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Wireless Networking Hardware Technology

Automakers Working on Car-to-Car Ad-Hoc Networks 376

LouCifer writes "The Register is reporting that BMW, Audi, Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat are working with a German government grant to help develop a standard method for car-to-car wireless networking dubbed 'NOW' (Network On Wheels). NOW is based on 802.11 and IPv6 to allow inter-vehicle communication based on ad-hoc networking to share traffic information. With routing capabilities, the hope is the vehicles will be able to warn each other - and the drivers - about bad weather, accidents and road problems. A prototype is expected by mid-2005 with field trials to start late Q1 2006."
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Automakers Working on Car-to-Car Ad-Hoc Networks

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  • by LBArrettAnderson ( 655246 ) * on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:13PM (#11151285)
    "Wait... This can't be right... bad weather... everywhere!?"
  • Sweet (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Nothing can go wrong here. Is this the IT dork equivalent of the famous redneck "hey y'all, watch this"?
  • by farsideofthemoon ( 766786 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:13PM (#11151306) Homepage
    can get spam and porn too...
    • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @07:26PM (#11153825)
      Great.. now my car can get spam and porn too...

      Not to mention the wonderful wackiness that will come when spyware/adware gets involved.

      • Driver: Dammit, where the hell are we going now?!?
      • Interstate Explorer: McDonalds, left turn off Exit 39.
      • Driver: This is the tenth frickin' McD's we've been to this trip!!!
      • Interstate Explorer: The EULA for the AutoNav Wi-Fi Free Edition you installed clearly stated that you wanted to be offered special deals by AutoNav Wi-Fi partner locations along your route.
      • Driver: But I don't *want* another Big Mac! I thought AutoNav just said it'd help optimize my driving routes.
      • Driver: Execute command "Search Burger King".
      • Interstate Explorer: Request redirected to McWi-Fi McSearch McEngine (tm).
      • Interstate Explorer: Search complete, one match found for topic "McDonalds".
      • Driver: I said BURGER KING!
      • Interstate Explorer: McDonalds, 10 ft ahead on left, entering drive-thru lane.
      • McOrderBot : Welcome to McDonalds!
      • Driver: Help, I'm being kidnapped!
      • McOrderBot : Macrosoft Voice Recognition (tm) engaged.
      • McOrderBot : Hello to you too. One McKid's Naptime Meal. Honk once to confirm.
      • Interstate Explorer: *honk*
      • Interstate Explorer: *honk* *honk* *honk*
      • McOrderBot : Four McKid's Naptime Meals. Credit card info received from AutoNav ChargeBot (tm). Thank you for using the McDonalds/AutoNav "One Honk Shopping (tm)" service. Please pull forward.
      • Driver: (jiggling door handle to no avail)
      • Driver: Open the driver-side door!
      • Interstate Explorer and McOrderBot (in unison): We're sorry, Dave, but we can't let you do that.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can see it now. Road rage to new extremes. Kick ban people for tailgating.
  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:14PM (#11151309) Homepage
    Imagine if this technology were built into large parking lots, so you would know upon entering where the nearest parking place was that did not have a likely parker approaching ahead of you...
    • by leerpm ( 570963 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:34PM (#11151634)
      Other good uses:
      • Automatic warnings to all cars of accidents *the moment* it happens.. Think about how many lives could be saved if you could even warn oncoming cars a few seconds earlier.
      • Ability for travellers to self-police. If some guy is driving 60mph+ over the speed limit, likely you could have people report this driver.. Enough complaints and an officer will know where to respond.
      • Automatic 'fastest route' calculation based on traffic densities. No more guessing, you can just rely on computer algorithms using real-time information.
      • Other good uses....

        And, thankfully, none of those "good" uses can be spoofed by an "evil" spammer, hacker, or bored techie.

        Oh, wait....nevermind. T

      • "Ability for travellers to self-police. If some guy is driving 60mph+ over the speed limit, likely you could have people report this driver.. Enough complaints and an officer will know where to respond."

