'Talking' Cars Could Hit the Road by 2012
Dust off that leather jacket and those tight jeans, Knight Rider fans. An Australian startup says "talking" cars could be on the road as soon as 2012 and the technology could reduce fatalities by half.
The technology developed by Cohda Wireless and researchers at the University of South Australia combines Wi-Fi and GPS technology in a system called dedicated short-range communications to make each car a node on a huge communication network. Those vehicles can communicate with each other and warn drivers of potential collisions. The company also claims the system would minimize traffic jams and curb emissions by more effectively managing traffic to avoid congestion.
"This technology essentially equips vehicles with the ability to see around corners and to predict and avoid dangerous situations," said professor Alex Grant, head of the university's Institute for Telecommunications.
Cohda is one of several companies joining automakers in developing car-to-car communications and in-car connectivity. Here in the United States, the goal is to create an Intelligent Transportation System where cars talk to each other and to us in a network designed to increase safety, reduce congestion and manage traffic. The Department of Transportation has been pushing the idea for years, but progress has been slower than rush hour traffic out of San Francisco.
But Cohda says the technology could be road-ready by 2012. It already has conducted 700 field trials in Australia, the United States and Italy, and it recently demonstrated the system for automakers and government officials Down Under. A $1.5 million field trial involving 200 cars is slated within two years. Now, if they can get cars to utter KITTisms like "Scanner indicates danger ahead" or "Engaging the infrared tracking scope" ...
Dedicated short-range communications uses Wi-Fi and GPS to share data with a centralized location and other vehicles via external Wi-Fi spots, effectively making each car a node on the network. The system was designed to work in urban environments — where radio signals can easily be lost among buildings, tunnels and the like — and does not require line-of-sight transmission to work.
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