New (107/365)

by Lee Santiva April. 17, 2019 320 views
2019 Volvo XC40

2019 Volvo XC40

My new car. The modern automobile is a cyber-physical system.

Comparing the stat's of Old vs. New:

  • length: Volvo: 442,5 cm, Austin Healey: 204 cm
  • weight: Volvo: 2100 kg, Austin Healey: 760 kg
  • horsepower: Volvo: 190, Austin Healey: 42,5

Besides the obvious difference in size and other physical characteristics, the by far biggest difference between the two vehicles is the software technology.

A cyber-physical system means that the mechanical parts are no longer manually controlled, but virtually, through software. Take, for example, the turn signal "blinker". It used to be controlled by a relay and that made a mechanical sound. Since decades the "blinker" is controlled by software and the sound you hear is comes from a sound card. Carmakers employ audio engineers to reproduce mechanical sounds inside the car since they no longer exist in reality.

A typical new car has over 100 million lines of code.* To give you some perspective, that is more code than in some enterprise management (ERP) software solutions.

The interior features a large touchscreen computer panel to regulate temperature, music and all other features and functions. In contrast to the Oldtimer, I don't even know everything this car can do.

There is an app for this car which I have on my smartphone. At first I thought, "what a gimmick, who needs that?" Little did I realize at the time how much I would end up using it.

The Volvo can get warmed up with one click from outside the vehicle without the car being "on"; in fact, you do not even need to be in sight of the vehicle. This is very practical in bitterly cold winters to defrost the windshields, warm up the motor and of course heat-up the inside of the car. I used this function often when we went cross-country skiing and of course in the mornings before going to work.

Contrast this with the experience I described with the Oldtimer where we had to drive several kilometers before the motor warmed up.

Enjoying the view with an SUV

Enjoying the view with an SUV

Both cars are fun to drive, but for different reasons and obviously only the Volvo is the car for everyday and every type of weather.

I had originally intended to have the Oldtimer (old) vs. an electric car (new) for these two blogs, however it proved to be too difficult and complicated to get an electric car to the exact same shooting location.

*Source: 100 million lines of code https://www.wired.com/2012/12/automotive-os-war/

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Bob Rosenberg 1 year, 6 months ago

My car has that same "warm up" button on the key fob.  While California is not all that cold, it's nice to be able to warm up the car before leaving the restaurant.  grinning

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Bob Rosenberg 1 year, 6 months ago

👍 modern cars have a lot of „luxury“ features. In Europe the dealers can still offer them as options instead of only having „packages which means my car was „made-to-order“

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Bob Rosenberg Replied to Lee Santiva 1 year, 6 months ago

That's how it used to be here, but then the car makers began building cars with "packages".  In the old days, you ordered your car and waited 4 to 6 weeks for it to come in with just the options you asked for .  Now, they simply offer 2 to 4 versions of each model and just a handful of colors.  Most buyers now simply pick one off the lot and drive away.  I actually think this is better.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Bob Rosenberg 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes, that is convenient to drive it home the same day.

I ordered my car in August and picked it up the last day of January. 
In November I was in a car accident (someone rear-ended me) which totalled my car. If I had driven the new car home that day in August, it would have been the new car that got hit. So I guess that was lucky.
I wasn't hurt too bad, just some whiplash which has since gone away.

I wasn't a big fan of SUV's but after that accident with my old "regular" car, I'm glad I went for a more sturdy vehicle. I drove a rental car which the insurance paid for until the new car was delivered.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Bob Rosenberg Replied to Lee Santiva 1 year, 6 months ago

Our horse trailer is so heavy that I needed an SUV to pull it, but we only put about 5000 miles a year on that car.  Our other car is a Chevy Bolt - an all electric car that gets 300+ miles per charge.  The bad news there?  To save weight and increase range, there's no spare tire.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

The drawback to the "new cars" is that when things break/go wrong they really become expensive to repair.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

Absolutely! My friend with the oldtimer changes oil and does minor maintenance herself, it‘d be almost impossible for me with the new car. Thanks for commenting!

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
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