Ever since I jumped into the EV circle (studying, not owning ... yet) I have been consumed with some of the ways that EVs can change the way we do things. I mostly dream of ways that the vehicles can be modified or used, to better meet the needs of each individual. Having a vehicle with an internal network for communications, plus an operating system on top of that could really open up the possibilities.
One idea came to mind a few weeks ago as I was doing my daily drive through a school zone. I'm not sure about others, but for me, when driving through a busy school zone, the focus on keeping your speed down seems to take away from the concentration on on the surroundings. No one wants to get a double-fine ticket, plus there is good reason for the reduced speeds.
Why not let drivers create custom "speed zones" that are geofenced to a location and time and let the vehicle limit the speed for you? The vehicle already has most of the information:
- Location from GPS
- Speed of travel
- Time of day
A way to create this as a generic feature may be to make use of the touch screen and a simple interface to configure the speeed zone. This doesn't have to be school zone only, it could be a neighborhood with reduced speeds for drivers. The interface would let the user:
- Tap a start for where the zone begins. This would log the direction of travel (N.S.E.W) and GPS coordinates.
- Tap a stop for where the zone ends.
- When stopped, resume the configuration to complete the zone
- Ask the user for the maximum speed
- Prompt the user for days of week and hours of day to offer the zone restriction
- Optional: ask the user if the reverse direction should also be included automatically (just flip the start/stop GPS coordinates and direction of travel)
Once the zone is saved, when the vehicle is approaching this geo-fence the interface will present a dialog box to enable the speed zone. The default would be to ignore the zone and let the driver have full control over the speed. If the driver selects to enable the zone, the vehicle will automatically limit the top speed to the maximum for the zone until the end-location is reached.
If the zone works and is used by the owner, a network of like-vehicles/manufactures or even a standard interface, could share the zone configurations with other drivers, letting them add the zone control to their own vehicles. Why re-invent the wheel?
I think it is expected that at some point in the future, vehicles will likely be somewhat influenced by local conditions automatically. Think driving into a new speed limit and the vehicle automatically limits or increases the maximum speed. This may not happen for another twenty years, but it will likely happen. Why not create the feature now and let users control their own destiny, rather than wating for regulations to do it for us?
I'm sure there are numerous "risks" to this concept where no one would like to take on the responsibility for any errors or issues such a system may have, but it does get me thinking about how vehicles can make life better for all of us.