Technology that could be used to provide congestion-relieving traffic grid information in the future is already employed in a number of places to predict traffic patterns, reveal bottlenecks and warn of hazardous road conditions, writes Stephen Shankland. Much of the data for such services is provided by electronically networked cars. "In the automotive industry, we're seeing a shift from building cars to selling travel time well spent -- where the connected ownership and driving experience becomes a key differentiator," says Andreas Mai, director of product management for Cisco Systems' Smart Connected Vehicles program.

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