×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US To Standardize Car App/communication Device Components

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the car-speak dept.

United States 173

coondoggie writes "The U.S. Department of Transportation has high hopes of standardizing the way autos talk to each other and with other intelligent roadway systems of the future. The department recently issued a call for public and private researchers and experts to help it build what the DOT called 'a hypothetical four layer approach to connected vehicle devices and applications certification.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

173 comments

Could only be better if: (4, Funny)

bobstreo (1320787) | about 8 months ago | (#44544915)

The UN creates a completely different standard, based on Russian Car Cams.

Re:Could only be better if: (1)

toastar (573882) | about 8 months ago | (#44544979)

But that seems less susceptible to jamming.

Re:Could only be better if: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545053)

jam jam jam jamming.

This is Mickey Mouse phoning from in from state prison. They got me for jamming. It's all that foul language. It's all that god damn fucking foul language.

Re:Could only be better if: (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545183)

Normally it is the other way round , American manufactures chose their own standard thats different to the rest of the world and your government adopts it out of protectionism.

Re:Could only be better if: (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 8 months ago | (#44545979)

Actually, my larger questions are:

1. How do I turn it off?

2. How do I disable it?

Re:Could only be better if: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545227)

And America as per usual will develope one based on protectionism

What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for all (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#44544929)

What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for all us toll roads as well?

Re:What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545015)

> What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for all us toll roads as well?

But if they do, the big, politically-connected corporation that pretends it's 50 different companies & charges extortionate extra fees to "out of state" drivers when they drive on some toll road in another state won't make as much money. Won't somebody please think of THEIR needs? They're people too!

Re:What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for (1)

sinij (911942) | about 8 months ago | (#44545037)

Standardized toll pass would allow cash-strapped counties to collect tolls from out of county residents. Just like "speeding" tickets, only there is no such thing as driving slowly to get around it.

Re:What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545143)

Standardized toll pass would allow cash-strapped counties to collect tolls from out of county residents. Just like "speeding" tickets, only there is no such thing as driving slowly to get around it.

The Massachusetts Turnpike already does that without the EZ pass. Say you're an out-of-state driver who has never heard of the Mass Pike, so you turn onto a clearly-labeled interstate, follow a one-way road for a little bit, and BAM! Hit by a surprise toll. Better hope you've got cash, sucker, 'cause there's nowhere else to go!

Re:What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 8 months ago | (#44545757)

Anyone else notice how terrible an acronym US is? Specifically when people are too lazy to capitalize it.

Re:What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 8 months ago | (#44545885)

Actually you have hit on an important point. The EZ-pass systems can easily be implemented in a privacy-protecting fashion (allowing you to buy them anonymously and pay cash) but somehow never are. Hmm.

I think we can be pretty sure that however these protocols are designed, privacy and security will not be taken into account.

My Tinfoil hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44544943)

I've been told I have a big head. But I don't think my tinfoil hat will fit on the car.

Re:My Tinfoil hat (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#44545067)

I've been told I have a big head. But I don't think my tinfoil hat will fit on the car.

PRISM for CARS?!

Secondly: WHERE DID YOU GET TINFOIL? It's all been replaced with useless Aluminum Foil. It's a conspiracy!

Some folks say Aluminum Foil is just as good because it's the "Foil" part that foils their plans.
They would say you're safe if you have an Air Foil or "Spoiler" to spoil the nefarious plots, Fools!

Not needed for drivers though. (5, Funny)

game kid (805301) | about 8 months ago | (#44544957)

This is probably not needed for their drivers though. The use of middle fingers and "FUCK YOU!" appears to have caught on just fine as an industry standard.

Re:Not needed for drivers though. (2)

sinij (911942) | about 8 months ago | (#44545137)

>>> This is probably not needed

I disagree. How would we otherwise establish a protocol for fully automated cars to flip each other for cutting off? There is no way around Turing Test for Strong AI, and this is key aspect of human behavior.

FTFY (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about 8 months ago | (#44544977)

The U.S. National Securty Agency has high hopes of standardizing the way autos talk to each other and with other intelligent roadway systems of the future

Re:FTFY (3, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#44545295)

Re:FTFY (4, Interesting)

stewsters (1406737) | about 8 months ago | (#44545357)

Wow, that's scary. Whoever is buying that data can just look who's garage you park at every night to figure out who you are. The same thing goes if you have a cell phone carrier that sells your location data.

"In 2011, OnStar did announce that it would start retaining all the information collected by the GPS and internal system, so that it could be sold to third parties (possibly insurance companies).[13] Although this data is supposed to be “anonymized”, it remains unclear exactly what they mean by this as it is extremely difficult to anonymize GPS data."

