GM plays with slot cars

GM displays its vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology at the 2007 Geneva auto show.

Slot cars demonstrate GM technology.
Slot cars demonstrate GM technology. CNET Networks

GM's booth at the 2007 Geneva auto show features a particularly featureless slot car setup. The orange and white cars racing around the track show no marque or model distinction, instead designed to represent an "everycar," just as the featureless buildings around the track represent an "everycity." This display is not intended to demonstrate GM's lack of style, but rather its vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology. As the cars race around the track, another car pulls out of a parking garage, causing an obstruction. Both approaching cars receive a warning through their V2V hardware, and both slow down even before the car pulling out becomes visible. Likewise, at an intersection on the track, the second car waits for the first to cross.

The V2V hardware consists of a GPS chip and wireless LAN which broadcasts car data, such as location and speed. Other cars receive this data through their V2V hardware and signal their drivers if the other car represents an obstruction or hazard. For example, if a car is stalled, it broadcasts its speed as zero. An approaching car receives this information and can alert its driver with a signal on the dashboard or an audible warning. GM also suggests that vibrating seats could work as a driver signal, but too many people are likely to enjoy the sensation and intentionally become driving hazards.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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