy that my wife would regularly ask what the hell I was doing. My last American car was still jerky. Typically the event that concerned her was the stupid car not gassing it enough on a hill climb and then stomping on the gas and dropping a gear to compensate for the great loss of speed. My other complaint was that for some stupid reason the cruise control would still leave a little gas on during the decent resulting in the car going way too fast. I see the RPMs still up a bit and then would turn the cruise off and see a 50% drop in the power. Lucky to not get a speeding ticket with that gem of a feature.

So while it is good ford is making it sound like they are leaping into the future, step one should be catching up with 12 year old Euro technology.

Re:Euro cruise control (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#45757925)

In 1988 I knew an engineering student who swore that there were "advanced control algorithms" at work in the Dodge Caravan's cruise control - I told him he'd be lucky if there was anything more than a first order feedback loop: ( setpoint - speed ) * K = delta throttle, with maybe some limit stops.

As long as $0.89 analog computers could do the job, 1980s auto manufacturers had no inclination to turn anything over to microprocessor control. I think even after most of the engine fell under advanced microprocessor control, they still kept the KISS cruise control.

Re:Euro cruise control (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#45762589)

Yes in my cars I probably could had used a stopwatch and pencil to figure out the simplistic algorithm.

2002 Honda CRV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45757911)

My 2002 Honda CRV (still kicking with 200K+ miles and 12 years on her) has a sensor that measures the incline of the hill I'm on. It adjusts the cruise control in response to the hill and doesn't upshift while still on the incline, the way so many other cruise controls do. Way smarter, 12 years ago.

I will say that I continue to give the car plenty of help with predictive stuff (like turning off overdrive, forcing it to downshift, before it loses speed on the hill), but I really, REALLY don't want the car trying to do that stuff for me. I've worked in computers for 20 years, on everything from medical systems to web and mobile applications, and I don't trust computer software with anything that can kill me. Frankly, those of us who program aren't nearly rigorous enough to make sure we don't get it wrong with catastrophic effects. Just ask the guys who program Toyota's accelerators.

Let me answer that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758389)

"Will the driver ask for more gas, or let up on the accelerator? "

If he's using the cruise control....no...and, no.

Seems a bit overkill (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 8 months ago | (#45758407)

If they know the current:
- Previous Orientation of vehicle
- Current Orientation of vehicle
- Previous speed
- Current Speed

Simple Method =
Use the previous speed against current speed. Predict what the new thottle level will need to be to reach their target (how cruise control should work)

But theres some hills =
They can simply make an additional function to increase/decrease throttle based on a angle prediction using the previous and current orientations.

This is simple logic, i just dont understand their need to overcomplicate this for sake of mentioning the "cloud".

Re:Seems a bit overkill (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 8 months ago | (#45758561)

It does mention Ford expects this to do the most on Trucks, and crossovers. Pull a trailer, or load up 5k in additional load, along with more wind resistance would make the most difficult to pre compute.
Personally since the cruise control has the capability of overriding my throttle pedal, and is the most safety critical software item after ABS, so please don't add any non hardened inputs, like orientations, grade sensors, navigation system data just so someone doesn't have a extra downshift now and then.

Re: Seems a bit overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45758693)

Touching the brake should disengage the cruise. That is how Volkswagen does it. Isn't your car doing it?

Just drive (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about 8 months ago | (#45758805)

I remember years ago when you wanted a drivers license you actually had to learn how to drive a car. Now all you have to do is learn how to point it in the direction you want to go.

Re:Just drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45760159)

No, you only had to pass an easy test. 20 years ago the training was a joke and it still is today.

GPS (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 8 months ago | (#45758859)

I'm still waiting for one that sets the cruise-control's speed limit automatically from my GPS-Navigator instead of just beeping when I drive too fast.

How hard can that be when it's all in the same computer. Why do we still have to do that manually every couple of miles?

Interesting co-incidence... (1)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | about 8 months ago | (#45759127)

...that this story was followed with "can you trust your router" -- my router can't kill me!

Meanwhile.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45759157)

Everyone else using cruise control is tailgating down a grade, forcing them to brake and disengage theirs.

My 2007 Volvo adaptive cruise... (1)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#45759219)

...works better than is described by the story blurb.

Acceleration when resuming or when a vehicle going slower than the setpoint moves or exits my lane is pretty smooth as is deceleration when overtaking a slower vehicle.

I only have two complaints. I wish there was an audible indicator when driving slower than the setpoint. On long interstate drives I occasionally find myself behind someone driving slower than my setpoint but because the deceleration is so subtle it's easy to not notice.

The other is icing on the radar panel in bad weather causing the cruise to not work at all. It'd be great to have it heated so that it resists icing and possibly a way to run it in manual mode like normal cruise control and bypass the adaptive aspect.

"Real engineers" (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | about 8 months ago | (#45761289)

But real engineers are working behind the scenes every day to make existing auto technologies more efficient. ...
Think of this as a building block to the future.

Did Ford marketing write this?

Real engineers...working behind the behind the scenes every day... creating building blocks of the future.

That could be my wordy, but non-informative job description.

Adding, some "Airplane",

Real engineers bust their buns every day creating building blocks of the future. You tell your old man that.

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