Around the Cor­ner

Singapore Tatler - - LIFE CARS -

With self-driv­ing cars on the cusp of com­mer­cial reality, Adam Hay-ni­cholls as­sesses the trends and in­no­va­tions set to change the way we drive

olls-royce has strived to build the world’s finest lux­ury cars for more than a cen­tury, and a key in­gre­di­ent is tech­nol­ogy. One of the fa­bled mar­que’s rock star cus­tomers, Frank Zappa, per­haps put it best: “With­out de­vi­a­tion from the norm, progress is not pos­si­ble.” With its Vi­sion Next 100 con­cept (pic­tured here), co­de­named 103EX, the mar­que re­veals what it ex­pects to see on stately grav­elled drive­ways 100 years into the future. While some fea­tures are pure Rolls-royce, such as an Led-pro­jected red car­pet that greets you as you ap­proach the car and a Hal-style vir­tual but­ler by the name of Eleanor, oth­ers are just a few years away from main­stream ve­hi­cles. Google is test­ing hun­dreds of its Waymo self-driv­ing cars in the US right now. While Sil­i­con Val­ley has been the epi­cen­tre of the race to de­velop ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and au­ton­o­mous pi­lotage, the more es­tab­lished car brands could yet over­take them. Audi, Toy­ota and GM each in­tends to in­tro­duce a self-driv­ing car in 2020, with Ford and BMW a year later. In fact, Audi’s lat­est A8 sedan is the first pro­duc­tion car in the world de­vel­oped for highly au­to­mated driv­ing. Boast­ing Level 3 au­to­mated driv­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the car is able to drive au­tonomously, un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, in­clud­ing le­gal con­straints, with the Audi AI traf­fic jam pi­lot. (The newly de­vel­oped fea­ture drives the car au­to­mat­i­cally in slow-mov­ing traf­fic on high­ways and ex­press­ways at speeds up to 60 kmh.) “I think there’s still a long way to go be­fore au­ton­o­mous driv­ing be­comes an ev­ery­day

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