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Thoughts and Musings on the Ineos Grenadier


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Just noticed the two bracket holes, on the left hand side of the windscreen as you look at it - looks very much like pre installed mounts for a snorkel or raised air intake.  -interesting. 

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Maybe, or could just be some sort of bracket for wiring or hose clamps inside the pillar.  It is just a prototype, so simple but ugly quick fixes for such issues that would be tidies before production are possible.

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I've just read through the whole of this thread.

I have to admit, I quite like the vehicle.  I'm not sold on the external appearance of the new Defender - though I do like the interior and technology.  The Grenadeer, I guess is more like I hoped the new defender would look externally.

Building it at the kind of cost quoted will be a challenge without volume and a lot of investment - but possible with some 'refinements' (that some of you probably wouldn't like!).

There was discussion about the cost of wiring harnesses & electronics being 1/3 the cost of a new vehicle.  They could take a leaf out of Tesla's book and replace most of the instrumentation with one large screen.  That also dramatically simlifies the dash construction (look how minimalist the dash on a Model 3 Tesla is).  Ruggedising the screen is straightforward and wouldn't impact the cost hugely.

The next part is to build the screen and 'ECU' as a single unit - so just one box with wires coming out.  An approach I like is to have a power Bus (like a ring-main) which connects all the systems together - then either have a signal wire or modulate the signal onto the power bus.  All the systems just receive (or send) their signal on the bus and do whatever thery were intended.  Some things like the Engine probably need a remote splitter box, so standard sensors can be used and the engine harness plugs into the box.  This gives a huge reduction in the amount of wiring required.  The ECU wiring could be reduced to power and one signal wire (or even just power).

This approach also means different engines or optional extras just plug in and you adjust the software to suit.

One of the biggest advantages of the above is remote diagnostics & updates (like Tesla).  Much cheaper (and quicker) than establishing a specialist dealer network.  The Mechanical servicing & repair can be done by any garage / individual with basic tools, but I suspect most gremlins in modern cars are electronic - or at the very least need to be diagnosed electronically, even when fixed with a hammer.

This is one aspect of Tesla I really like!  It even has an API (Application Programmers Interface) so you can write your own apps / integration / solutions - rather than the whole vehicle being a mystery 'black box'.

24V (maybe even 48V) as standard - which halves the copper cost.  There has been a lot of discussion in the industry about this - but recently it has been trumped by the move to all electric.

High tolerance manufacture & simple assembly design - so the parts just fit together without needing any adjustment on the production line and ideally none at the end of the line.  This is a good alternative to production line automation which requires high up-front investment.  The part cost is higher - but this can more than offset the labour cost of assembly.

Designing self-aligning or self jigging (for welded assemblies) parts is easy.  The design takes a little longer - but pays for itself very quickly.

The Ladder chassis design says to me, they do not want to invest in large press tooling, more than it being a deliberate design choice.  It means they can use more commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS in military speak) parts and adapt to new / different ones with minimum cost / time. 

It definitely has promise - and if they include drink holders and an API, I'll definitely consider one!

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32 minutes ago, simonr said:

The next part is to build the screen and 'ECU' as a single unit - so just one box with wires coming out.  An approach I like is to have a power Bus (like a ring-main) which connects all the systems together - then either have a signal wire or modulate the signal onto the power bus.  All the systems just receive (or send) their signal on the bus and do whatever thery were intended.  Some things like the Engine probably need a remote splitter box, so standard sensors can be used and the engine harness plugs into the box.  This gives a huge reduction in the amount of wiring required.  The ECU wiring could be reduced to power and one signal wire (or even just power).

That's pretty much the premise of CANbus. Except there are things that are latency-sensitive you can't control that way, like injectors. But yes, everything else could be reduced to 3 wires.

33 minutes ago, simonr said:

One of the biggest advantages of the above is remote diagnostics & updates (like Tesla).  Much cheaper (and quicker) than establishing a specialist dealer network.  The Mechanical servicing & repair can be done by any garage / individual with basic tools, but I suspect most gremlins in modern cars are electronic - or at the very least need to be diagnosed electronically, even when fixed with a hammer.

Absolutely, and Tesla isn't alone in doing OTA updates. LR is doing it for the new Defender too. They'll still charge you ludicrous amounts of money for whatever you need them to do though. Plus you need to be in cell range.
Having open protocols, open source software and standard connectors is what makes a car full of electronics home-serviceable and upgradeable.

