Moore’s law

Volkswagen Tiguan 103TDI

In 1965 Gordon E Moore wrote a paper called “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits” in the publication “Electronics Magazine”.

Moore was a co-founder of Intel Corporation and he hypothesized that the number of transistors on integrated circuits would keep doubling every two years.

Though Moore only predicted that this might occur for the ten years up to 1975, his projection has been remarkably accurate up to the present day with the continuing exponential development of miniaturized computer components.

All of this affordable computing power has also found its way into the automobile with engine management systems, satellite navigation and climate control air conditioning being obvious examples.

But the most important applications of technology have been in safety areas with ABS, EBD and ESC finding their way into base models and without driver input they help us all to avoid crashes in the first place.

But the opportunities to put transistors between the driver and the bitumen seem endless with computerized parking now being offered in affordable vehicles.

For $1,390 buyers of VW’s Tiguan can choose the optical parking system option.

Whilst the term “optical” is a misnomer because it works off the ultra-sonic parking sensors, the technology works surprisingly well.

And though I’ve always thought that they shouldn’t give a licence to a driver who can’t reverse park their car, I was impressed that the Tiguan could park in one way streets on the right side just as well.

Sure the driver does still need to touch the pedals, but there are no hands on the steering wheel and the auto-parking Tiguan can squeeze into a space with just 70 cm to spare at both ends.

As the sensors are mounted low on the bumpers there are difficulties parking behind tray back utes as there is no metal down low for the sound waves to bounce off.

But for ordinary situations I found myself squeezing into spots I’d otherwise just drive past and in the Tiguan I’d always end up a perfect 150mm off the kerb.

It’s the sort of ground-breaking technology that’s guaranteed to impress the neighbours.

Something the neighbours might not notice is the electronic parking brake which automatically stops the car from rolling back on a slope.

Technophiles will also be impressed by the 30 Gb hard drive built into the stereo to store all those MP3’s.

The Tiguan is a German made compact SUV based on the Golf.

I tested the turbo-diesel model which willingly climbed the Buderim hill in 4th gear with plenty of oomph to spare.

My partner did point out that the test car “sounded like a diesel” and I guess she was right because it was a diesel.

For those doctors who don’t like oily fingers at the bowser there are also two petrol variants.

My test vehicle was fully optioned with leather seats ($3,990), cornering Xenon headlights ($1,990), very pretty 3D mapping satellite navigation ($3,490), high performance audio ($1,790), metallic paint ($790) and the largest sun-roof I’ve ever seen ($1,990).

The comfort package for $990 is good value because it includes dual climate control, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and automatic headlights with a coming/leaving feature.

This all adds up to about an extra $16,000 worth of gadgets on the test vehicle which as a non-procedural doctor I guess I’d have to learn to live without.

One piece of kit you won’t find in the Tiguan is Volvo’s City Safety feature. It’s built into the new Volvo XC60 and up to 30 km/h it will automatically stop the car in city traffic to avoid nose to tail collisions.

With no need for driver input it should be a standard feature on every car in years to come if Moore’s Law still holds true.

Safe motoring,
Dr Clive Fraser

For: Comfortable, economical, parks itself.

Against: Sounds like a diesel, options are expensive and will tip the whole package close to the luxury tax threshold.

This car would suit: Radiologists because they understand ultrasound and B scanning.

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.