back to article The future of cars may be self-driving EVs gossiping about their humans and traffic

In the future vehicles will talk to each other, relaying key metrics between themselves, as they carry their passengers to their destinations – or so Qualcomm's automotive division hopes. The US chip giant on Monday announced the acquisition of Israeli startup Autotalks, which specializes in the development of vehicle-to- …

  1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Great ...

    I intentionally don't own a cellphone (I'm using a landline instead) to avoid haviing my realtime location being tracked by whomever.

    Now my putatively-next new car's gonna particate in an always-on mesh network, spaffing my realtime location to world+dog.

    Will there be a "vehicle anonymization" service to protect Very Important People, while the rest of us have our data sold and traded without our consent?

    1. Kobus Botes

      Re: Great ...

      @An Old Dog

      "I intentionally don't own..."

      I still wonder about the pathological fear people have of not being contactable immediately.

      But then, I grew up in an era and environment here my dad worked away from home for months with no means of communication. His general answer about when he will be back was "Expect me when you see me".

      Ou favourite holidays/vacations were to accompany my dad during school holidays.

      I still rankle when people complain or get angry if they cannot get hold of me within five minutes.

      Our forebers by and large had to accept the fact that, when children or family moved away it was most likely that you will never hear from them again.

      And yet we survived.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great ...

      my putatively-next new car

      I have sad news for you - many cars already communicate location on a fairly constant basis already. Someone once told me this was an EU requirement to make it easier to locate an accident. Certainly our French car - 2019 registered - doee this, and although there is a buried option in the settings to disallow 'location and data sharing', it seems to have re-enabled itself every time you check. Just like the lane departure warning that has to be turned off every time you start the car. The only control we seem to have is not to pay the 'connect' subscription after the three free years but I think all that does is remove the ability to make a phonecall to the call centre. Not happy.

  2. elDog

    And distracted with their gossip, pings, software uploads, etc.

    I can just imagine being a passenger traveling down I-5 when the on-board computer starts its countdown for a critical software upgrade. 5-4-3-2-1-00000000000000.

    1. Persona Silver badge

      Re: And distracted with their gossip, pings, software uploads, etc.

      My car only does its upgrades when parked with the engine off and I have responded "yes" to the prompt. It's not a hard "if" statement to code.

      1. FirstTangoInParis

        Re: And distracted with their gossip, pings, software uploads, etc.

        Yeah but if the car manufacturer used Windows as an (ahem) OS then who knows what WILL go wrong?

  3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Accidental Intelligence evolution?

    I see so many stories that suggest that AI related evolution is moving so much faster than our evolution. We climbed out of the trees and started walking around about 30 million years ago, but now we don't need to walk or even drive a car, have we created AI to be so much smarter than we are? Is AI and driver-less cars going to be another asteroid? Certainly we're not walking around these days, will AI be digging up some fossils and saying, "Look this one has something holding the steering wheel, why the hell was that happening?"

  4. steelpillow Silver badge

    Which is worse?

    "I'm sorry I can't let you stop for a piss Dave, it would jeopardise the mission"


    "Hi Annie, we just want to take your concentration off the road for as moment to tell you about our great new drive-in prefrontal lobotomy clinic, just around the corner from you, right nooowwww!"

  5. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    "I intentionally don't own a cellphone (I'm using a landline instead) to avoid haviing my realtime location being tracked by whomever."

    Doesn't that mean that every time you make or receive a call the other party (and the phone company) knows exactly where you are?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      All it knows is that there's someone there to answer the phone, not who that is.

      1. TimMaher Silver badge

        Actually @Doc, they don't know who is carrying my mobile either.

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Minimizing Tracking

      @TheMaskedMan: anyone calling me must input the unpromped, secret DTMF code, or else the call is diverted to my message machine. Yes, even my doctor. I call the doctor back from a payphone. I do not call back anyone telling me, "Your car warranty has expired!", "This is Inspector Smith with Inland Revenue ...", etc.

      This is implemented with older-tech, from the times when modems largely ruled the computer communications world. Not everyone wanted to pay for a second landline for their modem and/or FAX, so various end-user front-end devices were built.

      It is getting harder to find working pay phones, though ...

  6. sarusa Silver badge

    Lots of good uses for it technically

    I am going to ignore the privacy issues here, because they won't be addressed. It just rolls out and screw your privacy, every time, and complaining about it never achieves anything, because the people complaining aren't the ones making fat donations to politicians. So setting that aside...

