By the mid-1980s new automobiles can have built-in diagnostic systems capable of warning the driver of imminent failure, of automatically limiting damage, and of signaling the optimum schedule for maintenance actions to intercept long term decay processes. The system would employ trend testing in order to anticipate maintenance requirements in the context of generic behavior. Such a system can satisfy the owner's desires to reduce costs and the regulator's desires to reduce energy use, emissions, and accidents. The transition from current motor vehicle maintenance practice requires the accumulation of a knowledge base on the generic time-behavior of key vehicle performance attributes. This information is necessary to guide the development of the required technology, techniques, and procedures. A demonstration program is suggested as a means to begin the transition. This program includes "strap-on" instrumentation employed in a "boot-strap" development designed to precipitate the commercialization process.
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