February 5th, 2014

The Internet of Cars

Ever since our November visit to The Mouse, I've been obsessed with smart watches as part of payment systems. Honestly, I don't think that's going to happen in any kind of general purpose way (as opposed to the current special purpose way of The Mouse, and maybe at some point transit passes you can wear on your wrist or program into your smart watch or whatever). I cannot seem to get excited about the Internet of Things, that seems to involve fitness bands and other health monitoring. I'm moderately interested in Smart Home stuff, but I don't know that I've consciously thought of the Internet of Cars.

Other people, apparently, do not suffer from this blind spot. Obvs, there's the self-driving Google car. But there's also stuff like this:


V2V communications -- cars tell each other where they are, how fast they are going, where they are headed -- are a regulatory possibility currently, but it's another one of those situations where there's some question about _how_ to implement it. The above link describes a choice between some pre-existing dedicated sprectrum and associated devices vs. using the nascent 4G LTE system.

Here is some tasty link-fu for you:



It's remarkable. We've moved from this kind of nutty, free wheeling futurism:


to careful analysis of tradeoffs, in just about exactly a year:


I sat down and thought about what I wanted from the intersection of media consumption devices, the internet, and my car. Then I went and looked into what exactly OnStar and its competitors offer. And then I stumbled across the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In, which I _would_ desperately want, only (a) it's only sold in NYLA currently and (b) the color selection is insanely boring. Really takes the edge off the lust.

I still have a lot of questions about how cars like these cope with multiple cell phones in the vehicles. I'd _like_ to have some of the following features:

the ability to pop a drive into the glove box, load it up with a ton of media, and have the car's wifi (I know, ha ha ha) serve it to any device in the vehicle that wants it (the car as media server)

the ability to route any music (audiobooks, possible video content) from any connected device in the car to any of the car's entertainment screens/speakers

the ability for any connected devices to work out a route, and then have it integrate with the built-in nav system. Basically, if someone in the backseat has the address and route on their phone, it'd be nice if they could feed it to the nav system, rather than the person in the front passenger seat program it in laboriously). Obvs, the driver should be able to set this stuff up on the phone ahead of time, press few buttons, and have it show up on the nav system

I also want AirPlay connectivity and/or wire-ful connectivity, so I don't have to put up with shitty bluetooth connections.

Obvs, I want at least password protection options on all of this stuff. I don't want to drive down the road and have 10 year olds in the car behind me pranking my nav system or playing porn on my kids seat back screens.

ETA: You know, reading this stuff, you would have _no_ idea that there was ever anyone in the car other than the driver. They worry about transmitting driver vitals in an accident. They worry about infotainment/productivity tools for the driver. They worry about accessing roadside services ... but never kid-oriented ones. It's more than a little weird. It's like families don't exist as a use case, which is exceptionally bizarre, considering how vehicles are _marketed_.