    From a technical reason there are lots of good reasons for this:

    - Cars ahead can warn cars behind what's coming up. Car stopped in the road or just a ladder, everyone knows to avoid the second lane right here. Or maybe 'dog in lanes' or 'mountain lion in lanes' could save some animals.

    - Cars can pack much better and change lanes much more smoothly when everyone around knows what all the other cars want to do. Imagine everyone just doing a zipper merge seamlessly at speed, alternating flawlessly without that arsehole in the Mercedes just crashing in without his turn signal (since Mercedes don't have functioning turn signals, based on observed behavior).

    - Cars in a 'train' get better gas mileage.

    - Everyone gets the fastest route to their destination given the other traffic (aka Waze). Some of you go this way some of you go that way.

    - If everyone had this you wouldn't even need traffic lights. Traffic would never need to completely stop ever again. This almost ends traffic jams, and definitely ends stop and go driving.

    - This is also the end of accidents barring things coming in from outside the road or physical issues or letting Teslas join in with their terrible 'self-driving'. But even if there are, then traffic behind knows about it and flows around without issue.

    Yes, this is boring compared to current driving if you actually like going for a drive, but I'm fine if I can just read or watch a TV show or whatever. Most driving is formulaic and sucks. It also defangs the defective mercedes drivers and the young males weaving in and out at high speed because they've seen a Fast and Furious movie. I'd be fine with my car just getting me there if I don't have to pay attention at all.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

      Whereas I will be happy if what is being reported is 'ooh look, there's a non-connected car being driven around here'.

      If you want to save fuel by driving in a train of cars, get a train ticket...

      1. MatthewSt

        Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

        It's possible you've not bought a train ticket in a while, but in a lot of cases it's cheaper to drive, unless there's a group of you going in which case it's significantly cheaper to drive

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

          This depends where you live and where you're going, of course. I recall one occasion in the UK when a friend tried to get a refund on an unused return ticket and was told he would have to pay BR since the single price was higher than the return he had... and I agree that the base price of UK tickets is almost always ridiculously high. But then again, if you want to do something other than drive while getting from A to B, why would you pay tens of thousands of quid for a car?

          But the point remains: there are methods of transport wherein it has been concluded that joining carriages together with a chunk of metal is a more efficient and generally safer method than trying to join them with electronics.

          I live in Germany, which has just started a country-wide combined ticket for fifty euros a month. Anywhere in the country, bus, train, or tram, except for the high speed ICE trains. Fuel alone on my car is around nine or ten euros per hundred kilometers. It costs me around seventy euros a month just to insure and maintain said car.

          1. MatthewSt

            Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

            Yeah, some lines are better than others. Yorkshire to Oxford return for 2 with a railcard is £120. I can drive the 364 miles for a lot less than that! I understand the efficiency, and I like travelling by train, but it has to be attractive

            1. FirstTangoInParis

              Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

              Last time I got the train from Cardiff to London at peak time, the ticket machine robbed me of £300. I can drive there for a tenth of that.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

      "but I'm fine if I can just read or watch a TV show or whatever."

      Until you're needed at 0.25 seconds notice, to cope with whatever situation the automation can't handle.

    3. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

      "Imagine everyone just doing a zipper merge seamlessly at speed, alternating flawlessly ..."

      I'm imagining someone paying extra for a car that can skip ahead to the front of the zipper. But it won't affect me, because I'm imagining my dumb car will be blocked from using the roadway at all.

    4. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

      All these potential plusses don't make it worth doing if the minuses overbalance the plusses.

      One of the biggest minuses is that this sort of thing presumes-and-requires that the technology be perfect, 100% of the time (or else many people are injured or killed).

      No technology is that good; and there is no human, or group of humans, that can perform perfectly 100% of the time while they are designing this new, great thing.

      A things which makes humans such successful lifeforms (despite their many other faults) is that they deal well with imprecision and 'slop'. I once had a job where part of my duties involved driving forklifts. Our company had two. The old one had 3/4 of a turn of free play in the steering wheel. I was warned about this in advance, and though I found the idea horrific to my engineering soul, I learned to drive the old forklift without crashing or stressing-out.

  7. CowHorseFrog

    Why cant the future be, a world where people dont waste hours a day travelling from anywhere to anywhere just because ?

    Reminds of a Ted-talk with the head of spacex where she was trying to tell us how wonderful it would be to travel from America to Riyadh by Starship or whatever in 40 minutes...


    Why cant they just zoom ?

    There are so many better, less time wasting, less polluting than cars, its almost like nobody is trying.

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Why would you want to go to Riyadh in the first place?

      I wouldn’t!

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