Applications and technology for aviation and automotive users are more connected today than I can remember them ever being.

Automobiles now have multiple data busses thus architectural & interface coordination needs, graphic displays, heads-up displays, and additional user interfaces similar to aircraft practice of the past two decades.

Automotive development has become sophisticated to handle light structure, vibration sensitivity, and the safety rigor required for systems like ABS & steer-by wire. Akin to aircraft.

Product definition and testing has become thorough to ensure repeatability and customer satisfaction as well as compliance with safety standards.

At the same time, automobile makers have entered the aircraft business, automotive suppliers are offering some products to aircraft, and aircraft producers are open to using new technologies to reduce cost - especially using volume production methods. (For years, components of some aircraft parts have been made on automotive volume production machinery.) Of course requirements necessitated by the normally greater vulnerability of aircraft must be met, but steer-by-wire is critical - it is not acceptable to steer into the opposing lane of traffic at 55 mph.) And there are other factors determining where methods from the other field are or are not appropriate.

How can one successfully bridge the two transportation fields: air and ground? Ask Keith.

Can You Trust Your Car? (IEEE Spectrum magazine of April 2002)
(some statements early in the article are exaggerated, but it covers issues and trends)
....and more software problems:
Cadillac CTS 2009 air bag logic confusion
BMW M3 as well
and non-required systems out to work as well

And ships are getting complex - electronically controlled stability augmentation using active underwater control surfaces, for example. (Reference Marine Engineering Review magazine.).

Of note:
- A well known avionics expert is now doing more automotive work than aircraft work.
- Avionics makers are adopting automotive industry data bus techniques.
- The article "Very Low Flying" in Flight International discusses capability of aeronautical engineers in race car work. (Open wheel race cars, such as Formula 1, are almost flying in ground effect with ugly wings and their large landing gear extended. :-)
- The first Chrysler electronic engine controls were designed by their space electronics division, who successfully took their knowledge into the automotive business.
- Key parts of the renowned Datsun 510 car were designed by engineers from a company that Nissan had acquired, one that wasn't much of a car company but had good engineers whose experience was mostly in aircraft design.

© Keith Sketchley page version 2011.04.01 Please advise Keith if any links don't work or have become inappropriate - the Internet changes.

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