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December 22, 2004

P2P's successor - C2C?

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Shorthand for the Car-2-Car Communications Consortium, currently developing the new new thing in car technology.

BMW, Fiat, Audi, Daimler-Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Renault have banded together to explore ways for cars of the future to warn each other of accidents and danger spots and automatically find new routes to avoid congestion.

They hope to create vehicles that can communicate via WiFi.

This reflects efforts to move from "passive" safety - airbags, more crash-resistant vehicles - to "active" safety, where cars help drivers avoid accidents.

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I predict that the cars and roads of the future will be completely automated, with cars moving in synchrony and their drivers reading, sleeping, or doing God knows what.

There'll be no traffic jams, no accidents, and no stress.

I also predict a "Kamikaze" lane where those with lots of energy and a strong death wish can drive their own vehicles if they so choose.

I further believe that, say, 30 years from now, when people watch film of today's roads and cars, they will be almost unable to believe that we allowed anyone who could fog a mirror to drive their own car against opposing traffic separated by nothing more than a line painted down the middle of the road.

Below, a story from last Friday's Financial Times by James Mackintosh about the slowly-gathering revolution.

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    Makers Explore Car-To-Car Warning

    Six European carmakers are planning a future where cars warn each other of accidents and danger spots and automatically find new routes to avoid congestion.

    The manufacturers, which build half of Europe's cars, hope to produce vehicles that can communicate electronically using the WiFi wireless networking standards becoming the norm for portable computers.

    Most of the world's big carmakers have been experimenting with vehicle-to-vehicle communications for years, but the European group is thought to be the first serious attempt to develop common systems.

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    The group, known as the Car-2-Car Communication Consortium, is planning to produce its first prototypes within two years.

    The moves reflect efforts by carmakers to move from "passive" safety - such as airbags and more crash-resistant vehicle bodies - to "active" safety, where cars help drivers avoid accidents.

    BMW has demonstrated the technology, using a broken-down Mini equipped with the system to warn an approaching 7-Series of the potential danger.

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    In the future, the system could automatically pre-tense the brakes in nearby cars, speeding the driver's reaction time, or instruct navigation computers in more distant vehicles to find alternative routes.

    Other members include Volkswagen, Audi, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat and Renault.

    The WiFi technology would bounce information from car to car, using relatively short-range technology to create a large network of vehicles.

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    However, some experts remain sceptical about how such a system would be paid for.

    "Technically they can do it," said Dave Benson, a senior consultant at SRI Business Intelligence in California.

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    "But there are huge business model issues so we are talking some years down the line."

December 22, 2004 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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