FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, April 07, 2005

"Cybercabs" on the Streets of San Francisco

Most frequent taxi passengers will tell you that the era of the chatty, witty cab driver seems to be over. But long cab rides will no longer have to be boring, if a pilot project in San Francisco proves successful.

This week, 200 taxis in San Francisco will be fitted with touch-screen kiosks, which will allow passengers to access the latest news, sports scores, weather, local events and restaurant listings. The back-seat devices are manufactured by The Interactive Taxi Co., with software developed by PeerDirect, a unit of Progress Software Corp. The devices connect to a wireless network through Verizon's cellular service, and can maintain the perception of a steady-state connection even in "dead zones."

The San Francisco pilot could open the door to similar initiatives around the US. Interactive Taxi has already launched successful pilots in Boston and Chicago. And New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission, which is responsible for nearly 13,000 vehicles, has expressed strong interest in the technology.

Sources: San Francisco Examiner, Kiosk Marketplace News