New Digital Dashboard

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jdh2550_1's picture
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

I'm talking actual - not hypothetical. Our *new* bikes collect GPS data but the usage of that data is anonymous for the majority of use cases. If there's enough concern then we'll revisit the situation. You will certainly be able to opt out - but you will lose functionality if you do so.

Some counter points:

1) If you carry a cell phone with a battery installed then you're already trackable by the agencies you mention.
2) While there are cases in history (both recent and throughout the existence of the agencies you mention) where laws are abused - we know about these abuses because in all but the most recent cases the laws have been strengthened. In the more recent cases the situation is not yet resolved. That doesn't mean it won't be resolved.
3) Again, I agree that there have been abuses of power, however from my perspective the "totalitarian state" you describe simply does not match the real world situations that our customers will face. Your talk about Facebook abuse is a fine example of "scare mongering". You are right that it's happened. However (a) it has nothing but the most tangential relationship to what we're discussing (this was not spying it was an employer requiring a user to hand over their password) & (b) if you continue to follow the case you will see that there is considerable push back against this policy.
4) The laws continue to get challenged and updated to take into account technological advances (as an example the cases that clarify that law enforcement needs a warrant to obtain this data).

So, pardon me, if I find that the talk of calamity is rather overblown. That in no way means I condone the misuse of such powers - but I still have faith in democracy. I also have faith in our ability to draw an appropriate boundary between privacy and law enforcement. FWIW, I too have personal stories I could share but I choose not to (a hint: they concern the McCarthy period).

It's certainly not a perfect world - but I contend that it isn't as bad as you make it out to be.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

George Orwell's "1984" took a little longer than anticipated by him, and maybe thanks to him, but the technology and will to abuse that technology in 1984'ish complete surveilance is stronger than ever before. And then people even go on facebook and post just about anything pertaining to their private lives...

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Some thoughts on privacy:

I'm not really worried about sending data to Current. I carry a cellphone, so the government can always figure out my real-time location, if they wanted to. I know AT&T is providing that data to the NSA, it's already too late to prevent that.

As for the data collected by Current, look at it this way: they get a message from the bike with my current GPS location. Their computer looks up that location on a map and figures out it's a road with a 45mph speed limit and a 2% grade. They save a record in the database showing that someone was doing 42mph on a road with a 45mph limit and 2% grade, but the record in the database doesn't include the GPS location, the road, or even my name (or the bike ID). The record in the database probably has a date stamp, but not the time, so you can't quite reconstruct a full profile of the ride. The actual GPS location only exist in memory for long enough to translate it into the info they need, then it evaporates. As long as they build the software in that fashion, it's pretty hard to abuse, and Current still gets lots of valuable (to a manufacturer) data.

Of course, if they save too much data, you can figure out interesting stuff. Suppose the database includes an indication of which region of the country the data came from, like a zipcode. If I'm the only rider in the Atlanta area, then you can pretty much figure out all the data in that region is from me. And if you carefully match speed limits to local roads and distance traveled, you might even be able to figure out where I've been going. But that's a pretty extreme example, and it's going to be much easier to simply track my cellphone.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Oh, John, one more thing: pictures!

I want to see some screen-captures or photographs of the new dash.

You showed us some nice mockups of the smaller digital display some months ago, now it's time to show off your handiwork on a much bigger canvas.

And just for fun, think about allowing the dash itself to be skinnable. Let a creative user come up with a background pattern for the dash, making it look like a classic airplane panel with analog instruments, or a star trek display with holographic controls. I know, plain and simple is probably the easiest and quickest to read, but there's still some room for creativity here.

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PJD
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Quote:

FWIW, I too have personal stories I could share but I choose not to (a hint: they concern the McCarthy period).

John, When I met you, you didn't look nearly nearly old enough to have been a subject of McCarthy's committee. :) Of course, McCarthy would be a political moderate, and Nixon would be far to the left of Obama, today.

