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DoT Grants $15M To Test Car-To-Car Communication 263

Posted by Soulskill
from the horns-aren't-good-enough dept.
itwbennett writes "Car-to-car communications is about to get its first large-scale, real-world test in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute will be putting as many as 3,000 cars equipped with short-range radio on the roads, thanks to a $14.9 million grant it just got from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. DoT reports predict that up to 82 percent of serious accidents among unimpaired drivers can be eliminated or reduced by a little car-to-car negotiation, or an early warning that a sedan three cars ahead just hit the brakes even though you can't see it through the giant SUV directly in front of you."
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DoT Grants $15M To Test Car-To-Car Communication

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  • by iteyoidar (972700) on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:39PM (#37353718)
    "or an early warning that a sedan three cars ahead just hit the brakes even though you can't see it through the giant SUV directly in front of you.""

    Maybe it would be cheaper to just mandate transparent SUV's
    • Re:Giant SUV's (Score:5, Informative)

      by nomel (244635) <turd@@@inorbit...com> on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:43PM (#37353780) Homepage Journal

      Or, you know, drive so you can stop in time no matter what happens in front of you. Oddly enough, this doesn't involve maintaining a 5 foot distance to the car in front of you that's going 70mph.

      I see this as a much needed remedy to fix the problem of *absolutely horrible* drivers that are on our roads. Think of this as a prosthetic driving ability.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        The problem is, if you put adequate distance between you and the car in front of you for your rate of speed, another driver sees this as an opportunity to squeeze in, which is arguably *more* dangerous. So even drivers who *know* they're following too close in rush hour don't have much choice.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          The problem is, if you put adequate distance between you and the car in front of you for your rate of speed, another driver sees this as an opportunity to squeeze in, which is arguably *more* dangerous. So even drivers who *know* they're following too close in rush hour don't have much choice.

          Used to work when I lived in the UK, where the 'two second rule' was bashed into pretty much everyone when they were learning to drive in the 80s and 90s. I see vastly more idiotic behaviour on this side of the Atlantic than I did there, though idiot tailgaters were starting to become common before I left.

          • by idontgno (624372) on Friday September 09, 2011 @02:20PM (#37354414) Journal

            And, that, my lobsterback friend, is at the heart of the Great American Revolution: the freedom to behave in as dangerous and irresponsible fashion as we free red-blooded Americans damn well please.

            "Pay your taxes. Drink your tea. Observe your two-second following distance."

            SCREW YOU, "YOUR MAJESTY!". We'll shoot our Constitutionally-protected guns in the air (and at each other) as we mess up your language and drive bumper-to-bumper for miles (not kilometers) at highway (not motorway) speeds.

            (I wonder how many humorless slashbots will fail to recognize one joke in this? Even if it somewhat accurately reflects the uglier facets of the American Spirit.)

            • I recall with immense fondness a west end gaffer with the thickest cockneyed black-country speech lecture me on how we Americans have bastardized the English language while in London a few years ago. I simply smiled and nodded, and drank my bitter. Be kind to our elders I was taught...
              • And verily, dost thou thinketh he wouldst fare much the same in yon olden days when King James' manner of speaking wast most proper? Forsooth, I thinketh not.
            • by roc97007 (608802)

              > as we mess up your language

              'ang on, 'ang on, I've seen My Fair Lady, I 'ave! Rubbish 'at is!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            where the 'two second rule' was bashed into pretty much everyone

            You assume that we actually 'train' people how to drive in the US. Mostly we make them do stupid 3 pt turns and think they're ready for the Indy 500. Teaching people *when* to do a 3 pt turn is far more important than 'how' to do it. But we don't really care about that type of thing.

            Nor do we enforce traffic laws without any sense of consistency, so nobody even tries to follow the rules anyway.

          • Many people I know or have known tailgate. People see a safe gap between two cars as an "opportunity", not a safety margin.
          • The problem is, if you put adequate distance between you and the car in front of you for your rate of speed, another driver sees this as an opportunity to squeeze in, which is arguably *more* dangerous. So even drivers who *know* they're following too close in rush hour don't have much choice.

