I recently downloaded the mobile app Waze. It’s billed as an app that will help you avoid traffic while driving, but after using it a few times, I started to really see how much more it can do. When you punch in your destination for Waze, it brings up a map similar to any other Google map, and though the 3-D viewing and control is nice, what is really amazing is the way it works by building a network of people who are using the app at the exact same time that you are, and relaying information back and forth as to traffic and speed.
And that’s not all. Once you join the “community” of Waze, members will start to post items of concern for fellow drivers, like if a car is stopped on the shoulder or if there is a police car up ahead. All of this then gets relayed to you as you make your way through the city.
Its GPS can tell exactly how fast you are going, so if you are stuck in a traffic jam it will re-route fellow travelers who are far behind you around the unfortunate traffic jam that you are in.
So with this concept in mind, it’s interesting to note how cars are already coming off the factory with online capabilities that go beyond just providing WiFi to passengers. Cars are now getting logged on, just like we are with our mobile smart phones.
And the same privacy issues are coming up. With cars being logged on 24/7, data on everything they do and everywhere they go can be stored. In fact, in Italy last year they mandated that new cars have installed a telematics system that basically keeps a record of the speed and vectors of cars, so they could combat against fraudulent whiplash claims.
Some reports say these fully connected cars will be standard in less than a decade. It may not be time to pick your car avatar yet, but the day seems fast approaching. See you online.
— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor
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