WORDS: Allan P. Hernandez
We’d really like to start by telling you about the dashboard. You’ve never seen a dashboard as expansive as the Peugeot 307’s. Not only can you pile parking and toll tickets on it, you can drape a blanket and sleep on it. It’s that huge. Stick that on a glasshouse of a windshield you’ll feel like God—seeing everything.
Well, all things except the tip of the car and some bit of your peripheral vision (the beams extending from the hood to the roof of the car takes away part of the view). The fun part of the test-driving was we never know when we’d scrape the car beside us or how far we were from walls as we parked. The stupid part was that the seats could be adjusted for height, and we didn’t do it.
Outside traffic was horrible and we could see it in the faces of the drivers in their cramped jalopies all around. Ours, on the other hand, looked like a compact car on the outside (although a bit taller than most) but inside there was enough room to stretch about. Us four blokes inside felt like we could easily fit in four more. As long as they were GND finalists.
Now back to the dashboard, and that sexy hood which hid a lot of things from prying eyes—it turns out all that space was needed after all because there is a brain underneath it.
Yes, a brain. Back in the days you drove and you drove carelessly, and daddy would never know. Now a car has a mind of its own jotting down every inane driving maneuver you do.
They call it Multiplex technology. The last company we heard use the same term was Treble, makers of the first karaokes. But Peugeot’s Multiplex kit has nothing to do with minus ones and horrible microphone echo, instead it essentially controls everything that happens to the car while it is driven. In fact, it even prevents the car from being driven at all—that is, by carjacker—as you’ll see later.
We would explain it to you in the smartest way possible but you’d never understand us. So allow the Peugeot boys to tell you what this amazing car computer does:
“The multiplexed network links all components over a single circuit called “bus,” which enables devices to interact yet reduces the number of connections and wires. It is connected to the BSI (Built-in Systems Interface), which acts as the central processor for all information and deals with priorities such as safety matters. These “BUSes” provide electric power to the various components around the car, as well as sending individual digitally encoded messages for each component.
“The Peugeot 307 cumulatively has 18 microprocessors. This multiplexed system is composed of two networks—the faster 250kbps CAN (controller area network) and the slower VAN (vehicle area network), which is bridged by the BSI/ISB (built in systems interface/intelligent service box). CAN, which was developed by Bosch, controls the mechanical systems of the car, such as braking, electronic steering, engine management, and automatic gearbox.”
Wait, that sounds like it came out of from the French’s noses. What they’re actually saying is that the car is wired to do most of the fine-tuning work in the car that would otherwise be ruined by your neighborhood talyer.