I am amazed at the degree to which Microsoft is involved in the “smart” car—to the degree that there are multiple and, perhaps, confusing definitions for “smart” car.
For example, Microsoft has partnered with Fiat to offer a car that runs Windows, has USB and Bluetooth. See Microsoft And Fiat Team Up For Smart Car. The company has been involved with making cars smarter since at least 2002 (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2002/jul02/07-15winceautomotive.mspx) and continues to be involved today (http://www.microsoft.com/industry/manufacturing/automotive/default.mspx). Microsoft has even patented a “Smart Car Radio”. See United States Patent: 6996390.
But the “Smart Car” that comes to mind for many of us is likely the Smart Car that recently roamed around the Microsoft campus in Redmond. See Seattle's Conscious Choice: Drive Time, which includes a picture of the car.
I think the Smart Car is pretty interesting. (I’d love to test drive one sometime.) With gas prices going north of $3.00, it’s pretty exciting that it gets 40 to 55 miles per gallon—the third most efficient in the United States. It also makes getting around in tight spaces a snap.
Currently, availability is pretty limited. (See ZAP Automotive Dealers.) However, the car is going to see wide distribution in the United States beginning in 2008. See DaimlerChrysler's Smart Move.
Apparently, I’m not the only one that finds this car interesting. Smart Car of America gives you the opportunity to get onto the waiting list for the U.S. debut of the car on its official site (for $55.00): Smart Car of America - News and Information on The Smart Car - Home
But, hey, this is a SQL/BI blog, right? Well, I also think it is pretty cool that Smart car (is) manufactured under control of a Microsoft-based Panorama solution, and this solution is based on Microsoft SQL Server.
Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when DBAs are just as important for transportation as the car mechanic. (“Whoa…this one’s gonna cost ya!”)
Other random notes on the Smart Car:
Recently, Gadetopia did a Smart Car Review.
The first question out of anyone’s mouth when seeing this car is “What happens in a crash?” Well, you can see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ao_C89CgR8, a pretty amazing video.
As always, I welcome your comments.
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