Re:FTFY (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#44546077)

There's also the following, from OnStar's ToS:

18. WHAT IF YOUR CAR IS STOLEN? If your Car is stolen, we can try to locate it. Before we try to locate it, you’ll need to provide satisfactory identification, and the police must be treating the Car as stolen. Generally, we will only provide location information about stolen Cars to the police; however, in cases of crises or emergencies, we may, in our own judgment, provide you with information about the general area of your Car without police involvement. OnStar may be notified by an early warning system that your Car may have been stolen and, in some cases, you may also be notified by OnStar. We don’t have to continue to try to locate your Car after 48 hours from the time you first report it stolen, and we can’t guarantee that we’ll find it. We also aren’t required to try to find your Car for the purpose of locating someone.

Your Car may have Stolen Vehicle Slowdown capability that enables OnStar to slow down your stolen Car remotely and/or the capability that enables OnStar to stop your Car from starting to assist law enforcement in its recovery. OnStar may also slow down your Car or stop your Car from starting if required to comply with legal requirements, including valid court orders in criminal investigations and to protect the safety of you or others.

If you don’t want Stolen Vehicle Slowdown capability on your Car, you must contact OnStar by pressing the blue OnStar button in your Car and request that this capability be disabled. If you choose to disable this capability, it will not be available under any circumstances and can only be re-enabled at an authorized car dealership at your expense.

Emphasis added to highlight the scary.

Now, where the heck is that OnStar module in my truck, and how to remove/disable it...

Re:FTFY (0)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#44545663)

I was actually surprised to see that the security of communications is being addressed from the beginning of the project. I guess we can tell that the center of the automotive world has moved out of Detroit, since implementing security might raise production costs five or ten cents per vehicle.

Control... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44544983)

This is just another step in the scheme of controlling the population. Can you imagine if the NSA forced all the developers to insert a backdoor which would allow law enforcement to shut down your car with the click of a button? /tin-foil-hat

Re:Control... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545321)

Serious criminals will have disabled their car systems, or patched it to look like it's there, but then not do anything it's told to do. Relevant example: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=14577188 [xda-developers.com]

Re:Control... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545555)

Also, criminals would find a way to abuse/hack it. That way, one can tell cars to stop on remote stretches of I-10, remove and dispose of the vehicle's occupants, re-enable the vehicle, and the car can go across the border, or visit a local chop shop.

If white-hats (Feds, LEOs, etc.) can kill it, eventually so can the black-hats.

Re:Control... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 8 months ago | (#44545587)

This is just another step in the scheme of controlling the population. Can you imagine if the NSA forced all the developers to insert a backdoor which would allow law enforcement to shut down your car with the click of a button? /tin-foil-hat

In some ways that seems better than the current methods using stop sticks [stopstick.com] or a barrage of 12 gauge slugs. Or the periodically re-invented EMP guns. [popsci.com] At least the back door could be designed in such a way that the vehicle is not destroyed permanently or as dangerously. It always sucks when the police kill the wrong person in a hail of gunfire. With a kill switch, your car could at least be turned back on and you can avoid an early trip to the morgue.

It's certainly better to have a kill switch in your car if they use an EMP while you're wearing your foil hat. Unless you prefer to have your head cooked to extra crispy

I'm not sure why you are bringing the NSA up though. They would be more likely to want a backdoor to get the GPS data or covertly use a built in microphone to listen in on conversations within the car.

Why Bother... (2, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | about 8 months ago | (#44544987)

Microsoft will just come along and break standard anyway.

Re:Why Bother... (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 8 months ago | (#44545021)

yeah, it won't be compatible with the roadway, it won't play nicely with other cars, and they'll figure out a way to make the windscreen blue.

And the tech support page online about it will say "non-Microsoft cars don't follow industry standards" and that's about it.

Re:Why Bother... (1)

Livius (318358) | about 8 months ago | (#44545955)

And before the air bag deploys in a crash, there will be a message asking "Are you sure?"

This is probably a good idea in the long run (5, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44544991)

In the short run, the real question for me will not be how the cars communicate with each other, but how they handle the cars that do not communicate at all. Nobody wants to swap engine oil at 75MPH with the VW Bus going 55 just because the bus wasn't communicating. Just like how nobody wants to meet the driver of that car that had to stop short to avoid a hazard.

I think for me, the biggest feature I'd like to see is a HUD that gives me a relative speed on the cars around me along with warning indicators communicated from cars ahead when debris is noted on the road. Hate that last-minute slight swerve to dodge a thrown tyre-tread that I couldn't see until the swerve.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#44545059)

I think for me, the biggest feature I'd like to see is a HUD

Prior art: Windshield.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (5, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44545131)

the problem with the prior art is that the display of that HUD is really buggy.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545239)

That's what windshield wiper fluid is for.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 8 months ago | (#44545585)

In the short run, the real question for me will not be how the cars communicate with each other, but how they handle the cars that do not communicate at all. Nobody wants to swap engine oil at 75MPH with the VW Bus going 55 just because the bus wasn't communicating. Just like how nobody wants to meet the driver of that car that had to stop short to avoid a hazard.

