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Old 25th December 2011, 20:01   #1
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Default Ideas for the auto-industry

Always wanted to start a thread where I can jot down some of the new/unconventional/innovative or plain wacky (and even crazy) ideas about the automobile industry in general and cars in particular.
Other members can contribute their own ideas or build on top of an already posted idea.

Why?
1. A lot of us are quite enthusiastic about cars and want better cars. Here's your chance to improve -at least on paper- the cars that we all love .
2. Only a (lucky) few of us are actually working in the auto industry today or in the future. Here's a opportunity to give back something to the auto industry.
3. Who knows, some of these ideas might get picked up by the industry and materialize in a few years' time!

The same guidelines/rules that apply to a brainstorming session would apply to the discussion. <flicked from wikipedia>
1. Focus on quantity: The more the merrier.
2. Welcome unusual ideas: Let's explore new perspectives and suspend assumptions. These new ways of thinking may provide better solutions.
3. Combine and improve ideas: Good ideas may be combined to form a single better idea, as suggested by the slogan "1+1=3".
and MOST IMPORTANT
4. Withhold criticism: Do NOT criticize/ridicule any ideas. Focus should be on extending or adding to ideas. By suspending judgment, everyone will feel free to generate unusual ideas.

Last edited by SDP : 27th December 2011 at 15:52.
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Old 25th December 2011, 20:09   #2
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Default Re: Ideas for the auto-industry

Given that the automobile industry has been around for more than a century now, there is a very good possibility that quite a lot of what we come up with has already been thought of and possibly implemented in some way or the other in some car. That's OK. Its not only about original ideas and staking a claim to it and getting a patent for it . As long as the idea is not common practice in most of the vehicles that we see around everyday, let's go ahead and talk about it.

Ideas v/s Visions
The way I look at it, an idea is a solution for a problem or improves on some characteristic of a product. But what if you and me don't have a solution today for a problem and instead just have a hazy 'vision' or a very rough outline of what the solution could be. Should we list such visions over here ?
I would say, why not? You formulate the vision, somebody would build on that and come with an idea, and somebody else would up with a realistic implementation. Collaboration at its best!

PS: I have absolutely no idea which section this thread belongs to. So I will let the Mods decide what is the most appropriate place for this thread.

Let me take unfair advantage of starting this thread using the "Assembly Line" feature and post some of my ideas right at the start

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 23:11.
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Old 25th December 2011, 20:43   #3
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Default #1 Why clutch pedal?

#1 Why clutch pedal?

Learning to drive a manual geared car is a decently daunting task (for most people who don't live and dream cars). Depress the clutch pedal, shift the gear and then release the clutch pedal SLOWLY and press the gas-pedal SLOWLY at the same time. Just too many things to do and needs a good amount of coordination.

I have always wondered if all that circus is really necessary. Yes, I have heard about automatic gearboxes, which can choose and change the gear for you. I am not talking about that. Lot of us just love the stick-shift, why should a computer decide which gear in which my car should run? The point over here is why can't the car be designed in such a way that there is a stick-shift, but no clutch pedal? When the driver slots the car in let's say 2nd gear using the stick, let the clutch disengage automatically, then the 2nd gear-ratio would be set automatically and the clutch would be engaged once again, all in one smooth action because the car would be doing it and not the driver.

No more stalling and no more riding the clutch!

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 23:13.
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Old 25th December 2011, 23:26   #4
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Default #2 Universal compatibility of parts

#2 Universal compatibility of parts

This one is my favourite idea/dream. If you have to assemble a computer today, you can get a processor from Intel, a motherboard from GigaByte, a optical drive from Sony, a monitor from Samsung, RAM from Kingston, Harddisk from Seagate etc etc and it works together nicely. Don't like Seagate? You prefer WD instead, no issues, it still works. It works because the individual parts are designed to a specification that is supposed to be compatible to an operating and interfacing standard.

Taking that same concept over to the auto-industry, wouldn't it be amazing if you can assemble your C-segment sedan by taking a body shell from Linea, engine from Vento TDi, drivetrain from ANHC, interior from Verna etc? How about having a bunch of choices for body-shape (Hatch, Premium-Hatch, Entry-Sedan, Premium-Sedan, Entry-SUV, Premium-SUV etc) and then having another bunch of choices EACH for engine, drive train, brakes, exhaust system, steering, dashboard, seats etc etc? Everything should just fit together without any modifications.

What will be your dream configuration? Which parts would you chose from which current car?

