The smart car was once merely thought to be a highly fuel efficient car that got more miles per gallon than any other vehicle, while still remaining safe by today’s standards. Federal regulators have now announced that the smart car may really be smart in the near future, with the installation of wi-fi services on board. Don’t get it confused for internet service to help you update your Facebook status. The point of wi-fi within the smart car would be for the purpose of protecting both the driver and the passenger, while feeding real-time data to the driver to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Starting in Detroit, about 3,000 cars, buses and trucks will be outfitted with both data recorders and a wi-fi style hookup that allows it to transmit information about accidents and other traffic issues. When activated, the system can warn of changes in traffic pattern, the possibility of collisions and other unforeseen issues directly to the driver and help not only avoid trouble in the first place, but assist in creating bigger problems, by telling driver to choose a different route to their destination.
The system isn’t without fault though, and it certainly needs to undergo quite the extensive installation. For the system to fully work, it needs to be able to communicate with other cars. With the number of vehicles in all of Detroit, the car-making capital of the country, it should be presumed that the initial test, set to cost about $25 million, would need the vehicles to stay fairly close to each other.
It’s estimated that this style of wireless communication between cars could reduce the danger of accidents by as much as 80 percent, while reducing traffic substantially. There are no foreseen rules that will be established requiring cars to have such technology, but laws usually don’t come into play until after a test run of them is complete.
Eight of the world’s top auto manufacturers are expected to step up and support the program with both vehicles and engineering assistance. While many manufacturers already have accident prevention technology installed, none of them have such a device that allows them to communicate with other cars to help establish better decision making for drivers in each car.
For years, cities have spent billions of dollars improving on traffic by changing the infrastructure. With the new smart car test, it is expected that by changing the traffic, the need to spend such money on infrastructure won’t be as necessary, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for better investments.