The Government Is My Co Pilot


Or maybe the government is my back seat driver is a more accurate description.

Cars talking to each other? Government to propose new rule in hopes of preventing collisions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Raising hopes of preventing many deadly collisions, transportation officials said Monday they plan to propose requiring automakers to equip new cars and light trucks with technology that lets vehicles communicate with each other.

Yes, I’m sure that this is the reason that an ever more intrusive government wants cars to send wireless data over the airwaves. Excuse my while I adjust my Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie. After all it’s not like the government would ever snoop on it’s citizens, right? I mean it’s just paranoid rambling to think that the police would want to snoop on drivers.

A radio beacon would continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information. Cars would receive the same information back from other vehicles, and a vehicle’s computer would alert the driver to an impending collision. Some systems may automatically brake to avoid an accident if manufacturers choose to include that option.

And every bit of this data would be out there for anyone with the equipment to read it. How long do you think it would be before there is a mandate for this information to be relayed via cell phone. Or for some enterprising company to make a receiver to capture all this data from any police vehicle or fixed location? Not long is my bet. All the pieces already exist, it won’t be even a little bit difficult to put it all into one package.

However, it will still be a least several years and perhaps longer before manufacturers would have to put the technology in vehicles, officials said. The safety administration plans to issue a report later this month on the results of its research, and then the public and automakers will have 90 days to comment. After that, regulators will begin drafting a proposal to require automakers to equip new vehicles with the technology. That process could take months to years to complete, but Foxx said it is his intention to issue the proposal before President Barack Obama leaves office.

So, three years at a maximum before this new rule is in place. A couple more years for the automobile manufacturers to build it into the cars. Again, there is not one bit of new technology needed for this. All of the pieces exist, they just have to be integrated into yet another box to put in your next car. Oh, guess who is going to be paying for this?

Government officials declined to give an estimate for how much the technology would increase the price of a new car, but the transportation society estimate it would cost about $100 to $200 per vehicle.

By the time it’s done, double that. The manufacturers don’t car because if they ALL have to do this, then it maintains the current level of competition. They’ll also be sure that their is some profit built in to this new requirement. Anytime that the government mandates new technology, the manufacturers make sure that they make a profit on it.

Once automakers start adding the technology to all new cars, it would take 15 years or more for half the cars on the nation’s roads to be equipped, according to the communications technology company Qualcomm. There are about 5 million to 6 million new cars sold each year.

There may be a way to speed things up. About 45 percent of Americans use smartphones, and that share is growing. The average lifetime of a smartphone is two years. If smartphones, which already have GPS, came equipped with a radio chip they could be used to retrofit vehicles already on the road so that they can talk to each other. The phone would be put in a cradle to sync with the car’s computers. That would help make it possible to achieve a 50 percent market penetration in less than five years, according to Qualcomm.

How long do you think it will be before the government mandates those chips for your smartphone? How much will that add to the cost of your smartphone the next time you get a new one? Or the one after that? How are those phones going to talk to each other? Cell phones are not devices which will talk directly to other call phones. They have to go through the cell phone system, which involves computers, base stations, and routing of the signal to the other nearby vehicles. Once in that system, it’s fair game for the government to seize it for whatever purposes they think appropriate.

Two other things to consider. First, any wireless system can be hacked in to if someone has the desire and spends the time to figure out how to do it. Once someone with nefarious design is inside your cars OS, then there is no end to the mischief they will be able to do if they so desire. Lock you out of your own car? Sure. Make your car stop running so you can be robbed or killed? Easy. Track you so they know if it’s safe to break in to your house and steal your shit? Double easy.

Oh, and if hackers can do it, be sure that the government can do it. How lovely it will be when the government decides that there is an emergency and they determine that stopping all of the cars in a certain area need to be immobilized? Collectivists love the idea of mass transit because it’s easy to keep people from moving around by disabling the system. That’s one reason collectivists hate cars and motorcycles. They give people a lot of individual freedom and collectivists hate that.

Maybe Borepatch will pop in with some comments on how easy that is. If he doesn’t head over to his place and read a few articles. It won’t be long until you want to unplug you TV because you’re afraid it’s watching you. I think it’s fair to say that the government wants your car to spy on you and report your every move. Literally.

Yeah, I’m paranoid. The government is just looking out for our safety and we know that no government in the history or mankind has ever turned on it’s citizens and none have ever used technology to achieve that end.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.