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Power Networking Transportation

The Grid, Our Cars, and the Net 222

Posted by kdawson
from the one-idea-to-link-them-all dept.
Wired is running a piece on the big idea of Robin Chase — the founder of Zipcar — that we need to build our smart power grid on open standards and include cars as nodes in a mesh network. "'Today in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers and tanks and airplanes are running around using mesh networks,' said Chase. 'It works, it's secure, it's robust. If a node or device disappears, the network just reroutes the data.' And, perhaps most important, it's in motion. ... Build a smart electrical grid that uses Internet protocols and puts a mesh network device in every structure that has an electric meter. Sweep out the half dozen networks in our cars and replace them with an open, Internet-based platform. Add a mesh router. A nationwide mesh cloud will form, linking vehicles that can connect with one another and with the rest of the network. It's cooperative gain gone national, gone mobile, gone open."
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The Grid, Our Cars, and the Net

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  • great idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by u4ya (1248548)
    no longer will we be slaves to the ISPs!
    • Sure, but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by g-to-the-o-to-the-g (705721) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @07:46PM (#27892851) Homepage Journal
      Maybe instead of continuing to focus on the dinosaur that is the automobile, more effort should be put into building very a efficient mass transit infrastructure. Just a thought.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gb506 (738638)

        Regarding the US: Mass transit is fine for many but certainly not all people living in urban areas, a lot fewer people who live in the suburbs, and almost nobody who lives in rural areas. The nearest grocery store to my house is 18 miles away. Mass transit would be an extremely inefficient method of transport out here. Either you'd have to eat a really, really big cost-per-ride bill while providing some semblance of decent and frequent service, or you'd have to provide really, really poor, infrequent, PITA

        • Re:Sure, but (Score:4, Interesting)

          by driptray (187357) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @03:31AM (#27894937)

          Regarding the US: Mass transit is fine for many but certainly not all people living in urban areas, a lot fewer people who live in the suburbs, and almost nobody who lives in rural areas. The nearest grocery store to my house is 18 miles away. Mass transit would be an extremely inefficient method of transport out here.

          If you build roads and no transit you get the US-style sprawl you describe. If you build transit and only minimal roads you get high-density transit-friendly development.

          The transport infrastructure "drives" the style of city you get. Build it and they come.

          • Re:Sure, but (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ashriel (1457949) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:05AM (#27895705)

            His point was that public transportation is useless for rural U.S., and that no amount of infrastructure re-organization will ameliorate the need for private vehicles in those areas.

            Public trans. is great for cities; we need more of it there, no doubt. I live in a city and work 8 miles from my home (in a neighboring city) - using the current bus system actually takes more time than walking there directly (2.5 hrs vs. 2 hrs), and I feel a little guilty about driving so short a distance.

            But the need for privately owned vehicles will never go away in the U.S. - at least not until our population exceeds some 2 billion or more people, and given that our birth rate has just recently fallen below the rate of replenishment (yay!), it'll be a good long time before that happens, if ever.

            We have a need, more than any other industrial nation (save maybe Australia), for clean and efficient cars. The fact that our auto industry is so very reluctant to supply them demands a paradigm shift. If I, as a layman, can design a 3 person vehicle that gets 180 miles to the gallon (of biodiesel) based on existing designs and current technology, what exactly is the holdup?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by fl!ptop (902193)

              If I, as a layman, can design a 3 person vehicle that gets 180 miles to the gallon (of biodiesel) based on existing designs and current technology, what exactly is the holdup?

              the holdup is supply-and-demand. even though you can build it, would anyone buy your eco-friendly biodiesel? i can think of only a few that might [southparkstudios.com], unless the gov't starts forcing people to buy them. in light of the recent detriot bailouts, that may very well happen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FooAtWFU (699187)
        We've already had our "in America, living patterns and mass transit mostly don't work out that great" discussion this week. What new points are we possibly going to be able to bring up this time?
      • by DrBuzzo (913503)
        Insightful?!?!

        Mass transit is far older than the automobile and has had closer runins with extinction. The automobile is far from a dinosaur. If you owned one you'd probably realize that. It may need to be altered over time with new fuels etc, but this idea that cars are dead is idiotic political spin.

        Some car companies may be in bad shape, but that has less to do with their end product than it has to do with extremely bad buisiness management and labor costs.

