Network on Wheels (NOW), a project run out of the University of Mannheim, will get aid from money won by car makers BMW, Audi, Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat to develop a means for a standard method for car-to-car wireless data. Using 802.11 technology and IPv6, NOW plans to develop inter-vehicle communication based on ad hoc networking principles.

Essentially, it's exploring ways that moving vehicles can automatically set up temporary links with other cars, bikes and trucks in the vicinity, and share traffic information.

With routing capabilities, the whole thing could become a huge 'automobile Internet', with vehicles warning each other - and their drivers - about slow-downs, bad weather, accidents and other road problems.

However, some see the move as a risk to personal liberties, as the potential is once again opened for government and law-enforcement agencies to track vehicle movement. But this seems to be just the sort of world we are living in now, with ID cards, satellite tracking and CCTV, so I guess we should all be thankful that at least there is real potential to help the consumer here, rather than just track where he or she is driving for law enforcement purposes. Naturally, the technology is also popular with anyone concerned with anti-terrorism.