All non-automated vehicles should be required to immediately be retrofitted with beacons that identify their GPS location, speed, and whether any indicators are illuminated (brake lights, turn signals). This enhancement could be added to any vehicle with a minimum amount of effort. This at least simplifies things somewhat.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44545943)

NAFTA and potential unit failures make your suggestion unacceptable. And that's not even including all the privacy concerns.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (2)

plover (150551) | about 8 months ago | (#44545705)

The security model should certainly include signed messages. I wouldn't want to see a repeat of the ADS-B debacle. However, I trust that nothing can't be spoofed or hacked by someone. The private keys could leak out, or even be selectively tampered with by someone with authority.

To solve this, I'd like to see a security model that included a crowd-sourced "validity" rating of the other nearby vehicles. It's not enough that each vehicle sends a signed message. Each vehicle should be comparing the messages it receives with the data it knows, or that it receives from other nearby vehicles. Consider that I'm traveling on a heading of 78 at 88kph. For the last 7 minutes I've been following two vehicles ahead of me, one is VIN#ABC123 and is 50m ahead at my 0 traveling at 88kph and one is VIN#DEF456 and is 43m away at my 5. VIN#123ABC has a blind-spot sensor, and it sends a message saying "My VIN# ABC123. My heading is 78, my speed is 88kph. My traffic: VIN #DEF456 is 3 meters away at 120", Now my computer has some measure of confidence in the reports of VIN#ABC123. My vehicle could then send a signed attestation that data from VIN#ABC123 has been self-consistent since 3:15PM.

But if it said something completely inconsistent, such as reporting its own speed as 110 kph, I could sign an "inconsistent speed" report, so other vehicles could know I am no longer trusting the data from VIN#123ABC.

It'd be like a little dynamic web-of-trust. As long as all the vehicles in my immediate area are transmitting self-consistent data, I'm pretty confident that my vehicle is, too. If one of the vehicles was spouting off nonsense, the other vehicles could still piece the corrupt vehicle's data together from the info each is sharing. The roadways would similarly have to be "reputable" in order to be trusted.

I figure any one vehicle or road segment can be spoofed or hacked. It's much less likely that all the vehicles around me were simultaneously hacked to produce a completely phantom image of the world to my vehicle. If this thing is responsible for keeping a safety bubble around me, I want to know that it's always acting in my best interests with accurate data.

Re:This is probably a good idea in the long run (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 8 months ago | (#44545907)

Easy: The "smart" vehicle with track the dumb vehicle and maintain a safe distance. It will then communicate back to the USDOT and an automated drone strike will "retire" the obsolete vehicle.

Please, no more Java (1)

Jsutton1027w (757650) | about 8 months ago | (#44545023)

I think we've all suffered enough at this point...

Re:Please, no more Java (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 8 months ago | (#44545033)

Just outsource the standardization to Apple.

Re:Please, no more Java (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545807)

"Just outsource the standardization to Apple."

No, WalMart. There were several RFID chip standards until WalMart settled on one for their inventory system. Now there is just the one.

Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" msg (4, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 8 months ago | (#44545047)

Seriously, this is annoying as heck. Either because they're going under the speed limit, or they're going at the exact-speed as the guy in the next lane and blocking traffic. And the highways by me are plastered with "Left lane pass only" or "keep to right except to pass"

Under the speed limit is obvious...

But the same-speed thing bothers me. NOT when it's rush hour... there's nothing to be done about that.

But it's mid-day and some idiot decides to cruise on the left-lane at the EXACT speed as the guy in the next lane. Nobody in front of either of them as far as the eye can see. So traffic is building up and up behind them and causing congestion because nobody can pass these 2-or-3 cars in front of them.

If you want to be going as the same speed as the guy in the middle or right lane, then GET IN the middle or right lane!

ADDENDUM... especially when the left-lane idiot is going the same speed as the dump-truck next to him. So everyone is getting pelted with small pebbles and things and are unable to pass.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545109)

maybe you shouldn't go 35MPH over the limit.

Seriously... some people only want to SLIGHTLY break the law and pass the guy going 55 (legally) in the left lane.

In other words, STFU.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 8 months ago | (#44545185)

Truck speed limits are usually quite a bit slower than car speed limits, so it's a safe bet that if you're passing a truck and only going slightly faster than the truck, you're going 5–10 MPH under the posted car speed limit.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545255)

When you're waiting at crosswalks, do you hold your arms out so no one can jaywalk past you? What does it say about you as a person when you hide behind the law as your excuse for limiting everyone who wants to surpass you?