I guess this is where the "Luddite" part comes in. Because for me, "functionality" with regard to a personal motor vehicle means just getting from point a to point b with reliability, efficiency, performance, and with as low an environmental impact as possible. Other important things are elegance in design and related to this, user-serviceability. But it seems that Current is trying to apply the "Google business model" to a motor vehicle. When you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When you are a "high tech" business, even a motor-scooter looks like a web page. So, I assume that Current will gather and sell marketing research information from the scooter like Google or most commercial web pages do? I really don't think the young, skeptical, increasingly activist, urban youth demographic ("the 99%") that will be the likely purchaser of Currents scooters are going to be interested in this. (A bigger hurdle is going to be the cost - but that is a different issue.)

As far as laws, I know of no laws that have strengthened out privacy rights - just the opposite. The FBI and TSA routinely, and legally seizes information with no warrants. As just one sample, I refer you to the news program Democracy Now's Friday radio broadcast: http://www.democracynow.org/

PJD
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Oh... I assume you mean Eugene McCarthy (1968 Democrat peace candidate, later Reagan supporter), not Joe McCarthy (1950's red-baiter) right?

PJD
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

MErollier,

I suspect that Germans enjoy more privacy protections than the US, though.

My brother almost got fired for posting critical comments about the politics of his employer on his facebook page - and the employer, spying on him, found them. He didn't even explicitly identify the employer (a obscure social service contractor) - and this took place in "liberal" Toronto, Canada. He now has a facebook page under a made-up name. I myself only set up a facebook page because activist organizing groups (anarchist, Occupy movement) unwisely use facebook. I since closed it. If I ever "facebook" again, it will be under another name. I find the way it has completely redefined what "friend" means to be creepy.

Paul D.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

PJD wrote:
Quote:

FWIW, I too have personal stories I could share but I choose not to (a hint: they concern the McCarthy period).

John, When I met you, you didn't look nearly nearly old enough to have been a subject of McCarthy's committee. :)

I'm not old enough - but my in-laws were old enough (they didn't face the committee though!). My wife is Jewish and my in-laws were politically active throughout their lives. I just mention that because I'm well aware that abuses do happen.

Quote:

I guess this is where the "Luddite" part comes in. Because for me, "functionality" with regard to a personal motor vehicle means just getting from point a to point b with reliability, efficiency, performance, and with as low an environmental impact as possible. Other important things are elegance in design and related to this, user-serviceability. But it seems that Current is trying to apply the "Google business model" to a motor vehicle. When you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When you are a "high tech" business, even a motor-scooter looks like a web page. So, I assume that Current will gather and sell marketing research information from the scooter like Google or most commercial web pages do? I really don't think the young, skeptical, increasingly activist, urban youth demographic ("the 99%") that will be the likely purchaser of Currents scooters are going to be interested in this. (A bigger hurdle is going to be the cost - but that is a different issue.)

I here you - fwiw, here's the path I took to get here:

- At first I wanted to build exactly the transportation you described.
- However, to make it reliable one needs a technically advanced system. That adds cost.
- And to be viable as a business one needs infrastructure. That adds cost.
- This is no longer a venture that can be funded by myself and my co-founder and so we raise money.
- Suddenly my affordable bike needs a higher price tag to be profitable enough to support the infrastructure overhead and recoup the R&D costs at a rate acceptable to the investors (BTW the demands for the investors are reasonable). Oh and a modest net profit would be nice! (We're still a long way from that day!!)

I'm now faced with a choice:
- leave it as is and have a bike that is more expensive than the basic competition - all the smarts of our bike are on the inside and there's not enough EV knowledge to rely on this to compete with the lower price.
- increase the price to just below where the higher-priced "big names" are and add something attention grabbing (and worthwhile!) - hence the digital dash.

I also don't think the 99% is as you described. 1% of the 99% might fit your profile. We'll see. Feel free to start your own EV company and show me I'm wrong! ;-)

BTW - that all sounds nice and tidy. It wasn't. But, hey, here we are and we're in a pretty good position for this year's installment of the ongoing saga!

