Talk to me. The next big safety breakthrough could come from having vehicles talk to each other - a concept called IntelliDrive.
It seems like such a simple concept: get cars to talk to one another and they should be able to not just save fuel, but also save lives. Yet as a group of sometimes disagreeable panelists proved at an industry confab, this week, simply getting people to talk about how to interconnect tomorrows cars is a difficult challenge.
Then again, designing the technology could be the easy part.
Most experts actually seem to agree that technology allowing cars to communicate with each other — and the infrastructure – could make our highways safer and more efficient. But they disagree about who should have access to vehicles’ computer systems – and at what level. Right now, automakers rigidly control access to the automotive operating system in a way that even Apple Computer might find constricting.
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Frank Weith, technology strategy manager in the Electronics Research Lab at Volkswagen of America, said the automakers are reluctant to give access to the vehicle’s systems. But what became increasingly clear during a session at this year’s Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan, is that they may need to.
“The firewalls have to shift,” said John Waraniak, vice president of advanced vehicle technology strategy for the Specialty Equipment Market Association. “Open frameworks are the way forward.”