The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCLA is doing some breakthrough work with mobile WiFi. Their goal is to make a “node” out of every car on the road, which communicates with the car next to it and so on, to make a moving and dynamic internet. The technology could have a huge impact on traffic, accidents, and most importantly emergency responders. Here is a piece from the press release:
While similar to a wireless local area network (WLAN), a mobile network has to perform tasks far more complicated than connecting one wireless computer to another – it must be able to distinguish between multiple moving vehicles (nodes), determine the signal strength emanating from each one, gauge its speed, who might have priority, such as a police car or fire engine, and what kind of data is being exchanged, like voice, data or video – all at the same time.
The benefits of this type of network are broad, Gerla said. Day-to-day driving could be safer and more convenient – on crowded freeways in Southern California, accidents could be prevented if drivers have access to pertinent, real-time information about collisions or changes in traffic patterns ahead.
Importantly, the technology could also provide life-saving communications between emergency personnel. During Hurricane Katrina and the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, communication infrastructures were destroyed and first responders were unable to communicate. A mobile vehicle network could provide an essential lifeline for emergency personnel and others to stay connected when all other networks fail.
For this reason, it is expected that the first mobile networks will be implemented in emergency response vehicles such as police cars, ambulances and hazardous materials response units.
Hopefully the increased incidence of people watching YouTube in their cars won’t increase the number of accidents.
Read the press release here…