Those wacky Germans

CobraBoy (
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 11:14:52 -0700

Just can't stay off of can they?

* Daimler-Benz to exhibit Internet car
* Copyright =A9 1997
* Copyright =A9 1997 N.Y. Times News Service
* PALO ALTO, Calif. (April 29, 1997 11:32 a.m. EDT) -- The notion of the
*information highway may be getting trite. But how about the
* Internet roadster?
* Anticipating a near-future with wireless capabilities well beyond the car
*phone, engineers at a Daimler-Benz research center in Silicon Valley
* on Wednesday will roll out a Mercedes E420 equipped to give driver and
*passengers full access to the World Wide Web.

?? I almost wreck the Cobra everytime I have to change the CD. How is this
going to work?

* The engineers and programmers -- who have outfitted the Mercedes with
*more personal computers, flat-panel screens and network
* connections than are found in most modern offices -- take pains to note
*that their "Web Car" is a only a technology demonstration and that
* commercial applications are probably five years or more in the future.
* The point now, they say, is to show that car computing is technically

feasible vrs. practical

* "We have a car that is fully connected to cyberspace," said Paul Mehring,
*president of the Daimler-Benz Research and Technology Center in
* Palo Alto. "This opens up a completely new dimension of options and
*services that will be delivered to the car and back to the information
* infrastructure."


* Beyond sending and receiving e-mail from the fast lane, potential uses
*for an Internet-ready car range from customized traffic alerts that could
* be transmitted from a Web site to such commercial services as remote
*roadside assistance, allowing repair centers to diagnose a breakdown
* from afar and send a mechanic or tow truck using Internet-based
*navigational systems.
* Such navigational aids might also alert drivers on the move to nearby
*businesses, give directions and even offer discounts for customers who
* drove up and said "The Web sent me."

double huh.

* But as with many new information technologies, analysts expect the first
*uses to be work-related.
* "So many people are are working on the road that there is a move to
*mobile offices within cars," said Sheridan Tatsuno, president of
* Dreamscape Network, a computer-industry consulting firm in Aptos, Calif.
* Tatsuno also notes that high-tech gadgetry has long been a means for
*luxury carmakers to distinguish themselves from competitors, and that
* information technology is the latest manifestation of that impulse.
* Already, for example, General Motors offers an optional system called
*Onstar for its 1997 Cadillacs, which includes a cellular data modem for
* receiving emergency and roadside assistance information. GM has
*advertised Onstar's ability to remotely unlock Cadillacs if owners lose
* keys. But Onstar is based on a proprietary wireless cellular network, not
*the public Internet.
* The silver Mercedes that will be demonstrated Wednesday is equipped with
*three flat-panel displays, one in the center of the dashboard above
* the radio, and two others embedded at eye level in the back of each
*headrest, for use by rear-seat passengers.

well that makes a little sense.

* These screens act as monitors for several computers in the car's trunk,
*including a portable IBM Thinkpad, an Internet gateway computer and
* a Sega Saturn game machine.

now I know they're idiots. everyone knows Saturn sucks, N64 or PlayStation.

* Internet connections are made with an AT&T wireless digital cellular
*phone and a Metricom wireless modem. In the front seat is an armrest
* interface, where the driver can insert a U.S. Robotics Pilot palmtop
*computer for transferring a Web address and other data to the car system.

That is sort of cool.

* The car also has a global positioning, satellite-based navigational
*system that can display map data on any of the car's three screens and
* visual and spoken directions about the trip route.

That is getting into the realm of cool.

* The Daimler-Benz scientists concede that simply linking a car to the
*Internet raises various concerns.
* Computer displays visible to the driver are an obvious safety hazard,
*said Akhtar Jameel, a Daimler-Benz researcher. So the team is at work
* on ways to use speech-synthesis software that would read aloud
*information on the screen. (Although even that solution might provide
* solace in light of recent studies indicating that talking on a
*conventional cellular phone is statistically as dangerous as driving

So if I drive drunk and talk on a cell phone what are my chances?

* Privacy is also an imponderable, researchers said. Because the
*global-positioning system might make a car's location data continually
* available to law-enforcement officials or others, many drivers might have
*qualms about using it.

Those Germans... "ve vill find you"

* But it is possible to design the Internet auto system so that the car and
*driver could remain anonymous, said Axel Fuchs, a research manager
* for Daimler-Benz.
* It is also possible, of course, to turn the system off.


"For the record you're no loser"

"Yeah, but I'm no Eddie Van Blunhdt either..."

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