Internet of Things, everyday objects are becoming networked. Recently we looked at smart clothing, today we explore the world of smart cars. From Formula One to cheap family cars, all kinds of vehicles are utilizing sensors and advanced technology nowadays. While some of the features we discuss below aren't connected to the Internet, yet, all of them are using sensors. And so we can easily imagine the day when most cars are connected to the network.In the emerging
We begin our post looking at the state of the art in car sensor technology: Formula One manufacturer McLaren's 300 live, simultaneous data streams. We end with a look at family car Alhambra's more humble sensor technology. In between we have the latest from Chrysler, General Motors and Ford.
300 Sensors on a Formula One Car
The latest McLaren Formula One car, as driven by current world champion Jenson Button, relies on feedback during the race from 300 data streams - via miniaturized sensors on the car and the driver. This data tells Button's team how well he and his car are performing. This system is called "live telemetry" and it sends data such as the heart rate of the driver and the fuel level in the car.
This same technology is now being implemented in healthcare. Explained the Times Online:
"If we can track the heart rate of an elite athlete, why not also track the heart rate of a patient recovering from a heart attack? If, for instance, a patient is released from hospital having suffered a heart problem, the McLaren technology can employ wireless sensors the size of sticking plasters that will send, via the internet to the doctor or clinician responsible, a continuous record of the patient's heart rate and electrocardiogram, the graph that monitors the heartbeat."
NASA Technology in Chrysler Cars
Perhaps in a bid to out-do Formula One, Chrysler is tapping into space travel technology!
According to a recent press release from NASA, it is partnering with Chrysler to "use technologies originally developed for human spaceflight to enhance future vehicles and adapt advanced automotive technology for use in space." The two organizations will share information about mobility systems, wireless technologies, robotics, energy storage, radar, materials engineering, and battery systems.
Chrysler said that it plans to use NASA's research in surface navigation sensors for backup warning systems, lane departure warning systems and adaptive cruise control.
GM's Augmented Reality Car
What You'll See In The Future, AOL Auto looks at the latest advances in car cameras and sensors. Side-view cameras, currently available on some up-market vehicles, can be used to assist parking and as "advanced systems that help spot vehicles in your blindspots." Sensors on the side of the car are also used for lane departure warning systems, which "monitor lane lines and alert a driver when he or she inadvertently crosses those lines."In an article entitled
Another use for external cameras and sensors, writes AOL Auto's Frank Filipponio, is forward vision enhancement. Last month ReadWriteWeb wrote about a new General Motors technology that will bring AR to car windshields and provide a heads-up-display (HUD) experience. Here's a video showcasing this "enhanced vision system" of General Motors:
Ford's Voice Controlled Car
With Sync AppLink, Ford introduced a new platform that allows developers to offer voice controls for their mobile apps on Sync-enabled cars. The first Sync-enabled applications, which will be available later this year, are Pandora, Stitcher, and Orangatame's OpenBreak Twitter app. The first car to feature this new service will be the 2011 Ford Fiesta.
Opposite End of Car Spectrum: The Alhambra
The latest model comes with "bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive control and full beam assistant." This works via a sensor, which "detects oncoming vehicles and automatically dips the beam."
Another new feature is "the park/steer assistant, which autonomously manoeuvres the Alhambra into tight parking spaces - even perpendicular to the direction of travel."
While the Alhambra may sound humble compared to Formula One's sensor technology, or Chrysler's deal with NASA, it shows that even the most basic of cars is using sensors - which will inexorably lead to an Internet of Things.
Let us know in the comments what you're driving and if it uses sensor technology.
Research for this article was contributed by Deane Rimerman.