It used to be that computers in cars relied on sensors to control things like the fuel injectors,
spark plugs and the idle speed to get the best performance possible from the engine while keeping emissions low.
Also, computers are used to monitor the engine and alert the driver when something has gone wrong.

In Hybrid vehicles, sensors actually shut the gasoline engine off when it is not needed, and then restart it instantly when its power is required.

However, in many vehicles today, computers control not only engine functions, but also everything from the climate control system to headlight and other operations.
New cars will have a lot of computing power.  They will be able to do much more than the computers and gadgets you use on a daily basis.

 In recent car shows, there have been a display of cars showing off the latest technology, some with a “digital cockpit computer” that will power an in-dash, Internet-connected touch screen, rearview video cameras, individual IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) displays for each passenger, and more.

However, as it happens in business computers, digital computers in cars can also be hacked.

Read this interesting article:
Your car is a giant computer – and it can be hacked

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