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Researchers to launch 'Internet car' project.

TOKYO, March 5 Kyodo

Japanese researchers from academic and business circles are joining forces on a government-sponsored project to develop an ''Internet car'' capable of sending such information on traffic and weather conditions in the area it is traveling through, project planners said Monday.

The planners said the project, to be launched by Keio University in fiscal 2001 starting April 1, marks the first experiment in applying Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), a next-generation Internet technology, to vehicles.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will sponsor 1 billion yen of the estimated 2 billion yen in expenses for the project.

Researchers from such companies as Toyota Motor Corp., NEC Corp. and Denso Corp. are expected to join the project under which the planners aim to run some 2,000 Internet cars at an experiment site in Aichi Prefecture, they said.

The ministry and the planners hope to put Internet cars into actual use sometime after fiscal 2002.

IPv6 is a new, upgraded IP version designed to succeed the currently used IPv4.

A major change from IPv4 to IPv6 is an upgrading of IP addresses from 32 bits to 128 bits, allowing the Internet to grow both in terms of the number of hosts connected and the total amount of data transmitted.

With IPv6, each electric appliance or even part of the appliance can be assigned an IP address through which data can be transmitted, researchers say. This will allow, for example, even a brake pad to send information on its rate of wear, according to researchers.

The project planners said the Internet car they aim to create can provide drivers with wide-ranging access to the Internet to enjoy music and video information, making reservations for restaurants and hotels or buying airplane tickets.

It will also enable drivers to pay tolls automatically on so-called intelligent transportation systems currently being developed, they said.

The most fascinating feature of all is that the car can send information on traffic conditions by its ongoing speed or detailed weather information in the area it is going though by the movement of its windshield wipers and an attached thermometer, the planners said.

''I would like to tell everybody that the Internet application is not limited to computers now. It is spreading to many areas,'' said Jun Murai, a Keio University professor involved in the project.
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Comment:Researchers to launch 'Internet car' project.
Publication:Japan Computer Industry Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Mar 12, 2001
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