Radar and laser tech has been integrated into cruise control units in luxury cars such as the Jaguar XKR and the Infiniti Q45. Onboard computers automatically relax the throttle to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.

AirIQ goes further than LoJack: It doesn’t just track stolen cars, it empowers owners to disable their starter motors remotely. The device, used in commercial fleets, is now available to consumers.

Rental companies are using telematics to
enforce their contracts.
A jury recently ruled in favor of Acme Rent-
a-Car, which used GPS data to ding a renter $450 for speeding–though he hadn’t been stopped by police.

Road Safety International sells aftermarket black boxes that beep insistently when drivers exceed a preset speed or G-force. Parents can download data from the units to see how their teenagers have been driving.

You pay for electricity based on usage; why not auto insurance? In a recent pilot program, Progressive Insurance billed customers
by where, when and
how far they drove,
as recorded by GPS units in their cars.

The Toyota Prius sold in Japan features a rear camera that helps it parallel park. Intelligent Parking Assist isn’t fully autonomous: Drivers must start in the right spot and enter the destination on a touch



Raymond Freymann of BMW with one concept for a traffic radar network.

The Traffic-Busting Network

The idea behind “traffic radar” is simple: Other cars report where they are and how fast they’re going; your car takes that data, figures out where the traffic is, and routes you around it. Imagine you’re in the blue car on the left [1]. Many of the cars nearby are broadcasting their position and speed to you wirelessly. Slow-moving cars [2] clog the most direct route to your destination [3]. Cars on nearby roads are moving a bit faster [4], while others move even more quickly [5]. Your navigation computer uses this information to reroute you onto the fastest path [6].

Elements of the Intelligent Ca

Future cars may be fitted with sensors and warning systems including [1] a mirror that lights up when a car is in the driver’s blind spot, [2] a LIDAR sensor that uses laser beams to measure the distance and speed of approaching vehicles, [3] an antenna for communicating with other cars via wireless radio networks, [4] a GPS navigation system that warns the driver of hazards ahead and plots alternative routes, infrared sensors that watch lane markers and signal the driver’s seat to vibrate when the car drifts too far to one side, and radar sensors and video cameras that check for potential collisions.

The Chatty Car

Ralf Herrtwich of Daimler-Chrysler in a Smart car that talks to its “friends.”