(Re: Article by Jim Louderback - editor - Ziff Davis Media - PCMag/eWeek)
See below. Not too bad... I proposed this in discussion (not written in the thesis though, just said it to my supervisor Dr Ken Taylor) when I did my4th year Engineering project. Personally though I took it a step further, saying that they'll have it automatically take over the car driving completely, if need by to avoid an accident - steering and all. After all, I was doing the speed control for automation of the landcruiser project, but why not also control the steering (we planned to, anyway!). You'd need damn good software to interpret pedestrians, road signs, etc better than a human can - it'd have to, to be able to take over from us safely.
However it can calculate the directions and so on of all other drivers in their cars, and using engineering knowledge built in, can know exactly which way to turn or brake or accelerate, in order to avoid and/or minimize any impact or accident situation. After all, we have excellent knowledge of collisions, momentum, friction, engineering-dynamics, etc also we can make prediction of potential ability to turn (given the computer can read speed and direction from the cars instruments) or what *each* particular car can conceivably do by way of manouvring (you'd have it to do a periodical calibration per car or base it on age of tires and type, car model/make/age etc) so why not use it to know what exactly the car is capable of, and use this in automatic accident avoidance.
Taking it a step further, once all cars are networked (they can all have little infra red sensor and transmittors on the bumper bars perhaps, for example, or short range (50 metre max) radio transmittors/receivers), then they can in fact make a COLLECTIVE decision (intelligent) all by computer, on a networked basis, about which way each cars automatic control system will react in order to minimize and hopefully also always avoid an accident - so that accidnets will in fact be a thing of the past and now almost impossible to happen (certainly by human cause impossible nayway - if your wheel suddenly falls off causing your car to hurtle toward another car, then you'd still have the network making a 'best possible comprimise' in order to minimize any accident situation for all drivers, for example the car would try and compensate using steering, braking, whatever, for the situation ,to attempt to safely stop, and nearby cars would automatically steer away from the onciming path, in the intelligent context of KNOWING*exactly* what the car is actually about to do in the context of its situation, since the cars computers controllers are now communicating with each other (which is what wil happen automatically if a potential accident situation is ever detected by any car on the road).
I think a computer system is potentially far outweigh anything a human could do.
But not only in accident avoidance - also in driving. After all, if you feel like it you can drive, but if you want to talk to the kids, just switch it to automatic and let the car drive you to work, after you punch in the destination on the map/ GPS aware/ etc.
Or maybe just say where you want to go and it confirm it first with a street map or photo to make sure. After all, we now have online detail maps (is it zoom from satellite?) of a lot of the world, you can go on a virtual 3d tour to lots of places and see what it actually look like being in the street there (video footage?), take it a bit further and you can actually see the buildings and people (defence policy restricts the satellite images resolution unfortunately, but anyway this is the future, maybe not anymore then). You can check if your workplace looks open first, by looking up a recent (last 5 minutes?) satellite scan of that portion of the globe (if this actually possible to store and scan that much information of the entire globe and that often though..)? Aim for the ground and you'll get the ground, aim for halfway ot the ground and you only get halfway, so why not aim further (though yes I agree, do things in small steps is good).
I think his article is just the beginning of the future, that's only the beginning.
Also he talks of hybrid - fuel cell + petrol. What about solar? Why not hybrid fuel cell + solar + petrol, then?
Personally I think, what if we weave in solar material into clothing, then you can sit in the office all day and come home all ready to plug in and charge up your car. Well, perhaps clothing is not quite necessary, cause you wouldn't get much from fluro lighting moreso only really for outdoors,
I suppose perhaps when you hang out your clothing to dry after being washed, then you bring it in hours later and plug it in to charge up the car.
After all, surely the solar cell silicon lines need not be rigid nor in a straight line, can you coat them in a extremely thin flexible plastic layer followed by a flexible nylon? protective layer (someone can figure out the materials to use.. has to be waterproof but not cause any annoyance when worn) and then weave them as a thread in amongst other threads making up the garment.
