Talking cars are nothing new. Some politely remind drivers they've left their lights on or a door open. But cars may soon be reporting on upcoming road conditions, traffic jams, and fender benders. Where will those cars get all that information? From other cars, of course.
At least that's the plan according to Net Co. Italiano, in Castelfidardo, Italy, which distributes the InfoDrive System, a voice-warning device for automobiles manufactured by AITEC, in Colonella, Italy. Once installed, the newfangled gadget transmits one of several radio signals for up to a two-kilometer radius to other cars equipped with the system. The chip inside the InfoDrive installed in the recipient car then translates the signal into a prerecorded warning message. And if you don't speak English, your car doesn't have to, either. The warnings are available in any language, including French, German, and Italian.
Let's say you're cruising down the highway and you see a traffic jam on the other side of the road. You just press a button on the InfoDrive system, and any nearby cars equipped with the device will hear this warning on their InfoDrive speakers: "Attention! Car in emergency. Street blocked or traffic ahead." Or if you should come to a sudden stop, it will automatically transmit the message "Attention! A sudden stop" to cars within a 500-meter radius.
And don't worry if your English-speaking car should receive a warning from a French-speaking one. The system can translate the signal into any other language.