Listen... The Roads Could Someday be Speaking to Your Vehicle
Photo by Hamed Saber
At least they could be, if a few high tech companies get their way when it comes to an idea they are working on that will enable vehicles to monitor the roads as they drive over them. These vehicle reports would then be relayed to the proper highway committees, road crews, police units, and ambulance drivers to let them know if there is a pothole that needs fixed, severe weather danger or accident to avoid, or even a pancaked squirrel that needs attention by the highway roadkill unit.How could this be useful?
Well, it would help to serve the efficiency of the road crews and hopefully allow problem areas on the road to be fixed just that much quicker, and every little bump, swerve, and shutter reducers fuel economy just a little, by increasing fiction on your vehicles wheels. Aerodynamic tires do little good when faced with a damaged or uneven road.
Another way it would help us, is the system will also monitor poor driving conditions and relay warnings of ice, fog, and snow to drivers in advance so that they will not be caught by surprise. It will also rely such information to snow plows of a potentially dangerous area that needs immediate attention. Increased safety will not only save lives, but also reduce accidents that decreased road efficiency by causing the standard rubber-necking, stop-and-go, and bumper-to-bumper traffic that causes nearly anyone's fuel economy to plummet, besides perhaps a few regenerative braking hybrid drivers out there.
How could this be bad?
You can probably already see where the unpopularity of such a system might come in... personal privacy. Many people are very sensitive when it comes to the government sticking their nose in their daily personal affairs, or appearing to be watching them, keeping tabs. They fear having that watchful eye on them while in the office, in their own home, and yes, even in their personal vehicle.
To make this plan work, current legislation would need to be changed somewhat to allow for a little more government. What we want to know from you, is would changing the legal legislation to allow these units into the structure of our roads bring benefit for future drivers, or will it open the door for government to invade in our privacy more than they already do? We're not talking conspiracy theory here, but rather just plain and simple too much government...
What do you think... good or bad idea?
More on government vs. transportation
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Active Transportation For America Report
5 U.S. Local & State Government Officials Putting the Environment First
The New York Times: When the Roads Talk, Your Car Can Listen (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/automobiles/autospecial2/30sense.html?_r=1&ref;=technology&oref;=slogin)