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Old 01-18-2014, 11:47 PM   #1805
640 Armageddon
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Greece
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Originally Posted by emmodg View Post
I'm sure bike engineers and builders would love to see less "clutter" to have to deal with and find room for. Imagine the KTM's sleek light-weight one piece carbon tower holding a single screen instead of 4 separate pieces of gear.

I hear ya' though. Each to his own opinion I guess... You see it as not happening, I see it as an eventual inevitability.
Forget about the numbers for the moment (Although he is right in the ball mark), back in to 2009 things were a little it different. But read the point that this inmate is making >>

Originally Posted by Anders Green View Post
Ok, I'm a guy that makes road books and organises rallies and, in my former life, was an electronics designer and embedded systems software writer. Also note that this post is addressing the issues, and is not an attack on the author I'm quoting.

It would not be easier than paper.

A piece of paper won't crash or run out of batteries. It won't have a problem when 14 days into the rally, you have to add a new section due to a small war that pops up that you need to re-route around, and now your file is 1028kb which goes over the limit of 1024kb (or whatever nonsense). It doesn't need an entire software package created to manage/upload the data. It would be very difficult to get mid-day modifications out to the crews, where a stack of papers can easily be handed out to everyone next to a mud hut where the nearest electricity is 80 kilometers away by a person that has never seen an AA battery. Managing the different HW/SW versions over the years would also become increasingly complex as people raced with "legacy" hardware.

It would not cost similar to a paper road book holder.

Such a device, engineered to withstand Dakar-like conditions, would likely have a bill of materials of 200-400 dollars (at the higher end with large enough screens). If this marked up to typical consumer prices, you would see 600-1200 dollar final prices. However, the market is tiny, so that would be very optimistic.
If spec'ing a company to build such a system (and it would have to be a SYSTEM, that is, not just a "device", you need all sides of it. All the support software, route building software, updating software, firmware for the device, enclosure CAD.) I would imagine an engineering price tag of $150,000 to $350,000. (that's just the design. No units included.)
Now can anyone tell me why Dakar Inc would feel that spending a quarter million dollars on this is something that has moved up their priority ladder to where they start cutting checks? Cause they can just print paper and it's working now.
A sealed GPS that records your track is trivial in comparison. That's off-the-shelf stuff.
Look also at Diabolico Rally discussion. They need a GPS unit, but it has to be compatible with such and such. Imagine what Anders says. Every single orga would have to comply with this standard. And always see the financial impact on the orga.
If it costs them money, they will just do not run it. Period. I have spoken with a couple of orga people, big rallies and such, and I discussed the option to make a collision warning devise. The technology is there and it could save lives. It really could.
the answer always is ''how much'' . Because to develop such a thing, they need a system. It all comes down to this simple question...

Navigation is a very important aspect in a rally. That is why you calibrate the tripmaster, that is why you do not have a GPS, and that is why you do not have the electronic version of the road. Because then, it is a sprint race to the finish.
If and organization like Dakar is to use it, you need support.
Look what happened with iritracks this year... Even in 2013 we are not able to follow the rally because sth stupid happens to the irritracks and we are left speculating, pressing F5 in our keyboards...
Then you have to ''convince'' the orga that this version is actually better (and cheaper) than the old one. And then you have to make every single rider in the field switch. That is giving another USD 1000 for a new tower and the unit.

Don't think I'm being pessimistic and such. I love technology as much as the next guy. But I think that the target are not the racers. The target of this are people who are touring. And the market potential is huge there. Races are what? 5%? 10%? There are people buying the full catalogue of Touratech as we speak going on holidays with every single gadget on the planet. These are the people who would buy it...
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