Ok, so this is an idea I had sometime in 2001 … but now with Toyota and GM both trying out such experiements, it’s public enough (meaning: i can’t expect to make a killing licensing this idea … without a major legal battle)

Originally, sometime in 2001:

This idea allows all cars to have some sort of short range wi-fi technology built using open standards for short distances (10 ft to 100 ft?).
While on the road, your car can communicate with other cars within a specific radius and that will let you know if there is a bottleneck coming up, traffic/road conditions (flooding, fallen rocks on road, accident).
Then the message is quickly propogated to the cars following you through this network.

This network can be informational only, stating that the next 5 cars ahead of you have suddenly slowed from 40mph to 15mph, so you can take preventive action and start braking. Also, as the message is being broadcast to the cars behind you (by your car), this alerts the person behind you and lets them brake in time to prevent a pile-up.

Currently, people use Hand-signals and their rear-brake lights for any kind of information-traversing on the road. This new car-LAN system will enable them (their cars) to provide this sort of dynamic feed-back ahead of time.

Also, for example if you turn your fog-lights on, then the message can be broadcast, and others behind you can have their fog-lights turned on a few seconds before they get into the foggy patch of the road.

Privacy concerns can be negated by providing a “DO NOT boradcast” signal, but as a counter-measure, this should automatically kick-in a “DO NOT recieve” also.

I was reminded of this after reading an article on CNET

car network