Electric Vehicle Reality Check

Why I Like Computer Controlled Vehicles

The Lexus RX-400H Hybrid SUV is a Computer With Wheels

the Lexus 400H hybrid SUV electric vehicle is a computer with wheels

A. Biffen, Senior Partner

About 15 years ago I realized that cars no longer had simple tune-up procedures, such as replacing points, plugs and condensor, like we did in the sixties.

The age of OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) was upon us, so I teamed up with my partner Henry (a professional mechanic) and established the SoftwareForCars.com website.

For a number of years we sold OBD diagnostic software that could be displayed on a regular laptop while it was connected to the car via a cable attached to the OBD port.

In 2000, I bought a brand new Toyota Solara, and we used that to demonstrate our equipment through the website. Henry later retired, so we stopped actively promoting our OBD products, but my interest in the application of computer technology for cars carried on, particularly in the area of hybrid battery applications.

I had studied the Toyota/Lexus hybrid systems for some time, and buying one was a natural step for me to take. I wanted something safe with a high up view for visibility as Jenni is quite nervous about driving these days.

So the sophisticated Lexus 400H hybrid was a good choice for us, and she really is a beautiful driving machine, quite aside from all the electronics. I describe her as a computer with wheels because that is really what the drive-by-wire system is.

the Lexus 400H computer-with-wheels energy management systemThe energy management screen is just one of many displays you can pull up on the dashboard LCD.

All actions you take, whether you are steering, pressing the accelerator, or shifting into Drive are just analog and digital inputs to the Lexus Synergy systems that controls the vehicle, making real-time decisions constantly about how the 3 electric motor/generators will be managed while you drive.

You never actually start the internal combustion engine (ICE) that runs on gasoline - the system does that when it decides you need a boost.

At the same time, one of our other businesses, RollerTrol™ Automation Systems (born out of our research and development company that was founded in the 1980's) had become quite successful, supplying computer controlled blinds and shades to contractors and DIY'ers.

Our focus at RollerTrol is mainly on blind, shade, window, skylight and lighting automation, controlled by stand-alone computers and multi-channel hand held remotes.

We also produce complete custom shades, using the excellent Mermet fabrics, and my daughter Connie looks after that division at our custom shade website, AutomaticBlindsAndShades.com.

Customer satisfaction is always our #1 goal, and we run our business by the Golden Rule: you are treated with the same service that we would like for ourselves. You'll get a fast, comprehensive response, and you won't get a different sales rep every time you contact us.

We are a group of engineers, programmers and gadget geeks dedicated to bringing high quality, precision engineered automation products into everyday lives. We have been developing and using these systems ourselves for over 30 years.

We work with other groups, helping to bring sophisticated home automation systems to our clients; here is an example of a group at MIT we have helped:

City Home Project at MIT

Our mission is to de-mystify the underlying technology and help you to enjoy the benefits of an automated life style. We ship our products worldwide, and we have many satisfied customers on every continent.

We are also very big supporters of alternative energy systems, having worked with solar photo-voltaics since 1972. All our systems run on safe, efficient 12v DC and are specifically designed for low power consumption. They can be easily interfaced to solar and other alternative energy systems.

We fully support the international effort to create 'green' products and reduce fossil fuel dependency, the Lexus being a good example of applied technology in that direction.

We appreciate your visit to our website; please feel free to contact us whenever you have a question. If you prefer email, so do we.

We do not publish our phone number as we get too many telemarketing calls, but send us your phone number and we'll be happy to call.

Adrian Biffen
Senior Partner
RollerTrol™ Automation Systems

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