by Katia Moskvitch, Technology reporter, BBC News
“Yes, I’m a real race car, what do you think? Look at me.”
Granted, there is not much chance that Lightning McQueen, a talking, grinning red hybrid between a Mazda Miata and a Dodge Viper from Pixar’s animated film “Cars” will wink at you on the street.
But children watching such movies – many of whom will play on iPads before they play with a ball – will naturally expect their vehicle to be as smart as any other gadget they use by the time they reach the driving age. Already, 46% of people between 18 to 24 would prefer internet connectivity to owning an automobile, if forced to pick between the two, according to Gartner.
Firms realise this – and are grappling to turn the concept of a “smart car” into an everyday reality.
In the past few years, companies have been pouring huge amounts of money into research and development in the area of telematics – telecommunications and informatics – and the “internet of things”, connecting physical objects to the web. The world’s biggest chipmaker Intel, for instance, has established a $100m (£62.9m) fund, dedicated to investing in firms developing connectivity for cars. The company says that by 2014, automobiles will be among the top three fastest-growing areas for connected devices. …………….
………. “Things like traffic directions and information are all in the cloud – if you don’t have a navigation system in your car, or you don’t want to use your phone while driving, you can just connect to the cloud using voice control to get directions,” says Venkatesh Prasad of Ford’s new division in Silicon Valley.
No traffic lights
One way to do it could be by using a so-called operating system for cities, which manages smart objects, among them cars, equipped with embedded sensors.
A company called Living PlanIT, together with McLaren Electronic Systems, has developed such a platform, called Urban OS. It is designed to run cities just like a computer operating system runs your PC. It could facilitate communications of cars between one another as well as with the surrounding infrastructure – parking spaces and traffic lights – says Steve Lewis, head of Living PlanIT.
In an on-going trial in Porto, Portugal, several taxis have been equipped with special sensors that gather data about traffic conditions. …………..
With intelligence comes autonomy – and cars are no exception. A number of carmakers and technology firms have been experimenting with driverless cars in recent years. One of the best-known test runs is probably the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge, a 13,000 km drive of four autonomous electric vans from Italy to China in 2010. BBC Report
DCL: There’s a lot of CEP going on in these kinds of traffic systems for metropolitan areas. But in all likelihood the builders don’t know much about event processing so the various approaches may not be as effective as they could be. We’ll see. This is an area where our proposed Event Processing Technical Society (EPTS) could contribute.