Indeed, the high-tech comfort system was confused. The rear temperature sensor of the 2001 Dodge van had gone bad and was sending a signal that the children were freezing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The loyal van was doggedly trying to warm them up.
Mercedes-Benz had to replace many of its early Comand integrated control systems because of failures, and has since worked to simplify the controls. Stephan Wolfsried, vice president for electronic systems in Germany, told Automotive News last year that the company had eliminated 600 electronic functions in its cars, starting with the 2003 models, to improve quality and make the remaining functions easier to use. Mr. Wolfsried was quoted as saying these were features that "no one really needed and no one knew how to use."
What's interesting is not just the ever-growing litany of problems attributed to glitchy or incompatible auto electronics, but also the fix: just remove the stuff that doesn't work and people don't use. How...intelligent.
Looking over the past entries, I see that I've been talking about cars an awful lot. Part of that, I think, is buying my own. I work in the suburbs now, and face a 40 minute daily commute. So the automotive lifestyle is now of new and pressing importance to me.
I'm also a bit perturbed by the contrast between this entry and the gee-whizness of the one on the mini-mini. Giddyness about hackery is great fun, but in the service of what?