Honda Odyssey 2014: a tribute to manufacturing engineers

Last week Isaac Jordan of Boch Honda delivered a 2014 Odyssey to my front door in Cambridge. Given the number of systems in the vehicle it impresses me that everything seems to work perfectly (i.e., as designed), including the software.

It was going to cost about $2000 extra to have a GPS, so I figured out that a RAM mount placed on the shelf underneath the factory nav screen (you get the expensive screen even if you don’t pay $2000 for the $15 GPS chip and database) works well.

The one thing that doesn’t work is integrating a Samsung Note 3 mobile phone with the car, but I don’t think Honda could have anticipated that Google Contacts/Samsung Contacts would broadcast a “contact” that is just an email address (of a person to whose email I might have replied 6 years ago, for example). Consequently there are literally tens of thousands of “contacts” stored in the car now, most of which do not have any associated phone number. The voice recognition doesn’t work because the Honda engineers didn’t anticipate that a driver would be speaking one of potentially tens of thousands of contacts. It should work fine with an iPhone, though.

But mostly I am posting this to thank the manufacturing engineers who worked out how to deliver a perfect product. Why can’t we software engineers do as well?

[I do recommend Boch Honda and Isaac Jordan, by the way. The price was lower than at other dealers and it was a reasonably no-nonsense transaction.]

Related: my review of the 2011 Odyssey. (The things that were bad about the Odyssey in 2011 are mostly still bad. They did add an RFID key system. The car still isn’t smart enough to protect children left indoors on hot days. It is still noisier on the highway than a normal sedan. The crazy expensive entertainment system for the kids has about one quarter the resolution of the phone in your pocket (800×480!). Will it play Blu-Ray? No. The car desperately needs iPad/Android tablet docks.)

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