Computers in Cars: A User’s Guide to the Future

Here’s the second of the recovered lost episodes of A User’s Guide to the Future, originally broadcast on CBC Radio in Prince Edward Island in the summer of 1994 (exact broadcast date lost to time).

In this episode, Wayne Collins and I talked about computers in cars. This was a rather novel thing back in the early-1990s: I’d just sold my 1978 Ford F100 pickup truck, a vehicle so simple that I could replace the brakes by myself and that had electronic nothing.

We talked about onboard engine computers, service bay diagnostic systems, and early in-car GPS navigation systems.

Flash forward 11 years: it can cost hundreds of dollars to get the “check engine” light checked in your car, on-board GPS is standard in many vehicles — to say nothing of satellite radio and Bluetooth mobile phone integration.

Of all the episodes of A User’s Guide to the Future, I think this one was the most fun to research, and the one that hit the radio most fully formed.