Saturday, May 5, 2012

A first full weekend

I grabbed a few minutes in to play with the navigation system today.  It didn't take long to actually figure out why I was not able to find some streets like "W 5th Avenue".  The problem was that the system offered me "Greater Vancouver - New Westminster" to begin with in the selections across the top of the nav system.  In my previous rush to enter an address while stopped at a red light, I had read the "Greater Vancouver" bit and accepted that district.  I think the initial city/districts offered are just the last recently used.  Now that I've entered a Vancouver address, the system seems to offer this district too.  It might be nice if it offered the area in which the car resides when you turn it on, and then others from the last recently used list.  The main thing however, is that I figured out my prior confusion which was, typically, down to user error :-)

In fact, entering a split East/West street is much easier than I found this to be in the Audi (I'm not a big fan of the rotary input methods like in the Audi, BMW, Acura etc.), so I much prefer the Karma's touch screen (which my GS Lexus had a few years back too).  In the Karma, entering "5" with a trailing space or "th" will straight away offer "W 5th Avenue" and "E 5th Avenue" as selectable options.  Very good.  Also, entering "W 5" and then space or "th" will similarly home in on the right street for selection. Entering "West" doesn't work in the same way, which I'm sure is by design.  The system seems to expect a street name containing "West" in this case, whereas it is presumably aware of short compass cardinal point letters as a prefix convention for these split streets.

The screen corruption (texture) problem remains an issue, as reported in an earlier post.  It seems to be a memory management issue as you can see different corruption has you move around the interface and sometimes previously corrupted screens will fix themselves.

Here are a couple of examples of the Climate screen, with and then without corruption.  This is a case where the corruption appeared after using the interface for a bit, then disappeared on this screen again later.

Note the specking around the circular graphic in the lower image.  In this case, the corruption was mild, but by contrast here are a couple of other screens, with much more obvious issues:

The last image has the speckling on some text above and left of centre in the image (on the green background) rendering it unreadable.  

As surmised yesterday, the reason why the auto mirror retraction hadn't worked was because the setting  had been reset in the configuration screen.  There could be various reasons for this, but I've put it back to automatic folding and it seems to be working again as desired.

One new thing I seem to be having trouble with is the "Delay Lock" setting.  This is supposed to automatically lock the vehicle after a certain period if the vehicle is unlocked from the key fob but not actually accessed.  That seemed like a useful setting, at least to experiment with.  However, I can't seem to make this setting stick.  I configured this to be set "on" and then leave and lock the vehicle for a while.  When I return however, I see that the setting is reset to "off".  It's not a biggie of course, but certainly a curiosity.  

While I'm talking about glitches in automobile control systems, the Audi R8 had a few that I would see from time to time, also I think related to initialization when the ignition was set to On/Acc.  One of these was that some radio mode would become unavailable, or the whole radio off or uncontrollable until the vehicle power was cycled.  That happened about a dozen times in 2 years, so a fairly low occurrence.  A similar condition was the rear spoiler getting fully or partly deployed and then being uncontrollable.  There's a console button to control this, but in the aberrant condition, this would do absolutely nothing until you had also stopped the vehicle and cycled the power.  This condition occurred about three times in 2 years.  The nice thing about the Fisker is that all (or at least a lot) of the firmware appears to be upgradable.  Aside from navigation systems, and probably only the databases at that, you never really hear of production vehicles getting upgrades to system software in general.  Of course, you can make arguments for and against this in terms of the features and quality of a vehicle's systems over its lifetime of 10 years max.  However...

We do live in times where things move really fast. So if it's increasingly possible to build vehicles as 'hardware platforms' (with propulsion, energy management, instrumentation, climate control, driver aids, navigation, networking, device integration and other cabin features) then perhaps the era when we can expect feature evolution over the lifetime of a vehicle is upon us.

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