36 minutes ago, simonr said:

This is one aspect of Tesla I really like!  It even has an API (Application Programmers Interface) so you can write your own apps / integration / solutions - rather than the whole vehicle being a mystery 'black box'.

They're still a black box. As far as I can find, the API that's out there for Tesla is for internal use only, and there's a group of people reverse engineering it. But it looks very, very basic, and stuff you could just as well reverse engineer for the Mercedes or VW or whatever API.

 

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4 minutes ago, elbekko said:

That's pretty much the premise of CANbus. Except there are things that are latency-sensitive you can't control that way, like injectors. But yes, everything else could be reduced to 3 wires.

I agree there are exceptions - but when you look at most ECU's & BECM's with the hundreds of wires, it makes me wonder how necessary it all is.  I think it was Mercades who experimented with something like this.   I agree it was the intention of CAN but there are better options available with enough bandwidth for error correction and decent noise immunity.

 

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They're still a black box. As far as I can find, the API that's out there for Tesla is for internal use only, and there's a group of people reverse engineering it. But it looks very, very basic, and stuff you could just as well reverse engineer for the Mercedes or VW or whatever API.

I have a friend with a Model 3 who has used the public API to connect to a DIY charge controller - so it will charge when the power is cheapest, ideally from his own Solar.  I don't know how much is exposed, but they definately expose some stuff.  It doesn't need the whole thing to be open source but a little is better than nothing.

In a previous job, we were working with JLR to produce ADAS systems.  They still charged us an extrordinary amount of money for access to the CAN PID's - and it wasn't even complete.  We had to spend time reverse engineering & hacking, even on a supposedly joint project.  That kind of thing is unneccessary and unhelpful.  There's no security in obscurity - as they say, but the car makers still believe there is!

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2 minutes ago, simonr said:

In a previous job, we were working with JLR to produce ADAS systems.  They still charged us an extrordinary amount of money for access to the CAN PID's - and it wasn't even complete.  We had to spend time reverse engineering & hacking, even on a supposedly joint project.  That kind of thing is unneccessary and unhelpful.  There's no security in obscurity - as they say, but the car makers still believe there is!

Sorry for the OT!! Anything to do with Oxbotica Si? I have some vague work links with them. 

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As someone who routinely uses a complex machine with lots of electronic subsystems, I despise the concept of multi system input interfaces like the touch screen.  Firstly, it means that if the screen fails, you lose access to all those systems.  But assuming wonderful reliability, you have to remember all the menu and submenu configuration to get to the item you want to adjust, rather than look down at a simple control panel for that system.  It is a horrible way to organise controls for important systems and seems to me to be entirely about saving manufacturing costs rather than about making things clear, easy, reliable or safe to operate.  Most of my colleagues feel exactly the same way.  Operating a machine should not demand IT skills and a memory that is good at navigating software operating systems.

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Honestly, I love what you write almost all the time, Si, so technical and thought through from obvious experience, but in a vehicle, I just can't stand a touch screen, and it appears an awful lot of motoring journalists are going the same way.

There's even been a study to show using even a built in touchscreen is far WORSE than using a mobile phone while driving, from a perspective of distraction. They are too complicated, too slow to use, and require far too many inputs to do something that could quite easily be done with a switch!

 

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It is what the market wants though, for better or worse.

And to be fair the main touch screen in my 110 works very well, it’s simple to use and laid out well. There are hundreds of settings menus that you can go into but nothing that you’d need or want to do while driving it - you set it up and then forget about it. It has configurable tiles on the front so you can choose what you have displayed on the home screen in the same way as a phone/tablet - the default being three tiles for navigation, phone and media. The controls for heating and suspension/terrain response etc. are still physical buttons and dials so can be easily and safely used. If you wish (and I don’t particularly!) you can set up voice control so you can simply say ‘set the heating to 22 degrees’ and it will do it. Between that and CarPlay etc. you can do just about anything without letting go of the steering wheel should you so desire.

A feature I really like is stealth mode, where you can set it up so that with a long press of the user-configurable button on the wheel it turns off the main screen and dims all the interior lighting - fantastic for long drives at night. 