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

plover (150551) | about 8 months ago | (#44545995)

At a crosswalk I once held out my arm in front of a jaywalker. He had his head down in his phone with his earbuds in, he was following the tail of a crowd across a normally not-busy street, he didn't realize the light had completely changed, and he apparently didn't notice there was traffic approaching rapidly from his left. Did I interfere with his right to jaywalk? Yes, intentionally. What would it say about me as a person if I hadn't limited that guy from passing me, and let him step into that street?

Is the guy in the left lane simply inattentive, or is he just a jerk who likes angering drivers that are behind him? Could he be actively driving that way to block people from speeding? Maybe or his radar detector is going off because there's a state trooper in the car ahead of him. Maybe he sees an emergency vehicle on the shoulder ahead, and is avoiding them per state law?

Not everybody's motives are clear, especially when they're driving and you can't ask them why they're going slow in the left lane. But usually, it's because they're inattentive jackasses.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

krovisser (1056294) | about 8 months ago | (#44545371)

Lots of states have laws that state you can't hold up traffic behind you in the left lane, no matter what speed you are going at.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545399)

So you can speed as much as you like, as long as someone stays on your tail? Sweet.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (5, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#44545485)

You do realize that he's complaining about people engaging in illegal practices, right? Where I live, cops regularly enforce the "Left lane for passing only" signs that were posted within the last year on our main freeway. If you're in the left lane and not passing the guy next to you, you'll earn yourself a citation pretty quickly because what you're doing is not only illegal, it also endangers everyone else on the road by causing cars to pile up behind you, thus increasing the likelihood of an accident significantly.

Your chief calling while driving is not to abide by the law, but to drive safely. Following the law is the best way to drive safely in about 99% of situations, but the laws are inadequate at times, and it is not your responsibility to try and enforce them against others, since your doing so will more often than not result in a more dangerous situation than if you had left the other driver alone. Every cop I know will tell you that it's okay to speed up beyond the limit in order to pass someone if doing so will result in a safer driving situation for the people involved. And at least where I live, failing to do so means that you need to drop back and get out of the left lane if you want to be law-abiding. Either way, it's safer for everyone involved.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545637)

I agree, your chief responsibility when driving is to drive safely, like not changing lanes every 15 seconds to 'keep right except to pass'.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545743)

If you're changing lanes every 15 seconds, then either you're traveling too fast yourself or you're not completing your pass, which means you're not going fast enough. Don't be an idiot.

If you're going to fast to stay in the right lane, then you are fine in the left lane provided there's no pileup of cars behind you. If you're the front of a stack of cars, then you are obligated to move into the right lane for a while and allow traffic to resume its normal speed because you're impeding the safe flow of vehicles on the road.

If you're traveling at the right speed for your lane, your clue is that there are vehicles a safe distance ahead of you, the cars (if any) to your right are going slower than you, and you're not being passed at every opportunity by cars behind you (if any). The only time it's okay to have a vast open expanse ahead of you is when there is also a vast open expanse behind you. It's not that hard.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44546013)

"If you're changing lanes every 15 seconds, then either you're traveling too fast yourself or you're not completing your pass, which means you're not going fast enough. Don't be an idiot."

You seem confused. I don't disagree with the principal. I disagree with many people interpretation and the letter of the law. That's why I'm talking about changing lanes every 15 seconds. If I followed the letter of the law, that's what I'd be doing. If I continue to act sanely and rationally (including NOT impeding traffic, even the maniacs), then technically I am breaking the law.

Sometimes, that acting sanely and rationally means I might be in your way for a few seconds while I finish legally passing one last car to find an open spot in the right lane. Instead of speeding by 20MPH, you'll be "held up" to only about 8mph over, for a few seconds.

If you're not a complete maniac, you have the patience to allow me to get our of your way safely. If you are a maniac, you cut through the spare 2 inches between me and the person I'm about to merge in front of on the right to get out of your way.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#44546099)

No one said you had to dodge back into the right lane immediately after every single car. Once you pass a car, if you're going faster than the next car in the right lane then you're still in the process of passing, so you'd be perfectly fine in staying in the right lane, and even you must have enough common sense to recognize that. You're doing a disservice to yourself by playing the fool.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 8 months ago | (#44546109)

You do realize that he's complaining about people engaging in illegal practices, right? Where I live, cops regularly enforce the "Left lane for passing only" signs that were posted within the last year on our main freeway.

