Smart(er) cars and wireless networking

Posted March 12, 2006 by Evan Tishuk

Ever since I learned about operating systems and process scheduling, traffic and the roads have always struck me as an area ripe for improvement. Letting cars 'talk' to each other sounds like a great marriage of the existing infrastructure with emerging technology. OnStar eat your heart out.

...transponders housed in small gray boxes have been affixed to light poles along several kilometers of local streets ... Vehicles could collaborate with transponders to relay data across long distances to give drivers advance notice about conditions ranging from bad weather to dangerous road conditions to accidents.

How an upcoming Motorola test in Michigan will work:

  • Transponder beams out GPS location and color of traffic light to nearby cars.
  • Red car uses its GPS data and speed to calculate that it might run light, warns driver.
  • Red car sends warning that it might run light; roadside unit relays the warning.
  • Blue car receives relayed signal, warns driver that another car might run the light.


nobrainer ~ March 15, 2006

We can work on that once the "smart" traffic lights near my house get upgraded to "just better than dumber than rocks". The other day the light went red. I hit the brakes very hard to make the stop, but before I came completely to a rest it was green again.

I once saw it go red twice as I approached from less than a quarter mile away. It went green again before I ever fully stopped.

As far as "smart(er)" cars, I'd just as soon have my car autonomously drive me from Point A to B. It can operate more efficiently, and probably more safely, than with me at the wheel. Plus I could take a nap or read.

Evan Tishuk ~ March 15, 2006

I think this could be (one of) the intermediate step(s) between you driving a "dumber than rocks" car and you not having to drive at all.

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