The future of car tech: getting to know you

January 8, 2017 by Sophie Estienne
The unveiled Fiat Chrysler Portal Concept car during the Fiat Chrysler press conference at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES2017) in Las Vegas

The car of the future doesn't just want to drive you. It wants to know you.

The showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show over the past week was in part about , but also about personalizing the driving experience.

Artificial intelligence and facial recognition will allow vehicles to let you in (if it's your car), and adjust the seating, lighting, music or other elements of the environment for you, automatically.

"The idea is to be more than a machine, to be a partner, make you happy," said Toyota's Amanda McCoy, who explained some of the innovations of the Japanese automaker's Concept-i vehicle at the Las Vegas tech show.

The manufacturers want the car to hold a conversation, help you make a shopping list and determine where and how you want to travel.

In a demonstration, the Toyota vehicle started a conversation and suggested potential destinations for the driver. Its camera detected that the driver was in an upbeat mood and thus suggested "the happier route."

The will also keep a driver alert to potential perils on the road, with sound and light signals. Moving to autonomous mode, it allows the seats to recline.

Swiss-based group Rinspeed showed a prototype electric car called Oasis with a miniature garden inside.

The vehicle with an "intelligent rolling chassis" can also operate in , converting its windshield into a screen for videoconferencing.

"The interior of the car in the future will be redefined entirely, to meet different needs," said Rinspeed chief executive Frank Rinderknecht.

LeEco's LeSee Pro concept car on display at the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas

Rinderknecht said the company has no plans to produce an entire vehicle but use elements of the company's technology, which could be available in a few years.

Other technologies shown in Las Vegas could turn the car into a payments platform. Honda, for example, said it was working with Visa to allow motorists to pay directly from the vehicle for parking or refueling, for example.

Several automakers at CES unveiled plans to move forward on autonomous driving technology. But they also showcased ways to incorporate virtual and augmented reality, use voice systems and other technology to personalize the experience.

Digital assistant on board

One part of that experience is the "" which is making inroads in connected homes.

Ford announced it would incorporate voice-controlled Amazon's Alexa onboard while Renault-Nissan and BMW announced plans to use Microsoft Cortana.

Hyundai is installing sensors in its seating which evaluate posture and in seatbelts to monitor respiration. This could allow an intelligent car to know if a driver is having a heart attack or falling asleep at the wheel.

The South Korean giant is experimenting with a number of ways to deal with different scenarios: it may use blue lights or cold air to wake up a groggy driver, or change the enviroment to calm a stressful one.

"If we can see the mood (of the driver), we can probably do something with this information and modify the environment," said Hyundai's David Mitropoulos-Rundus.

Even if a car is autonomous, Mitropoulos-Rundus said there will be times when a driver will need to assume control, and the automaker want a system to "re-engage him in emergency situation."

Explore further: Chrysler's new tech-rich concept car aims young

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dogbert
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2017
As if it were not bad enough that your smart phone wants to know everywhere you go and everything you do, your car manufacturer wants to track your every move as well. The car manufacturer that wants to take driving away from you wants to take a lot more.

With my smart phone, I can control settings to turn off tracking and history. I doubt that the car manufacturers will be so accommodating.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2017
Hey dog

Your dog knows who you are and whether to let people into your house or not. Why not your car?

BTW your dog is just as artificial as your car. Your god didn't make either.

But unlike your dog your car won't eat your face off if you pass out in a drug-induced stupor. Design processes have improved considerably since the dog was invented.
Eikka
5 / 5 (4) Jan 08, 2017
The manufacturers want the car to hold a conversation, help you make a shopping list and determine where and how you want to travel.


I want the car to shut up and start at -20 below, and keep doing that for the next 20 years with minimal maintenance and no software updates or IoT viruses. The car doesn't need to know where I'm going, and by proxy the manufacturer doesn't need to know where I'm going - it's sufficient I know where I'm going, and if I don't know then I'll consult a map.

Your dog knows who you are and whether to let people into your house or not. Why not your car?


Because it doesn't need to, and with both it's a feature with obvious downsides. A dog barking at the mailman is one thing - a car doing the same would be a disaster.

But unlike your dog your car won't eat your face off


Instead it may drive you or your kid over, and then refuse to go when you try to get to the hospital.
koitsu
5 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2017
Meanwhile, those of us who have owned and driven cars that are *fun to drive* understand the that a true bond between car and driver can be forged simply through the car being fun and engaging for the driver to drive. Oh well, society marches on. I think I'm going to stay back here, though.
dogbert
not rated yet Jan 08, 2017
koitsu,
I think I'm going to stay back here, though.


Me too.

The car manufacturers and the programmers at Google, etc. don't understand that there is simply not a lot of demand for autonomous vehicles. The unrelenting promotion for such vehicles would have produced a ground swell of demand if people really wanted them. At some point, the venture capital will begin to dry up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2017
Because it doesn't need to
-In your opinion. Yes?
and with both it's a feature with obvious downsides. A dog barking at the mailman is one thing - a car doing the same would be a disaster
Dogs bite mailman and fetch lawsuits. Cars are insurable. Can you get liability insurance for your dog?
understand the that a true bond between car and driver can be forged simply through the car being fun and engaging for the driver to drive
Leno will be able to afford special permits and exorbitant insurance costs to drive his collection. Maybe there will be true 'parkways' for plebian enthusiasts.
Eikka
not rated yet Jan 11, 2017
-In your opinion. Yes?


I have other security systems to keep the house safe. Why would I delegate the job to my car, which isn't even home all the time, nor is it actually parked -at- the house but in a parking lot. It has absolutely nothing to do with the matter at all, so why should it have the features?

The problem with "intelligent" and "mood sensitive", "helpful" gadgets and doodads is that they're basically crap at it. First because they're not actually that helpful or nice - mostly they're just cheap pointless gimmicks - and secondly because they're not intelligent enough to guess you correctly and end up doing the wrong things at the wrong times.

I can easily imagine for example, your were throwing baseball with your kid and accidentally got a black eye - now the facial recognition software can't understand where your actual eye is and thinks you're falling asleep at the wheel, plays loud music or parks itself by the road and refuses to go.

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