Can you send me some of your cops? One of the states that borders where I live (Missouri) I think they teach them in drivers ed that they are supposed to hang in the left lane. It's illegal where I live but I've never seen it enforced.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545665)

The guy going 55 in the left lane isn't doing so legally if he can be doing 55 in a lane to his right without holding anyone up. The two are not mutually exclusive, and speed limits are not set as or intended to be enforced as absolutes. Driving conditions determine the safe speed, and regulating the flow of traffic is not the purview of a crotchety jackass who thinks that anyone who wants to get around him is doing so just to "go 35MPH over the limit".

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about 8 months ago | (#44545805)

You're not the NASCAR pace car. You are not entitled to the authority of policing the speeds of other drivers. Blocking the left lane for faster traffic is a misdemeanor moving violation in nearly all US municipalities regardless to the oncoming driver's speed.

tl;dr; You don't get to police the roads unless you've legally got blue strobe lights on your car.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545189)

Your impatience should not be our responsibility. "Open space in front of you" does not mean "accelerate indefinitely until an obstacle appears".

Some drivers understand this. You, clearly, do not.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545201)

You should just do what I do: get really close, swerve side to side, and lay on the horn. They move real quick.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545559)

Good for you. You just went from me accidentally slowing you down while I'm passing traffic in the right lane to me purposefully slowing you down.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545247)

These people are the same as internet trolls. They do it to piss you off. Guess what, you just feed them.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

krovisser (1056294) | about 8 months ago | (#44545385)

No, I think most don't realize they are a) in the so-called fast lane, b) don't realize that they are only supposed to be there to pass, c) don't realize that you can break (b) if you don't go fast enough (including over the speed limit) and c) don't realize or utilize their rear view mirrors.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545569)

As long as I'm going faster than the car in front of me in the right lane, I'm passing them. If my going the speed limit, or slightly above the speed limit at most to do that passing isn't good enough, tough titty.

Passing does not mean driving like a maniac as fast as my engine will take me pretending I'm Al unser. It also does not mean there is no speed limit. Even when passing, speed limits are in force.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 8 months ago | (#44545347)

ADDENDUM... especially when the left-lane idiot is going the same speed as the dump-truck next to him. So everyone is getting pelted with small pebbles and things and are unable to pass.

I don't need a new government standard to fix this. I already put a pair of pneumatically-driven TRAIN HORNS connected to a deep cycle marine battery and isolated with a big honking 1 farad capacitor and an industrial-grade current limiter under the hood. It's good for about 20 seconds of SWEET MOTHER OF GOD sound before it spends the next half hour recharging off the alternator.

Believe me... people get out of the way when their car is literally shaking from the noise behind them. And yes, I did dynamat the entire passenger compartment, even the firewall... which makes for whisper-quiet drives until HORN OF DEATH is activated. I have four sets of industrial-grade ear protection and a pack of disposable ear plugs in the glove box, because I measured the SPL at over 120dB even with all the sound-dampening. Unfortunately, the windshield itself transmits a significant amount of vibration through it and there's no practical way to fix that problem...

I've only had to use this weapons-grade horn a couple of times, but let me say, the effects were immediate. Make sure you have plenty of distance between the vehicle in front of you when you hit the button... people have a funny habit of standing on the brakes when their world turns a vibrating shade of red.

I personally guarantee you though... you'll be able to pass anyone after pushing the big blue button.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (2)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#44545733)

I was set to purchase a set of semi truck air horns and the rig to run them when my wife asked, "What is that?" I told her, and that was the end of that project. Should have waited until she left for work. . .

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 8 months ago | (#44545823)

A similar technique is quite effective for tailgaters. If you want to go faster than me I'm happy to let you pass, but sometimes that can't happen because it's one lane, it's icy, or I just have to get past the even slower guys to my right. You don't need to kiss my car in these situations -- I know you're there!

So in high school I rigged a dashboard switch to the brake lights. If an annoying tailgater decided to touch the back of my car I simply held down the switch...which never failed to open up some space!

Surely illegal (your horns probably aren't), but the statute of limitations must have expired by now.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (3, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 8 months ago | (#44546115)

So in high school I rigged a dashboard switch to the brake lights. If an annoying tailgater decided to touch the back of my car I simply held down the switch...which never failed to open up some space!

You don't really need to do that. Most vehicle brakes light before any significant pressure is applied -- you can usually trip it with just a light touch (not enough to affect speed). Unless your car is very new or the brakes were just replaced, there's usually enough play to get the light to come on.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545439)

Just do what I do to the mini-van left-lane hoggers. I start swerving back and forther between the two lanes in 3rd gear so my engine is screaming. People behind me start freaking out and give me tons of space. Then as soon as I get more than 1 inch of space, I go for it. Scares the shit out of the other drivers. And I don't give a fuck.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545857)

Well, don't stop there, champ. Please, tell us more about the badass things you do on the Imagination Freeway.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545441)

I disagree with the "stay in the right lane except to pass" laws on safety grounds. Changing lanes is one of the most dangerous things you can do on a roadway (especially when there are 3 or more lanes!).

