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Aston Martin gets neural network

Much more useful than an ejector seat
Mon Sep 27 2004, 07:17
ASTON MARTIN'S DB9 is having a neural network installed to make sure the high performance V-12 knows what it is doing.

James Bond fans will know that the real James Bond didn't drive a BMW and always drove an Aston Martin packed with the latest in machine guns, spinning licence plates and ejector seat, so they might be shaken but not stirred by the latest wizardry.

According to Ford, who own Aston Martin these days, the neural network is being put under the bonnet of the 2005 version of the car.

V-12's apparently have a problem with misfiring and conventional car computers just through up their electronic hands and pack a sad when faced with the complexity of it all.

Step forward neural networking software which is based on pattern recognition similar to what most brains do, except first thing on Monday morning, learn from experience.

Basically it listens to all the noise that the car makes and checks it out against a list of sounds the manufacturers think it should make.

If something begins to rattle it will sound like an alarm bell, the manufacturer thinks. The network is trained by pushing it into different misfires and different driving conditions.

The designers build a critical threshold number of misfires into the system, which lights up the Check Engine light and the misfiring cylinder is shut down to avoid damage.

The network could theoretically learn the driving habits of a particular driver and then adjust the vehicle's operation or maintenance schedule. A dashboard light could for example light up and ask if you would like to eject your passenger now, raise the bullet proof shield or lower the front seat to make a handy four poster bed. µ


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