Ford actually made this a mission of theirs some years ago. Now it’s a reality. MIT just released a new study that shows the sheer computing power and connectivity of the average automobile beats IBM’s ‘Watson’ mainframe from 2012.
Sure, smartphones and tablets have also evolved, and gram for gram are arguably the most powerful technology in human history. But cars are a lot bigger, and you can cram many thousands of processor cores into the space that used to be occupied by the spare wheel.
Automobiles also have big batteries, and have evolved to run high-voltage circuits with maximum efficiency. There’s also plenty of scope for high-powered wireless communication. That’s mobile, self-propelled, wireless communication.
It’s not just about being a smarter, more efficient vehicle. It’s true that cars have so many apps and computerized features these days, they virtually drive themselves. Next year’s model will probably be able to fetch the kids from school on its own!
But the car of today is becoming an essential part of the urban cloud. Think of a traffic jam as a server farm, with thousands of concurrent processes running in the background, a mesh network with serious horsepower! And when those cars are sitting in the garage at night, topping up their batteries, there’s all that computing power idling along, or solving complex problems for cloud based customers.
If you haven’t already signed up to Ford’s SyncTime or Toyota’s SleepShare apps, you should be asking yourself: “Who’s renting my super computer while I’m sleeping?”