        Hmm..yup, and help generate more revenue for the cops. Heck, let them earn it themselves...

        I see this as the #1 reason to 'hack' the system...or at least opt out of the communication network.

  • by Jeffery ( 810339 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:14PM (#11151310)
    "Michael, there's a hooker two corners up on the right."
  • by xstonedogx ( 814876 ) <> on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:14PM (#11151317)
    A little spoofing and I should be able to convince all the people ahead of me and next to me that there's an accident up ahead and they should take an alternate route.
  • by Nine Tenths of The W ( 829559 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:14PM (#11151322)
    It's called CB radio
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:14PM (#11151324)
    Now Entering... #401-West-Toronto on
    Welcome yup28! Please read the !rules
    [p1geon] hey yup!
    [yup28] !rules
    [yup28] oh hey p1ge... just checking rules... brb2min
    *** OPP1 sending you rules.txt: Read them carefully please, and you can help stay safe while driving.
    [alsz847] Yes! I just got the lastest version of XP over C2C. Remember when we used to have to pay for it before MSC went under???
    [geek-boy] Yeah? Where you headed now anyway?
    [geek-boy] omg that was years ago als... you must be old
    [speedy] WTF Cut me off asshole!!!!
    * speedy slaps geek-boy with a large trout
    [geek-boy] Sorry... I was lighting a smoke.
    [angel-eyez2] heya boys...
    [alsz847] it says this has some new features like a fenderwall and splat... wtf is a splat
    [geek-boy] hey angel... you are looking spiffy today!! *whistle*
    [angel-eyez2] pfft ya right that hair is so y2k... nice try tho studly studderson
    [speedy] als: it's a bug remover... for your windows... except it cleans windshields too
    [alsz847] Argh. I crashed.
    [alsz847] Hold on guys.
    [speedy] serves you right driving like you're on crack ffs j/k
    [alsz847] Is there an admin in here???!?!?!?!
    [geek-boy] you ok d00d??? omg!!!
    [angel-eyez2] i'm near him... his car's on FIRE! 0mg he's cute!!!
    [angel-eyez2] msging admin for him
    *** OPP-J55 has entered #401-West-Toronto
    [speedy] thank god, a cop when ya need one
    [OPP-J55] What seems to be the problem?
    [angel-eyez2] check my pos, OPP... I'm at the accident with alz
    [yup28] hi is anyone here?

    [[[* C2C: {car2car}]]]
  • by JossiRossi ( 840900 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:15PM (#11151325) Homepage
    1. Viruses.
    2. Malware forcing ads onto speedometer.
    3. Hackers reversing the pedal controls.
    and of course...
    4. Car networks becoming sentient and attempting to destory humanity.
    • 5. UUCP (this sort of nonstatic network just screams for that protocol), and of course,
      6. ???
      7. Profit!

    • Ummm... Why would they integrate this system into the same control system as the car? Also, #3 requies you to be a) drive by wire and b) have the two system connected in some way. #2 requires said speedometer being able to display adds in the first place. #4, you assume this isn't already happening?
      • are you saying that just because there's a computer in the car that doesn't mean that the entire car can be controlled remotely??? Sir, I don't think you watch enough movies. Not nearly enough.
      • "Also, #3 requies you to be a) drive by wire "

        Already happening...I know for instance the Vette starting with the C5 (97?) the gas is 'drive by wire'. I dropped that thing after 3 years...TOO much was computer electrical demons in the thing. Some days, you'd get in, put in the key, and the sideview mirrors would self adjust up and down, seat moved to where 'it' wanted to me..etc.

