for the highway onramp, I click on the adaptive cruise control
and relax a little bit as our car maintains the appropriate following
distance from the car ahead of us, even as the heavy traffic speeds
up and slows down. Michael turns his attention to the stereo.
His DJ skills are rewarded when his sister shrieks "Ooooh, I love
this song! Mark it!" The song's title is added to our favorites
list, but that's not enough. "Mom, can we please buy the album?
It's sooooooo good!" I am about to say no, but relent in the name
of a peaceful commute. Michael taps the screen a few times, digital
files are invisibly directed to our stereo from an online store,
and we are the proud owners of music that I would be happy never
to hear again. I have to admit the stereo sounds good though, particularly
with the active noise control system canceling out the drone
of highway travel.
up display systems allow drivers to continue to watch the
road while also reading data like speed or warnings
I jerk the wheel back to the left. All the tunes-related distraction
had led me to drift a wee bit out of my lane. Luckily the car's
lane assistant had been watching the lines and given me a
cyber-rumble strip warning. No harm done. I click on the massage
mechanism in my seat, to help me ease out of the adrenaline
rush that I just got from the lane assistant. The car starts to
slow itself down. Just as I start to say aloud "I wonder what's
going on..." a message comes up on the heads up windshield display
that there's a traffic slowdown up ahead due to an accident at Exit
15. I appreciate not having to take my eyes off the road to read
I must admit I love having the smart contact between the road
and the car. For some reason just knowing why traffic has slowed
down makes jams that much more bearable. I'm a big fan of construction
crews beaming out their locations via radio signal, all the better
to plan an alternate route. The best is when there's some kind of
obstacle or condition around a curve ahead now I don't have
to rely on my eyes to see cars braking (or even worse, not braking)
when they approach an icy bridge, for instance. The bridge tells
my car to expect icy conditions beyond the bend and my car behaves
and Sony have developed a car that can express the driver's
and its own
Using eyes (headlamps), eyebrows, mouth (grille), ears (door
mirrors) and LEDs, which light up as appropriate. Thie red
car is 'angry'
maybe the driver braked sharply or swerved. The blue car
maybe it just got a flat tire. Courtesy Toyota.
we reach the accident location, the emergency crew is already onsite.
I must say, now that cars automatically notify the roadway system
when they are disabled, the response time is lightning fast.
Unfortunately there's no technology yet to combat rubbernecking.
As we inch our way past the accident, I see that one of the cars
involved is displaying its 'emotions' with an angry expression.
LED 'eyebrows' over the headlights are arched and the hood glows
red. I take the opportunity to point out the perils of road rage
to the kids. "I love to see the cars when they're happy," says Claire.
"And they wag their antennas!" It's a little hokey to me, but what
the heck, the next generation seems to like it.
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