San Diego’s Ready to Hit the Road With Auto-Based Social Networking

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picture of the license plate.

Predictably, one of’s key applications is romantically hitting on someone attractive in another car.

Suzanne Somers in American Graffiti

If the technology had been around for the 1973 film “American Graffiti,” for example, Richard Dreyfuss could have used his smart phone to scan an image of the white T-bird license plate being driven by the beautiful and mysterious blonde (Suzanne Somers). He then could have used the Bump network to send her a message directly instead of seeking help from radio DJ Wolfman Jack and spending the rest of movie desperately trying to find her.

“It’s this amazing communications platform that allows anyone to connect with anyone in their cars,” Thrower says. He sees endless possibilities for using the Bump network—not to be confused with Mountain View, CA-based Bump Technologies—pointing out that the technology enables users to communicate V-to-V (as in vehicle-to-vehicle, or consumer-to-consumer) as well as B-to-V (business-to-consumer) and G-to-V (government-to-consumer.)

Thrower, who founded an online marathon registration business called Racegate (which became the Active Network), told me that was “a reverse-engineered business.” He said he set out to start a new company thinking, “Let’s find a … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Ian

    I hope it has a road rage feature.

  • Jonathan

    Wow, I can’t wait to send and receive messages from random people and companies that see me on the road. What a game changer. *yawn*

  • Seth

    Love the idea of getting personalized discounts through Bump based on where I go… especially at sporting events where everything is so expensive

  • Chase

    I actually do look forward to seeing this in action. I’d be more likely to use a coupon sent out using the automated license plate recognition technology than I would be to sign up for Groupon. This might take a few years, but when it arrives and they get the kinks worked out, it will be cool.

  • Jake

    Who would actually take the time to send someone a mean message? I think there are more good people out there who would use this system to help someone, than people who would want to rage.

  • Mr. Lucas Brice

    I look forward to being able to communicate with strangers on the road. I also look forward to the return of the plague, dental surgery without anesthesia, and eating food laced with e-coli bacteria. What a bunch of nonsense.

  • jason

    Amazing idea!

  • Nicole

    This is such a great idea! I have always wanted to be able to communicate with drivers around me, whether it be about their bumper stickers or their driving habits.