Cars are cool. They’re personal transportation pods carefully crafted to the scale of the human body that zip from here to there at the discretion of the person behind the wheel. But it’s not the transportation aspect that has sold cars from the beginning of time; it’s the wow factor. A combination of metrics that take a vehicle from the ordinary to the extraordinary: provenance, make, style, workmanship, power, vintage, color, price, exclusivity.
Today, new metrics are figuring with increasing urgency into the traditional wow-factor calculus that sells cars. Things like type of power train – only hybrid and electric need apply. Bells-and-whistles infotainment systems to tell you where you are now and how to get to where you’re going, while keeping you uniquely entertained en route and caught up with your phone calls. And a host of safety features: Is your airbag functional? What nearby vehicles are trying to cut you off? Are your tires appropriately inflated? How much fuel is left if you travel at a given speed? What’s really behind you when you’re backing up?
All of these new-fangled metrics are, of course, products of the digital age – and engineering teams that need a heck-of-a-lot more sophisticated design tools than in the olden days. This week Mentor Graphics – a certifiable behind-the-scenes kingpin in the automotive supply chain scene – announced one such tool, if an embedded OS can be called a tool.