Ban Google Glass Use While Driving?

West Virginia is considering banning the use of a “wearable computer with head-mounted display” while driving. Makes sense, right?

Maybe not. Imagine apps that might improve safety:

  • Sensing head movement and alerting the driver when those movements indicate drowsiness.
  • Using the camera to identify pedestrians and bicyclists in and around the roadway, and alerting the driver to their presence.
  • Integrating with GPS so when the navigation voice says “turn right at the next intersection” there’s an arrow superimposed at the appropriate place in the intersection ahead.
  • Using the camera to sense traffic signals and GPS to sense speed and alerting the driver to stop or slow when appropriate.
  • Using the camera to detect when the driver is not watching the road and alert the driver.
  • Displaying caller ID information upon voice command so the driver doesn’t have to look away from the road to take a call on the integrated hands-free phone.
  • Wireless integration with the car’s dash to display speed and other crucial operational information.
  • Wireless integration with the car’s vision/radar systems to highlight potential obstructions.

Sure, some of these apps could be integrated into the car with a dash heads-up display and voice capabilities. Others, however, benefit from having motion sensors and a camera mounted on the driver’s head. And looking at a heads-up display seems less distracting than looking down at the speedometer or other in-vehicle infotainment devices.

Let’s not knee-jerk ban these devices before they have a chance to make roads safer.


Hat tip: TechnoBuffalo, who apparently didn’t appreciate my comment on their article, which linked to here. Oh well…

Goal: Zero Traffic Deaths

Eliminate all pedestrian, bicycle, and overall traffic crash fatalities within 10 years.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation released its “Action Forward” plan with a performance measure of “zero pedestrian, bicycle, and overall traffic crash fatalities within ten years.”

Audacious or about time?


Hat tip: NextDraft.

An Eventful Day for our 2001 Honda Odyssey

Today was an eventful day for our 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan:

  • The odometer dialed through 222,222. That’s a lifetime average of about 22,000 miles per year, but our records show the last two years averaged 25,000 miles each. It looks like our travel is increasing as our kids have headed off to different directions for college.
  • As we stopped for gas in Weed, I plugged in the OBD II device and discovered that the evaporative system had finally passed its trip cycle, three days after the operation I performed on the EGR port in the intake manifold. This was the last emissions system to complete its trip cycle.
  • Not wanting to wait even a day, we stopped by DEQ on the way into the Portland — and passed! Not a day too early, as our second trip permit expires tomorrow. The new license tags will look beautiful on our license plate.
  • We didn’t need to get gas between Weed and Hillsboro, even having some left in the tank when we got home. It looks like our car is running smoother and getting better gas mileage.

What a great day!

P0401 Code Fix For 2001 Honda Odyssey

Our 2001 Honda Odyssey needed to pass Oregon’s DEQ to get renewed license tags. Unfortunately, the check engine light wouldn’t stay off and it had code P0401 -- Exhaust Gas Recirculation, Flow Insufficient.

After paying a mechanic to install a new EGR valve and catalytic converter,1I’m not complaining; I don’t think we’ve had problems with either of these for over 220,000 miles. and trying more expensive gas and gas cleaner additives, the code still showed up. It was time to take matters into my own hands.

But first, I needed some information. I searched YouTube and found the following video:

1999 Honda Odyssey Van EGR Valve Port Carbon Problem Repair Fix Code P0401

I also found Honda’s service bulletin 00-009 which has been superseded by Honda service bulletin 05-026.

Ordinarily, any instructions that tell me to remove big hunks of metal from my car’s engine, do something to them, and then put them back on would scare me off. However, having to pay someone more money to fix my car and/or not getting my car fixed in time before the trip permit expired scared me more.

I forged ahead, basically following the method from the YouTube video, informed by the steps of the service bulletin and the torque specs and reassembly instructions from an online Chilton’s manual.

Any time I attempt a fix, I take lots of pictures and take notes so I can put it back together. Some of the pictures are attached below.

I hope to be able to update this with a picture of my OBD II checker showing no errors after a complete drive cycle.

Wish me luck!


Update: I should “clear the air” a little about where I cleaned the intake manifold. I used the carburetor cleaner in the garage with the door open, not in the kitchen sink. You don’t want to use that stuff in an enclosed space. I used the kitchen sink to rinse out the manifold when I was done with the carburetor cleaner.

Update 2: The fix worked! Woo hoo!

MPG or GPM?

Which saves more gas?

  • Replacing a 10 MPG car with a 20 MPG car
  • Replacing a 25 MPG care with a 50 MPG car

The answer might surprise you.

The MPG Illusion

The video poses a thought question but doesn’t answer it. The answer is so counterintuitive that I thought it worthwhile to answer here.

Suppose a car goes uphill for 100 miles at 10 MPG and then goes back downhill for 100 miles and gets 100 MPG. What is the average MPG?

The car uses 10 gallons for the first leg and then 1 gallon for the second leg so the total fuel consumption is 11 gallons. Dividing 200 miles by 11 gallons results in 18 MPG, not the 55 MPG that would seem to make sense.

Now, pose the same question using gallons per mile instead of miles per gallon.

Suppose a car goes uphill for 100 miles using fuel at a rate of 100 gallons per 1,000 miles and then goes downhill for another 100 miles using fuel at a rate of 10 gallons per 1,000 miles. What is the average consumption rate?

Since the distances are equal, the average consumption rate is the average of the two consumption rates or 55 gallons per 1,000 miles. Since the total distance traveled is one-fifth of 1,000 miles, the total fuel consumed is 55 divided by 5, or 11 gallons, same as in the first question.

Apparently, Europeans have this one figured out, stating fuel efficiency in liters per 100 kilometers.

I still want the 235 MPG — oops, make that the 1 liter per 100 km Volkswagen 1L, scheduled to be available in 2010.

CanadianDriver has more pictures of the 1L.