Monday, April 30, 2007

Freeway community

Have you ever been in a situation when you are cruising on the freeway, and a 18-wheeler is trying to get into your lane? The truck is blinking its turn signal and waiting for you to pass. You notice that you are so close to his tail that you might as well let him get in front of you. So, you flash your headlights, and he glides into your lane. Once he is settled, he blinks his rear running lights to signal his appreciation.

Even though I am quite an aggressive driver on the road, I help out truckers all the time. I don't know why, but I always get a kick out of it when they say "thanks". And, if someone does not thank me, I curse under my breath and move on. I always anxiously look for the signal from the truck. I feel good when I see it. Maybe, that is why I do this. To feel good.

This whole short term shorthand communication between me and the truck somehow helps me to connect (even for a brief moment) with another person on the freeway. There is a sort of community on the freeway. CB radios used to enable this in the by gone days. Nowadays, nobody uses CBs but for truckers. Maybe, not even truckers use them.

Maybe, one day we will have some kind of (bar code?) readers on all cars. They will be able to read the adjacent cars' code and automatically connect to them. This will allow the freeway community to communicate as well as share things. Push a button and you will be talking to the driver in the car adjacent to you. You may be able to share a play list of songs from a fellow traveler. Your car may be able to access the auto analytics of the car in front of you and determine that the car is slowing down or even breaking down. This will help in avoiding accidents. Cops will be able to connect to a car's computer and instruct it to stop the car, avoiding the the whole chase scene.

Of course, the flip side of this is that we don't need to make our cars fancier. With all the global warming and the gas guzzlers, who needs to add more power hungry gizmos. We just need the basic mini car that runs on solar power.

We just have to wait and see what happens..