If I'm generally keeping pace with those in the left lane (typically 5-10mph over the limit on average), I'm easily passing everyone in the right lane (which is typically going 5-10mph under the speed limit because of various low speed vehicles).

If you're one of the maniacs who think that 5-10mph over the limit isn't "enough", that's tough shit for you.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545599)

If you're not passing traffic to your right, you ARE the safety hazard as well as a traffic obstruction because you are CREATING the traffic congestion that makes lane changes more dangerous. That's why these roadway rules are in place--if traffic is flowing properly, there will be ample safe windows for passing when necessary. You must and should be in the rightmost lane that is sustaining your speed. If there is no one in front of you and someone behind you and you're not in the right lane, you're in the wrong lane. Period.

If you're keeping pace with traffic in your lane, you will by legal obligation be passing traffic to your right, and if you are not, you should not be in that lane. Period. If you disagree, that's tough shit for you. Declaring that 5-10 over the limit is "enough" in a post that openly disregards traffic laws is comically hypocritical.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545763)

"If you're not passing traffic to your right, you ARE the safety hazard as well as a traffic obstruction because you are CREATING the traffic congestion that makes lane changes more dangerous."

Did you not read this part:

"I'm easily passing everyone in the right lane"

5-10mph is just the typical in my area.

"That's why these roadway rules are in place--if traffic is flowing properly, there will be ample safe windows for passing when necessary. You must and should be in the rightmost lane that is sustaining your speed. If there is no one in front of you and someone behind you and you're not in the right lane, you're in the wrong lane. Period.

If you're keeping pace with traffic in your lane, you will by legal obligation be passing traffic to your right, and if you are not, you should not be in that lane. Period. If you disagree, that's tough shit for you. Declaring that 5-10 over the limit is "enough" in a post that openly disregards traffic laws is comically hypocritical.
"

Nice set of contradictory bullshit. Just because someone is not in front of me does not mean I am not passing someone on my right. IT IS NOT LEGAL TO SPEED WHILE PASSING. If you don't like that I am passing legally without speeding (or not speeding as much as you want me to), that's tough shit for you.

And also, the biggest danger on the road, hands down, is speed differentials. The safest traffic is the traffic that is moving as a constant speed. Manaics doing 20+ over in the left lane while I'm trying to change lanes to pass a semi doing 20 under the limit is what causes a dangerous passing situation.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545925)

Did you not read this part:

"I'm easily passing everyone in the right lane"

Then what are you bitching about? You're not engaging in the behavior of the post you're responding to under that circumstance.

Nice set of contradictory bullshit. Just because someone is not in front of me does not mean I am not passing someone on my right.

It's not contradictory. The only time it's okay to have a vast open expanse in front of you is when there is a vast open expanse behind you. If you're passing but there's a huge pileup behind you, you are obligated to get in the right lane and allow traffic to resume its normal speed.

And also, the biggest danger on the road, hands down, is speed differentials. The safest traffic is the traffic that is moving as a constant speed.

No, it's not constant speed, but consistent flow. When road conditions and geometry are constant, then the speed in each lane will also be roughly constant, but the speed across lanes should NEVER be constant. The dangerous speed differential is created by someone like you going 20 under, getting tired of it, and moving into a lane in front of cars moving at or near the speed limit before accelerating to match the 20mph faster pace in the left lane. That's the unsafe scenario. "Maniacs going 20 over in the left lane" are by definition the exception, not the rule, and it's your responsibility to choose a time to pass that does not create unnecessary risk for you or others. If the entire line of cars is going at a particular speed, then that's the speed you need to go if you want to be in that lane. If you're not comfortable doing so, stay out.

Just because you're tailgating the slow truck in front of you so you don't have to accelerate and match the speed of the next lane does not give you the right to pull out in front traffic and force them to brake or pile up behind you.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545615)

I would like them to implement the ability a given vehicle to receive warning messages from nearby drivers. Things I have in mind include:
- Your $CORNER tire is dangerously low
- Your $BRAKELIGHT is burned out
- If vehicle is a generation III Jetta: The adhesive tape that secures the body moulding to your $CORNER door has failed.

Other more personal messages might be:
- your dress is hanging out of your door, and soaking up all the grime for the last 20 miles
- there hasn't been a turn or lane change in the last $DISTANCE, and yet your turn indicator persists in blinking
- don't brake hard; your $ITEM is still on your roof

CAPTCHA: "orgasm"

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545645)

Some serious pent up aggression. Find an outlet besides getting angry at drivers - it'll add potentially unwanted years to your life.