        Not that I have anything against
        • The suburbs and rural areas are fine the way they are. It's the cities where you don't have a 200 square ft contiguous block of road in the entire city that doesn't have a pollution belching machine idling on top of it. Bringing a bus or tram within walking distance of every block is feasible in the cities, and that's where we have problems with pollution.
      • by icebike (68054)

        Exactly.

        Why are cars needed at all in this pipe-dream?

        Would not home routers serve as well? Any area not populated densely enough for home routers would not gain anything by having an occasional car drive by.

        Mesh networks do not need to be based on mobile elements.

        But the sooner or later you reach the edge of the mesh. Then the piper must be paid. Someone has to fund the next hop, whether its a boarder or an ocean.

      • by westlake (615356)

        Maybe instead of continuing to focus on the dinosaur that is the automobile, more effort should be put into building very a efficient mass transit infrastructure. Just a thought.

        Mass transit is efficient only when it moves point to point along a narrow and very densely populated corridor.

        The Manhatten Transfer. The Chicago Loop.

        It is efficient in the city that never sleeps.

        It is effcient in moving passengers with a single small carry-on bag - nothing too awkward or fragile. Passengers wth mobility proble

        • There's no way a new Ford Automobile plus $800-$1000/yr insurance plus $2.20/gallon gasoline is cheaper than buying walking shoes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by john.r.strohm (586791)

            How many miles are you willing and able to walk to and from work, every day, in all weather conditions, year-round? More to the point: How many HOURS are you willing and able to walk to and from work, every day, in all weather conditions, year-round?

            Figure 80 paces/minute cadence (standard military marching pace), 6 steps to 5 yards (standard military marching pace) and you get 12,000 ft/hour, or about 2.3 mph. If you live 5 miles from work, that's over two hours EACH WAY. On a bicycle, that's less than

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Ashriel (1457949)

              Uh, most people don't travel around by military march. The individual, taking his time, walks at 3 mph. A fit individual walking briskly moves at about 4 mph. A power-walker covers ground at 5-6 mph. I know these things because I used to cover around 100 miles on foot every week, for exercise and exploratory purposes.

      • >>>more effort should be put into building very a efficient mass transit infrastructure.

        The automobile IS a very efficient mass transit infrastructure. It's extremely flexible, allowing people to leave home whenever they want, make detours to buy food or meet with the kids' teachers, and thanks to innovations from manufacturers can get 70mpg (Honda Insight) or even 240mpg (Volkswagen 1 Liter car).

        Contrast that with trains which have inconvenient stops located miles-apart, only serve a few people w

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by init100 (915886)

          Contrast that with trains which have inconvenient stops located miles-apart, only serve a few people within walking distance of those stops

          Maybe you would consider walking distance to a train station an advantage when looking for a new home? People certainly do here, which has stimulated dense development close to train, subway and tram stops.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      Slashdot's packets are going to get to you via 300,000 WiFi hops?

      • I think the idea is that you can sit in the park and your request will get forwarded through a few passing cars until it reaches a land-based node. You could even pay for land access; it would be much more efficient (and cheaper!) than blanketing an entire city from a cell tower. And it doesn't cost the passerbys anything to run a repeater.

        This tech does work; it's in OLPC and it's widely deployed in military applications.
    • That's only going to work if we go to IPv6, of course. Every device would have a public facing IP address, and you'd wind up with several devices per person across the nation. Easily pass the ~4 billion limit in just the US this way.
    • no longer will we be slaves to the ISPs!

      Indeed. I for one welcome our new power company and mechanic internet overlords. They'll surely understand issues like P2P and fight the good fight for us.

  • Payback (Score:3, Funny)

    by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Saturday May 09, 2009 @07:38PM (#27892813) Homepage
    Does this mean I can be alerted when I get near someone who cut me off before?
  • Imagine it, man. It would be like so many little nets inside of bigger nets going on forever (deep inhale, coughing exhale). Wow, uh, it would be like TRON, only way better. I need a salty snack.

  • And the crackers and vandals will pee themselves with joy.

  • Too much to lose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shogun (657) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @07:44PM (#27892841)

    Big ISPs and phone companies have too much to lose to allow this to ever happen.

    It would be too hard to be tapped by various 3 letter government agencies so they wouldn't like it either.