        I sold that and went back to a nice, mostly mechanical 1986 930. Relatively inexpensive to get into (but, a bi

  • by bmongar ( 230600 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:15PM (#11151328)
    I think it would be great to be able to send messages to other drivers. I'd like some precanned ones like 'Get out of the left lane slowpoke', 'Try a turn signal', 'Off My Ass' just to name a few. I realize that this probably isn't what the article is about (of course I didn't read it) but that's what comes to mind when I think of a car to car network.
  • Oh, great. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr. Bad Example ( 31092 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:15PM (#11151330) Homepage
    Now I'm going to start seeing "PWNX0R3D N00B" on my car stereo every time someone cuts me off...
  • I'd be waiting for someone to write something to send out bogus information.

    "[insert your favorite road] is blocked due to a 20 car pile-up. Try a different route."
    At the same time, you drive though with mysteriously light traffic.
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zorilla ( 791636 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:15PM (#11151341)
    First, they're going to install communication systems on all cars, then I'm going to lose all my points on my cab-driving license after the car phones home during an accident, then they're going to ask me to save the universe.

    • Dude, what are you complaining about? You get to make out with the Supreme Being!

      (And no, not the one from Time Bandits, nyuk-nyuk-nyuk)

  • by Salo2112 ( 628590 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:16PM (#11151352)
    Great. As if cell phones are not a big enough distraction, now we'll have to contend with drivers downloading mp3s, rolling game rooms and drive-by hackings.
    • drive-by hackings

      Gawd, this has huge potential. You pull up next to some guy with huge ass thump-thump-thump speakers at a traffic light. Your automated IPV6 malware running in the laptop in the passenger seat hacks into his system as you watch cross-traffic drive through the intersection. As the left-turn arrow comes on his radio faceplate begins scrolling the text "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US" as the radio begins ignoring all user input from the controls. As the light turns green and you drive away,
  • Protocol (Score:5, Funny)

    by clone22 ( 252516 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:16PM (#11151355)
    <breaker> <goodBuddy> <smokey> <milemarker>126</milemarker> </smokey></goodBuddy> </breaker>
    • That thought crossed my mind a while ago, and was the first thing that occurred to me upon seeing this. Now, it may be ad hoc, but perhaps cops might find the senders by signal strength, and 'discover' broken tail lights, or something similar.
  • Hurling profanities out the window was starting to strain my vocal cords.
  • look to the future (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cakefool ( 801210 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:17PM (#11151364) Journal
    Looking past the uses in TFA, one good though far off possibility is to have cars all travelling to the same route "train up" real close to each other - one lead car makes the decisions, cars can peel in and out as their route dictates etc. For long journeys, rotate the front duty, just as you see olympic cycle teams do. The long chain of cars uses less fuel than the same number of independant cars, and behaves only slightly more complex than one car.

    Obviously this is in the self drive car realm of probabilities, but hey, we might as well try.

    Oh yeah, "imagine an ad hoc network of these" jokes coming soon
    • by Mr. Bad Example ( 31092 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:22PM (#11151461) Homepage
      > Oh yeah, "imagine an ad hoc network of these" jokes coming soon

      I believe you mean "Imagine a BMW cluster of these".
    • Oh yeah, "imagine an ad hoc network of these" jokes coming soon

      Actually, I'm expecting the "imagine a beowulf cluster of these" jokes.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      the only thing holding it back is liability.
    • one good though far off possibility is to have cars all travelling to the same route "train up" real close to each other

      The blue angels have a trick where they all get real close to each other and follow the leader. Then they buz the ground REAL CLOSE. One time the leader came in a bit too low and we lost five very good pilots. Imagine what would happen here with cars if one goes off the road/cliff. I can just see the headlines now. "500 Car pileup, NO SURVIVORS". Yes, trafic is that bad in the Was
    • "Obviously this is in the self drive car realm of probabilities, but hey, we might as well try."

      That was the first thing I thought, "One step closer to self driving cars." Before we have cars that can drive themselves, it is vital that the cars can communicate with each other.

    • BMW already has something similar in the 5 and 7 series - active cruise control []. Only controls the car speed, but basically ensures that you keep an even distance away from the car in front.

