Con­nected driv­ing

Car builders an­nounce dig­i­tal enhancements to their ve­hi­cles

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THREE car builders have an­nounced dig­i­tal ex­ten­sions of their driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, with Mercedes-Benz adding Face­book Mes­sen­ger Chat­bot, Toy­ota giv­ing driv­ers who leave their cell­phones alone a cof­fee and the Re­nault Nis­san Al­liance part­ner­ing with Mi­crosoft “to de­liver the future of con­nected driv­ing”.

Merc is build­ing on the over one mil­lion fol­low­ers on its Face­book page by con­nect­ing these ac­tive fans with Face­book’s Chat­bot. Merc said this func­tion will help the brand in­ter­act with its au­di­ence in South Africa.

In Ja­pan, Toy­ota has in­tro­duced a Barista app in the Aichi Pre­fec­ture — the dis­trict with the high­est ve­hi­cle col­li­sion rate on the is­land.

The app uses the gyro sen­sor and GPS in smart­phones to mea­sure how far the driver drove while leav­ing the smartDriv­ing phone face­down, and re­wards ev­ery 100 km with the phone on its face with a coupon to be spent at a top cof­fee shop. The Driv­ing Barista aims to re­duce the num­ber of traf­fic ac­ci­dents caused by driv­ers us­ing their smart­phones while driv­ing.

For 13 con­sec­u­tive years, Aichi Pre­fec­ture has had the high­est rate of traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties in Ja­pan. In 2015 alone, there were 443 691 traf­fic ac­ci­dents that re­sulted in in­juries or deaths.

Re­nault and Nis­san part­nered with Mi­crosoft to de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion of tech­nolo­gies that will ad­vance con­nected driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences world­wide us­ing the Mi­crosoft Azure cloud.

The part­ner­ship will ac­cel­er­ate de­vel­op­ment of best-in-class in­fo­tain­ment and lo­ca­tion-based ser­vices that will al­low cus­tomers to, among oth­ers, per­son­alise and pro­tect their set­tings, work while be­ing driven, down­load up­dates, mon­i­tor the car from a dis­tance and even pre­vent theft of cars through “Ge­ofenc­ing” tech­nol­ogy.

PHOTO: NIS­SAN

If this Nis­san Leaf con­cept ever gets built, the Re­nault-Nis­san al­liance and Mi­crosoft plan to keep the pas­sen­gers con­nected to the cloud.

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