            Used to work when I lived in the UK, where the 'two second rule' was bashed into pretty much everyone when they were learning to drive in the 80s and 90s. I see vastly more idiotic behaviour on this side of the Atlantic than I did there, though idiot tailgaters were starting to become common before I left.

            They bash a two-to-three second rule into you here in the US. Doesn't do you any good though.

            • Problem is, the two second rule only works when you assume the guy ahead of you will decelerate to a stop. However, if he runs into a stationary object, you're screwed if you are only two seconds behind him. At 55 MPH, you are traveling ~81 feet per second, which means a two second following distance puts you ~162 feet behind the car ahead of you. A commonly quoted statistic is that it takes about three tenths of a second to react to stimuli -- for example, brake lights on the car ahead of you. So that
              • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

                The person in front of you will always decelerate to a stop. There are no discontinuities in the function of velocity. Momentary acceleration cannot be infinite.

                An object needs to be more than just stationary to "instantly" stop a vehicle traveling at highway speeds. It needs to be either very immobile or very massive (or both). The energy has to go somewhere.

                Very immobile and very massive objects also tend to be very visible.

        • by rotide (1015173)
          This is exactly my problem. I would love to leave a nice safe gap in between me and the car in front of me so if _anything_ happens, I have time to stop gracefully. The problem is that if I do that, some schmuck will just slide right in. Sounds fine, why not just leave ample space behind the new guy? Because someone else will do the same, and then another, and another. If I were to leave a few second gap each time someone slid right in, I might as well just park because I'll be slowing down every few s
          • by Hatta (162192)

            Because someone else will do the same, and then another, and another. If I were to leave a few second gap each time someone slid right in, I might as well just park because I'll be slowing down every few seconds

            No, you reach equilibrium before you come to a stop. You need less distance the slower you move, and the slower you move the faster the people in front of you pull away from you.

          • Sounds fine, why not just leave ample space behind the new guy? Because someone else will do the same, and then another, and another.

            It's really just those few drivers who feel the need to weave through traffic. They're only in front of you for a few seconds before they're off into the next lane.

            That's illegal, of course, but the police aren't enforcing those laws or any of the laws that would actually make driving safer. It's too easy for them to park and radar the fast lane.

            • by rednip (186217)

              Each time you move into the other lane you leave a hole in traffic that isn't filled anywhere near a quickly as the hole that you create in the other lane. Weaving in an out of traffic below the speed limit destroys traffic, and above the speed limit, it can be the very start of a traffic jam, especially if they think you a little too threatening and slow down. Sure it down't 'hurt' you, but most times when stuck in traffic an aggressive weaver is often the start of the problems. When the fast lane comes

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by icebike (68054)

          The problem is, if you put adequate distance between you and the car in front of you for your rate of speed, another driver sees this as an opportunity to squeeze in, which is arguably *more* dangerous.

          So what? One more guy ahead of you. Big deal. So F'ing What if someone sneaks in between you and the next car. Did your manhood just get dissed?

          Its this "I can't let anyone ahead of me" mentality that is so totally insane, especially when you are in a 40 mile stream of traffic, that is at the heart of some of the stupidest driving you see on the road today.

          And, No, it is not arguable more dangerous than flying down the road at 50mph with 8 feet off someone's bumper. Don't even go there.

          • Re:Giant SUV's (Score:4, Insightful)

            by idontgno (624372) on Friday September 09, 2011 @02:27PM (#37354516) Journal

            It's not attitude. I can deal with one, maybe two, sliding into the gap. But eventually, you'll have no choice but to drive approximately 1/2 the speed of surrounding traffic, in order to continually preserve the cushion in front of you from every damn car on the road that cuts into it. And then, you'll just have intermittent cushion, since every car that cuts in front of you won't do so with good following distance in mind, so until the speed differential between him and you opens the gap back up, you're too close.

            So, what you are proposing is... drive massively slower than traffic around you, creating a far greater hazard than following at less than optimal distance, while with the concordant risk of getting road-raged, rear-ended, or side-swiped.

            And, No, it is not arguable more dangerous than flying down the road at 50mph with 8 feet off someone's bumper. Don't even go there.

            Sorry, I don't take orders from random slashbots, even if they really really don't want me to tell them how horribly mistaken they are. Nice try.

