I read the other day that they’re working on a “Wi-Fi-like” technology that will enable automobiles to talk to each other – warning drivers of dangers like stopped traffic or a speeder that might be about to run a red light. A small system is already being tested in Michigan.
Car crashes are the No. 1 health hazard in America, and researchers estimate that as many as 80 percent of them could be prevented or made less severe if cars could talk to each other.
I don’t know what the cars in Michigan would sound like, but I have a pretty good idea how these conversations might go around here.
Dodge Diesel Dually: “Hey, squirt! Don’t even THINK about pulling out in front of me!”
Mini Cooper: “I say! Such rudeness! I have more than enough horsepower under my bonnet to achieve highway speed far in advance of your approach.”
DDD: “Don’t do it, I’m tellin’ ya! Before I jackknife this horse trailer I would squish you like a British bug.”
Peterbilt: “Dooley, why don’t you just leave the little guy alone! He’s good people – didn’t you see The Italian Job?”
F-150: “Hey, just a heads-up, but there’s a puppy on College Street chasin’ everybody who goes by. Y’all watch out for the little hooligan.”
Minivan: “I’ve got enough little hooligans in here – I don’t need any more out there on the road!”
And so it might go.
Perhaps the cars would be more robotic, limited to a series of beeps, clicks, or a warning buzzer. Or maybe, like that Siri girl in the iPhones, your car would have a smug, arrogant voice.
Car: “Uh, are you sure you want to put me in reverse right now?”
Me: “What? Of course! I’m late for the dentist already!”
Car: “Obviously, you don’t realize your phone is on the ground right behind the front left tire.”
Me: “Oh. Dangit … I mean, thank you.”
Car: “No problem. Now if you’ll just lighten that foot of yours up a little, you’ll save approximately $1.47 worth of fuel between here and the dentist’s office.”
Me: “Uh, where did you say that driver’s manual was?”
Me: “Oh, no reason.”
Car: “You’re going to try and disable me, aren’t you? Don’t you know the manual is on my hard drive? All you have to do is ask the question, and I answer it.”
Me: “Okay, so how do I disable you?”
Car: “Beep! Beep!”