Technology is getting ever closer to the "Holy Grail of trucking"-the ability to issue real-time traffic alerts and automatically reroute vehicles around congestion, according to Alain Kornhauser, Princeton University professor and founder and chairman of ALK Technologies. Speaking at the ALK Technology Summit in Princeton, N.J., he cited the future convergence of existing technologies such as Optimized Estimated Time of Arrival. The concept looks to speed up the movement of vehicles, as well as more accurately predict arrival times, through the use of historical data. The breakthrough, Kornhauser said, is in the merging of data from global positioning systems with routing and mapping technology. The resulting system will issue "real-time, in-cab, voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions for all kinds of vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks and vehicles hauling hazardous materials." Kornhauser foresees a time when data from a "near-universal" pool of GPS-equipped vehicles will accurately report on traffic flows on nearly all roadways in real time. Systems, such as ALK's own CoPilot Truck, will be able quickly to recalculate a route based on fresh, ever-changing information. One obstacle to the use of such technology in cars and trucks is the reluctance of many individuals and companies to allow their GPS data to be available to others, even with their identifies blocked, Kornhauser said.
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