Andy Rubin, long ago, founded Danger and created the Hiptop, known in the states as T-Mobile’s Sidekick line. After eventually helping to build Android from the ground up, then leaving Google in 2014, he formed his own company for tackling new tech and engineering challenges, appropriately named Playground Global. Among other ventures, Rubin has announced his interest in a crowdsourced solution for real-time traffic reporting. The system would rely on data fed from units in the field to a central framework that users could look at for up-to-the-second traffic data. The twist is that, for the most part, these units would be given to everyday citizens willing to participate in the program.
Rubin’s solution proposes dashcams given to program participants for free and mass-networked to a central information hub. The cost would likely be a bit prohibitive, however. For starters, enough dashcams would need to be active to create a comprehensive network of coverage and provide a nice picture of an entire area’s traffic conditions. Additionally, these cams would need to be able to process the data they receive and transmit it. That means they would need a processor, like a smartphone, as well as some kind of built-in networking capability. Although a basic dashcam might set a consumer back somewhere in the area of $20 to $50, these advanced models would need to add in the costs for software development and maintenance, as well as networking and processing parts. There was no word on how the program would roll out, a time frame for it or what restrictions may or may not exist; for the time being, its little more than a twinkle in Rubin’s eye.
Normally somewhat reserved according to most, Rubin’s enthusiasm over new and unexplored tech has been known to put him into an excited, almost childlike state. His curiosity and sense of personal artistry are often reflected in the products he puts out and the way he handles them after finishing work on them. As he did with Android, Rubin dreams of enriching the tech field as a whole by pioneering new sections through open-source and free development. “I’m a strong believer in incubating an idea, developing it to a certain point, and then freeing it,” he says of his ideas.