Just now, I was reading some blogs on SDN (SAP Developer Network) and one of them struck me.
I'm talking about the5 trends which Moya Watson describes. In there she talks about your transportation vehicle as a source of information.
Collect traffic Jam data
Why not? I asked myself.
There's a ton of information which your car collects and processes every single second.
Your windscreen whipers start working if it rains and they even increase speed if it rains harder.
Your lights go on automatically when it goes dark.
There's a temperature sensor monitoring the outside temperature.
When your wheels slip, the ESP automatically kicks in to correct. Your speed is constantly processed and compared to your fuel consumption.
All this data can be harvested and put to good use. if we can, anonymous obviously, collect this data of even a tiny fraction of the cars on the road, we could get an enormously interesting view on the current state of traffic. The speed is a very good indication of traffic jams. Driving only 30km/h on a freeway? That's probably a traffic Jam. Your wheels spin and the outside temperature is below 0°C? Warning, icy roads! Your windscreen whipers are working overtime? Wheather forecast can be adjusted.
We could then use this data to finally provide decent traffic reports. The ones I hear are mostly so far out of date, that the traffic jam itself moved to the other side of the country by the time they announce it. Not only that, we can instantly move the aggregated data back to the vehicles itself to update the navigation system. We can alert the public road services to tackle icy roads, or even fill potholes if we can gather that data too.
The question is, how to get this data overload, in a structured way to the cloud?
Well, It just so happens that some manufacturers are using Android to build their on-board-computer. Others foresee interfaces with your iPhone to exchange information and interact with apps. How hard can it then be, to let your smartphone aggregate the data of your car, and upload it every now and then into the cloud?
There are even bluetooth dongles which you can plug into your OBD-II connector. These dongles will then continuously transmit information of your car, via bluetooth, to any paired device. That device can be your iPhone, Android smartphone, blackberry phone, laptop, tablet or even your GPS. (see Wikipedia for more info on OBD-II: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-board_diagnostics )
Just like sharing information on the web led to "Social Media ", sharing information between vehicles, service providers, and public services, can lead to "Social Traffic".