      It's a shame this hasn't been more widely adopted because it has major benefits on conjested freeways. They did a study in the UK a few years ago that showed why conjestion occurred on the M25 - a notoriously busy ring road around London. When a road starts to get crowded, anyone who overreacts when breaking causes a c

  • by neurocutie ( 677249 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:17PM (#11151376)
    I can see it now...

    Carol: I just hate driving down to your 'rents for Xmas, honey. The traffic on 95 is horrible, particularly at the Delaware Bridge...

    Bob: I've got an idea... an hour before we leave, I'll just hack in a traffic report of a huge accident so that cars will re-route. It will be clear sailing for us!

    Carole: Oh, Bob... You're such a hot stud. I'm so glad I married Geek...

    • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:30PM (#11151584)
      • Carol: I just hate driving down to your 'rents for Xmas, honey. The traffic on 95 is horrible, particularly at the Delaware Bridge...

        Bob: I've got an idea... an hour before we leave, I'll just hack in a traffic report of a huge accident so that cars will re-route. It will be clear sailing for us!

        Carole: Oh, Bob... You're such a hot stud. I'm so glad I married Geek...

      Carol: Carole? Who's Carole? Married? You told me you were single you CREEP!

  • Most promising impact is said to be achieved by communicating Anti-lock braking system information between cars. Complexity is minimal regarding the information to be processed, as well as how to display warnings:
    Put on a warning light and a beep, when roads get icy.
  • Just imagine the BitTorrent bandwidth of a traffic jam!
  • From my apt, every time a bus goes by, it seems that there is a new signal that I detect. So it seems that someone is already doing this. I just noticed this today when I left my wireless sniffer online, and came back to find 40 different MAC's recorded. Either this or there is something REALLY strange going on.

    The other strange part is that the signal strength I'm getting off of these MAC is enormously large. I'm in the same room as my access point, and I don't get a signal anywhere near as strong fro
  • About doing peer-to-peer radar detectors. It'd be really nice to know if a car up ahead detected a radar signal instead of waiting until it's pointed at mine :)
  • Every once in a while I see shows about the work being done on cars that drive themselves. They're always just 10 years or so off in the future.

    If we ever do get to that point though, this networking would be very useful. Picture cars driving down the highway like a school of swimming fish. Something jumps into the road? The entire group of cars all move to the right all together.

    I'd hate to be the guy in the "manual" style cars at the time though.
  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:25PM (#11151497)
    Finally we'll be able to mod other drivers properly:
    -1, Crashbait
    -1, Tailgater
    -1, Ugly kid in rear-facing seat on long trip
    +1, Thanks for actually using that turn signal thingy
    +1, Hey hottie, can I get your phone number?
  • How long will it be until our cars are catching viruses, worms, and trojans?

    And what guarantee do we have that said network will be isolated from the engine systems?

    Perhaps I'm being paranoid. But they laughed at me when I said Microsoft's invisible hand was writing SCO's lawsuits. Who's laughing now?
  • now we can use cars as routers and repeaters.
    ANother way to route internet traffic. SO next time there is a power outage, the signal can move from verhical ti vehical until it's out of the disaster area.
  • I've toyed with the idea of what it might be like if people driving could hear each other. People are certainly un-civil in face-to-face situations as well, but not nearly as un-civil as they are in quasi-anonymous settings like driving in dense traffic. If people could hear what others are saying to them when they're rude, maybe we'd be less rude. Most people who cut off other drivers or do other blatantly selfish (and stupid) things to "get ahead" in traffic, would never attempt the equivalent in pers
  • Start broadcasting fake traffic news and take the less congested road instead.

    Imagine the suprise of a driver, that there is a tornado down the road and its snowing behind them.

  • Once there is a standard link in all cars it will allow a swarm like behavior in traffic. So instead of people taking the reigns in bumper to bumper traffic the cars and talk and decide amongst them selves what the best way to handle the situation. Each car will be interconnected to the others and as a cluster can decide how to best make traffic move.

