Thursday, November 12, 2009

How virtual is driving a real car today?

Some of us have been playing with a Playstation or Xbox and trying to drive fast around the Nurburgring. It's clearly quite different to the real thing. There's a lot missing despite the always improving graphics and more and more computing power. Not even a 720 degree turning steering wheel makes the sensation really real. But is "real" driving really real? More and more of what we do in a car isn't directly influencing mechanical elements but rather sensors and digital processors. When you step on the throttle today a computer decides how much of your command is really good for the engine and the driving condition. And when you turn into a corner your wheels in the back may also turn to make the driving safer. Engineers work hard to still give us "feedback" and make the driving less artificial, but in reality not even the sound of the engine may be real, as modern cars like the new Lexus LF show. So more and more real driving becomes virtual and at the same time virtual driving becomes more real. Brave new world!

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