So I started with Ford in 1989. My original ticket in was my English degree which let me write service manuals (the ability to bootstrap an English Lit degree into an engineering career died with ISO 9000 in about 1994, but that’s a story for another rant). But my music background (surprisingly) helped me to graduate to programming control systems. I was literally told by my first boss at Ford that musicians seemed to have a knack for that. We seem to have a mental orientation that coordinates multiple intake streams to produce music.
So skipping up a couple years, we got into something called OBD-II which is an expansion of the standard control system diagostics which simply flag open or short circuits (Easy. Voltage goes to zero- open. Voltage goes to infinity- short). OBD-II, mandated in cars by 1996 became a leap in programming sophistication. Comparing exhaust gas oxygen signals to deduce catalysts out of standard spec. Measuring negative crankshaft velocity to find misfire. Monitoring warm up times to determine stuck thermostats (which don’t allow the engine to go closed loop). Adjusting injector timing to track injector wear and keep fueling right in the emissions window.
And my ties to service meant that I did all the agency/political dances. Meetings with EPA and SAE working out the industry mantra of, “please God, let’s figure out how to do this ourselves before the Feds and California fuck it up beyond all recognition”.
So increasingly, my wierd personal life at the intersection of engineering and government was growing.