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 Feature
1 November 2013 | Ken Turbitt Blog
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Situational Specific Data
This week Ken looks at how devices sharing situational specific data with other devices will affect us in the future...

Devices sharing data relationship and situational specific data with other devices is now a reality and will become the normal in time.

Most of today’s cars have Sat Nav to aid us to our destination, some have sensors around the front and back to aid our parking and manoeuvring (I test drove a car last weekend which self-parks between two cars), while others allow our phones to connect to hands free whilst driving and so on.

But what if we found a way for all of this to be related and situational relevant?  Suppose the car in front could tell your car (and perhaps you) that it was about to stop, or that as you were gaining on the car in front and before you would normally pull out to overtake, you were warned that a car behind you was beginning to accelerate in that lane. Many accidents could be prevented.

Now suppose this happened all the way along the motorway and you were made aware of the congestion and the potential impact on your journey. Suppose it also detected that the driver in the car next to you was on the phone, concentrating less on their driving, your car could auto-calculate the best and most effective manoeuver to escape should he swerve towards you. Your car could either brake hard (telling the car behind to do the same), or accelerate and pull into the outer lane to escape. These calculations could be made instantly, with action occurring instantly. All this technology is available today and is in trials. The more cars fitted with this capability, the better this system becomes.

Now this could be taken to another level, where the car simply drives itself taking you from A to B with no interaction from the driver. You simply use the car as a mode of transport that is convenient and effortless. This only becomes possible when the majority of cars are equipped to do the same, as unpredictable human error could never be calculated into the equation!

Your personal organiser could detect from your diary entry when you need to leave home to arrive at your destination or meeting on time, taking into account the current traffic conditions, speed and perhaps even alerting you to leave earlier than planned.  It may take a lot of the fun away from driving, but maybe this is the only option we have in an overcrowded country with congested roads. It may also mean never speeding again, depriving the Police of all that nice extra revenue!

I read an article in the Sunday’s Times newspaper recently that Milton Keynes will soon be piloting a new service where you can book a pod car (2seater) which will self-drive to your location within the local area. This pod car is small enough to be permitted onto the pavement as well as the road and can literally meet you outside the store and take you home with your shopping. So the above is already here and if successful we may end up seeing pod cars all over the country without a driver heading somewhere to pick up its passengers, so taxi drivers beware.

Add to this the fact that we now have the capability to use robots to carry out mundane repeatable tasks, perhaps on the production line. These robots can be trained easily by the existing factory worker, who now changes his role from the “do’er” to the “trainer”.

Currently these “robots” are large and heavy, but soon they will be lighter and more human like, allowing us to “employ” them in our homes and offices to carry out the mundane tasks we currently do. This will free us up to do the things we really want to do. Now you may get concerned that these devices will increase unemployment even more, and initially I thought the same, but apparently with the increase in older people we also see a decrease in working age people and so we will actually need these robots to help us.

Certainly they could do more of the simple care jobs around the home for the elderly and permit them to stay in their own home for longer and reduce care costs. Add in the “self-drive” cars and the elderly will be more mobile for longer.

The world really is about to see some major changes in the way we live, socialise, communicate and work. Will it be a better standard and quality of life, or just more of the same, only faster and safer, with people less cars and non-humans walking around?

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!


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