I can't wait to get broadband access in my car. I'm
not talking about these little mobile communicators that fire up when
you need assistance and I'm not talking about cheesy mobile access
speeds. I'm talking genuine broadband to the car!! Oh, I know most of you are saying: "but wouldn't that be dangerous?" Yes,
for the exceptional fool who chooses to text message while driving I
suppose adding broadband could really cause a lot of problems, but
right now, I don't care.
First of all, if I had broadband access, I would instantly have access to any music. Any genre of music or any specific tune would be available to me. I
know, there is always satellite radio and 20 GB MP3 players, but why
should I buy these devices and subscribe to Satellite services, when I
can already get everything I want 'on line?'
Second of all: detailed weather reports and on-demand traffic reports. I have lost count how many times I have had a need for up-to-date weather and traffic while I'm on the road. Yes,
I could subscribe to a GPS traffic system and I could always use my
mobile browser to get weather updates, but these are not as complete as
what I can get on line and just like the satellite radio and MP3 player
that would be two more gadgets and more subscriptions.
Third: instant access to whatever I need to know. I have a long commute and we usually drive long distances on the family vacation. I do a lot of thinking while I drive and thinking often requires access to data. Heck, I do so much thinking I even know what you are thinking: 'God help us if this guy is on the road.' But
seriously, there are plenty of technologies available now (such as text
to speecha nd speaker recognition) that would allow me to operate the
browser with 'my eyes on the road and my hands upon the wheel.'
Fourth: family entertainment. Remember those long family vacations I was writing about? Nothing
like the internet to keep the kids entertained, and, because we are
talking broadband here, everybody in the car could be linked in to
their own session. Well, so much for family conversation, but our kids never want to talk to us anyway.
This is not as far fetched as you might think. The automobile has an excellent power source and plenty of mounting area for sophisticated antenna technology. It would not be too difficult to establish a reasonably solid two-way communications link to a variety of broadband services. Any
OFDMA-based radio technology (such as WiMAX or LTE) using mesh-network
technology (the cars themselves can operate as mobile relays) can serve
without a lot of the problems which plague mobile networks today. If we coupled this capability with the Smart Highway
initiatives springing up in the public sector then we could build a
network overlaying the highway system that will serve both public
safety and public entertainment. People would subscribe to the service and off-set the costs of the public safety network operation.
perhaps it is a long way off from full-motion, jitter-free video while
moving at 90 mph, but cars will be driving themselves and running on
hydrogen fuel by that time anyway. Won't that be nice?