Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/30/ibm_technology_predictions/

IBM: technology will ease travel woes

Cars to get cat-like reflexes

By Emmet Ryan

Posted in CIO, 30th July 2007 10:11 GMT

IBM has predicted that travel by plane, train, or automobile is going to be a lot easier in the future.

Big Blue gazed into its crystal ball and made predictions about how technology will change the way people travel in the future. The IT giant has listed five changes that will improve the way we get from A to B.

First off, IBM predicts that cars will be able to sense other cars and avoid hazardous road conditions. Big Blue reckons cars in the near future will have driver-assist technologies that will make it possible for them to behave as if they have reflexes. The newly-agile vehicles will exchange information with each other and with the road infrastructure, taking corrective action where appropriate.

Life is also going to get easier for commuters as they'll be able to find out if their bus or train is delayed through their phone. Though not quite as cool a vision as a car with cat-like reflexes, this technology should see commuters able to receive information via text message to notify them of corrections to the timetable.

Big Blue's third prediction is back on the imaginative trail as IBM reckons drivers will soon be able to talk to their cars. The IT giant and Mystic Meg wannabe said increasingly sophisticated voice recognition systems will allow drivers to read and respond to emails, get directions, avoid accidents, play DVDs, or select music through conversational voice commands. IBM said voice recognition navigation and entertainment systems also will allow drivers to adjust cabin temperature or call home while keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Congestion will be a thing of the past in Big Blue's brave new world. IBM predicts intelligent traffic systems will make adjustments to traffic lights to ease congestion and clear paths for emergency vehicles. As a bonus, this will lead to fewer traffic jams resulting in cleaner air and safer roads.

Airports are the final frontier for commuter comfort and IBM's last prediction envisions the development of a system that foresees delays and re-routes passengers before they get stranded at an airport.

For all the joy these changes may bring one thing is missing, a prediction that technology will find a way to make train or airplane food edible.

© 2007 ENN