          • by rotide (1015173)

            That argument works fine if it's just 3 cars on the road, you, the guy in front of you and the one guy who is going to slip into the safety zone. Now put 10,000 impatient fools on the same road and try to leave a safe gap without each and every driver within reach trying to fill it. The horrible truth is, either you leave the smallest possible gap you can (within _your_ safety margin) or the car in the next lane will force themselves into your safe gap.

            • by icebike (68054)

              That argument works fine if it's just 3 cars on the road, you, the guy in front of you and the one guy who is going to slip into the safety zone. Now put 10,000 impatient fools on the same road and try to leave a safe gap without each and every driver within reach trying to fill it. The horrible truth is, either you leave the smallest possible gap you can (within _your_ safety margin) or the car in the next lane will force themselves into your safe gap.

              Actually, that has been pretty much debunked as well. It simply does not happen in any meaningful way.

              All it takes is a FEW cars on the road with proper inter-car gaps to totally shut down the behavior you (rationally) fear.

              See this: http://trafficwaves.org/trafexp.html [trafficwaves.org]

              Imagine a FEW cars on the road, say 5%, that had a proper distance enforcing technology. They would naturally be randomly dispersed in all lanes. These would tend to block the impatient fools. They couldn't get to you to cut in front of y

              • by roc97007 (608802)

                > They couldn't get to you to cut in front of you (well maybe a small hand full could) because all traffic would be flowing smoothly at safe following distances,

                This proves it -- you really haven't driven in rush hour traffic. Traffic flows smoothly at safe following distances in computer simulations because computer simulations behave in a rational and controlled fashion.

                • by icebike (68054)

                  This proves it -- you really haven't driven in rush hour traffic.

                  You did NOT just say that. Seriously, who HASN'T driven in rush hour traffic?

                  Traffic flows smoothly at safe following distances in computer simulations because computer simulations behave in a rational and controlled fashion.

                  Computer simulations that simulated a non-real-world traffic pattern would be useless don't you think? And the engineers building these sims are sooooo much dumber than you that they would never notice this, unlike you, with all your real world experience, because they live under their desk and never drive anywhere. Right?

                  The truth of the matter is engineers have probably given up trying to educate people like you, and are now lo

              • Well maybe if you don't have idiots passing on shoulders. Or psychos on motorcycles weaving through traffic at about 100. Every time I see these I think I should make up some stop sticks to pitch out the window onto the shoulder, or just open the car door right in front of the biker.
                • by icebike (68054)

                  Thats all part of the same problem.

                  People feel that is some one sneaks ahead, by what ever means, that their manhood is somehow besmirched.

                  I don't condone passing on the shoulders or the lane-splitting motorcyclist. But I'm content to let them get the hell away from me before they crack up. I never feel some how belittled just because some one managed to get in front of me.

                  Oddly, an amazingly small number of them do crack up, but most of the don't. The only reason most people don't drive that way is becaus

            • And that is why I like driving my crap beater vehicle, people give it a lot of room. I think it is more out of fear of fall parts than anything else.
          • by egburr (141740)

            The problem is not someone pulling in front of you. the problem is that it is impossible to leave the proper amount of space, because it will be filled no matter what. Either you slow down more and more to keep re-opening the space, or you end up on the bumper of the last person who squeezed in. There is no middle ground.

            If people would stop weaving in/out of lanes trying to get another car-length ahead of everyone else in traffic, you wouldn't have traffic keep slowing down. We could all maintain a safe sp

          • by jeffmeden (135043)

            The problem is, if you put adequate distance between you and the car in front of you for your rate of speed, another driver sees this as an opportunity to squeeze in, which is arguably *more* dangerous.

            So what? One more guy ahead of you. Big deal. So F'ing What if someone sneaks in between you and the next car. Did your manhood just get dissed?

            Its this "I can't let anyone ahead of me" mentality that is so totally insane, especially when you are in a 40 mile stream of traffic, that is at the heart of some of the stupidest driving you see on the road today.

            And, No, it is not arguable more dangerous than flying down the road at 50mph with 8 feet off someone's bumper. Don't even go there.

