HAL IN THE CAR

InCar Entertainment  - - NEWS - Ed Kramer Edi­tor

HAL – the Heuris­ti­cally-pro­grammed Al­go­rithm com­puter in Stan­ley Kubrick’s cin­e­matic master­piece 2001 A Space Odyssey – may be find­ing its way into our cars. Less dis­as­trously we’d hope…

I com­mented in the last is­sue on re­ports from CES on the emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies that will soon, no doubt, be wide­spread mo­tor­ing re­al­i­ties. Self-driv­ing, or the au­ton­o­mous car, was all the rage at the show while fur­ther com­men­tary and pre­dic­tions en­com­passed some of the awe-inspiring tech­nolo­gies that will merge com­put­ers, smart de­vices, the Cloud and as­pects of in­tel­li­gent ve­hi­cles.

Three com­pa­nies pro­vided in­ter­est­ing key­note ad­dresses re­gard­ing the con­nected ve­hi­cle and some of the fu­ture (and we mean near fu­ture) tech­nolo­gies that we’ll be adopt­ing. The three com­pa­nies were Audi, Volvo and In­rix.

Anu­pam Mal­ho­tra Se­nior Manager Con­nected Ve­hi­cles and In­fo­tain­ment, Audi Amer­ica spoke about a num­ber of fea­tures al­ready avail­able in its cars while also giv­ing a glimpse of next-gen model tech­nolo­gies.

“Through Audi connect, we have been pro­vid­ing com­pre­hen­sive in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems in our cars for some years now and we’ve evolved Cloud-based ser­vices and in­tel­li­gence in the ve­hi­cle. This year the com­pany brings out MID2 which takes in-ve­hi­cle in­fo­tain­ment one step fur­ther. Like map up­dates with a two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion mode where when an over-theair map up­date be­comes avail­able, a pop-up on the screen al­lows you to se­lect the up­date then or come back to it later. Smart­phone in­no­va­tion Ap­ple Car Play, An­droid Auto – this is a new world that gives cus­tomers a choice of us­ing the more familiar in­ter­face of the smart­phone to op­er­ate var­i­ous func­tions in­clud­ing nav­i­ga­tion, mes­sag­ing, tele­phon­ing, or ad­vance to the more in­te­grated and con­tent rich sys­tems that the OEMs de­vel­oped that ac­cess self-pi­loted func­tions, ac­cess data in the ve­hi­cle, etc.

“There are also op­por­tu­ni­ties for app de­vel­op­ers to de­velop rel­e­vant apps. An­other thing we’re look­ing at is the idea of hav­ing more than one touch­screen, like ded­i­cated screens to con­trol var­i­ous func­tions in ad­di­tion to the in­fo­tain­ment touch­screen. Get rid of the but­tons by a pro­lif­er­a­tion of pix­els – larger screens with but­ton feed­back.”

An­other im­por­tant pre­sen­ta­tion was that of Klas Ben­drik CIO & Vice Pres­i­dent Volvo Car Cor­po­ra­tion where he spoke about au­ton­o­mous tech­nolo­gies and the com­pany’s grad­ual roll­out of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles in Gothen­burg by 2017.

Volvo calls it the DriveMe project, which by 2017 will see a large num­ber of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles ac­tu­ally owned by end users and be­ing ‘driven’, day to day, on nor­mal Gothen­burg roads with so­phis­ti­cated ‘car to in­fra­struc­ture’ and ‘car to car’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems. Volvo has ob­tained the col­lab­o­ra­tion of lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties and the project may re­sult in the devel­op­ment of world lead­ing laws and leg­is­la­tion to deal with au­ton­o­mous car traf­fic.

Sim­i­larly, Bryan Mis­tele CEO, In­rix talked about his com­pany’s crowd-sourced traf­fic data which is ob­tained by over 185 mil­lion cars and de­vices to pro­vide data to car man­u­fac­tur­ers, public sec­tor agen­cies, fleet and com­mer­cial car­ri­ers and me­dia com­pa­nies which use that info in their prod­ucts. The com­pany is also de­vel­op­ing dy­namic in­for­ma­tion to aid park­ing, on fuel prices, etc. In­rix sees the au­to­mo­bile as a mov­ing mo­bile de­vice no much dif­fer­ent to your tablet, smart­phone or com­puter. The data is mak­ing cities smarter and helps con­trol in­fra­struc­ture, man­age traf­fic and public trans­port, im­proves safety while op­ti­mis­ing toll roads in terms of pric­ing, and many more pos­si­ble uses are on the drawing board.

Very in­ter­est­ingly, vis­ual com­put­ing tech­nol­ogy gi­ant Nvidia stated in­dis­putably that the needs of the au­to­mo­tive en­vi­ron­ment will be­come the most sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in­flu­enc­ing in­no­va­tion in the pro­cess­ing chip in­dus­try and that’s what’s driv­ing their in­no­va­tion. They look at the au­to­mo­bile as be­ing the most sig­nif­i­cant mo­bile com­put­ing plat­form for en­ter­tain­ment, in­for­ma­tion, etc.

In­ter­est­ing times ahead…now open the car door HAL!

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