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Someone once said if cars were like computers, they'd just stop working a few times a week, and periodically you'd have remove and reinstall the engine. That was funny once upon a time. Now, not so much.

With cars becoming more like consumer electronics, their software systems relying on the veracity of electronic sensors to function, that scenario is close as a single, minor hardware failure. We once had a bad sensor that made our City Corolla (TM) answer our pleas for acceleration with a droning noise that sounded distinctly like Ray Romano saying "no way Jose." It took our car-tech buddy half a day to discover it was an oxygen sensor that had been pinched by the club-fisted mechanic in Cape Cod who had replaced our starter motor (long story). It seems, these things are happening more often as automotive systems increase in complexity.

What's bugging the high-tech car? [Cnet]

More On Cars That Sense Drivers Emotions [internal]