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 23:17.
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Old 25th December 2011, 23:47   #5
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Default #3 Everything configurable

#3 Everything configurable

Remember how there is a little bit of learning curve involved when you move from one car to another? And I am not even talking about moving across segments, like changing from a sedan to a SUV. I am talking about how even one hatchback "feels" different as compared to another. I am talking about the small small nuisances like the travel of the clutch, the play of the brake pedal, the "judgement" of the accelerator (I press it by half an inch and it goes this much fast), the judgement of the steering wheel (I flick the steering by a centimeter and the car turns 30 degrees, how the steering becomes heavy with speed etc). I understand that most of these can be changed to feel like another car. But I am talking about giving the control to the driver and let him configure himself till he finds that perfect setting that he is comfortable with.

How about preset configurations like a "Swift configuration" that is available in all hatches? You were driving Swift till yesterday and today you would like your new Red Polo to feel the same as Swift as far as steering, clutch, brake, accelerator, gear-shift are concerned? Just go to the menu and select the "Swift" configuration and its done!

Seat height adjustment, steering reach and rake are the right steps in the direction of "everything configurable". Need many more things that the driver can configure on the fly without a visit to the mechanic.

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 23:20.
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Old 26th December 2011, 00:15   #6
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Default #4 True Multi-purpose vehicles

#4 True Multi-purpose vehicles

Currently if you need to travel with a big family, you would most probably get an Innova. But then during the week, when you travel to work (typically alone), 7 seats are empty in your Innova and you think if you really need so much space and power in a vehicle to commute to office? You want to go to the market and quickly get something from the sweets shop. But there is not enough space to park an Innova in the market. What do you do? Buy a Eon for running the errands AND buy a ANHC for going to the office AND use the Innova exclusively for the weekend trips?

How about a single TRUE multi-purpose vehicle, that can become a 2 or even 1 seater when you want to go to office and 7 seater with luggage space for the weekend trip. The size/dimensions, seating capacity, luggage capacity, engine power should all be changeable easily.

You flick a switch while starting for office and the vehicle either folds its rear to become smaller or half the vehicle becomes detached and stays in the garage. In this case, the engine also produces lesser power and burns much less fuel by employing let's say only 3 cylinders from the V6 engine. OR may be your vehicle has multiple engines and you start one or more depending on the need for power. So instead of having one monster 3L engine, we have three 1L engines and you have an option of starting just one, 2 or all 3!

PS: Inspired by how the batmobile has an "in-built" bat-pod in "The Dark Knight".
When the big vehicle becomes cumbersome, just disengage the smaller vehicle within and off you go.

Please check out first 25 seconds from the clip below for a quick reference.

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 23:23.
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Old 26th December 2011, 00:51   #7
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Default #5 S-M-L-XL anyone?

#5 S-M-L-XL anyone?

Ever got into a situation that you are checking out something (a car maybe) and thought- I like the shape of it, wish it would be slightly bigger.

How about the same vehicle being available in different sizes, small-medium-large-extraLarge?

Let's say the current size of Toyoto Fortuner is "Large" and you get another vehicle which looks exactly like the T-fort, but is 75% in size of the "Large" one. That would be a "Medium" T-Fort. A "Small" T-fort could be of the size of EcoSport or Ford-Fusion. Think about it, a "XL" sized Fortuner would look really big and menacing.

PS: On a lighter note, VW's current Vento-Jetta-Passat lineup is a bad implementation of this S-M-L idea.

Last edited by SDP : 27th December 2011 at 15:54.
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Old 26th December 2011, 01:08   #8
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Default #6 Fuel wastage in bumper to bumper traffic

#6 Engine/car that produces just enough power for moving a few inches in bumper to bumper traffic

Cars waste a huge amount of fuel in bumper to bumper stop-and-go traffic. Needless to say that the cars in general and engines in particular are not really designed to have best fuel efficiency in bumper-to-bumper traffic situations. At the same time, like it or not, most urban/semi-urban users drive in exactly that condition for significant amount of the time.

So how about designing the cars and engines so that the fuel-efficiency in bumper-to-bumper traffic is very good. Do we really need 80-100 horses to pull the car a few inches forward? Can the car produce much lesser power and consume much lesser fuel in bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions?

As discussed in an earlier idea, having multiple engines and using one, more or all, depending on the power requirement could be a potential solution. Another thought is, do we really need a thermal engine at all for just moving a few inches forward? Can the battery or any other alternate source of energy produce enough power for the vehicle to creep ahead? Can the car modify its center of gravity to induce a rolling action? Can the tyre-width and subsequently rolling-resistance change on the fly depending on the driving condition?

