I'm sure I'm not the only vet on here, but I served on US Navy submarines from 1999 to 2003, I hated it but wouldn't have missed it for the world. I mention that because some people said that a sophisticated car of the future would not have a physical keyboard. I disagree! The keyboard is a backup system.
On US submarines (this isn't true of for example Australia), we still use sound powered phones for intra-boat communication. That's because if we lose all power (nuclear, then diesel (if available), then battery, yep, we can go on batteries too, albeit very s-l-o-w-l-y), the sound powered phones will still work. Sound powered phones were invented in World War I and are still used because of their reliability. In case they ever do fail, we also have procedures to communicate "ye olde fashioned way", by passing orders from one man to the next.
On the helm (like all submariners with the exception of reactor personnel, I had to qualify that watch), you basically have three depth gages: analog shallow depth, analog deep depth ("greater than 800 feet"; the max depth is classified), and digital depth. That's in case one fails you have a backup. Same with course and trim angle (3 dimensions on a sub): you have analog and digital indications.
Even sonar itself (I was a sonar tech! like Jonsey on Hunt for Red October!) was that way. One time, despite sonar being on "the vital bus", which is supposed to work even when we run on batteries, sonar temporarily failed. So we used the underwater telephone as a poor man's sonar. It can run on low voltage DC. I was standing there in Control, the room with the periscopes, listening to the underwater telephone as sonar! It cannot be steered: you are listening to wherever the boat is pointed. Of course if you're more than about 300 feet underwater, there is no light, so periscopes won't help; there's nothing to see. The underwater telephone is used for ships to communicate with each other by literally broadcasting sound into the water. The Captain said, "ok, we're ok. We're at a safe depth, we still have propulsion, we can still hear. We're safe." Of course what he meant was "oh my God, this is one of those times where we could all die if we do this wrong", but the Captain of a ship would never say that.
My point here is, the Foundation would never design KITT so it relies on one input system. There would be multiple backups. Systems can fail, and you need a way to recover.
So yeah I say the keyboard is fine!
Archive for discussions from 2007. Please post new discussions in the appropriate forum.
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