Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Car Karma

Ever long for the days when people you passed in cars were creeping along at slow speeds and waving at you, much like motorcycle, boat and Corvette owners do? Then you may dig Car Karma.

I think anonymity in traffic is a big reason why so much hostility exists (sorry, I'm not solving dense traffic and unrealistic schedules today ;-) ). If you knew the owner of the car in front of you lived on your street, would you curse and shake your fist at him or her? Would you risk your relationship with your neighbor by dangerously cutting in front of them?

Wouldn't it be a great way to foster friendliness in traffic if you could bestow kudos to other drivers? Remember the license plate of a car that let you into the lane when you goofed and got stuck in the wrong one, or slowed down as they were passing you and a crowd of children jumping on the sidewalk. Then enter it into system and give them some good karma.

People could then enter their license plate into the system, and see whether anyone appreciates their driving, or they could show their insurance agency what a low risk they are in traffic.

Skeptical? OK, so am I. I think a system like this would be terribly abused, and there might be on-line car rage as well as road rage to deal with.

And, I tried it out by taking pictures of cars as a way to capture their license plates, but it actually gets quite dangerous at 60 miles an hour in busy traffic. To make that part work, you'd really want cameras built into the cars with automatic license plate extraction—and why not a display in the back of the car, where you can give the car driving inches behind you a precise piece of your mind. It would be great for back seat drivers....

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4 Comments:

Blogger Bertie said...

Hi Claes-Fredrick,

I have a feeling this might catch on, a little like Amazon book reviews. I'm not sure how you would stop cheating, but you might just have to accept a little of that. Good to see you blogging.

Sorry you will see a frog called Bertie as my icon. It's my identity on Blogger. Hugh aka Bertie.

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Jesse Peterson said...

Something similar to PlateWire might be what you were thinking? Though it seems mostly like a negative reporting tool, it does have a positive reporting ability, I think.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

Cool. That one is very garish, and seems to focus more on individual incidents than aggregates, but it's interesting to see that it exists. Thanks.

In general, I think the service would need to be very careful about privacy and protect individuals from persecution, hence the focus on aggregates.

3:41 PM  
Blogger marshallhayek said...

The main factor for aggressivity in traffic is the increasing number of cars which makes traffic more and more busy. I mean, you have to drive very slow and sometimes you have to endure a traffic jam, be late for work... and other problems. Sometimes people just can't cope with the stress and they burst into flames:)))
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5:43 AM  

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