The availability of telematics-enabled cars has risen dramatically over
the past few years. Today, telematics is either standard or optional equipment
in most high-end vehicles and the list of features is growing. Telematics
covers a wide area of technologies so it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is,
since it can be many things to many users and equipment producers.
Telematics systems allow a driver to interact with the vehicle in his or
her own voice. So, if you are driving in an unfamiliar area you may ask your
car to find the shortest route to your destination. Within seconds, a
navigation system reads back the directions. This is now standard with
vehicle navigation systems but was only a dream 10 years ago.
Telematics can be quite useful during emergency situations. The
moment a safety measure is detected in a car — like when the check engine
light goes on — the telematics system sends a message to the operator who
then calls the car to confirm the safety of the passengers. In case there is a problem, the operator sends help. The GPS unit tells the
operator where to send the police and ambulance. If you have forgotten your keys inside the car and the doors have been locked, the
telematics system can unlock it for you. This is currently what OnStar™ offers.
The future of telematics looks bright and ominous at the same time. Voice-based web access is certainly a possibility, as well as
road-side Wi-Fi systems where commercial businesses can detect if your car is near their retail location and then send you
advertisement messages on your cell phone or car navigation screen for what they’re selling. Your car can even transmit information
like its make and model, where you came from, and where you’re going to anyone who wants to know. This “having others know a lot
about you while you drive” feature may be the most expansive and yet controversial part of our always connected future. Who knows
where it will lead and what implications it will have for individuals and society. Credit: www.wizgeek.com and www.onstar.com.
The Hydrocar has a built-in stop
and turn mechanism that automatically
turns the wheels and backs up when
the car hits an obstacle. This makes it
easier to see what happens to motor
fundamentals in a start and stop
scenario. Placing the car on a level
floor or table will show what happens.
Generate some more hydrogen, then
place the car on the floor and set the
switch to ON. In my test, I set the
switch to ON before I put it on the
floor. Then, I let the car move and hit
a barrier where it stopped, reversed
direction, and started out in a
different direction. Figure 10 shows a
plot of this activity. Notice that the
motor resistance (black line) starts
out at a relatively high resistance as
the wheels are free spinning, then the
resistance drops and current (blue
line) and power (red line) increase as
it touches the floor and begins to
move. The resistance really drops
when it hits a barrier and stops. As it
reverses, less of a load is placed on
the motor and the cycle repeats as it
moves and hits other barriers.
Descending a Ramp
Another test I did was running
the car up and down a slight ramp
(not too steep – about 15° is my
estimate). To do this, you have to
put a piece of tape on the rotating
mechanism to hold the wheels in
place (Figure 11). When you do this,
make sure to first empty the
cylinders of water so they don’t
spill all over the floor. Next, refill the
cylinders with 20 ml of water and
generate some hydrogen again.
Place the car at the bottom of the
ramp and turn the switch ON.
Figure 12 shows a plot of the car
as it moves up the ramp. Notice
that the resistance drops below one
ohm, indicating that more power
is required to move the car up
the ramp as compared with just
Figure 8. Wheels Free-Spinning.
Figure 9. Wheels Free-Spinning with “Finger Touch’ Resistance.
July 2010 41