Online Custom «Preventing the Global Gridlock: The Concept of Connected Cars» Essay Sample

Preventing the Global Gridlock: The Concept of Connected Cars

Nowadays, information technologies play an essential role in making people’s lives better. Implementation of new technologies helps to facilitate finding, generating and storing information in many spheres of life. What is even more important, information technologies help to connect people and make communication easier and more efficient. This paper will discuss the potential that information technologies have in changing the transportation system, dealing with its present and future problems as well as creating space that will empower individual freedom and opportunities.

Bill Ford (2011) in his speech for TED presented the concept of connected cars. He suggested this concept as a possible solution of the problems that the global community will have to face in the nearest future. The core idea which drives this concept is that by using information technologies, we can create “smart cars” which would be able communicate with each other in order to make the process of driving as comfortable as possible. One network can connect the cars, which will enable them to receive and send important information about the road trip. For instance, a car will be able to send an alert about traffic jams or car accidents which it finds on its way to the other cars on this road, so that they could find more convenient ways to get to their place of destination. It would be perfect if this process of inter-car communication was automatized. The cars could be connected not only to other cars but also to other vehicles, public transport, and even parking stations. So, when people start driving, their cars will search for and even book them a parking place. In this way, drivers will be able to get to the place they need as fast as possible.

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It is extremely important to consider the concept of connected cars, because our transportation system today is facing more and more problems. One of the main issues which have been in the minds of car producers and governments is the climate change that occurs due to CO2 emissions by cars and other vehicles. Much has been done in order to solve this problem and to reduce the environmental pollution; however, as Bill Ford (2011) puts it, even if all the cars use electric engines and do not pollute the environment, “four billion cars is still four billion cars.” Population growth and higher quality of life will result in the larger number of people who can afford to buy a car. Meanwhile, our modern approaches to transportation are not capable of dealing with such a busy traffic. It is not enough to build more roads. The solution must be found in advance, and this technology, which can connect cars to make “smart traffic”, might be one of the best options.

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The increasing number of cars is not a local problem, however. Population grows worldwide, and more and more people move to urban areas in search of education, work, and better living conditions. Whenever a city widens, it has to deal with more vehicles. In its turn, it causes “a global gridlock”, which is a never-ending traffic jam all over the world (”Avoiding the future of crippling car congestion”, 2015). At first glance, a global gridlock is not a big problem for us, because being city dwellers, we are used to spending much of our time in traffic jams. Nevertheless, the problem is not only about one week per year which an average employee spends in traffic jams. Although this limits individual freedom and causes stress and frustration, we accept it as a cost for better earnings we can gain. The global gridlock may result in problems with the transportation of food, water, and medicines, which will worsen the quality of life and healthcare (”Avoiding the future of crippling car congestion”, 2015).

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Bill Ford’s speech in 2011 has made an impact on the use of IT in solving transportation problems. Much work has been done, and many mobile applications and online services have been developed. In fact, some services do exactly what Bill Ford suggested. For example, Waze (2015) is a mobile application that connects drivers together and helps them to exchange significant information about the traffic, police, and gasoline prices. This application, however, relies heavily on its users, while Ford dreamed about communication between vehicles. If users do not want to share information, the main goal of Waze will not be achieved.

What if there was a global network that connected all the cars and helped them to exchange information automatically, and once there was a computer virus attack or someone got access to all of your movements? Thinking of personal data protection, I would suggest another way information technologies could be used in traffic regulation. If all the traffic lights in a city were “smart” and connected to each other, they could regulate traffic more effectively. If there were sensors to analyze traffic density at every moment, they could systematize the traffic. What if instead of advertisements, we saw maps showing the streets free or full of traffic at the moment? For instance, powerful search engines like Google offer their users an option of seeing real-time traffic on the roads. If this information was available for all the drivers, not only the Google Map App users, this could make the driving process more efficient. In addition, when drivers use smartphones while driving, they endanger all the participants of the traffic.

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Furthermore, the smart traffic lights could be connected to road barriers and control the movements of the drivers who want to violate the rules and run the red lights, for example. By using modern technologies, we can imagine that the city streets can be made interactive. For example, if the traffic system detects that some streets are free at the moment and others are used intensively during the rush hours, it can change the direction of these streets by changing interactive road signs.

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