Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Beating Traffic By Joining the Network":
...Dash Navigation begins selling two-way GPS devices for cars, creating, in essence, a network of drivers. A central computer will collect speed and location information from each car, then create and transmit back what the start-up company hopes will be the most complete and up-to-the-minute picture of traffic ever created.

Based on the once-futuristic notion of the "hive mind" -- essentially, the aggregation of what everyone in a group senses individually -- the effort reflects what many consider one of the most fertile areas for innovation: collecting and analyzing data from disparate but newly linked sources.

A driver who installs a $599 Dash unit would, in theory, be able to learn about the traffic ahead from someone in the network who had just experienced it. It's like Web efforts that rely on a group of users -- Wikipedia or Amazon's book recommendations, for example. But the Dash network will operate in real time and rely less on humans for input than on the devices. The more people who have the devices in a given area, the more accurate the information.