Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore was the creator of "Mooreís
Law," which states that computer processors double
in power every two years. This explains why that hot new
mobile phone that you just bought will make an excellent
paper weight when your cellular phone contract expires
24 months from now. Or why that five-year-old desktop PC
works at a speed best described as glacial.
consider this: Based on a review of more than 247
million U.S. car and light truck registrations this
year, consultants at R.L. Polk state that the average
age of all light vehicles on the road stands at a record
high of 11.4 years.
means that the average car or truck traveling our roads
was bought at about the same time that the first Apple
iPod was introduced, with its 5-gigabyte hard drive,
black-and-white screen and capacity of 1,000 songs. By
comparison, the current iPod Classic has 160 GB of
storage, enough to hold 40,000 songs. It can display 200
hours of video or 25,000 photos on its color screen.
I understand that a mobile phone, PC or iPod is an
inexpensive investment when compared to a new car or
truck. Still, if you havenít been in one since George
W. Bush was elected president ó and odds are good that
most of you havenít ó youíre in for a shock. To
paraphrase the late singer Dinah Washington, what a
difference a decade makes.
itís 2001 and you just purchased a new ride. Most
likely, the vehicleís instrument panel electronics
consists entirely of an AM/FM radio and, perhaps, a
cassette tape or CD player. When coupled to the
electronics in the driveline, the whole car might
contain $200 worth of semiconductors, according to
consultants at IHS Automotive.
course, back then, we didnít have smartphones with MP3
players and cameras in them. People didnít commonly
text one another. Facebook was several years from
launch. XM Satellite Radio had just started
a new car or truck instrument panel usually has an AM/FM
radio, not to mention HD radio, satellite radio and,
maybe, a CD player. It has a USB port and Bluetooth for
digital music files or displaying your smartphone
applications. The car could also have GPS navigation, a
rear-view camera and voice command recognition; some
vehicles even double as a Wi-Fi hot spot.
is in addition to the computers used for traction
control, stability control, antilock brakes, blind-zone
alert, collision mitigation, engine management systems
and air bags.
thatís why the average car or truck contains about
$330 worth of semiconductors, an increase of 65 percent
according to IHS Automotive. Is it any wonder that
infotainment systems alone now account for as much as 10
percent of a carís price?
further proof that driving is quickly declining as our
top priority when behind the wheel. Itís as if driving
has been relegated to a 20th century obsession, replaced
by the principal passion of the 21st ó the virtual