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« IPass Adds BT Openzone | Main | Combined Wi-Fi/3G: Not There Yet »

December 23, 2004

Germany Funds Wireless Car Development

By Nancy Gohring

A handful of car makers have received a grant from the German government to work on a standard for wireless communication between vehicles: The idea is to allow cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even bicycles to automatically trade information about traffic conditions, bad weather, and accidents. Their work will contribute to that of a consortium that is developing a standard for such vehicle communications in an effort to avoid different, incompatible systems being used by different car makers. The system is likely to be based on 802.11.

This piece doesn’t mention it, but I’ve read elsewhere about similar efforts that also aim to interact with traffic signals. Cars in line in a big backup on a roadway could cause a traffic signal to change, potentially alleviating the backup.

If such systems are primarily ad hoc, where cars mainly communicate with each other and not base stations, cities and countries can avoid the need to build extensive and cumbersome Wi-Fi networks. Apparently these groups are focusing on the ad hoc concept. So, perhaps base stations could be located only at certain traffic signals or other spots and the radios in cars could pass information from car to car until in range of a base station.

The auto industry typically takes ages to incorporate new technology into vehicles, so this sort of concept might take many years to pop up in cars. The technology first has to be developed, the auto makers have to agree on a standard, vendors have to make the hardware, and then the car makers have to incorporate the systems in their cars, potentially starting with only certain lines of vehicles.

Posted by nancyg at December 23, 2004 10:00 AM

Categories: unique

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