I've got more nails to pound! (And yes I probably fall more into that description than I'd care to admit!)

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John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

PJD
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

John,

Thankfully for CuMoCo, I get virtually no inquiries about your scooter - only occasional jeers and catcalls like: "moped! moped!"; or, "hey buddy - get a real bike!" and most recently just "faggot!!!" - most often from the window of an SUV - but also from people walking down the road. Because, right now, I can no longer recommend your scooter if I get an inquiry. I won't denigrate it (it's been running quite well lately) and I will describe its ample performance accurately. But I'll probably defect any inquiries, if they come, about where to get one - and just tell them to shop around.

By the way, what do you think of the CISPA Act currently moving through the US Congress?

Paul

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

IMHO, the digital dash is key to the success the CMC scooter. VIFV is an "early-adopter" oriented forum, and as such you guys/gals are not nearly as "range-anxious" as the general public, and some of you might even enjoy and prefer working out technical things for yourselves. I'm that way about vintage motorcycles, so I understand. But any manufacturer who only targets their scooters to that audience is not going to sell many of them. I mean to say, what would be the point of doing all that R&D on motors, batteries, frames, suspension, swingarms, etc... and building up a viable manufacturing operation, if only to sell what would basically be a DIY kit (DIY in the sense of, "do it (figuring out your range, collecting and transmitting data to CMC, debugging BMS and/or charger issues, etc...) yourself)?

The digital dash is meant to do that for the (casual, mass-market) rider. He/she can hop on the bike and go out for a ride, knowing that the intelligence built into the machine will get them back home with amps to spare. Likewise, the daily commuter will be able to take a different (scenic) route to work on a sunny day and not have to worry about not having enough range to get there (and back, if there is no charging opportunity at the office).

In order to do that, ride analysis is required. Data must be collected in real-time, analyzed, and translated into information the (again, casual) rider can understand and use, without knowing the difference between a watt and an amp, or having to dig into the battery box to measure individual cell voltages.

Early gas motorcycles required almost continuous mechanical tinkering with timing, valve clearance, carb jetting, etc... They don't anymore, because manufacturers realized that the typical rider wants to get on their bike and go, not spend hours in the garage trying to find TDC or where the pilot jet is on a carburetor.

PJD
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Just to be clear, I am all for a useful and attractive digital dash with useful features. I have no plans to get a droid or I-phone, so many of the functions won't apply to me, but others will find them useful. Additionally, getting an extensive network of dealers and trained service tech's is still fairly far in the future, so remote diagnostics is a very good idea too. However, this could be done more simply through the BMS maintaining a data log of the past few hours of usage and the user simply copying and sending the log file to Current.

As far as range anxiety, CuMoCo Scooters already have a SOC meter that works very well - exactly like fuel gauge in a car except that it is more linear i.e "half empty" is really half empty and not affected by the slope the scooter is on in the manner of a gas tank. So, used with the with the trip odometer, knowing how much range you have remaining is trivially easy.

But, what I don't find attractive is the using the scooter to do Google-like data mining of your physical whereabouts via GPS and GIS. Current needs to make it clear that the user can opt-out of this without penalty. But my concern is that they are going to treat the scooter like Facebook or Google websites - buying and using the scooter itself is consent to monitoring and if you don't like it, don't buy the scooter or take countermeasures. I assume the GPS antenna is buried in an electronic box in the scooter bodywork, but one could cover it with aluminum foil of such. But then Current could void the warranty? Is such a thing legal?

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Points taken and I understand that your strong ("I can't recommend CMC any more, etc...") reaction touches on trends in corporate data mining that are, unquestionably dubious and deserving of much more scrutiny than the lemming-public is applying to them. But I seriously wonder if any "big brother" marketing monster would find CMC's user data valuable. That is to say, where you go (or how long your typical ride is, or how often you ride. etc...). With such a (relatively) small and subjective data set, how would that info be worth mining for any purposes other than to improve the scooter - and the ride?