            Go ahead and think for about 3 more seconds... There you go, you get it! If you were to say "anyone can go in front of me who is willing to leave half as much of a safe distance as I" you will quickly find yourself at a dead standstill as 90% of other cars on the road shoot in front of you. Its not about someone getting ahead of you, it's about *everyone* getting ahead of you.

            • by roc97007 (608802)

              > Its not about someone getting ahead of you, it's about *everyone* getting ahead of you.

              This is my new favorite saying.

            • by icebike (68054)

              Sorry, it just does not happen that way in real life. You made it up.

              It only takes a few people dispersed in all lanes to follow safe following rules to totally shut down that type of behavior. Even if 80% of the drivers ignore the rules, a tiny percentage of users behaving properly would shut them down.

              http://trafficwaves.org/trafexp.html [trafficwaves.org] read it.

              • by roc97007 (608802)

                I've tried this on the motorcycle precisely because of the high personal cost of slamming into the guy in front of me and/or being sandwiched in from behind. And guess what -- it DOES NOT work. The more room you leave in front of you, the higher probability that the guy in the slower lane next to you will pull in. A single data point on a website does not make it so.

                I think what these theories do not take into account is the stratification of traffic. For a given overall flow rate, the left lane (in the

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            No, because the original guy isn't going any faster than you. Which means there is less space, which means you have to slow down to recover it. Which will:
            1. Allow another idiot to slip in perpetuating the process
            2. Piss off everyone behind you

            • by icebike (68054)

              soooo redundant. Do you never read a thread before you jump in to respond?

            • No, because the original guy isn't going any faster than you. Which means there is less space, which means you have to slow down to recover it. Which will: 1. Allow another idiot to slip in perpetuating the process 2. Piss off everyone behind you

              So that is why I have a horn, and I don't care about the people behind me. If they are following too closely and rear end me my car will get fixed and their insurance will go up. Every car accident I have ever been in has been someone else hitting me, the first was some drug addict who was so high he didn't know where he was and the second was a high schooler that merged into the rear end of my car while I was turning. Apparently the high school girl didn't like that traffic ahead of her was slowing down (t

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            > So what? One more guy ahead of you. Big deal. So F'ing What if someone sneaks in between you and the next car. Did your manhood just get dissed?

            I have to wear a medical bracelet now because of someone who made an abrupt lane change in front of me, in traffic that, unbeknownst to him, was rapidly coming to a stop, so I can tell you with certitude that my manhood is not in any danger of being dissed. I'm just trying to get to work in an alive and uninjured state.

            So, as others have pointed out, someone s

            • by icebike (68054)

              So, as others have pointed out, someone squeezes in, and then you slow down some more and another squeezes in and you slow down some more and another squeezes in and you slow down some more and in a very short time you might as well pull over and stop,

              And as I have pointed in this thread, this is pure bunk without a shred of scientific evidence to support it.
              It does not happen in real life. When was the last time you found yourself parked at the side of the road because you let one car or 5 cars change into your lane? It doesn't happen in the real world except where unexpected lane closures force vehicles into single file.

              All it takes is a FEW people in each lane with proper following distance to shut down this behavior.

              Look, people STOP POSTING NONSEN

              • by roc97007 (608802)

                > And as I have pointed in this thread, this is pure bunk without a shred of scientific evidence to support it.

                And again, saying that doesn't make it so. The phenomenon being described is easily observable. I proved it again on the way to work this morning, by leaving a car and a half distance in front of me and seeing a guy in the middle lane pulling into it. I slowed down and a guy two cars further back in the middle lane pulled into the gap. It happens, we've seen it happen. It happens because th

                • by icebike (68054)

                  And those two guys prevented you from getting to work, and made it necessary to pull over and stop because you couldn't maintain a safe following distance?

                  Oh, wait, you DID make it to work, didn't you.

                  I never said people wouldn't pull in front of you, I said it didn't matter, except to your mistaken sense of manhood.
                  You GOT TO WORK. You weren't late.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        Yes...a soon to be mandated addition to your car...which eventually will find new uses to invade your privacy.

