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Patrice Calve Life's short, have fun

I was looking at the MS videos at the Windows Automative web site and it reminded me of an article I wrote around 1990 on how I saw “automation” in our life.  Back then, then big thing was to get coffee started when your alarm sounded in the morning!

Anyway, the videos were pretty much in line with ideas I was bringing.  I particularly liked the “hey there's heavy traffic on your route, here's a better way” ...  I would like to add a few ones.

  • Have “report“ data transferred between cars (near ones.... of course)
    • warn other cars of slippery conditions up front
    • warn other cars of slowdown up front
    • warn of possible danger (like a wild animal).  If 95% of the cars had to brake hard and swerl... there's probably a reason.
    • warn about “known“ hazardous section (like a deadly curve), a playground, etc.
  • Have a way to inform “trained professionals” of an accident near their location... 
    • Imagine a life and death scenario where minutes are important to save a life and a doctor driving by is informed of the accident. “Report to all doctors: A major accident has been reported in your vicinity, your attendence is required“...  You accept and you are given instructions on how to get there.  At the same time, traffic control informs travels “in the way“ to clear the left lane “you are driving in an emergency lane, stay clear for emergency vehicles“
  • The car's sensors should be hooked to the computer and offer reports and analysis.
    • Health of the car
    • Fuel consomption
    • Manufacturers could get this data in order to make better choices and better cars.  They could also use it to void a warranty: putting the car in park while driving 50km/h and saying that the transmission broke!!!

Now, imagine that the car was “connected“ to the traffic system.  As traffic pattern changes in a the day, the light “sequence“ would be modified to increase the traffic flow.  At the same time, data analysed could be used by public transportation for elaboration of new routes.

The speed limit could be integrated to the speedometer.  A visual clue would tell you wether your inside the limit our outside the limit.  The computed data could then be sent back to the Ministry of Transport for analysis.  If everyone drives 120km/h in a particular 90km/h zone, then two things could happen:  police is sent to that zone to slow down traffic, or the speed limit is increased to 120!  I prefer option 2... :)

Maybe one day, there will be variable speed limits based on traffic, weather, time of day, etc.

Other ideas that I came up with in 1990 was interaction _with_ the house.  If you're on a 2 week trip, you're 1000 km away from home, and a pipe breaks, a tree falls and breaks a window, a proximity sensor is triggered, etc.  It would be nice to know about it and have the possibility to react.  You could have a plumber come to your house and fix the pipe, have a team remove the tree, fix the window and anything broken and cleanup.  For that proximity sensor, a series of webcams could be streamed to the car.  You could have speakers giving feedback to the person there: “Hey Jimmy, after you finished mowing the lawn, don't forget to clean the lawnmower”, or “Hey Jimbo, this is a private property, please leave immediately”.

Many other ideas...

Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 1:35 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: The Connected Car Initiative

# re: The Connected Car Initiative
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Interesting idea and honestly not too hard to get going on a small limited scale. Imagine wireless oozing from each vehicle with webservices tossing out data on just about what ever you can imagine. I think there is great protential in this technology but then again anyone can see that. Enjoyed the thoughts, thanks.
Left by Eric Hammersley on Jul 27, 2005 3:43 PM

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