It'll be nice to just get my tickets in the mail instead of having to spend the time waiting for an officer to run my plates, validate my insurance, have breakfast and then return with my license and registration.

Re:Please give me "get off the left-lane stupid" m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545833)

Just don't forget that there are situations where this idea is turned completely upside down.

In urban and city areas you will see "Through traffic use left lane" because there will be a lot of merging and exit traffic on the right. If you're trying to blow through at full speed in the right lane you're just creating a lot of backup and hazard for slower traffic that is trying to exit or merge.

Don't get your panties in a wad if left lane through traffic is only going 5mph over the limit. Wait it out like an adult.

What they really need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545077)

... is standardized internal electronic interfaces.

Nothing like having a great car come with a totally shitty, non upgradable onboard computer (i.e. nav system, media center, etc.).

Sure, you can get really expensive custom shit or bolt on/tape upgrades, but for fuck's sake, it's 2013 not 1980.

While they are at it, they can either make voice recognition work, or just fucking cut bait and move on. Seriously, I have a completely plain jane, standard midwestern accent with no lisp, slur or other impediment, and every car I've ever been in has been completely unable to understand what I am saying.

Me: "Radio, FM 100.3"
Car: "Did you mean: Max AC on?"
me: "cancel"

*restart voice act*

Me: "Radio, FM 100.3 (said very deliberately)"
car: "Did you mean: Find a fuel station?"
me: "NO, FUCK YOU IDIOT COMPUTER!"
car: "Did you mean: new destination?"

me: *road rage mode enabled*

Fail (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 8 months ago | (#44545125)

First thing this proposal needs is a way to update the firmware of any such technology in a direct, physical, and only-by-the-driver fashion. Because if there's one thing I've learned about government-sponsored "standards" in technology... it's that they will fuck it up.

The best approach will probably be creating some kind of virtual stack with an API interface to applications; Keep it flexible so that as security vulnerabilities are discovered (they WILL be discovered), the network stack itself can be upgraded. It should also be mandatory that manufacturers support any device/vehicle for at least twenty years. None of this crap like we have with cell phones where only a few patches or upgrades are released and then "ha ha, that's it ... upgrade to our newer model now!" As well, every device should be required to be updated at least once a year; That all firmware has an expiration date, and newer versions of the protocol are intentionally only backwards compatible for one or two revisions prior.

This will ensure that (eventually) any vulnerable device or exploit is eventually totally removed from the road. Any such communication tech should also fail safe -- that is, if it isn't upgraded, or whatever... it just disables itself allowing for manual control. The operator should also have the option of immediately discontinuing connections to earlier versions of the protocol or disabling the device entirely (manual mode), and such options should be easily-accessible without any tools or special knowledge.

Lastly, all vehicles should have a prominent fail-safe button readily accessible by the driver without needing to take his/her eyes off the road, and should be tactile (not these capacitive buttons, but a real pushable button), which immediately disables all automation and computer control and resets all inputs to a "fail-safe" manual level to allow for immediate operation of the vehicle -- specifically to bring it to a stop as quickly and safely as possible. This button (ideally) will be located on the steering wheel or column and can be hit without taking hands off the wheel. Basically... and emergency kill switch that engages mechanical and direct linkage to critical vehicle inputs like steering, braking, and throttle.

Re:Fail (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 8 months ago | (#44545541)

It should also be mandatory that manufacturers support any device/vehicle for at least twenty years.

No, because it is safe to assume that the manufacturers will lock down the device so that only they can create updates for it, and it is safe to assume that manual driving will become more and more restricted over time. Setting any specific time limit is thus equivalent to planned obsolescence on a nationwide scale.

Manufacturers should be required to update the firmware for as long as a single copy of that car is on the road. This encourages the manufacturers to standardize on a single set of software that applies to all of their vehicles over many, many model years, which has the added benefit of dramatically reducing the likelihood of coding errors. If the manufacturer goes out of business, they should be required to spin off a company that owns the source code and rights to do this maintenance. They should be required to set aside a portion of the purchase price of each vehicle in a special safety fund that is protected in the event of bankruptcy, specifically for the purpose of funding such a company, should it be required.

... it just disables itself allowing for manual control.

No, because some people will just not bother to update their firmware, and will just choose to drive manually. Then we'll be in the same position we're in now, having to maintain lots of unnecessary infrastructure (traffic lights, road signs, etc.) that we could otherwise eliminate entirely.

Except on specifically designated manual roads (e.g. scenic routes, long roads in the middle of the desert, etc.), manual control should be restricted to emergencies only (temporary in the event of a complete system failure, to drive it to the nearest spot on the shoulder that is wide enough to pull over so that a tow truck can tow it to a repair shop). Manual driving should be extremely rare, as it puts a significant strain on the traffic control systems.

