In the demonstration, the Band 2 announced its presence via Bluetooth. Once within range, the car automatically slowed, then sped up as it determined that there wasn’t any hazard. It also used the heartbeat sensor as a security device—in this demo, the woman wasn’t able to take off her Band and drop it in the street, just to mess with us and force us to slow down.
The flip side of this technology is that the infrastructure could eventually “know” what’s around it and route traffic accordingly. In a related demo, our car came to a stoplight. Normal traffic patterns would hold you at the light for about 100 seconds or so. But, since the traffic light didn’t sense any traffic or pedestrians, it dropped the wait time to 20 seconds.
It’s unclear how a smart car would cope with a crowded city center and dozens of Bluetooth signals whizzing by. But so far, most of the communication technologies I’ve seen have involved vehicle-to-vehicle communication for safety and to improve traffic flow. The Microsoft-IAV demo involved Windows 10 in the dash, autonomous driving, and vehicle-to-device communication—all just science fiction a decade ago.
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