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Connecting cars for a smarter driving experience

We have all heard someone say that that in the future, our cars will drive themselves. What are the pro’s of self-driving cars? They don’t get tired or distracted at the wheel, and it really seems like it will be a reality with Google’s self-driving car project and BMW’s self-driving car on the German autobahn.

One of the key assumptions behind successful self-driving car projects, including Google’s and BMW’s, is that cars will be able to communicate with one another through connected car network. With that being said, even though these projects are being tested in the real world and have had positive results, self-driving cars are far from being road-legal. On the bright side, while we’re waiting for self-driving cars to become road-legal, connected car networks innovations are made every day, and soon, connected car network technology will be required in all new cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are drafting rules for new cars to have car-to-car connective technology standard. New cars will soon be required to be equipped with technology that warns surrounding cars of potential danger in time to avoid collisions. The technology works by using a continuously transmitting radio signal that transmits a vehicle’s position, direction that the car is heading in, speed, and more. Cars, up to 300 yards away, would receive this information and alert the driver if an impending collision was underway. For example, if you are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and the car that’s two cars ahead of you suddenly stops, you would probably end up hitting the car in front of you. Instead, if your car warned you ahead of time, you (or your car) could have stepped on the brake before it was too late and prevented a crash. According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, this connected vehicle technology could be the “next great advance in saving lives.”

In the networks and graphs that we looked at in INFO 2040, we learned that it can be massively beneficial to be connected. For example, if you’re looking for a job at Google, one of the best ways to learn about the company is to reach out to you friends/classmates/etc that work or know people who work at Google. They might even end up connecting you to someone who is hiring at the company! On the other hand, if you have no connections, it is almost as if you are trying to find a job at Google whilst stuck on a deserted island. The concept behind a connected network of cars is the same. Currently, each car is like an individual node with no edges, or on a deserted island. You can’t possibly know anything about the other car and are disadvantaged that way. When cars become a part of the connected network, they will form edges and receive similar benefits to that of a very connected person. They will be in the know of what’s going on around them and can plan accordingly. Just by having a connected network, drivers could save time, money, and lives.

I look forward to seeing how the connected car network will revolutionize the way we drive and make everyone’s driving experience safer.


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