Everyone has probably seen a car with its blinker on for miles on end, or someone who forgets to turn their headlights on at night. Other times you may know there’s a speed trap just around the corner and you want to warn other drivers, or you’ll see a car with a pididle that the driver may not be aware of. All of these scenarios could be resolved by having a way to communicate with other cars on the road.
It might create a distraction for drivers, like cell phones often do and it could cause problems when people get road rage. It could also be exploited by advertisers who want to send you messages from their billboards. There would have to be a way to turn it off, and there could be a silent mechanism that would let you know that a message is being sent to you. It could be right on the dash so it wouldn’t be any different than checking your speed or gas gauge while driving.
I’m sure there are some kinks to be worked out, but I think the basic idea could be useful. A few days ago Russell Beattie had a similar idea relating to license plates as a way to identify drivers. He suggests that people could send in complaints about poor driving and if there were enough complaints from different drivers, that person’s insurance premiums would go up. That ideas has some problems too because a license plate doesn’t identity a driver, but a car, and in the case of rental cars or company vehicles, there are many drivers associated with one car. Again, I’m sure there are ways to work around those issues, but the idea could turn out to be useful.
In the area of automotive technology, it seems like the potential is there for making huge advances, but I haven’t seen too many innovative changes in recent years. Cars of 2005 don’t seem all that different than cars of 1990.