By combining onboard capabilities, such as stability control and rain-sensing wipers, with Vehicle-to-Vehicle communications, cars will “know” of upcoming slipper spots on bridges and highways. (Source: Continental Automotive)
Very cool slide show, Chuck, and I guess I can see the excitement over these new developments, but I have to admit, I have some reservations. Just looking at the slides and the different technologies is giving me a frightening case of sensory overload. I just imagine all these bells and warning signals flashing, my smart phone beeping, the GPS lady telling me to do this or do that. It's like driving in a video game and that it's definitely not my balliwick. Call me crazy, but what about the practice of good old fashioned safe driving.
Knowledge is power and all that rot. Information continues to be key. We've been through revolutions in Energy and Materials and we continue our expedition into the capabilities of ubiquitous Information. The growing pains always come during transitions through technology's adolescence. The common folk will delight in the convenience of new gadgets, the intelligentsia will protest the loss of privacy, and the ruling politicians will exempt themselves from participation on the grounds of confidentiality. And then be prepared for the strong push back from the lawyers. Having recorded information that documents the behavior of a defendant will streamline the judicial system and unfairly constrain the council from being able to sway a jury using theatrics. Get ready for a protracted legal fight over the use of new sensors and automated control technology. It's one thing to put the buggy whip manufacturers out of business. It's quite another to decimate the law schools.
I agree with Beth. Nothing beats skilled driving. It seems that the technology is trying solve the problem of more crowded streets with increasingly poorer driving skills. Many of the examples don't seem to be an issue. If there's a large truck or SUV in front of you blocking any view of what's ahead, just pull back and give a safe amount of space.
Driving demands trust. On the Golden Gate Bridge, there's no permenant median barrier. We use removable rods to allow an increased number of lanes in one direction or the other in heavy traffic. I trust that the drivers coming in the other direction are alert, skilled and won't crossover and drive into on-coming traffic. If they have to rely on sensors for that, we're all in trouble. I think if we had more courteousy, patience and drivng/parking skils than technology, traffic wouldn't be as much of a problem in many cities.
All of the car articiles are great but where are the advances in public transportation?
William, another consideration is the time to get this technology out. We replace about 10% of the cars on the road each year. That is not really correct. Many of the cars "replaced" are sold used. Therefore, we wil have a very long time when there will be a lot of "dumb" cars on the road and some smart cars. What happens when one hits the other? That should be an interesting situation.
I have to agree with you and Beth. I can't see how smarter cars are going to help driving skills. But I think this is an intriguing technology for public transportation. I wonder if anyone is applying it there?
I agree with all who've said that nothing beats safe and intelligent driving. Today, no machine can perform as well on the road as a careful driver. But a high percentage of today's drivers don't fall in that "careful" category. Cell phone usage is rampant and texting-while-driving is becoming more commonplace. Let's also not forget how many people drive while impaired in some way and how many more drive as if they just finished drinking 20 cups of coffee. I don't know what it's like on the coasts, but here in the Midwest there's a large contingent of overly aggressive drivers who seem unable to grasp the simplest concepts of physics. That's why I believe the experts who predict that V2V and V2I will help, especially if we tie the technology to collision avoidance systems that are likely to make better decisions than many of the drivers on today's roads.
Chuck, Very interesting presentation which shows the possiblities with more intelligent vehicles. It's easy to see the possibilities with V2V communications, and how that could be used in many situations. Will be interesting to see what types of user interfaces will emerge, and become accepted by consumers. Seems like driver distraction could become an issue.
Ok so just hypothetically... As it stands Google (with android) and websites like Facebook and other tracking software are doing a very good job at keeping track of our whereabouts. So soon enough our cars will be able to contribute to this issue. It is increasingly becoming difficult to have time to yourself without the world knowing. I do not see how privacy laws will be preserved with something like this. The moment your vehicle starts throwing out its id in Wi-Fi Land your exact location will be monitored and the best part about it will be that even amateurs will be able to track you. At least current traffic camera systems require some hefty computers to track the location of a car (which news media and several civilians have access to). In the future all a chip will have to do is read a 32-64 bit code? Any SoC Wi-Fi module can do this a few thousand times a second. So all of a sudden a 30USD device that can run on battery power for months can keep track of an intersection?
We all agree that there is no substitute for being alert, having a basic understanding of vehicle physics, and using moderation when it comes to safe driving.
I like the concept of these new technologies. Unlike Beth - I'm not so afraid of having sensory overload; however, I am wary of an ever increasing Orwellian control over every little thing we do.
I am more comfortable with these technologies as long as they are not government mandated - and as long as their is an "off" switch for those technologies which track, control, or limit what a driver can do. This may seem strange in our current society, but some of us still place freedom above safety. These technologies, if implemented correctly, could allow for both.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.