Friday, September 10, 2010

Far-Fetched Idea Friday: KITT, Come Pick Me Up

It's been a hectic couple of weeks in Social Network space: semi-social Ping launch, Google Instant launch, Apple's change of heart on allowing Flash-based app, Facebook surpassing Google in eyeball time, etc. There are plenty of updates to digest from the newswire over this weekend. So I thought why not add something from my idea chest? Who knows, someone might be able to take the run with it, and make something out of it.

As a child, I wondered about turn signals (I heard it's called blinkers in places). It was not clear to me why it blinked. Clearly it wasn't to light the road, it was too small for lighting and blinking didn't help either. Neither did it help automobile to run any faster. Then after I got yelled at by one too many angry drivers (it was common in Korea during late 70's), I realized there were some causality; blinking means car's turning. Usually.

Then in early 80's there were popular TV show called Knight Rider. KITT, the souped-up Pontiac Trans-Am sports with A.I. that could understand David Hasselhoff's command, easily became a dream car for most teenagers who watched the show. It was just way too cool to imagine yourself calling KITT to get custom valet service to impress your highschool date.

My idea? Making KITT real. Not by making one car smart, but by connecting cars to other cars. Imagine network-enabled cars driving down on freeway. Each car is aware of the other cars, making instant social networking on the fly in location proximity. No more unreliable turn signal. If car detects driver checking for blind spot, it will activate turn signal. Better yet, send electronic broadcast to neighboring cars alerting them that driver is about to make a move. Even speed can be communicated among cars in the network to coordinate the maximum speed. No more senseless stop and go. It will be smooth driving for all.

We are already starting to see some early signs. GM has announced that voice-to-text and text-to-voice integration with Facebook status update. Social networking in last decade. Add GPS, Wii-motion detector and wifi on every car with IP6 enabled, you have all the ingredients to make this true. In fact, connecting devices will be a trend in next few years.

Alright, KITT. Time to head back home.

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