The Digital Car JournalA weblog about computers in cars
by Will Fitzgerald
Article: INET's Conversational Interface for Vehicles. Our latest description of how conversational interfaces can be used in cars.
The Army's new SmarTruck, for urban warfare, based on a Ford F-350 truck body:
All the usual features of a high-end sport-utility vehicle are there, as well as a mobile video system, an onboard personal computer, built-in night-vision, high-voltage door handles and even a tack dispenser to help throw off the chase. While the base price of the SmarTruck is the same as an F-350 -- $35,000-$45,000 -- Fuller could not divulge the exact cost of the fully equipped vehicle.
Catching up from ITSA's telematics news:
There is strong experimental evidence that those engaging in mobile phone conversation have an impaired ability to react to potentially hazardous situations.... Epidemiological studies have also indicated an association between phone conversation whilst driving and an increase in the risk of involvement in an accident, although causality cannot be attributed.... This finding appears to be unaffected by whether a hands-free kit (HFK) is used or not. For this reason, the Stewart Group concluded that the effect is most likely to be due to the distracting nature of the conversation, and drivers should be dissuaded from using either hand-held or hands-free phones while on the move.
The "Stewart Group" is the British "Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones" that also reported on health issues related to cell phone use. Their focus was mainly on whether RF radiation was a health threat, but in their "Scientific Evidence" chapter they discuss studies on the relationship between cell phone use and accidents.
The telematics market, as seen by McKinsey consultants: The Road Ahead for Telematics (requires free registration, or use user id "anonymous2001" and password "anonymous"). They break down the market among "engine and mechanical applications," "front seat market" and the "back seat market," and project $13-100 billion in revenues for off-board applications for 2010.
(Number of automotive articles from Moreover.com yesterday: about 100. Number about Ford/Firestone split: 70).
Cell phone debate is heating up. Bills would ban using cell phones while driving:
Two Democratic lawmakers introduced bills on Tuesday in the U.S. Congress to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.
Subaru signs up to use OnStar (MiTechNews article).
Experts: Talking car 5 years away. The Digital Car Journal's Will Fitzgerald is one of the experts cited.
There’s still good reason to believe a long-term telematics boom is in the making. But there’s likely to be a few delays and detours in the short-term.
Navigating the Navigation Aids: New York Times review of the Infiniti Q45 "vehicle information system." Not positive. Among the quotes:
"Can you imagine my father trying to use this radio?" a passenger mused as I tried to wend through a maze of on-screen menus without plowing into approaching traffic...
Press Releases from PR Newswire coming out of the Auto Interiors and EyeForAuto Telematics shows: Visteon Telematics Expert speaks, Personal Audio Broadcasting, Johnson Controls wins 2 "best of show" telematics awards, Visteon wins for displays.
Telematics overview article from MIT's Technology Review.
Wingcast Chief Executive Officer Harel Kodesh told Reuters following a conference on telematics in Detroit that the service will now be ready in about 12 months.
More on the supermodel-telematics connection.
Another E911-based location/navigation service.
Motorola and TrafficMaster agree on a deal.
Report on Wednesday's congressional testimony from ITSA, including the written testimony of Mark Edwards at AAA (Word document), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Director Thomas Dingus (Word document), ITSA Chair Harold W. Worrall (Word document) and Jane Stutts of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (Word Perfect document).
Recommendations from the above:
Oddly, no one mentioned the threat to our nation's supermodels.
Special thanks to ITSA's webmaster, Rachel Romine, who made these documents available.
Congress is hearing testimony about driver distraction. New anti-cell phone rationale--protecting our nation's supermodels:
Last month, supermodel Niki Taylor was severely injured when a car she was riding in crashed into a utility poll. The driver said he looked down to answer his cell phone before the car ran off the road.
You know 120 people:
You know 120 people, they each know 120 people.
Data based on Traffic Safety Facts 1999 Annual Report, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics Comparative Homicide rates. 1999 Fatalities: 41,611. Injuries: 3,236,000. Crashes: 6,279,000. Drivers: 187,170,000. 1998 Homicide rate: 6.8/100,000.
New driver distraction study from University of North Carolina. Claims: 8-13% (about 284,000) of all serious accidents in the U.S. are caused by driver distraction. Of these,
The study found that drivers were most often distracted by something outside their vehicle (29.4 percent) followed by adjusting a radio or CD player (11.4 percent). Other specific distractions included talking with other occupants (10.9 percent), adjusting vehicle or climate controls (2.8 percent), eating or drinking (1.7 percent), cell-phone use (1.5 percent) and smoking (0.9 percent).
So, roughly 30,000 serious accidents a year are caused by people fiddling with the audio system. Suddenly, this doesn't seem like a particularly safe thing to do, despite some claims to the contrary.
I received a question about the note about recurrence statistics:
About the accident question. I don't know probability math and this may be out of my league, but isn't each trip mutually exclusive and therefore the probability of an accident remains the same always.
Thanks for the comments. I'm glad someone's reading them!
Tim Moran claims the only reasonable business model for telematics is location-based commerce, not safety or luxury.
But what about audiobooks?
...in the unfortunate event of the vehicle being violated or vandalised, Cellstop will alert the owner by calling on his/her cellphone within seconds of the incident happening. Cellstop will dial the number three times and if these calls are unanswered or responded to, the Cellstop unit will automatically starve fuel to the engine, making it impossible to drive the vehicle.
Andrea Electronics (microphone maker) announces 1st quarter loss. Among the "contributing factors:"
significant investments in research and development activities primarily associated with the Company's efforts in developing digital audio far-field microphone technologies ... and significant operating expenses related to marketing the Company's digital audio far-field microphone technologies, particularly to the automotive telematics market space.
A recurring probability question: Assuming that something occurs with probability P (independent at each trial--like a coin toss), and it's an event that you will repeat many times, how many times does the event need to occur (N trials) in order to achieve probability R of occurring at least once? For example, assume that there's a 1/100 chance of having an accident on the way to work. After how many times will you need to drive to work in order to have a 1/2 chance of having an accident?
The formula, according to my big book of fomulas (Documenta Geigy's Scientific Tables, Sixth Edition) is:
R = 1 - (1-P)^N
I came across this telematics marketing overview. A UM MBA class project?