#1 By: Mark Frauenfelder, September 6th, 2013 11:01
#2 By: Jared_Kaufman, September 6th, 2013 11:58
Not useful to me unless there is a push-button option to display "Back off, asshole" to the tailgater behind me.
#3 By: Coyote, September 6th, 2013 12:01
Such a polite waste.. i mean use of technology... If you're so interested in riding my ass, would you care for some goatse?
#5 By: Tim Quinn, September 6th, 2013 12:11
This is a promising idea. Better info for the person behind seems like a decent and safety increasing move. And the occasional middle finger pic, too.
You could program in macros for your favorite responses. Double tap the clutch for a "thanks" double tap the brake for "back off." That way you don't need to remove your eyes from the road or your hand from the wheel.
#6 By: greenberger, September 6th, 2013 12:12
I've had an idea like this since I was 15, but what do I know about hacking and programming? Nothing! Exciting to see someone actually doing it, though I wasn't really thinking to use it in the way he describes. More like, there are so many instances when a horn beeping just isn't really an adequate communication device. If we all had signs on our roofs, a la cab driver ad signs,we could communicate all sorts of messages to folks, including the "thanks" that he mentions, and the "back off, asshole" that Jared is hoping for.... and so much more...!
A simple text-to-speech converter would do it, i twould think...
#7 By: Tim Quinn, September 6th, 2013 12:14
with the clear speaker tech we saw last week you could turn your rear window into a loudspeaker and do away with the text all together.
#8 By: Boundegar, September 6th, 2013 13:02
Where I come from, you don't even need to push a button, just install the Yosemite Sam mud flaps. While I don't have those, my car did come equipped with a rear-mounted discrete brake state safety monitor in the form of two red lights.
I just realized... how long do you think it would take some college kids to make this display porn?
#9 By: pesco, September 6th, 2013 13:07
After they won the award, they said they planned to include a middle finger graphic too!
#10 By: TheMetalPedant, September 6th, 2013 13:34
I remember reading a story a while back (several years) about researchers who experimented with various ways of communicating things via blinking lights at the back of the car, e.g., two blinks for "thank you," etc. The thought would that it make people politer if they could communicate more clearly. One of the hang ups they found is that most people don't bother to use the already-installed communication devices (turn signals), let alone additional ones, but the bigger problem is that messing with the lights on the back of your car and/or adding more of them is generally illegal.
#11 By: Michael Moulton, September 6th, 2013 16:53
Not sure I would call this innovative. They had these on cars in Okinawa back in the early 90's. Scrolling red LED displays though. They used to tell you when the person was turning or braking. I always wondered why they never caught on
#12 By: Jeff Atwood, September 6th, 2013 18:50
I have long wanted brake lights that flash more rapidly the harder someone in front of me was braking.
Brake lights are too binary, "on" could mean "mildly slowing down for a stop sign" or "HOLY SHIIIIT FOUR WHEEL ANTI-LOCK SKID".
#13 By: Al Linke, September 6th, 2013 20:59
Well I didn't really want to add the middle finger but since everyone asked for it.... Here it is along with a few other features added since the hack-a-thon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnqTZThYy8g . I got the speech recognition going so you can send the messages via voice commands which is kind of nice. Not shown in the video but also there is an exclamation graphic that gets shown for a rapid deceleration event (ie, slamming on the brakes).
#14 By: cds, September 6th, 2013 23:06
Where I live (coastal CA hills), people thank each other by turning on their hazards for a brief interval. The thanks is usually for using a turnout to let faster traffic go by..
#15 By: Donald Petersen, September 6th, 2013 23:48
Neato stuff, but I don't quite get why it needed the OpenXC platform to work. The throttle position sensor on just about any OBD-II car could supply the signal to show how far down the gas pedal is, and of course the brake lights themselves show pretty clearly when the brakes are applied.
Sure, there are plenty of potential data sources which might translate into useful info for the people driving behind you, but most of those (the important ones anyway) I could pretty easily rig in my 1970 Mercury Cougar, given a rheostat or two. Seems to me that if OpenXC allows relatively unfettered access to real-time operational data from all the car's sensors and systems, then a more useful application of the screen would simply be to inform the driver, in plain English (or whatever native language the driver selects), all the data and esoteric codes that earlier OBD-II systems provided only to code-readers. And a simple translation of what it all means would be handy, too. A cartoon image of an unwell-looking Ford appears on the screen. You touch it and it tells you, in effect, that the fuel trim is rich (or lean) beyond the scope of the ECM's ability to adjust for it, essentially by simply saying "I have a clogged fuel injector in cylinder #3... can you give me a can of Gumout at your next fillup?" Or "My left front tire feels slightly underinflated." Or even "It feels like you ride the brake pedal a bit, buddy. Don't do that. If my brake lights are constantly on, then people behind us won't know when you're slowing down."
Don't get me wrong, I think enhancing the sophistication of info transmitted to people behind you (currently limited to brake lights, turn signals, hazards, backup lights, and assorted finger gestures) is an idea whose time is overdue. But I think utilizing OpenXC to do it is needlessly Rube Goldbergesque.
#16 By: William_Holz, September 6th, 2013 23:58
And let's think a bit about what happens then. . . yeah, yuk.
No, I think we VERY much need a filer between our initial impulses and the strangers stuck on the road at the same time as us.
I'll take the polite computer butler.
#17 By: Scratcheee, September 8th, 2013 01:46
Lots of people second the "Thanks" graphic, but I've also long wanted a "Sorry!" I do need it occasionally.
#18 By: Al Linke, September 8th, 2013 02:15
i like that, sorry is a good idea. I'll see about adding that
#19 By: William_Holz, September 8th, 2013 02:27
Dude! I've got an idea!
You program it with two sets of options. One with the 'finger' and one with the 'oops!' group, right?
Then you introduce a bug, where for some reason the 'finger' group on the dash actually gives 'oops!' group responses.
So, when somebody's furiously pressing 'Screw you!', 'ROWR!' 'Get out of my way!', and such . . the other drivers are seeing 'I have to pee!', 'Sorry! I'm not from here, don't blame my people!', and 'My puppy died and I'm having a particularly bad day'.
The other drivers will see somebody raging at the dash and be going 'Oh that poor thing!'.
And I've got to be honest, I've had my own bad moments and I could see me going 'Oh man! If it weren't for that bug I probably would've caused a road rage incident! Instead that dude looked all apologetic! Lucky me!'
The longer it takes you to fix the bug, the better the world gets!
#20 By: daneel, September 8th, 2013 15:35
A Thanks graphic is pointless, at least here in Seattle. Nobody can ever be arsed to wave thanks or turn their blinkers on, or anything to thank people now, so why would they do this instead?
#21 By: Tim Quinn, September 8th, 2013 16:00
Because you would be the first and set such an excellent example that everyone would want to follow you.
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