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Mod this man up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spikenerd (642677)
      If a big monopoly starts pulling out their big guns, that should a good reason to people to seriously consider whether it is worth their time to support it. I'm glad that the great men responsible for the freedoms I now have didn't have your defeated attitude.
  • Forget cars (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 09, 2009 @07:47PM (#27892857)
    What we need is to have it integrated into our phones and that we can tether to so:
    a) consumers choose phones with over phones without
    b) we can use it even outside the car and
    c) it's not connected to cars (better to stop the car rebellion right there, tyvm).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zencyde (850968)
      But what about battery life? Or do you propose we wait until carbon nanotubes fix the Universe?
      • I'd (naively, I'm sure) expect battery life to be better. You wouldn't need to push nearly as much power through your radio to talk to another phone 50 ft away as to a tower a couple of miles away. OTOH, the traffic through your phone would be immensely higher, so maybe that would be the dominant effect at the end of the day. More careful analysis is indicated.
  • A nation-wide cloud? That sounds pretty bad. I heard the fumes were toxic, that's why I stopped making it in my basement. ... OH! MeSh cloud. I see.

  • by Zero_DgZ (1047348) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @07:53PM (#27892903)

    I vote thanks but no thanks on this. Despite whatever wild-eyed claims about "openness" or "oneness" or whatever other hippie bullshit the brainchilds of this are spouting, there is absolutely NO information of any kind that is appropriate for my vehicle to be broadcasting. I'm sure the police and Federal government would absolutely LOVE to have a way to track the location of every vehicle in the country, not to mention who owns it and who they're talking to via their built in net cellphone at the time. Integrating this with the idea of a vehicle is a hilariously bad idea, because the instant it comes about there will be DOT, Federal, and State laws with a laundry list of mandates about how "open" this system will be allowed to be to be "roadworthy," and I guarantee you not a single one of these mandates will be in your best interest.

    Pass.

    If we're going to do the mesh network thing, I'd rather have it in a portable device like a phone or PDA that doesn't give the government a billion inroads to regulate, legislate, and subvert it, and one that I can chose not to buy, to turn off, or to leave at home.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PetriBORG (518266)
      Not to rain on your parade here, because I really would love a sweet mesh network, but our phones and PDAs are already used by the gov to track us - remember that the FBI can turn on the voice mic (and for sure the GPS and maybe the camera by now) of any phone - even if that phone doesn't appear to be on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zero_DgZ (1047348)

        Not to rain on YOUR parade, but you should read and comprehend my entire post before trying to nitpick.

        You can turn your cell phone off, you can leave it at home, or you can chose not to have one. Try doing that with a mesh networking "black box" that's buried somewhere within your car's computer system and the DOT has mandated is illegal to disable or remove (if the future-car-to-be even works without it). If this weird vision of the future comes to be you may just want to invest in a bicycle.

        My point wasn

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          You can turn your cell phone off, you can leave it at home, or you can chose not to have one. Try doing that with a mesh networking "black box" that's buried somewhere within your car's computer system and the DOT has mandated is illegal to disable or remove (if the future-car-to-be even works without it). If this weird vision of the future comes to be you may just want to invest in a bicycle.

          Do you have any idea how irrelevant your cellphone is? If the government really wants to track your car, they can simply use automated image processing of satellite data. Actually, satellites are only a piece of the puzzle; we have constant overflight from surveillance planes AND drones over much of the USA. And of course, the RFID tags in tires (every major manufacturer uses them or will, for "inventory"... because the bar codes on the side of tires apparently weren't enough) are "easy" to read with embedd

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Just think though, if you no longer had to pay 2.25 per gallon of gasoline, but instead your electric car just pulled energy from the road it traveled on at a rate that would not only be lower but would then be tacked on to your electric bill. The same is true for the future as it is now, the best we can do to keep our privacy is make sure laws protect them, and more appropriately require a WARRANT. No more of this warrantless bullshit.
    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Then we have to stop the stupid law that allows the government to spy on us and record everything we do.

      Don't blame the technology for all the government bullshit.
  • One thing of note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @08:00PM (#27892937) Journal
    I can't say I completely understand the article. It seems either she, or the person who wrote the article, is confusing mesh networking with power distribution. The article doesn't make clear how the two fit together (maybe someone else who understood can explain better). It talks about wireless networking at the same time it talks about plugging things in. Those two don't seem to fit well together (yeah, I know, some companies are developing wireless electric device chargers, but it's a totally different concept).

