Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Blind Spot

2013 Ford Fusion
Saw a Ford Fusion the other day. I think they are pretty good looking cars, partly because they look big, kind of swollen, like a football. Make the most volume out of the available sheet metal. Little cars are fun, but if you are going to be spending a lot of time in your car, more space is more better. Might also be because Ford appropriated the Aston Martin grill style, which is the slimy kind of thing you might expect from a giant corporation. For a while when Ford first started using this grill I was fooled into thinking that they actually were Aston Martins. Hey, look! It's James Bo..., er, no, it's just another Ford. So maybe some of that impressed-with-money feeling rubbed off on the lowly Fusion. Whatever.

One of the things I like about cars, as opposed to motorcycles, bicycles or shoes, is that they do provide you with a protective shell. An important part of that shell is the A-pillar, the steel roof supports on either side of the windshield. In order for that shell to protect you it needs to be strong, and in order to be strong, those struts need to have some size to them. Normally, like when you are driving down the highway that is not a problem. You are looking straight ahead and the struts are not in your way.

Driving around town, turning corners, looking out for pedestrians, and those struts become blind spots keeping you from seeing those fools who are hiding from you. You can get around this by moving your head back and forth and while it is not much of a problem, you still have temporary blind spots wherever your head is.

So how about we put narrow video displays on those A pillars along with an outside camera to show you what you are missing? It would take some sophisticated software to munge what the camera sees into what you would see if the A-pillar wasn't there, but as Google Street View has demonstrated, we are past masters at munjing video.

There is the problem that current display technology cannot show you everything you could see with your native eyeballs, but that is only a problem with distant stuff, like looking a half mile down the highway. Stuff that is within your area of concern when you are turning a corner, which is when you would want to use these A-pillar displays, would not be a problem.

P.S. An A-pillar story.
1962 Ford Sunliner
Once upon a time I had a cousin who had an early 60's Ford convertible. Out driving one day he managed to flip it over. Landed upside down on the grass median, squashed the windshield frame flat. Neither he nor the two people riding with him were hurt. Big, stupid luck, I guess. Anyway, my uncle, being the cheapskate he was, wasn't going to pay anyone to fix the car when he could do it himself, so he blocked the front wheels and hooked a come-along to the windshield frame and started pulling. The back end of the car came off of the ground before that windshield frame budged.

P.P.S. The Science Fiction novel Blindsight might have had something to do with this.

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