Sunday, June 23, 2013

DRIVERS: out of control and making a mesh of it all? - Amazing Technology

The next time you pull onto an expressway, interstate, or highway, you might feel your vehicle taking control. Cars already driving along half a mile away will sense your approach, and you will see a space open up among the other cars immediately around you, as your vehicle effortlessly slips into place among them, equally spaced, everyone travelling the same speed, and you don’t have to do a thing.

This is a very real vision of the near future, that combines two technologies to make the magic happen. The U.S. Department Of Transportation DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communications) are one-way or two-way short- to medium-range wireless communication channels specifically designed for automotive use, and a new version of WiFi specifically for use in vehicles. In July 2010, IEEE published the IEEE 802.11p™- 2010 standard, also called 802.11p / DSRC / WAVE.

 This means that your new car will be part of a constantly morphing adhoc/mesh network, interconnected with vehicles all around it, acting in unison. In an ArsTechnica colum ”Wireless mesh networks at 65MPH—linking cars to prevent crashes”, quotes: “It will be complicated, noted Fanny Mlinarsky, founder and CTO of wireless testing firm octoScope. “DSRC itself is not a mesh. It’s a broadcast, so it only reaches vehicles within range,” she said. “Meshing requires a lot more sophistication. There’s a routing aspect to it, relaying messages to other nodes. DSRC is much simpler.”

Research has been ongoing by many vehicle manufacturers. An article in Connected Planet shows Ford investigates creating a mobile data network using the cars themselves. The vision is for all vehicles to cooperate, avoiding collisions, congestion, and other road hazards, as vehicles, and technology, merge and evolve. Scary – or a visionary breakthrough for enhanced safety?

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