UPDATED 21 NOV 07: One week after posting this item, it appears to have received the most links and enjoyed the most number of visitors when compared to all five of the Science Week Ireland questions that I answered during the week-long event.
SCIENCE WEEK IRELAND asks, "What invention would you like to see most in the future?" I want my car to sync to my house and my workplace. (I don't want a sink in my car, as one of the students attending Science Week Ireland thought.) When I'm at home, I want my car's on-board storage to show up on my home network so I can drag and drop my new playlists into the car for later listening. I want my car to initiate a podcatcher routine whenever it has been motionless for more than three hours. The podcatcher will grab new playlists, the 50 most recent unread email headers, new audio books and updates to speed camera locations, feeding that location into my GPS. When the car gets to work, it needs to tell the Expense Network whether the car should be compensated for its journey. The Expense Network will know this because the car's GPS knows which routes traveled are considered reimburseable. While at work, the car needs to sync with my workspace, automatically receiving a copy of every unzipped and unlocked item that was open on my laptop since the car was motionless outside my workplace. The carsync will receive an upload request from my laptop approximately 45 minutes from the time that the electronic calendar indicates work is finished for the day. When headed away from work, the carsync needs to start audio when the door shuts, citing the top five things related to "don't forget the milk." Then the car needs to verbalise the location of the most recently uncovered speed camera, provide an AA roadwatch summary for the region where the car has been parked, and tell me the title of the last three items grabbed by my podcatcher. On the way home, the carsync needs to say the number of minutes remaining in the journey, the number of kilometers available in the current tank of petrol, and the top billing found in its search of eventful calendar items for my town of Cashel. Within one mile of my house, carsync should tell me the top speed measured by housesync of vehicles traveling outside the front door of my house for the time period when carsync was away from home. Finally, the car should welcome me home and start downloading its newly synced contents to my home network RAID disk 88. When I lock the car, the same process unlocks my front door and turns on the lights in the lower floor of the house.
Some of this telematic capability exists already. I just want my car to inherit the technology in a way that's simple and elegant. I wonder if I will see such a smart vehicle in my lifetime.