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It Started With Black Boxes...

Hopefully you noticed that we are looking back, while connecting dots with the present.

Fortunately we have The Colonel that has been around this business for a few years. We are thankful that he is wiling to share his knowledge base, experience, and opinions.

Lets get going with black boxes.

Q: Colonel...good morning...what prompted the advent of black boxes.

A: From my perspective at a certain point "mechanical" controls were no longer adequate to arrive at emission requirements.

Q: If we understand this as an example...altering the timing of an engine with a vacuum line, controlling the oil pressure in an automatic transmission with vacuum in a modulator valve. The mechanical was overwhelmed.

A: You guys are good this morning...precisely. By the early 1980's mechanical controls were completely overwhelmed.

Q: This led to "black boxes" and the infamous "check engine light".

A: You need to include electronic fuel injection in the mix to make it really interesting. Think of this 30 years ago there was a ton of push back towards black boxes. Especially that it was impossible to understand what was going on in the black boxes. Obvious they were expensive too.

Q: We heard that in the early days there were poster sized decision trees to resolve issues with the old school scanners of the time.

A: You heard right...resolving a check engine light issue turned into a project. Needless to mention that the customer had no patience or understanding as to why a light turned on and it was taking so long to resolve.

Q: Electronic glitches today are often not any easier to resolve even with current diagnostic equipment.

A: Yes...its can quickly become nightmarish.

Q: Do you remember ABS brakes?

A: Should I say this...I was there when ABS brakes made their way into cars.

Q: Many cars had poor brakes, at least ABS contributed to stopping in a straight line.

A: Again...there was push back towards ABS brakes, some systems were crude. Probably even today most folks don't know that ABS enables you to steer out of trouble with your foot on the brake.

Q: Did traction control and then stability control follow ABS brakes.

A: Yes...and we live in winter conditions that are ideal to explore how these systems function in real life. Its sad they are active safety features, and most folks have a glancing knowledge of how they will work if they ever need them.

Q: Are you saying that most folks if they get in a deep yogurt situation have limited knowldge of what ABS, Traction, Stability control will do for them, how it will do it, and what they could do to assist those systems.

A: Exactly...

Q: Its gone way beyond you know there is talk of connected cars being part of the "Internet of Things".

A: Yes...its fascinating and exciting, smart cruise controls, wireless connectivity in cars, autonomous cars, its a brave new world.

Q: Contrary to back in the day there is no push back, folks are comfortable with technology, and its expected in cars.

A: I agree with you guys...the business model of the auto industry is evolving as we migrate towards "intelligent" cars.



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