Connected-car tech is here, so let’s use it


I read Keith Crain’s “Don’t wait with self-driving” (Oct. 23) and thought it was a great challenge to the automakers and software companies developing autonomous technology.

We at Applied Information Inc. have had the same thoughts about connected vehicles: If the technology exists and works, get it out there.

What if you could bypass equipping all new vehicles with dedicated short-range communications radios — not to mention the millions of legacy vehicles on the road now — and use the one thing that almost all drivers carry already: smartphones.

Traffic signals, school flashers and other transportation infrastructure are rapidly becoming part of the Internet of Things to enable better control and access for transportation managers. Once part of the cloud, any device can be configured to allow limited, one-way access to a smartphone app.

The No. 1 goal is always safety — don’t distract drivers. But give drivers more information to make them safer and to make driving less stressful using audio alerts rather than something on the screen.

The new TravelSafely smartphone app connects vehicles to infrastructure, first responders, each other and cyclists and pedestrians, but it works in the background, so drivers can run Google Maps or Waze, etc., on top of it.

BRYAN MULLIGAN, President, Applied Information Inc., Suwanee, Ga. Applied Information is the developer of TravelSafely, which is in beta testing.