PJD
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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Quote:

"With such a (relatively) small and subjective data set, how would that info be worth mining for any purposes other than to improve the scooter - and the ride?"

The GPS tracking in conjunction with a map database will enable them to monitor what businesses you visit (admittedly, mostly effective in suburban rather than urban areas) - just like Google does with respect to the Internet. They seems like a marketing gold mine to me.

And, as I've mentioned earlier, I have in the past been involved in first-and-fourth amendment-protected peaceful political organizations and demonstrations for which the FBI has infiltrated, performed no-warrant searches and seizures, and even grand-jury subpoenas. This is NOT as John said earlier, just some abuse in the McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover days, and has since been rectified, but is continuing, with a vengeance, today. CISPA will allow streamlined no-warrant access to electronic data of the sort that Current will collect.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

But can't they do that now via cell phones?

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

pluginride wrote:

But can't they do that now via cell phones?

Not if you don't have a smart phone. And some of us don't.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

I thought that your location could be determined by cell towers - not requiring a smart phone (which, presumably, has GPS and 3/4G). Or, have I been watching too much NCIS lately?

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

pluginride wrote:

I thought that your location could be determined by cell towers - not requiring a smart phone (which, presumably, has GPS and 3/4G). Or, have I been watching too much NCIS lately?

You could be right. In my case, however, I keep the cell phone on me when I leave home but it is always turned off unless I'm expecting my wife to contact me or I have to make a call. Most of the time it never gets turned on. It is for emergencies, primarily.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

jdh2550_1 wrote:

1) TOUCHSCREEN: Mike - that's what I found with a quick search. We'll look at adding adhesive patches as an option (or you could start a Kickstarter or Etsy project ;-) )

Kickstarter! Why didn't I look there? And BINGO, we have a winner!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninglandia/tapcaps-the-phone-fooler

An adhesive patch for capacitive touch-screens. Should work on motorcycle gloves without breaking any waterproof liner. I've now put in $25.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Well, how about large raindrops hitting a touch screen? Will that set off the capacitive units? By the way, I have had one instance of heavy rain causing the charger to trip ground-fault-protection outlets until it dried out a bit... after a week of hard rain in Oregon this past March. There is sone reliability value to simplicity, particularly on a scooter.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

MikeB wrote:
jdh2550_1 wrote:

1) TOUCHSCREEN: Mike - that's what I found with a quick search. We'll look at adding adhesive patches as an option (or you could start a Kickstarter or Etsy project ;-) )

Kickstarter! Why didn't I look there? And BINGO, we have a winner!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninglandia/tapcaps-the-phone-fooler

An adhesive patch for capacitive touch-screens. Should work on motorcycle gloves without breaking any waterproof liner. I've now put in $25.

Cool, I've put in $25 as well. Thanks for the "tip" (pun most definitely intended!)

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John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

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Re: New Digital Dashboard

Solar Steve wrote:

Well, how about large raindrops hitting a touch screen? Will that set off the capacitive units? By the way, I have had one instance of heavy rain causing the charger to trip ground-fault-protection outlets until it dried out a bit... after a week of hard rain in Oregon this past March. There is sone reliability value to simplicity, particularly on a scooter.

Steve - raindrops shouldn't be a problem and also while riding we don't use the touch screen.

I agree that KISS is a good goal to live by (not sure that it particularly applies to a scooter more than anything else). However, with an EV that's powered by advanced cells (pretty much anything other than lead acid) true simplicity is lost because you have to have a sophisticated BMS and charging system. That brings in cost and complexity - and then it becomes a case of introducing other stuff that leverages the existing complex systems.

If we just stopped at the BMS and charging system then all the smarts are on the inside and the newbie EV customer doesn't in general understand the importance of those systems and is thus more directed by price (and believes whatever performance is promised). So, we chose to add some features that the average, smartphone toting, customer could appreciate. Yes, not everyone has a smartphone - but a heck of a lot of 'em do...

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