    One thing that interested me in the article was this quote, " the Obama Administration allocated $4.5 billion in the stimulus bill for smart grid R&D." So we're getting some kind of smarter grid anyway, at least some research into it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxume (22995)

      She wants anything connected to the smart power distribution grid to communicate using a mesh network with an open design. She thinks that putting the same sort of mesh nodes into vehicles would allow the overall mesh network to function better and, apparently, that it would be useful for something.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      The "Smart Grid" is the concept that you can make electricity use (and distribution) more efficient by building in "smart" power-meters. These "smart" power-meters are networked , which lets them do.... things, some of which may be useful (remote meter-reading? charging you different time-of-day rates? and actually letting you know what those rates are so they can turn them up on a very hot summer day when everyone's AC is on and encourage people thereby to use less power so you don't need as many expensive
      • Re:One thing of note (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 09, 2009 @09:06PM (#27893261)

        And why you'd mount it on a car, I'm not sure: the car itself doesn't have too much data to transmit

        Some ideas:

        • car in front to the car behind: I hit the breaks, and am coming to a sudden halt. Break now, or you'll hit me;
        • car behind to car in front: I'm accelerating and taking you over. Don't change lanes;
        • car to other cars on the road: my tires lost grip at [GPS coordinates]. Forward to other cars that road is slippery there;
        • car to the police: I've been in an accident at [GPS coordinates]. My driver's vital signs are fluctuating.

        And for some privacy nightmare:

        • I think my driver is drunk. I'd better call the cops
        • by he-sk (103163)

          Finally, somebody gets it.

          • Which shows why we need TPM like devices for computers such as these.

            What would happen if, instead, humans started sending out really bad warnings or spamming completely wrong information? ..while on the Interstate... " HIT BRAKE. ACCIDENT AHEAD" ... and your car listens.

            A TPM, or some sort of signing mechanism could avert the problems above.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          Hell, I'd like the ability to overlay the windshield with a HUD conveying speed information and wheel angles so I know what everyone around me is doing. Maybe shade the lanes so I know when it's safe to change. Or something. Apple will figure it out when they produce the iCar system, found only in select fancy-ass cars.

        • by karnal (22275)

          car to the police: I've been in an accident at [GPS coordinates]. My driver's vital signs are fluctuating.

          All I think when I read that is "Michael... Michael, are you alright??? Michael!"

        • by dbcad7 (771464)
          • Hacker on overpass to all cars below .. Brake now or you'll hit me, Don't change lanes, I think my driver(s) are drunk.. engine off
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by eriks (31863)

          Yes! Exactly. This has the potential to (ultimately) make automobie-related deaths a thing of the past.

          Go one step further:

          • The ability to "Declare an emergency" to acquire traffic priority -- not unlike with air traffic. The emergency would (of course) be reviewed, after the fact, and you're fined if there wasn't one.
          • Lane of road to all traffic traveling in, or entering that lane: The speed of this lane is (currently) 160kph, adjust speed

          Basically have cooperative traffic "networks" where cars can be saf

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          And for a different kind of privacy nightmare:

                  * I just saw a cop with a speed camera, everyone behind slow down now. (you'd probably get this for free as cars behind are informed you slammed on your brakes, so they know to slow down to avoid the accident/obstacle/whatever you just braked for)

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          I actually prefer my car not to break. Which is why I'd prefer it not take commands from an external network. Yes, that means I'd rather it didn't brake under external car-jacker control too.

  • by convolvatron (176505) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @08:28PM (#27893069)

    15 years ago when i looked at the literature there were substantial problems with the efficiency of the selected routes, route convergence and message overhead. these things got much worse as the rate of change in the peer graph goes up.

    have things gotten that much better?

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)

      If you throw enough computing power / bandwidth at it, message overhead and efficiency aren't as much of a problem - particularly for sending boring data packets that can tolerate a little latency and lossiness. We've made huge strides in the past 15 years.

