Roadcasting or GPScasting?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Roadcasting or GPScasting?

A Wired article titled Watch for Roadcasting Rage reads: "Stuck in traffic and sick of Howard Stern, you may soon be able to tune in to the music collection of the person in the car in front of you. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an ad hoc networking system for cars that would allow any driver to broadcast music to any other vehicle within a 30-mile radius."

By the way, I already use an iPod FM Transmitter which broadcasts my iPod's tunes (mp3, podcast, etc.) but only to a ~25 foot radius. I always wondered if anyone driving along side me might pick up my iPod tunes...

Anyway, this article reminded me of an idea I talked about a long time ago. My idea was that cars with GPS could aid in traffic monitoring to help avoid congested roads by transmitting their speed and location to other cars in say a 30-50 mile radius. Specifically, I wrote in my I Hate Traffic, GPS to the Rescue entry:

Why not use GPS technology combined with vehicle tracking? Already on the road there are millions of GPS units installed on cars and trucks. While most GPS units are one-way (no vehicle tracking), many do
have vehicle tracking, such as OnStar which is installed on probably thousands of vehicles that could be used to calculate the average speed on any given road

Now, I know privacy advocates would probably scream bloody murder at the idea of letting someone "track" their vehicle, but there are ways around the privacy issue. What if the owners of GPS-enabled cars "opted in" to allowing a third-party traffic monitoring company track their vehicle anonymously to determine traffic patterns real-time? As an incentive, the GPS service provider (OnStar) could offer a discount if you opt-in to letting them track the speed/location of your vehicle. Service providers can "sell" the traffic data to radio stations for accurate traffic reports, or even back to the people they have "opted in".

Perhaps some sort of anonymous P2P GPS system could be put in play so that even though you are transmitting your location & speed, no one knows it's your car. This would aid immensely in avoiding traffic jams. Please, someone invent this! I BEG YOU!

Given the choice of "roadcasting" (listening to other people's music or transmitting your own music) or "GPScasting" (receiving and/or sending your GPS location/speed), which would you choose? Post a comment - and as already stated, I'd rather see GPScasting.

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