Firmware should be OTA self-updating, should be signed by the manufacturer, and should be completely transparent to the user. The vehicle should have two boot partitions, and should always update the least recently updated partition. That way in the event of a failure, you can do some magic sequence involving the odometer button and the ignition key to revert a bad firmware install in the unlikely even that it happens. Also, this ensures that if the install fails for some reason, the car can safely wipe that boot partition, load a full copy (non-update) of the new version, and go on as though nothing had gone wrong.

The device should continue running the current version of the firmware until the next time you shut the vehicle off. Then, it should boot from any newly updated firmware. If the boot fails, it should fall back to the previous firmware, wipe the newly updated firmware, and download a fresh (full install) copy again.

The manufacturer should have the ability to push an "unsafe firmware" notice to the device. If the device sees that flag, it should immediately flag that version of the firmware as potentially dangerous. If it is currently booted from the unsafe version and if it has another version installed that is not flagged, it should immediately find a safe spot to pull over, pull over, reboot from the other version of the firmware, and continue the trip. If it does not have a safe version, it should immediately query the server, download a full, known-safe version, overwrite the version that it is not currently booted from, and then immediately find a safe spot to pull over, etc.

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44546029)

There isn't really any discussion (at this point) of interfacing this technology with the controls. For the near future at least, I don't expect it to go much further than alerting the driver to potential hazards. Of course it's possible that car manufacturers could interface their control systems with the computer to incorporate features like automatic braking for collision avoidance, but that would just be opening a huge can of worms IMO and it's not what the DoT is currently after.

Communication hazards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545155)

As soon as your car is communicating with other close cars and highway devices, it means your car will be telling the police your location and exactly how fast you are going. How long would it be until we have the equivalent of red light cameras mailing out speeding tickets to half the cars on the road?

Re:Communication hazards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44546049)

How long would it be until we have the equivalent of red light cameras mailing out speeding tickets to half the cars on the road?

That will never happen. If the probability of being caught when you speed were significant than people would stop speeding and the police would loose a funding source.

The nice thing about standards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545169)

The nice thing about standards...

Can we not? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#44545207)

I wish the DOT would just pick some already working open standards and improve where needed instead of re-inventing something by committee.

Speed Checked by Internet (1)

maharvey (785540) | about 8 months ago | (#44545373)

How long before your car spies on you and auto-reports traffic violations to the local authority?

Re:Speed Checked by Internet (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about 8 months ago | (#44545513)

Many traffic management systems sniff for the MAC address on your bluetooth and use it to monitor traffic flow. It wouldn't be a stretch to expand on that by shipping vehicles with preset, and registered, addresses.

It's a good thing. (2)

Konowl (223655) | about 8 months ago | (#44545577)

Once things are standardized, we can commence the march towards autonomous cars. Nothing would make traffic move smoother than cars driving themselves that can communicate with each other.

NSA Involvement? (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 8 months ago | (#44545685)

Fantastic, then the NSA can monitor where we go, where we stop, and if we change the oil on schedule. If we are "suspected of being a terrorist" the CIA can direct our car over a cliff, into a fireworks stand, or into a farming combine to make it look like an accident.

It is sure to be......... (1)

X-Ray Artist (1784416) | about 8 months ago | (#44545749)

One of the most "non-standard" standards. The government will be involved. Corporations will be involved each trying to make their product unique while still meeting the "Standard" making communication difficult. It will be like the medical electronic records. Everything meeting the HL7 and DICOM standards and still not communicating with other systems that meet the same "Standard". If this has any chance of success, they will have to follow the Banking model. Banks communicate well with other (or at least that has been my experience). Besides, you can mess with people's health, life, and safety, but you do NOT mess with their money!

If it's hypthetical... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545755)

How do they know it's four layers?

I mean, after deducting for politics and religion there's only two layers left.

Can that really be enough?

Obligatory /\ (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 8 months ago | (#44545783)

It's a trap! The prism folks want a standard interface to your cars, so their tenterhooks into your car can not only monitor your activity but also manipulate your car.

Headstart (1)

chinton (151403) | about 8 months ago | (#44545791)

They want to get out in front of any standards so they can design in any API that the NSA needs. Those things are notoriously hard to get right after the fact.

This post is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44545841)

The DOT and several standardization bodies have worked for many years in defining the Dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) set of standards.
In Europe this is being standardized by ETSI, but this is basically a international standard with some regional differences (mostly frequency allocation) that can be addressed with basic software changes.

This call is for actually creating a certification process for these DSRC devices, so that they can actually be installed in vehicles. Currently there already some DSRC devices but these are only installed as 3r-party devices and do not provide safety related applications.

The goal is to actually create something link this overtaking assistance system: video [youtube.com]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...