        But hey...let's also include GPS in it too...that will make this proposed system even more accurate. Oh, and then....it can help them with taxation (darned cars getting better gas mileage)...and of course, to eventually just 'know where you've been' if there is a crime in the area..gather a list of all cars around there.

        I guess it will be ok with me as long as it isn't against the law to disable i

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        You must live in the boonies, that desn't work around large urban areas. You put an adequate stopping distance between yourself and the next car on the Dan Ryan or Kennedy expressway near Chicago, and two cars and a truck will wedge themselves in that space. Then as you try to back off of that configuration, people will zoom up behind you within two feet and blast their horn and cuss at you for being an impediment, and roar around you swinging back into your new gap. Your chances of an accident thus g
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Can we also kill anyone who hangs out in the passing lane doing less than the speed limit, or not currently passing?

    • Or just tell people to stop following too closely... Majority of people in these accidents are doing two of the three: 1) following too closely; 2) texting/talking on the phone 3)eating while driving.

      And I've seen all three being done at the same time commuting to work...

      That $15million could have been spent better in road improvement projects than this... but that's just my opinion...

      • Re:Giant SUV's (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bgat (123664) on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:56PM (#37354022) Homepage

        That $15million could have been spent better in road improvement projects than this... but that's just my opinion...

        I totally disagree. The sooner we can get humans out from behind the wheel, the better. Driver error (for reasons you cite and many more) are at the root of the overwhelming majority of traffic accidents. Computers can be made better drivers than humans, if apply resources towards that.

        $15M sounds like a lot of money, until you look at the expense of a few traffic accidents. Particularly those involving fatalities and/or commercial vehicles. In that light, $15M is basically "free". This investment is a no-brainer.

        And besides, if I can trust a computer to drive then I can get some decent work done during my commute. At the moment, my best alternative is a teenager...

        • I totally disagree. The sooner we can get humans out from behind the wheel, the better. Driver error (for reasons you cite and many more) are at the root of the overwhelming majority of traffic accidents.

          It's ridiculous that we must risk our lives (car wrecks are the leading cause of death [the-eggman.com] for people in my age group) just to go somewhere, when there's other modes of transportation that are obvious and are being done well in nearly every other first world country besides the USA.

          The state should stop wasting money on new highway projects, return extraneous bypasses to nature, and build bike infrastructure in the cities and competent passenger rail between them. It's cheaper both in dollars and human cost tha

        • by msauve (701917)
          "$15M sounds like a lot of money, until you look at the expense of a few traffic accidents. Particularly those involving fatalities and/or commercial vehicles. In that light, $15M is basically "free". This investment is a no-brainer."

          If it's all so obvious, then why aren't the insurance companies, who bear the bulk of those costs, funding it instead of the government?
          • by egburr (141740)

            The insurance don't bear the bulk of those costs. Any "cost" they have to pay out is reflected in a rate increase for everyone else. They never lose. Insurance is one of the biggest scams around. When you pay for insurance, you are essentially placing a bet that you will have an accident. If you don't have an accident, you lose and are out that month's wager. If you do have an accident, you "win" and recover most (but never all) of the costs of dealing with the accident.

            The insurance just lets you spread ou

          • For the same reason that my health insurance doesn't pay for a gym membership, or cut me a check when I eat a salad versus a cheeseburger?
      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        Or just tell people to stop following too closely... Majority of people in these accidents are doing two of the three: 1) following too closely; 2) texting/talking on the phone 3)eating while driving.

        Geez, the kids today...just can't multi-task drive.

        I mean, how hard is it to:

        Shift

        Eat

        Adjust the stereo

        Smoke a cigarette

        And not spill the beer held between your legs.

        Do they not teach the kids today these basics of driving before they let them out on the roads??

        :)

        • You smoke while eating? How utterly disgusting. Now rolling the next spliff while you gobble down a sandwich against the munchies all while not spilling the beer between your legs and fumbling for that damn Grateful Dead tape - that's how we learned to drive. Shifting doesn't even get into the picture, that somehow sits deep in the kinetic memory ;)
      • by icebike (68054)

        Having an on-board automated system that would tell my wife she's following too closely would certainly end a lot of marital strife. Something about an impartial third party makes advice easier to accept.

