DASH

I wonder if anyone has ever built a input pad for a vehicle speed system to set a car’s cruise control. Imagine: instead of watching the dash as you accelerate to set your cruise-control, simply key-in a new speed and the cruse-control immediately takes-over. I figure some sort of audible, synthetic-voice response confirming the action would be the safest implementation of this kind of system. Once you’re used to using the 10-key pad, you won’t even have to take your eyes off the road (which is the whole point). Obviously, this is only for people obsessed with their speed.

Like me.

After a number of speeding tickets in my teenage years, I discovered cruise control. The speed at which i’m most comfortable driving and naturally seem to accelerate to if not paying attention (~85mph), just happens to be one that local police aren’t very comfortable with. I actually purchased a aftermarket unit and had it installed on an old Pontiac of mine after the 4th ticket. From there, I’ve never owned a car without it. Luckily, these days it’s almost impossibe to find a new vehicle without it.

Of course, I still try to travel as fast as the law allows (some say it’s exactly 9 1/2 mph over the speed limit, but who knows for sure). I don’t have time to waste on leisurely drives, you see. And, I hate fiddling with cruise control systems trying to get the exact speed I want to cruise at (which always means staring at the speedometer when merging with traffic). Also, modern vehicle manufacturers seem to enjoy putting speedometers directly behing the steering wheel rim regardless of the wheel’s height, making them impossible to see while driving. I know the speed I want to travel, but I want a more efficient, safer, way of telling the car that.

Cruise is good, but I’ve always wanted a to find some way to fix this one flaw.

I’ve been toying with this idea for years. Even my mom came-up with something similar. With the proliferation of Car PC’s and advanced stereos running customized software , it seems the time would be right for someone to integrate some type of ODB-input/VSS-output with the hardware on the market today. With what is now available, a free-standing keypad could be replaced with a touchscreen app (maybe not); or even better.. voice-command cruise-control.

Few car stereo manufacturers have taken the obvious step of integrating vehicle information out-of-the-box. However, high-end stand-alone systems and laptop software packages are common. It shouldn’t be long before someone writes a small java or WinCE applet (OS’s common in car stereo navigation systems) that can read/write to the stock ODB-USB adapters sold today. From there, it should only be a matter of time before I get to see this idea come to life (I’m hoping for voice-command, of course).