    This could also work as a sort of mass transit system on regular roads. If all cars can talk to each other they can notify the "train" that they are on the
  • for some time. Used a wireless hub with remote antenna to move data from my laptop, which was onsite converting pics from a digital camera, to an HP printer located in the car trunk. It let me deliver print orders before I left the site. Sometimes, before I had even packed.

    After I had no need of it, I installed this rig in the van, which was lent to one of my friend's teenaged game-mavins. He bought two PCMCIA wireless cards so he could shre with his friends. Apparently a drive-up game of CS is considered
  • by Cheap Imitation ( 575717 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:36PM (#11151665)
    Great. Now my own car can rat me out to the Trooper sitting on the overpass. He won't even have to aim the radar gun!

    How long until they combine this with the upcoming black box recorders in cars so my car can politely inform the officer that while I'm not speeding right now, I was going 15 over three miles back?

    Drat! My car is gonna look really ugly covered in tinfoil.

    • Well, true, but this tech may also be yet another step on the path to automated driving. At which point, we should all be able to program our cars to go 150 mph at 4 inches from the other car's bumper because of the speedy reaction times and detailed information networks, thus increasing through-put on our freeways by a significant amount without extra lanes. People who are afraid of that sort of speed can program their cars for lower speeds, but the computer driving system will automatically move these s
  • HUD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DeathFlame ( 839265 )
    I think something cool would be a HUD for every window. Like the HUD you see in flight sim games where other 'ships' are shown as dots or squares or some sort. Then you could set it to show you the 'name' of every vehicle (which you set as you get in) and the speed and relative distance of each vehicle. This would be especially useful in snowy, foggy or rainy weather where visibility is limited.

    You could have the option to toggle what you see as well.
  • the cars all start asking each other if they've seen someone named Sarah Connor.
  • Hey moron, your turn signal has been on for the last 3 km!
  • Essentially, it's exploring ways that moving vehicles can automatically set up temporary links with other cars, bikes and trucks in the vicinity, and share traffic information.

    I'm stuck on how the hell you would operate a connection like that while on a bike. At least when I ride a bike, I use two hands - and I haven't quite mastered the Doc Oc technology yet.

    However, I bet a -lot- of the truckers out there would love to transmit pictures to reckless drivers of what happens when four wheelers cut of
  • when everyone has hard-drive based car stereos (replacing the need for CD changers) and use 802.11 to rip music files from the car next to you. Now THAT would be cool. You could even set up small share directories on your car stereo, turning everyone into a mini-radio station. Sure, probably all kinds of legal issues involved but it would be a fun toy and interesting way to pass the time while on long trips.
  • I can see problems with this idea:

    1. In order to be of much use, a sustem like this would need to be ubiquitous. If only a small number of vehicles are equipped, the network will only be of use in very rare circumstances.

    2. Such a system will add costs to the production of a vehicle while providing no return for the early adopter.

    3. Even if every new car gets equipped with these, the average lifespan of a well maintained automobile is 20 or more years. Will the system be maintained and backwards com
  • by charlie763 ( 529636 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:40PM (#11151730) Homepage
    I've always wondered what would would happen if I were hit with spam at 130kph.
  • Once you have NOW working,then everyone else's fingers get in the pie. First and foremost, it seems to me that most Western democracies (where this stuff will be deployed) treat driving as a privelege, not a right. That is an important legal distinction that opens the door to a wide variety of unforeseen possibilities.

