"You switch it on and it begins broadcasting GPS location information at about ten times per second," Grimm said.
While the support for such devices is growing, however, the smartphone app idea is also gaining momentum. The smartphone vision is seen as important for two reasons: first, it's less expensive than adding a $100 or $200 transponder to the car; second, smartphones are ubiquitous, which could make the technology spread more quickly. "The idea is that the smartphone is a wireless vehicle module," Grimm said. "If you don't have a dedicated module in the vehicle to run all the V2V apps, you can offload all of that to the smartphone."
For now, automakers are writing their own apps for use with smartphones. Ultimately, though, they envision a day when they would allow outside developers to write the applications in conjunction with an industry standard, such as the one recently rolled out by the Car Connectivity Consortium.
Automakers and suppliers are waiting for a recommendation on the transponder technology from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The recommendation is expected by 2013. "If that goes in a positive direction, you could start to see this happen about four or five years afterwards," Grimm said.
In the meantime, engineers also see great promise in the smartphone concept. Because the V2V idea would have limited impact if it's not used by virtually every vehicle on the road, the smartphone could play a key role, they say. "It's about flexibility," Grimm said. "Millions of drivers have smartphones, and we want to leverage all that computing capability to run these applications.
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Follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller, at the Drive for Innovation site. In the trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire-engine-red Chevy Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
Setting aside the extremely valid concerns from the "conspiracy theorist" posts, it seems that this would be one of those few features that would be better off in the car. That way, if you want it, it's there and not a matter of making sure your phone is setup properly each time you get in. I do agree however, that it should be "information only" and let the driver do the driving. The driver should also have the option of turning it and it should contain no logging features or other means of identifying other cars.
Of course the smartphone can know where it is and how fast it is going, BUT how will it know if the road is slippery or there is a pothole ahead? What I see here is an attempt to make the distracting phone into a "good guy" by linking it to positive safety. How is the smart phone going to posess all of that information that it is alleged to be able to provide? We really do need an explanation about that.
The inter-vehicle communications system that worked quite well was created qquite a few years ago, and the people who wanted it had it. It was called CB (citizens band) radio, and it did allow communication both with vehicles in the same moving cluster, and with oncoming vehicles, providing information about the more distant roadway. The best part was that it did not distract drivers the way a cell phone does. The CB radio is simplex, meaning that users must take turns talking, and not have to listen for remarks while talking.
Of course there was no profit in providing carrier services, only in selling the radios. So now we will have a money-making add on for smart phones, which makes everything OK.
Has anyone considered what will happen if drivers become even less attentive when they believe that V2V is assuming responsibility for driving their vehicle? Given that drivers become more agressive when they're driving vehicles with enhanced safety features, this could open the door to even less responsible / attentive driving than already exists. Since smart phones are proposed as the platformfor V2V, the irony would be complete if the V2V communication were accomplished through texting.
Call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, but I would never want my phone, or any other device, transmitting my location and speed. I see this evolving into an easy income producer for municipalities.
I'll continue to use the old fashioned method of avoiding accidents: stay awake, stay alert and stay aware.
I concur - I will never put my safety in the hands of a computer processor. The human brain is infinitly more powerful and capable of making complex split second decisions than any computer ever created.
However, I could support it if the app would make slow drivers speed up or pull over when I am bearing down on them (BTW- slow means speed limit or less). I don't have a smartphone to whine to, and will disable any nanny installed in my vehicle.
Commandeering the steering and brakes is a concept which scares me a little. What would happen if I'm speeding up to a yellow light and a t the last second it turns red, will it engage my brakes while I'm at 80% throttle, begin a power-braking contest or spinout in the middle of an intersection. Who doesn't shoot through yellow lights from time to time. What about tight navigation in heavy traffic, is the steering going to fight me because I'm within 16 inches of another vehicle? I hope they build it into smart phones so I can easily turn it off.
I always keep my traction control off, because it almost got me killed. Sometimes when accelerating and a wheel begins to spin, cutting engine power is not the best idea when there is a mack truck coming at you. Especially in a posi-traction vehicle like mine, even with both wheels spinning, I'm still accelerating and will soon gain traction, cutting engine power leaves me as a sitting duck about to get smasshed by on coming traffic. I hope they are very smart in how they design these apps...
Finally!!! A development that makes smartphone use in cars safer, not just technology that gives users more options for distraction--I love it. This sounds really promising. I will be curious to see how it evolves, especially the idea of opening things up to let app developers do their thing. I would think the standards issue would be key, however, along with some sort of rigorous certification process.
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