It’s hard to remember a time when our devices didn’t talk to us. Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant just to name a few. Devices that talk and can understand and respond to us are so common place now we take them for granted. That wasn’t the case 40 years ago. Just imagine how revolutionary and advanced talking cars of the early 80’s must have seemed. If you were alive back then phrases like “Your door is ajar” and “Fuel Level Low” would probably bring back some memories.
The 1981 Datsun Maxima
In 1981 Datsun was the first manufacture to add speech technology to their Maxima model. At the time this was a technology breakthrough. The kind lady in the car presented messages such as “Please tun off the lights” and “Parking brake is on”. In today’s digital age most of us assumed that Nissan (Datsun) simply put a speech chip in the car and done.
This is NOT the case, the technology in the Maxima was mostly analog. The cars voice alert system was a record player. Yes, you read that correctly the car was equipped with a phonograph recording of the alert messages. A small white plastic disk would spin and when an alert was requested by the car a precision tone arm would select the correct track to play. I wonder if the record would skip over a rough road, or if the message could be played to the point where the needle or record could wear out. Continue reading “Talking Cars Of The 80’s”