Saturday, July 08, 2006

Smart Cars 2

So Tara was asking if "smart car" means they talk to you, like some of these GPS units. I explained it was more in reference to the buyer being smart for choosing it, over some fuel-inefficient gas hog.

However, this did lead to speculations about what "autopiloting" cars might be like.

I suggested "robot freeways" and add-on dashboard controls, that'd let a car go into "zombie mode" such that freeway computers would steer.

You could dial in "Chicago" and doze off, confidant that your vehicle would be routed safely and smoothly through the robotic freeway system, all the way from LA.

However, most of the time, you'd pilot your vehicle yourself, just like old times (even use a stick shift if you prefer -- Razz has a stick).

The old I-net might be the backbone of our smart car system, but only in some lanes and on some routes.

Fun science fiction anyway, worth projecting on the big screen. Actually, a lot of prototyping has already occured. People have been fantasizing about "smart cars" for a long time by now.

Some of the first smart cars might actually be more like smart trucks, used mostly for inert and inanimate freight -- and the occasional test pilot, thrill seeker, or quality assurance engineer.

Like when testing roller coasters, we use crash dummies, other proxies, until we're satisfied with the safety of the equipment.