If a $300 smartphone with a handful of sensors can manage such as feat, imagine what a $30,000 car with hundreds of sensors could do when paired with a really good map.
Radar and cameras now used for cruise control and blind-spot monitoring could detect open parking spaces in real time and beam that information to the cloud. Temperature sensors and automatic windshield wipers could deliver block-by-block weather updates better than any meteorologist's forecast.
This type of robust, real-time status report is what some technology visionaries call a "reality index," and this idea -- to turn ordinary cars into mobile windows on the world around them -- is one of the big reasons Audi, BMW and Daimler joined forces this year to buy the mapping company Here from Finnish telecom company Nokia.
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