      The part I'm trying to figure out is, "why put them in a car?" It's not like the car is a major consumer or producer of data. Is this really going to change all that much? If not, and if non-car-things are to be using this mesh, it seems that you'd be

  • by Datamonstar (845886) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @08:42PM (#27893131)
    ... will plugging my car into this "mesh" gain me? I don't see a reason for this. It's excessive and prone to more problems than we already have (I guess. I don't even understand exactly what problem she's trying to solve so as to properly determine that). I don't see the automobile in the same light that she does. Just let my car be a car and be powered by my power, Mrs. Xzibit.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      I guess. I don't even understand exactly what problem she's trying to solve so as to properly determine that

      In her own words, from TFA: "Our electric infrastructure is designed for the rare peak of usage," Chase says. "That's expensive and wasteful."

      She's trying to use the charging and discharging of electric cars to balance peak and off-peak demand for electricity.

      And exactly WHAT... ... will plugging my car into this "mesh" gain me?

      Much cheaper electricity. Fewer rolling blackouts. Perhaps even cleaner

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Interesting that someone who openly admitted ignorance still feels compelled to offer an opinion on the idea proposed here.

        You must be new here.

  • by hwyhobo (1420503) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @08:47PM (#27893163)

    Those who actually bothered to read TFA, what exactly is the point of this? I understand Robin Chase loves feel-good social causes, and she is a good organizer, but no one ever accused her of being an engineer. Having read TFA, it sounds to me a bit like confused meandering of someone trying to figure out how to use some of the stimulus billions for yet another social pet cause, but without the clear definition of what that cause is.

    • someone trying to figure out how to use some of the stimulus billions for yet another social pet cause

      Bingo.
      You will see more of this soon.
    • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fantastic Lad (198284)

      Having read TFA, it sounds to me a bit like confused meandering of someone trying to figure out how to use some of the stimulus billions for yet another social pet cause, but without the clear definition of what that cause is.

      My feelings exactly. It has lots of woo-woo words and ideas which seem magical and yet, I can't understand what the fundamental idea is exactly. --It almost sounds like she's suggesting that we use phone system-like switching technology to route power to individual homes and devices.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Basically, it's single-use public transportation for people in cities who don't own cars. I use one two or three times a month to make runs to the big suburban shopping centers and such. Occasionally I take one for a few days and visit my parents. Otherwise I'm on foot, bike, train, or bus.

        It works very well in my opinion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dahamma (304068)

        It has lots of woo-woo words and ideas which seem magical and yet, I can't understand what the fundamental idea is exactly.

        That is actually a great description of anything appearing in Wired...

    • my guess is that zipcar probably pays alot to provide the network that their cars currently use.

    • by forkazoo (138186)

      Those who actually bothered to read TFA, what exactly is the point of this? I understand Robin Chase loves feel-good social causes, and she is a good organizer, but no one ever accused her of being an engineer. Having read TFA, it sounds to me a bit like confused meandering of someone trying to figure out how to use some of the stimulus billions for yet another social pet cause, but without the clear definition of what that cause is.

      Allow high load devices to communicate with energy producers to reduce peak

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      Its nothing new, the idea of cars talking to each other to transmit road conditions, keep a certain distance, allow faster fluid road usage, impose road-travel pricing, etc have been around for a while.

      http://www.today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/070508_network-on-wheels.aspx [ucla.edu]
      http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-10895_7-6733591-1.html [cnet.com]

      There are probably other reasons to have it, from the 2nd link:

      Google is also taking a strong interest in this technology. Why would an Internet search company be interested in car technology? Because it wants to extend its reach into your car. And where Google goes, Yahoo and Microsoft are likely to follow. Right now, navigation systems have static databases of restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses. A vehicle communication infrastructure could make that dynamic by sending requests for local restaurants, for example, over the network, with results coming back from Google, Yahoo, or any other online database.

      so - safety, taxation, and advertising. I suppose it would also make stealing your car nigh on impossible, and it might help with

  • So once this is done, can I IM other drivers and give them driving tips? Like, oh, I don't know -- "Hey buddy! If you'd bothered to use your freakin' turn signal, I coulda made my left, and not had to wait another ten minutes for an opening in traffic! Thanks a lot!" Because, if so? Sign me up!
  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @09:00PM (#27893231) Homepage

    Folks who write articles about smart grid communicating with cars, etc bring to mind foolish talk of internet toasters and networked refrigerators.

    The current electrical grid (speaking of USA; PJM region in particular) is very reliable as it is. Grid operators already have the ability to shape production; with millions of users, usage patterns are easy to spot and plan for ahead of time.