        Having something that actually reduced vehicle speed to maintain a safe following distance would be even better. With a technology enforced save following distance, some of the other human failures can be compensated for, as well as any problems introduced by the system itself inducing speed reductions.

        • Having an on-board automated system that would tell my wife she's following too closely would certainly end a lot of marital strife. Something about an impartial third party makes advice easier to accept.

          So true. I've set our TomTom to moo at 80MPH.

    • by PPH (736903)
      Yep. Demonize the evil SUV. I've seen people who will freak when a RAV4 is following 2 seconds behind them. And then think nothing of cutting in front of a loaded semi or bus.
      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I think the idea is that truck and bus transport have actual reasons to be huge and obstructive.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Or stop following so closely that you can't avoid hitting the person in front of you in an emergency. Yes, people will sneak in front of you in heavy traffic. Let them. Maintain sufficient distance between you and them too.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Great! So all the pissed off people behind me can make the situation worse, or get pissed off more and go cause an accident themselves.

  • by Smallpond (221300) on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:43PM (#37353786) Homepage Journal

    I want:

    - Driver is texting
    - Driver is lost and about to stop in the middle of the road, then turn left without signalling or checking their mirror
    - Driver just spilled hot coffee
    - Spider just descended in front of driver
    - Driver is sexting

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Yeah, Brakes have a signal. A signal you can't see when the braking car is being tailgated by the H2 in front of you.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Yeah, Brakes have a signal. A signal you can't see when the braking car is being tailgated by the H2 in front of you.

        If the car in front of you is tailgating the car that's braking, then you'll get plenty of warning when they smash into that car.

        So long as you aren't tailgating too, of course.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Clearly you've not been around very many H2s. The shockwave from the douchexplosion can take you out a thousand feet away. (a joke. I agree with you.)

  • Just what we need... a robotic voice to do automatic back-seat driving. Unless the plan is to have the car react automatically to radio signals? In which case they better put safe-guards in place for people who want to jam those signals.
    • by bgat (123664)

      Agreed. Our track record for producing devices that can do good things while at the same time not doing bad things isn't so great. A part of me sees this project as being "3000 cars on the road with wide open wireless security issues", sadly. And even with undeployed systems, decent security isn't something you can simply add on at the end--- you have to plan for it from the beginning.

      SURELY the UMich guys understand this and have security dealt with from the get-go, right? ...Right? Please say I'm righ

      • by icebike (68054)

        Agreed. Our track record for producing devices that can do good things while at the same time not doing bad things isn't so great. !

        Actually that's an unwarrantedly pessimistic view.

        First, in this area (transportation) there are very few precedents for such a system, and even fewer that "at the same time did bad things".
        In fact most new systems from any field of endeavor have the existing bad things designed out of them at the get go.

        Its easy enough to point to hacking and viruses of today's computer systems and say, oh, look at the "bad things" computers bring, without admitting that these "bad things" didn't show up for 20 years, unti

  • Virtual "asshole" stickers, to be electronically tagged to aggressive / stupid / texting / drinking / inattentive drivers.

    Get enough Asshole stickers and you get a ticket.

    --
    BMO

    • Get enough Asshole stickers and you get a ticket.

      This is unnecessary. Just the social stigma of everybody around you being informed that you're an asshole is enough to get all but the most psychopathic to behave.

      Transparency > retribution.

  • by yog (19073) * on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:48PM (#37353884) Homepage Journal

    I hate tailgaters (not the kind who picnic off the tailgate of their pickup, but the kind who like to drive with their nose up your tailpipe).

    If you had car-to-car communication that would warn the car directly behind to increase its safety zone (as if the driver even knows what that is) then maybe they'd at least have a clue to back off. If they persist in aggressively tailing you at a dangerous speed (anything over 5 mph) then the system could notify the nearest patrol officer to come intervene. Of course, in some places like Boston or NYC, that would be virtually everybody.

    A few extra meters between cars will give everybody more visibility and more time to react to sudden situations such as a child running into the road or a motorist suddenly turning, or someone running a red light. With the razor-thin margin of error that many drivers employ these days, it's just more likely that something bad will happen.

