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article imageYour car will soon talk to other cars

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 24, 2007 in Lifestyle
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles are working on car to car communication that will enable it to relay dangerous road conditions via a wireless network. Traffic, fog warnings and icy conditions information can be communicated.
YOU are driving in wet weather, cursing quietly to yourself, when a warning flashes up on your dashboard. The car in front has just told your car there is icy road ahead.
What might appear to be a science-fiction scenario is actually the way of the very near future.
Researchers from the Network Research Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and car manufacturer BMW are working on a project which will build an autonomous, self-organizing communication networks between cars, allowing them to communicate to each other. Such cars collect data from the surroundings, process it and exchange it with other cars, like icy conditions of the road.
These wireless networked cars will be able to talk to each other about the traffic conditions as well as allow the drivers to download movies, images and songs.
Cars will be able to hold a wide range of data, from the headlights, the fog lamps or brake lights, as well as the ABS system, windscreen wipers and external thermometer, making for a well-informed driving experience.
The car's program senses the situation of the car and monitors weather, traffic, road conditions and surroundings. The network then can be fed data by the emergency workers to relay the warnings to them directly. Before the only way they can convey the warnings is to broadcast on radio stations, but for those who don’t listen to radio stations, this network will be a good way of reaching them.
The software is designed to use existing wireless channels. The typical range has been between 100 and 300 meters.
The US Department of Transportation has embraced the new technology, developing a dedicated short-range communications standard signal that will allow high-speed communications between vehicles or between vehicles and the roadside. Whenever a car passes a hot spot, it can access the internet for the warnings or if they are outside the hotspot, they can talk to another car which might hold the data they want.
"In some applications, a car just needs internet content, say a local map or picture," Professor Mario Gerla, of the UCLA Network Research Lab told the ABC. "The car can get the data second-hand from another car that was earlier connected to the internet and happened to have downloaded that map or picture."
BMW is planning to install the wireless connectivity equipment in their cars to enable this car-to-car communication.
Before, a car issues a horn blast as a warning to other cars, now it will be via digital information. If done right and doesn’t intrude too much then it should fine. Too many messages might detract the driver, who will end up multitasking instead of concentrating on the road.
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