It is becoming clear that location-aware intelligent transportation systems will be one of the most promising upcoming applications for next generation vehicles. The driving force behind this is the introduction of pervasive high performance wireless networks and location sensing technologies, such as GPS and roadside detection systems. Intelligent transportation systems utilise inter-vehicle cooperation without human assistance to provide autonomous vehicle navigation from a given source to a predetermined destination. The resultant sentient vehicles are 'context-aware' autonomous cars that form cooperative 'flotillas' of peers using mobile ad hoc network environments (MANETs). In this paper we report on our experiences of building a component framework based middleware architecture designed to meet the challenges of such environments. We show how such a framework can be used to engineer a proof of concept cooperating sentient vehicle application, and highlight the research challenges raised.