    In my view, smart grid and smart meters are simply a way to control people's usage and charging them more; residential electric bills will likely become very complicated.

    All this talk about people charging their cars at night and then selling it back during the day for extra credit is nonsense, because when millions of people are charging at night, it's easily conceivable that nightly usage could be just as high as during the day.

    In respect to cars communicating with other cars - why? It's obvious that most people will charge their cars as often as possible, even if told not to, in particular, at night so they are sure to have enough charge to get to get the kids to school, get to work, etc.

    The internet is another means of communication - it's not going magically solve energy issues nor change human nature.

    In my view, a better approach than a so-called smart grid is developing / promoting more efficient energy production methods, in particular nuclear (solar, wind, etc are nice, but are lacking in energy density), along with encouraging people to produce some of their own energy for their needs, such as with solar panels on their roof.

    Ron

    • I did a lot of tariff programming back in the day and I loved it...

      Electrical demand is not the same as network demand. If your ISP is short on bandwidth, everyone just slows down. But if your power company is short on power, at worst, they have to start throwing people off of the grid, because everyone must have 110VAC 60hz power.

      This reality is reflected in the pricing of electricity, especially for larger customers.

      The kind of an electric bill a refinery gets, for example, shows this. In such bills, you start with the raw data obtained from power recorders - every kwh and kvarh (reactive power), is recorded at either 15 minute or hourly increments, depending on the utility. This data is rolled up to look at peak demand, and bill to date usage, broken out into buckets representing time of use, each of which has its own price. For the most part, the demand portion of the bill is roughly half, and the other half is the cumulative portion.

      So, of all the actionable items in a bill that one could act on, really, instantaneous demand is the most important thing to optimize. If you jack up your demand during the day, for just one hour, by 50%, you've significantly increased your monthly bill... because the utility still has to have equipment to satisfy peak service.

      The thing is, industrial customers have known this now for at least 10 years, if not longer, and there's a whole electrical services industry designed to help them avoid that maximum demand charge. Some companies making ice at night for cooling by day. Others try and have multiple shifts. Still others just put in their own local generation that kicks in when their utility usage gets too high. All of this is controlled by automated SCADA systems that have been field proven for at least a decade, if not longer.

      The point is, I'm wondering how much smarter the electrical world can actually get? What you are really talking about is putting residential customers on industrial style tariffs. But, what would be the benefit? I mean, there's not too much a residential customer could practically do that would cost effectively help them lower their peak demand in such a way as to be cost effective.

      For example, in California, for SCE, the GS-2 tariff specifies a demand charge of less than $10 / kw. SCE GS2 [sce.com]. If you figure that most homes use less than 2Kw max demand, there's not much room for economical demand shaving. If you lowered your peak demand from 3kw to 2kw, you would be saving $120 a year. There's few, if any devices that could store energy at night, help with peak demand by day, where you could actually recoup that investment economically.

      • by Zironic (1112127)

        I think the idea is that future electrical cars will consume heck loads of power, if they all started charging at the same time when everyone gets home they'd probably break the grid however if they're connected to the "smart grid" then they could be nice and spread out their charging through the night so everyone is charged by the morning.

        Fully charged cars could even help the grid out by sending out power at peak times.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      The internet is another means of communication - it's not going magically solve energy issues nor change human nature.

      Not only that but the same idiots also fail to realise these systems need electricity to run. My phone does, not allot, but times by a few million and suddenly the power consumption is in a measurable quantity. Same goes for my WiFi point.

  • Damn it... (Score:5, Funny)

    by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @09:14PM (#27893289) Homepage
    Hello? Sorry, I'm going to be late for work. I'm trying to get out of my driveway, but the car just says "Buffering..."
  • So, the internet could someday actually *be* a big truck?
  • Sweep out the half dozen networks in our cars and replace them with an open, Internet-based platform.

    Most vehicles have just two networks, one for components inside the cabin and one for the rest of the vehicle. Both are implemented with hardware that's way too primitive to cope with IP. They're completely datagram-based services whose primary requirement is to be able to cope with a large amount of line noise, hence the protocols are slow (typically 250Kb/s or thereabouts). Opening these networks up to

  • Don't want my car part of anything not under my complete control and with no monitoring by anyone other then myself by sitting in the drivers seat.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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