Ever wished you could drive “KITT,” the helpful, talking car from the 1980s TV show “Knight Rider?” Now you may have your chance: Ford has developed a new technology that would allow cars to “talk” to each other using Wi-Fi and GPS technologies.
This kind of smart automotive technology, also being explored by carmakers such as Audi and Volvo, is aimed at preventing potential crashes and helping drivers avoid congestion.
“NHTSA estimates that 81 percent of all the vehicle-to-vehicle crashes with unimpaired drivers can be addressed by this technology, so we think safety is the tremendous opportunity,” said Mike Shulman, technical leader of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
The space-age cars are not without their pitfalls, with concerns such as privacy, cybersecurity and overloading of Wi-Fi signals taking a front seat.
“We don’t want people to feel there is some tracking device on the car,” said Michael Shulman, a technical leader for the project at Ford told The Washington Post during a demonstration near RFK Stadium. “But we have to make sure the other car you’re sensing is not some guy on an overpass with a laptop. So, there are obstacles, but we think we have ways of overcoming them.”
It’s not just car manufacturers who are getting in on the talking car game: the Department of Transportation recently launched a campaign called the Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge aimed at fostering creative ideas of how to use the Wi-Fi technology. Inventors of the six best ideas will be guests of honor at October’s 2011 Intelligent Transportation System World Congress held in Orlando, Fla.
For car geeks around the beltway still thirsting for cutting-edge auto technology, the Washington Auto Show is going on now through Feb. 6.
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