I think the only issue would be how to store the energy - ie battery. Perhaps the "Australian washing line Mark II" can be produced which picks up current flows from underside of the clothing, and forwards it into charging a built in battery (perhaps a fuel cell, at that!? since they so efficient? and only water as a byproduct.. for environment friendly).
Maybe that another one of my off the planet ideas.. but who knows... imagine how many pepole hang out their clothing in the world, imagine how much sunlight and energy would get picked up.. would it be enough to power you house and car for the week? or day? Or maybe with some more improvements in solar technology? Just an idea.. I think one solution to effectively increase efficiency is to cover everything we own in solar cells (hehe).
How about bricks that are solar cells. Then the bricks plug together, however way the builder happens to put them, so that the whole walls and roof (tiles too!) are now solar cells. How about making the solar cells material transparent so all you see is normal looking bricks and tiles.
track cars around you, ensuring safe separation by warning you >first, and then automatically braking or speeding up to avoid an >accident.sports and weather, a rolling internet node will help you get around accidents and avoid problems. A new type of wireless technology -the mesh network- will automatically and dynamically configure and reconfigure a network using all the cars in, say, a 500-foot radius. If one car spots trouble -an airbag deployment, or something in the road -- all the other cars down the line can be warned in advance.
Entertainment: As flat color displays get cheaper, expect them to proliferate throughout the car. The entertainment hub - a combination movie server, TiVo (news - web sites) and game console - will live under the front seat or in the trunk of most cars. Advanced audio technology and noise-canceling headphones will turn every car into a personal home theater customized for each passenger. Most cars will be outfitted with satellite video and audio, helping to make the car at least as connected as the home.
Navigation: Today's add-on systems will seem antiques compared to the advanced navigation systems in tomorrow's cars. High tech road sensors will communicate with the traffic sensors in your car to help identify - and then avoid -- traffic jams. And those same networks will also make it easier to find a gas station, hamburger joint or bathroom, just when you need it most.
Driving Experience: Dashboards will increasingly resemble computer displays, with only a handful of knobs and switches. Someday voice recognition will advance far enough to let us speak our commands, but it will take a while to perfect. "Up" and "off" sound remarkably alike - especially when you're trying to kill the radio.
Electronics: The roar of the road will be reduced to a murmur by special noise-dampening plates on windows, doors, ceilings and floor. Fiber optics and LEDs will replace wires and light bulbs. Mechanical controls, like the brake and accelerator, will be replaced by electronics. And much like today's airplanes, cars will bank into turns, making them more maneuverable and responsive.
Don't be fooled, though. Automotive technology may have some amazing potential, but it needs a lot of work. As long-suffering computer users know, it's best to shy away from version 1.0 of any new technology. Alas, no one told the designers of BMW's 7 series. They built in a radical new controller - called the iDrive - that failed miserably. Difficult to learn, horrible to use, it also had a tendency to fail. Respected auto analysis site Auto Spies put it best, "the concept is brilliant but the software interface is idiotic."
We shouldn't be surprised - because the iDrive was built on top of Microsoft Windows. The next iDrive version - which was rushed to market - performed better, but woe to all the version 1.0 users: you can't upgrade a car.
Jim Louderback is the Editor-in-Chief for Internet sites at Ziff Davis Media, which runs the popular technology sites PCMag.com and eWeek.com, along with print magazines like PC Magazine, eWEEK, Electronic Gaming Monthly and Computer Gaming World. Jim's first adventure with computers began with playing Star Trek during high-school on a PDP-11. Since then he's developed applications and installed networks for many Fortune 500 companies. For the last 12 years he's been reporting on the technology industry in print, radio, television and the Web.
Cool Car Gadgets:
- Clarion VRX935VD Car DVD Player
- Delphi XM SKYfi Radio Portable XM
- Garmin StreetPilot 2610 Automotive Navigation
More Tech Tuesday for February 10, 2004:
- Cars Go High Tech
- Hack Your Car
- The Best High Tech Cars