    I'd also like to see an inexpensive, automated vehicle surveillance camera system. It would help cut down on aggressive driving when someone knows that their idiotic behavior is being captured and streamed to some distant server for possible use in court if not uploading to Youtube's Idiot Driver of the Day contest. Many's the time I've needed such a device. May have to set something up myself, hmm.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Generally a slow deceleration will get rid of most tailgaters. If you want to be nice, just let off the gas and let friction/gravity do the job, and if you do so gentle enough they might not even get mad (it just pushes them out of the impatient area and into the actively-avoid area). If you want to send a message, a couple gentle (GENTLE!) taps on your brake to pulse your lights usually does the job, though this tends to make them angry at the same time.

      That said, if someone's tailgating you there's genera

  • Didn't they have that in the 70's

    It was called CB

    I think it was stopped because truckers used it to avoid speeding tickets

    Big Ben this ears a rubber duck and I'm about to put the hammer down

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      Didn't they have that in the 70's It was called CB I think it was stopped because truckers used it to avoid speeding tickets Big Ben this ears a rubber duck and I'm about to put the hammer down

      Oh, they didn't go away....just that most people don't put them in their cars anymore.

      All the truckers still have them, and I put one in my car a couple years back for fun with my driving club when we go on the road.

      I talk to truckers all the time finding out where the 'bears' are...and most of the time, I know

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I prefer my handheld tribander [wikimedia.org]. I can still talk on CB if I want, but it can do sooo much more (and it -is- a wideband receiver so you can listen to just about anything* that's unencrypted.)

        * - Other than cellular phone frequencies (which are protected by FCC regs and Federal law) anything the antenna and electronics can pull from the air is fair game.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          Pretty cool!!!

          I'm guessing you have to have a license to transmit on most of the signals this things works on?

    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      I thought it was This here's Rubber Duck.
  • For those moments when the horn, high beams, and middle finger just aren't enough.

  • Take over the cars going in the cross direction so they let me through.
    (We have enough people here with red light remote controls.)
    (Urban legend has it that many auto functions are already remote control hackable.)
  • by GameMaster (148118) on Friday September 09, 2011 @01:49PM (#37353908)

    What's wrong with the sign language I already use?

    • If the idiot in front of you did not see the red light he ran, the car he cut off, the cyclist he swiped, the pedestrian he ran over, or the lane markings he has been driving on, what makes you think he is going to see a 6cm by 1.5cm finger from a car length away?

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Friday September 09, 2011 @02:09PM (#37354220)
    Wardriving soon to live up to its' name.
  • My idea has always been that your license plate should be your phone number. That way people might be less apt to be complete asshats while driving since you could actually contact them directly. Wishful thinking.

    What I would love to see worked on instead of more distractions than phones already are is some effort put into doing away with transmissions entirely. They are not needed any more with hybrids and electric motors there should be 1-2 motors directly to the wheels on a normal FWD/RWD and 2-4 on an A

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      The trouble with that plan is that an asshat driver will either:
      A. Not answer the phone, or
      B. Get even more distracted and asshat-ish because they have to answer the phone while driving.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      If you "know" they aren't "needed any more" than precisely which components (not vaporware, which make/model/part numbers!) should be fitted instead.

      Precisely what does "1-2 motors directly to the wheels" actually MEAN?
      It's in no way self-explanatory. Shaft drive? Hub motors? You've taken into account unsprung weight and maintenance? You are a mechanic with experience or an engineer?

      You are excused if English isn't your first language, otherwise you are babbling.

      • by rAiNsT0rm (877553)

        Well, they managed to figure it out over 100+ years ago and, no, a transmission as found in every modern car is not needed, it is a legacy item. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/jay-leno/vintage/4215940 [popularmechanics.com] There are so many options and ways to do away with many legacy parts not just the transmissions. And since you wanted to show off and be a smart-ass... I have worked on the bullet trains (Shinkansen) as well as some of the most advanced commuter rail cars in the US. So thanks, have a nice day.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      My idea has always been that your license plate should be your phone number. That way people might be less apt to be complete asshats while driving since you could actually contact them directly. Wishful thinking.

      GREAT!!!

      I've got an unlisted number!!!

      :D

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries

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