What would it be like if your car’s GPS had your best interest in mind?
Right now, that GPS isn’t really all that concerned with you. It’s thinking about your car. It’s using hundred million dollar satellites to figure out how to get 4,000 pounds of metal from point A to point B—what highways to crawl on, which off-ramps will minimize the interaction between it and all the other 4,000 pound hunks of metal on the road.
But what if your car’s GPS wasn’t so fixated on your car. What if it asked: What is the quickest way for a person to get to work and back again? To minimize the time spent traveling, and free up the maximum amount of time for the parts of their lives that they actually care about? Timed spent with loved ones, not wheels.
Many analysts predict transportation systems will need to start asking these kinds of questions in the near future to deal with growing congestion and rising fuel prices. And what’s more, they think the answer the GPS will often give is: leave the car at home.
Richard Parry-Jones, former global vice president of the
Ford auto company, sat down with CBS’ SmartPlanet series in the
“At the moment, you put a destination into the
car sat nav, and it tells you how to drive from A to B,” said Parry-Jones, who
is co-chairman of Automotive Council
“I don’t see any reason why in the future you couldn’t expand that, so you put your sat nav destination in, and it gives you not only driving choices, but also mixed mode transit choices, to optimize your journey for time, or for CO2 emissions, or for cost, or for whatever you choose. There’s no reason at all why we can’t integrate the transport system into the sat nav information provider rather than just focus it on driving.”
Based on real time information, a
well integrated set of instructions might advise an
“It could also look at the car park
(parking lot) in
This is a really interesting idea, and it certainly fits with the all-of-the-above type of thinking we’ve seen in the current U.S. Department of Transportation.
And after all, when I go to the store to buy a quart of milk for the morning, it’s not like my car is an integral part of the process. If I save time by hopping on a bike and avoiding gridlock, I want to know that. I like my car, but it’s ok to spend time apart. It’s not grabbing a bowl of cereal with me.
I’m not a morning person, anyway.