Print 20 comment(s) - last by Davelo.. on Dec 11 at 5:50 PM

DC shows off new car-to-car communication system

Automation is quickly starting to flood automobiles these days and DaimlerChrysler is putting the finishing touches on a system that could make traveling roads safer for drivers around the world. DC's Wireless Local Danger Warning (Willwarn) joins the likes of self-steering, automated parking, radar-based cruise control, radar-based rear collision detection and traffic/weather-enabled GPS systems.

Willwarn uses onboard ABS, ESP, EBD and GPS systems to monitor hazardous road conditions (fog, black ice, pot holes, etc.) or broken down vehicles. The data accumulated is then transmitted via an ad-hoc WiFi connection to following or oncoming vehicles within a 500 meter radius. Cars near the edge of the 500 meter radius of a signaling vehicle can also become a beacon to relay data to more vehicles.

The information collected is then displayed to the driver so that proper precautions can be taken to avoid or safely navigate problem areas on the road.

DaimlerChrysler hopes to have the new system in place by the end of the decade with high-end Mercedes and Maybach models most likely getting first dibs.

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By Alexstarfire on 12/10/2006 1:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds great in theory, but if there are a lot of cars using this WiFi thing then cars used as beacons could overload with data, right?

RE: Overload
By Flunk on 12/10/2006 2:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not if the system is used properly. If it is used properly each car is a node and is used to comunicate with other nodes, if one card is overloaded with transmissions another can be used as a relay. Spreading out the traffic between nodes should mitigate that sort of issue.

You only really need to worry if the system is not implemented properly but one (or more) car manufacturer and the signals are distrupted (not passed accurately) or purposely modified or flooded.

RE: Overload
By Flunk on 12/10/2006 2:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
oops typo,

This sentence should say car not card

if one card is overloaded with transmissions another can be used as a relay.

RE: Overload
By Cogman on 12/10/2006 3:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
I would think the big problem would be interferance. The other concern is Security. If WiFI now is unsecure, why should we have cars using simular tech to talk to each other? How hard would it be for someone (deranged of course) to mess with the car from a bridge or some other point of attack?

RE: Overload
By kextyn on 12/10/2006 3:30:20 PM , Rating: 3
I'm going to guess that the worst you could do is give a car false information about road hazards. It's not a computer network where you can hack into computers and such to steal data or tamper with things. I'm sure what you will be able to do to it will be very limited.

RE: Overload
By Azsen on 12/10/2006 4:28:05 PM , Rating: 3
The bad thing could be when they make the car automatically react to the hazards. So potentially if you were driving through a secluded neighbourhood some thugs could make the car think there was a hazard ahead and the car would react to that and force the car to stop. Then it would be easy to either hijack the car or attack the occupant etc.

RE: Overload
By Hare on 12/10/2006 4:32:56 PM , Rating: 2
That's it! Rather than just piling an obstacle and stopping a car with a gun they would hack into the cars wi-fi system and make it give a red warning that the brige ahead is down. Sounds reasonable...

Let's give some credit to the engineers and auto makers. They aren't stupid. Honestly what's the worst that could happen?

RE: Overload
By Cogman on 12/10/2006 6:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
You don't have to do something like this to rob someone. People do things like this just for fun. Think about virus's, it a computer geek wanted to stop someones computer from running, why doesn't he just go in and shut it off? Or if he wants control of it why doesn't he just go steal it? Because he will get caught.

If someone wants to just annoy people or scare them (Heck even if it was a terrorist trying to slow or stop the roads in the US) They could put an obstical in front of them and effect 10 people or more, or they could install a lieing device and effect hundreds of people in a short while. Traffic would be diverted from the site and other sites because they could do things like report 10000 of cars are stuck in traffic, or a volcano just exploded. Anything like that. Lets face it, people do dumb things like this a lot. again, think of computer Viruses.

RE: Overload
By mindless1 on 12/11/2006 4:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
Why would we give them credit? It's just another feature that can go wrong. If they can't even manage to make door handle springs that last long term, don't pretend you can assume something far more sophisticated will turn out ok.

As another poster already mentioned, even existing semi-matured wifi technology is flawed, it would be rather unfounded to think they will get a new technology right on the first try.

As for the worst that can happen it depends on how it's tied into the other systems. Might be possible to lock up the dash display. Might constantly generate fake warnings so the driver starts ignoring warnings, only to encounter a legitimate warning they ignored out of the false sense of security the system had previously given them.

What else could happen will depend on not just the vulnerability but the inventiveness of the attacker. Even mildly disorienting a driver could be used in a type of fender-bender-and-rob scheme.

RE: Overload
By fxnick on 12/11/2006 12:02:41 AM , Rating: 2
Im sure this whole wi-fi deal would just be assistance to the driver, not the whole car taking over where you drive.

What about all the cars that dont have wi-fi? not everyone would, nor will everyone for a very very long time.

And even if the car was designed to take over the controls, there would HAVE to be an override. Lets face it, the car cant predict everything and react to stuff as we would in the real world.

RE: Overload
By Davelo on 12/11/2006 5:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
Security? Security is not getting into a 30 car pile-up in the fog.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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