Cubic Telecom gets $46.5M to connect cars and other devices globally

 As automakers ramp up their connected car initiatives, a company that has built a solution to link vehicles up to mobile networks globally has raised a significant round of funding from a group of investors that includes Audi and Qualcomm.
Cubic Telecom, a startup out of Dublin, Ireland, that has built a virtual networking solution that lets cars (and other devices) automatically connect to… Read More


Commission your own traffic and construction studies without ever leaving bed using SpaceKnow

 The number of things that can be done from the comfort of one’s own bed has increased in recent years — shopping, banking and now geospatial analytics. Ok, it doesn’t sound sexy but it might give you a leg up the next time your friend starts an arcane argument with you over whose neighborhood historically has more vehicles on the road. With SpaceKnow’s online… Read More


Smart Driving App Dash Expands Into The Trucking And Analytics Business

image6 Dash, a driving app we’ve previously described as a “Fitbit for cars”, has announced it is expanding beyond consumer-facing products with Dash XL and Dash IQ, two new products designed for enterprise customers. As a refresher, the company is a combination of a hardware dongle and software app that provides drivers with real-time analytics on your driving habits, car health,… Read More


Don’t drive like an ass!

freewayIf you didn’t know, I’m a dilettante student of urban planning and transportation efficiency. Forgive me, but sometimes I like to rant about gross inefficiencies I see in the urban transport sphere. This is one such post. :)

I’m sorry Americans (especially Californians), but there is a reason many interstates are either at a standstill, or have 6 lanes in each direction, or both of these factors – it’s because Americans have almost zero lane discipline. Yes, you! If you travel the highways of Europe then you’ll understand. Many 3-lane European highways can carry the same capacity as a 6-lane freeway in the US. There are 3 primary reasons:

1.   Traffic on your average US freeway does not stay right, despite signs of encouragement. If you want to go faster than the car in front, pull out, overtake and, assuming you are are now ahead of the slower traffic, then pull back in. Why? Because it keeps lanes open for faster traffic to pass. If the slowest two lanes are moving at 55 mph, everyone else who wants to 65 mph or higher can easily pass. This allows everyone to get to the destination at the speed they prefer. If you tend to pull onto a freeway, move right over into the fastest lane and stay there, you are holding up traffic that wants to travel faster. You may feel like you can pick a lane but you are just being selfish. Why should you care? Because tomorrow you might be the person that wants to go faster but can’t pass the traffic doing 60 mph in every lane. This is a case of “be a team player and everyone wins”. Don’t be selfish! I’m not suggesting  you pull back in after every car, forcing yourself to change lanes every twenty seconds, nor am I suggesting you stay in the slow lane where traffic is entering and exiting; just that you be sensible about it. Always think: Can I travel at the speed I want in the next slowest lane for at least a few minutes? If so, do everyone behind you a favour and pull over.

2.   This follows right on from #1. If every lane is traveling at a slower speed than most of the cars behind, then people are going to attempt to weave through traffic. This is dangerous for everyone. Passing on the inside is dangerous. Don’t make freeways any more lethal than they have to be. In Germany for example, inside-passing is illegal on many highways (as are many forms of distraction like eating and drinking, but that’s another post). This makes the road safer. If it’s safer, everyone can go faster. This is why they have some of the highest speed limits but also the safest roads. Win-win!

3.   This animal is the  most annoying perpetrator of #1, the self-righteous ass who believes it is his prerogative to do 55 mph in any lane, even the fast lane. He won’t pull over and may even slow down if you try to harass him from behind. What an ass! He could be single-handedly reducing the efficiency of the entire highway system for miles. He’s also raising the blood pressure of people behind him, making them more agressive and unpredictable. Why do you do that? I’ve never understood that mentality. It’s far better to graciously pull over and let the faster car pass, and if it makes you feel better, not only do you not have someone riding your rear-end, but that person is far less likely to cut you off in retaliation when he does get past, probably inconveniencing some other innocent driver on the way. Further more, let the faster car zoom ahead – you just might find him at the side of the road getting a ticket. Isn’t that more satisfying than him beeping and flashing his lights behind you?

Be gracious too. If someone wants to move into your lane ahead of you, for Pete’s sake let them, don’t speed up to fill the gap. That’s being an ass! One more car in front of you won’t make much difference, and he might just be transitioning your lane on the way to another, such as the HOV lanes or an exit ramp. Don’t you hate it when people do that? Then don’t do it to others! Usually the person entering the freeway legally has the right of way, as long as they are merging at the speed of traffic, so let them in before they run out of entry ramp and cut someone off, because it might be you.

Come on, people. We’re all trying to get somewhere, so play nice and everyone gets to their destination faster and more relaxed. It’s stunningly simple, I don’t understand why it isn’t part of new driver education.

Do you disagree? Do you like being an ass? What’s your pet peeve on the freeway. Comment below…




Cars are so last century … but, so is Linux, right?

This past weekend, I attended the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. I’m not a huge car buff. I do think that BMW’s are the bomb, and I like Honda’s common sense vehicles, but really, I am NOT a car guy. However, I thought this was an interesting chance to take a look at an industry that, in my opinion, isn’t all that different than the one I’m in.

Now, that may surprise some. Its pretty easy to think that I work for a super advanced company that has started a revolution and sits on the bleeding edge of innovation. I mean, at Canonical, we’re doing all kinds of amazing stuff with “the cloud” and building software that makes peoples’ jaw drop when they see it in action sometimes.

But really, I think we’re more like CODA. CODA has built what looks to be a sustainable, practical electric car. The car itself is not visually stunning, but the idea behind it is. Make an electric car that anyone can buy *and* use. Make it fun, and make sure the business is sustainable. But, in no way is CODA challenging the ideas and revisions that have worked for the 100+ years that the car industry has existed.

CODA is still putting a steering wheel, gas pedals, and gear shift in the cockpit for the driver. There are doors, wipers, lights, and probably floor mats. In much the same way, in Ubuntu, we’re still putting our software out there with the intention that, while its created differently, and affords the user more capabilities, it is basically driven in much the same way as Windows 7 or OS X, mostly as a web, errrr, cloud terminal.

The exciting part is that for $3 of possibly more efficiently produced electricity, you can drive 100 miles. Even more exciting is that the CODA might actually compete with sensibly priced  (but larger) Honda and Toyota sedans, rather than like the Tesla cars that compete with Lexus and BMW’s.

Given this way of thinking, the auto show was extremely interesting. The electric car (open source?) has “arrived”, and the established players are buying the interesting enabling technology like batteries (android’s linux kernel, darwin for mac, etc) from companies like Tesla, and putting them in their established products.

Whether consumers care about either open source or electric cars is another story.. maybe the 2011 LA Auto Show will have an answer for me on at least one of them.

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