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2 hours ago, Bowie69 said:

Honestly, I love what you write almost all the time, Si, so technical and thought through from obvious experience, but in a vehicle, I just can't stand a touch screen, and it appears an awful lot of motoring journalists are going the same way.

There's even been a study to show using even a built in touchscreen is far WORSE than using a mobile phone while driving, from a perspective of distraction. They are too complicated, too slow to use, and require far too many inputs to do something that could quite easily be done with a switch!

 

I am amazed that, in this world where people are "safety" obsessed and pretty oppressive in forcing that on everybody else, that touch screens in cars haven't been banned, at least ones that can be used on the move.  On an off-road/rough road vehicle, it makes even less sense.  There aren't a lot of knobs or switches in my 110.  I can pick up the entire wiring loom with one hand, no trouble at all.  I realise Ineos are stuck in between the two design philosophies but I do hope they keep the silliness to a minimum.

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Just to add to that last point.  I do use a touch screen in my 110, the one on my phone when I want to use my GPS.  By law, I can't do that while I am driving (though, once set up, I don't have to touch it, of course).  Yet I can use anther screen that takes my eyes further off the road and is less natural to operate...

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I have to admit, I'm not a fan of touch screens in cars either.

It's not to say I want one - but it's a good way to reduce costs!

Personally, I like controls I can find by feel or memory without having to look at a screen.

That said, the tesla screens are well laid out  fairly intuitive - but the maker does have to put some effort into the UI

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Sorry for the OT!! Anything to do with Oxbotica Si? I have some vague work links with them. 

No, Continental ADAS, making surround-view camera systems for Range Rovers

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On 1/12/2021 at 6:27 PM, Retroanaconda said:

A feature I really like is stealth mode, where you can set it up so that with a long press of the user-configurable button on the wheel it turns off the main screen and dims all the interior lighting - fantastic for long drives at night. 

Don't know about anyone else, but Saab had that decades okay (minus the touch screen, obviously) - the button switched off all but essential dash lighting and disabled the gauges as well, so you normally had just the speedo lit. Anything that needed your attention would be reenabled and light up (so if your fuel was getting low the fuel gauge would switch on and light up). It was really nice for night driving.

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My Audi has similar, can turn down all the lighting with a small pot on the dash, very useful on unlit roads.

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3 hours ago, geoffbeaumont said:

Don't know about anyone else, but Saab had that decades okay (minus the touch screen, obviously) - the button switched off all but essential dash lighting and disabled the gauges as well, so you normally had just the speedo lit. Anything that needed your attention would be reenabled and light up (so if your fuel was getting low the fuel gauge would switch on and light up). It was really nice for night driving.

As was mentioned above, this is an old Land Rover feature.  My ex-military '87 goes a little further.  It has a shaded map light which can't be seen from outside, hooded convoy lights up front and infrared tail and stop lights (only visible with night vision gear).  That's proper stealth mode!

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The touchscreen in my Ranger works well, the biggest hassle is hitting the right bit of screen if the vehicle is bouncing about, I have to sort of brace the side of hand against the nearest edge of the screen which stabilises the finger enough to select the right control. The daft thing is that things like heater, aircon, fan etc can be controlled both via the touchscreen or by traditional buttons.

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That is another of my peeves about touchscreens, Steve.  It’s a feature I’m going to have contend with at work too, because some idiot MBA in Chicago has overruled common sense and decided we’re losing our tactile computer input devices for the navigation, comms, checklist and system synoptic screens.  What could go wrong? 🙄. It’s bad enough trying to read the screens now with fingerprints from previous crews (why are they touching the screens?  Are they licking the windows too?), but it’s going to be terrible with the touchscreens.

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4 hours ago, Snagger said:

That is another of my peeves about touchscreens, Steve.  It’s a feature I’m going to have contend with at work too, because some idiot MBA in Chicago has overruled common sense and decided we’re losing our tactile computer input devices for the navigation, comms, checklist and system synoptic screens.  What could go wrong? 🙄. It’s bad enough trying to read the screens now with fingerprints from previous crews (why are they touching the screens?  Are they licking the windows too?), but it’s going to be terrible with the touchscreens.

How about contactless then... Alexa, flaps down - Sorry, I didn’t understand that. 😉😉

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Oh my, needless digital skullduggery, words fail me.

Harry tested the Panamera and was less positive, shall we say!

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