Posted in Technology

Self driving cars are closer than you think

Well the title is a little misleading, but the idea is slowly coming to with today’s smartphone apps and the capabilities of add-ons and accessories. For instance, my personal favorite, Viper SmartStart allows you to start & unlock your car from virtually anywhere (you have internet access) via your an app on your Android, Blackberry or iPhone! It will also pop your trunk and panic! Now this is a basic idea, but it seems that there is more out there than just that, like being able to track, get diagnostics and keep you in lane when your sleepy!

The first of two apps I saw on Engadget (who got it from PhoneArena, who got it from ReadWriteWeb, it’s funny to follow the trail) lets you plug into that diagnostic plug that all cars since 1996 have, and upload the information to the web. It’s called AutoBot by Mavizon Technologies. The idea is that this little device will plug into the port and allow you have GPS locating and diagnostics to keep you on top of when to change the oil. This little guy can also be setup to send someone a text message when the car is in a wreck (& the airbags deploy) and send you the location, so you can call 911 if the person is unavailable.

The app that comes with this will be able to track the car as well, in the event of a Decepticon stealing your car (bad joke, I know, stole it from the engadget story) and you can let police know its location. Even better when you forgot where you parked when you took the train into town and now can’t find your car! The hardware is not out yet, but hopefully looking for a 2011-2012 release, and they will be at CES 2011. If you want to try it out, you can apply to be a beta tester at their site, but no guarantees.

The second app makes me want to recycle my iPhone 3G along with my iPhone 4 just so I can have one running dedicated GPS directions and the other for this app! Ever seen those augmented reality apps, like Google goggles or Layar? The idea is to use the smartphone’s camera to see, and then add location information or whatever data you want on top of it, so you can see what’s in the world around you. You can see tweets, restaurants or your personal tour guide. So imaGinyze has created an app that tells you when you are approaching a car or change lanes!!

The camera will pickup vehicles in your near distance, and even when they get close, can give you distance information! This HUD that it has also tells you it’s current speed (via GPS math, I’m assuming). This is way too cool not to have a video demo (you can see more at the website):

Now who thinks self driving cars aren’t coming soon??

UPDATE: It looks like this guy stole my title and wrote his own article… (good article actually)

AutoBot via [Engadget]

Augmented Driving via[ReadWriteWeb]