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Black Box: By 2014 Cars Will Talk to Each Other and God Knows Who Else

The box of tricks, around the size of a small shoe box (but will eventually be the size of a matchbox), comes with a GPS sensor, built-in mobile phone, and uses the new 802.11p wireless protocol rather than the current 802.11n - one you’ll find in the latest smartphones and laptops - to talk to other cars even at high speeds. The choice to use 802.11p is to improve latency and means the module is able to talk to cars all around it up to ranges of 1.5km. The system could eventually be used to even drive cars for you, says Sievers, although the man in charge believes this is some time off yet. “It’s possible but are we ready for it,” he posed as we talked out the company’s vision for what cars will be able to do in the future. “You already have automatic braking in cruise control in some cars. This is just an extension of that.” But it’s not just pie in the sky thinking. Intrepid as ever, Pocket-lint has not only seen the new system in action, but been in a car with it working. The demo, titled "the transparent truck" by NXP, showed to us on the streets of Eindhoven, Holland (the company’s home town) so that we could see what a car was doing further down the road even though we couldn’t physically see it because of a large truck in the way. When the car in front of the truck hit the brakes we got a warning allowing us to react if need be.

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