The guys at the RIAA may loathe BitTorrent with an unholy passion, but researchers at the University of California have found another use for the peer-to-peer protocols that could win it a lot more fans. In a nutshell, you fit cars with wireless modems and make them into a peer-to-peer network that works to reduce traffic jams:
Their Autonet plan would center around ad hoc networks of vehicles and roadside monitoring posts supported by 802.11 technology (the prototype uses 11b). The vehicles would essentially be the “clients” in such a system and feature graphical user interfaces to pass along information to drivers.
The caveat at the moment is that not enough roads have the monitoring infrastructure available to make the system work all the way from the big highways to the small streets. But given the proliferation of monitoring technology, not to mention the continuing (if now more muted) promises of municipal wi-fi networks, that can’t be far off. [via SlashDot; image by IM SNOT REAL]
Of course, what might make even more sense would be investing in the public transport networks so there was less traffic in the first place…