Internet Communications is set to change society again and this time the cars will love it!

How times have changed since they taught us how to communicate in school. When I first arrived in the dot.com era  (late 90’s) to Silicon Valley many of the meetings were mixed method “mash ups”; to use a fun buzz word from those days! You see, not many of the banks wanted those of us in our 20’s to run things and have too much freedom with the millions of fresh cash in the bank! So the idea was to bring in “seasoned” experts on the top management levels.

Those bankers (read VC’s)  on the newly created “boards of director” scattered around the SF Bay Area were “keen” to drop in MBA’s & CEOs from all sorts of industries to “manage” us youngsters. Soon, by 1999 the startups  were popping up faster than a New York minute. Heck we had startups forming inside startups!  The weekly IPO lists were more eagerly watched than anything from the NFL.

The trouble was that anyone with a good amount of history and carrying brass clad “business degrees” never used computers much, and certainly not email to discuss and collaborate. So when they came to any meeting and saw all of us hovering over laptops with IRC and email “dings” clacking away all thru the meeting, the “seasoned” experts would put their pencils down on their lovely leather bound note pads and tell us to close the flaps on the laps or get out of the meeting.

Fast forward 20 years and whether you lived back there in the Internet foundation period or grew up since, all of us are bound in business and personal lifestyles with Internet based protocol communications. Much of the “plumbing” went thru stressful evolutions to deal with our addiction to media and consumption of inner connection social networking. I mean the amount of photos, video and streaming content for pleasure is astronomically mind boggling and will continue to climb at astounding rates as IoT devices come to play with our lives.

Recently…around one of the “watercolor” brain crunch sessions with colleagues the view ahead had to be de-fogged a bit to reveal what is in store for transportation systems and anonymous capabilities to not just drive, but share and communicate “amongst” the vehicles themselves. This technically is in a “ready” state now, and only adoption and legacy attrition confound the public awareness on how massively the changes ahead will impact our lust for “individualism” and ownership of objects like cars or social profiles.

A lot of focus in the media covering autonomous transportation paints the picture that “sensors” on cars is the “great feature set” of the future vehicle. But, seems to me three major areas of the evolution are “skimmed” over, maybe purposefully as they are revolutionary; each independently. First, if you stand back and look at a car, you can see that it is designed for human “senses” and communications. I mean, there are mirrors, flashing lights, sounds, and all sorts of gauges inside to tell the human “conductor” what the velocity is as you wind around the roads and “steer to avoid” other humans.

Perhaps the smartest thing on-board is the GPS Navigation system; even this has been “dumbed down” for the human interactions. The system usually has a screen to tell the driver what the route is, voice commands are two way on modern units and even some have the ability to overlay other sources of input besides the geo stationary satellites. Humm, that is the very interesting aspect of the “brains” in the car….being connected to external sources of information that can be feed into something other than the globe above our neck.

Imagine now we have a collection of networks, can be groupings of cars, can be IoT sensors in the roads, round points, garages and parking slots, each with an API that can be tapped or registered to, for “guidance”. Such network integrations are far-far more useful than a LiDAR or radar imaging that only “sees” in the ranges of the immediate proximity of the vehicle. However, these local to the car sensors can report what they “see” to other cars “out of range” or around the corner and progressing to where “cars ahead” are positioned and can be told of things like animals in the road, or debris that fall down a cliff which would not be “visible” until such a time that accidents could occur.

I am one that welcomes the freedom in the autonomous car more than I should having grown up in the California society that values car ownership as nearly a right if not a built-in tradition of maturity. I have come to realize, just like those bankers in the board room meetings that some pencils need to be broken to allow progress to occur. When cars use social networks to drive and talk among their peers or “spread the love” of sharing the view from the cockpit of a future car I “drive?” or is that “driven” ; to every sensor along the motor way will I no longer resist the lack of privacy to take a Saturday night drive along the promenade?

Certainly in the next decade “new and powerful capabilities” of communication among the cars & the IoT sensors of our world will become organized and that has has profound imminent probably to change our individualism. We should expect as “intelligence” evolves and is better to make decisions for us, there will be resistance to such change. Nevertheless, as time rolls on we can expect that as more efficiencies present themselves, this will help alleviate many of the generation issues we have let go on far too long; grid lock, road rage, parking unavailability, speeding fines, mistakes/accidents and maybe pollution as most vehicles will be electric.

The other good news for aspirational benefits will be the ability to compose more awesome photos and video clips in hands free driving mode.

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