A few weeks ago we did a three-part series exploring how advancements in automobile technology–particularly in onboard computers and interfaces–could improve alerts and warnings. A few days ago a colleague of ours sent around this video from a New York-based tech firm called Bug Labs that has developed a piece of hardware that can turn the car into a wireless hotspot:
Applying these concepts to alerting, here are a few highlights I came away with after watching this product demo:
- Obviously, internet connectivity means cars could receive alerts. A tool like this would connect the car to the internet, but with a little integration with the navigation system and radio–which is already happening today– AutoBug could feed alerts to the vehicle. It’s not too far a leap to then have the car interpret the alert message in the context of the car’s current position and trajectory. For example, the car’s navigation system could re-route its course to avoid a particular area, to find evacuation routes, or to avoid traffic. It could also tell the driver to watch for inclement weather or to seek shelter.
- Cars could now communicate back to officials or to others. As they mention in the video, the car would be able to notify the driver of a break-in, or send a message to family that the car has been in an accident. But this capability could also be used to send data back to public safety officials, who could then see an aggregated picture of traffic flows in response to a message. The car could also let the driver’s loved ones know that it has received an alert and its current location, or notify other cars of the alert if they didn’t receive it.
Expect to see more innovation in the “smart cars” area. We will keep our ears to the ground on how these advancements will impact public safety.