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 01:11.
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Old 26th December 2011, 01:28   #9
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Default #7 Being able to communicate with drivers around you

#7 Being able to communicate with drivers around you

No, I am not talking about showing a finger or giving a look to the other driver.

Currently the only way two cars (or rather drivers) communicate with each other is by using either the horn or the headlights-turnLights. Isn't that too basic, too restrictive?

Wouldn't it be convenient if there is a voice communication channel that is available to all the cars in your proximity. You would be able to politely request the driver in front to move forward in case he hasn't noticed the signal has turned green. Wouldn't that be nice rather than honking the hell out of him? Why bother other road users with your horn, if you can have a one-on-one communication?

Even a digital screen on your car can be used to communicate with others around you. If you could talk to the driver behind you or display a message on the rear-windshield "Please switch off your high-beam. Its hurting my eyes", wouldn't that be nice?

Note: Need a profanity filter on such a communication channel.

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 01:32.
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Old 26th December 2011, 17:34   #10
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Default #8 Tag along/follow other car

#8 Tag along/follow other car

When you are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, all the cars in one lane resemble a train. Taking that analogy further, why should each bogie of a train have its own driver. If the bogie in front moves, the one behind should move. So how about we have some mechanism in cars (NOT chains ) by which you can establish a non-physical connection with the car in front of you. Then your car's computer takes over and follows the car that you have tagged, with the help of an auto-pilot. Needless to say, the driver can always override the computer and decide to take another lane or take a turn.

Besides bumper-to-bumer traffic, another scenario where "tag-along" could be useful is when 2 or more cars from the family/friend-circle go for an outing and ensuring that those multiple cars remain together becomes a major task in itself.

Last edited by SDP : 26th December 2011 at 23:29.
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Old 26th December 2011, 17:45   #11
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Default #9 Real-time intelligent navigation

#9 Real-time intelligent navigation

Navigation systems can tell you how to go from point A to point B. They can also tell you the shortest route or the fastest route. The "fastest route", I believe, is determined based on speed limits of the specific stretches involved and possibly some historical information on average speeds on those stretches. But, none of that is "real-time".

How about cars having navigation systems that get real-time feeds about traffic and analyze that data and recommend alternate routes all in real time?
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Old 26th December 2011, 18:03   #12
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Default #10 Auto-hold when the car is at standstill

#10 Auto-hold when the car is at standstill

You always have to keep your foot on the brake pedal when the car is at a traffic signal or waiting behind another car in a traffic jam. This is done to ensure that the car does not roll and hit the car either in the front or the one behind.

Wouldn't it be nice if the car can understand that it is at zero speed and there is no input from the gas-pedal and thereby apply the brakes automatically so as to avoid rolling? The auto-hold will disengage as soon as you press on the gas-pedal.
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Old 26th December 2011, 18:50   #13
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Default #11 High-beam payback mirrors

#11 High-beam payback mirrors

We all get irritated when some idiot decides to blind you with his high-beams. If the particular idiot is approaching you from the opposite direction, you can always decide to return the favour. But that means that even your lights should be aimed for the oncoming driver and not for the road, which is not really a ideal scenario for a good driver. Also when you swich to high-beams youselves, not only the offender, but other approaching cars also suffer.
On the other hand, if the idiot is behind you and the reflection in your ORVMs is blinding you, there is not much you can do.

So, how about some sweet revenge? How about your windshields can sense high-beams, calculate the position of offending driver's face and reflect back light with the same intensity (or possibly with a little bit extra)? May be the windshields can act as mirrors or you have dedicated mirrors in the front and back specifically for this purpose.

In this case, you are not being a bad driver by immitating another bad driver. You are merely teaching a lesson in driving etiquette and that too ONLY to the offender.

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Old 26th December 2011, 18:59   #14
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Default #12 Panels with shape memory

#12 Panels with shape memory

Anybody who loves his/her car, hates to see those deep scratches, dents and dings on the car, which every car invariably gets in typical urban usage situations.

How about all the panels of the car have a shape memory? After a dent, just flick a switch inside the car and the dented panel would revert back to its originally programmed shape.
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Old 26th December 2011, 19:09   #15
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Default #13 Change the car color on the fly

#13 Change the car color on the fly

You have a car in beautiful black colour. Come summer and you really wish that you would have chosen a different, less heat-absorbing color. On some special days, do you wish that your car's color would have been sporty yellow or passionate red?

How about if you can change the car's color on the fly, by choosing from a color palate in the ICE-menu?

Panles covered with nano-LEDs (nano as in nano-meter) instead of paint, so that with an electic pulse you can change the colour being emitted by the LEDs?
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