    Given that, what is your local Police force going to want from NOW? Hmmm, anyone want a car that rat's them out for speeding because you passed an RF trigger in a lamppost? Anyone want a

  • Will my Nintendo DS work with this? The possibilities are endless...
  • Great, now in addition to getting advertisements on the radio, I'll get spammed with advertisements by passing cars...
  • Now we can all be Picard!
  • I'm a VW enthusiast and I can rattle off a rather long list of great options that are available to European buyers of VW cars that those of us in the enthusiast community would love to be able to utilize but can't because for whatever reason VW doesn't think those of us in the US are worthy of getting the new geek toys. Such as:

    - HID/xenon headlamps (better visibility)
    - Headlight washers (same as above)
    - Rear fog light (see cars ahead in heavy fog)
    - Front fog lights (see ahead in heavy fog)
    - In-car navigat
  • I can see it coming. Before any means of conveying useful information is anywhere near complete, this system will already be used to track your driving habits and display tailored advertising information.

    "Hi JOHN Q PUBLIC! We noticed you didn't seem to stay long at the mall! Why don't you try the excellent selection, low prices, and soul-sucking faceless consumerism at WAL-MART? Just take a left up here on Big Brother Boulevard..."
  • I've been thinking about this one for a while now. In fact it was part of a thunk on how to create driverless traffic. Meaning you get to relax on the way into work, the car gets you there on time with little or no hassle.

    My thoughts were generally, each car is a node in a network of cars. They'd use a network built with the cars surrounding yours. In close traffic like rush-hour you might still be able to hit 60mph on average with very few slowdowns simply because every car knows where every other car WAN
  • by acidrain69 ( 632468 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @04:57PM (#11151978) Journal
    I had this idea years ago, but it was limited to just wireless internet, not using it to report specific local conditions to the node.

    I don't think it will catch on. Why is this any better than just putting some permanent fixtures in certain areas with some long distance optical/radio transmition? How is having 50 cars in a traffic jam going to give you any more information than one permanent camera with some robot vision?

    Also, the permanent fixture gives you the option of knowing about things even when your fancy cars aren't around.

    Do you really want to let Big Brother into your garage? It's bad enough that insurance companies may start monitoring speed to offer lower rates. I have a great driving record, no accidents, no tickets in quite a while, but I regularly drive 5-10 miles over the limit, more in some places (they have some antiquated speed limits in my city). I hope this fails miserably.
  • Please.. no WEP!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dustinbarbour ( 721795 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @05:08PM (#11152130) Homepage
    I think many of the posters here are over-estimating what the capabilities of this network will be.. at least initially. The idea is for vehicles and on-board navigation systems to be better aids to drivers.. not for drivers to talkchat/IM back and forth. I envision something like a cop rolling up on the scene of an accident, firing up his computer and broadcastign that an accident has occured. This message gets shot bak up the road in both directions informing cars of the accident. That's it. It's then left up to the nav system to decide which route one should take. Of course the vehicles will be estimating the congestion and stuff, but that's all minor details. Yes.. there is a the possibility of script kiddies and hackers doing devious things, but that's the nature of the beast. Those implementing this network need to be careful to implement things in a secure manner.. firstly that means using something stronger than WEP (if they fuckin; use WEP, I'll kick some ass!).
  • Cory Doctorow (Score:3, Informative)

    by blues5150 ( 161900 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @05:22PM (#11152340) Homepage
    This sounds a lot like the Car-to-Car peer network used for music trading along the Mass Pike in Eastern Standard Tribe [] Great book and definitely worth the download.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @06:02PM (#11152974)
    You've got flipped off!


    It looks like you're trying to insult the driver in front of you. Would you like to:

    Honk horn
    Flash headlights
    Send goatse to other driver's HUD
  • All I ask (Score:3, Funny)

    by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @11:41PM (#11155653) Homepage
    is for a way to communicate with the vehicle in front of me. Is that so much to ask? If people could actually talk to the person in front of them, there'd be a lot less high beaming, horn honking, etc.

    "Would you mind getting over please? There are about 20 cars behind you and you've been driving the same speed as the car next to you for the past 5 miles."

    Of course when they reply with, "I know! HAHAHAHAHA," that should be free license to shoot out their tires and/or eyes.

Happiness is twin floppies.