Fast forward to about two decades from now and you have new types of cars that are totally different from the ones on the road today. Yes, we are talking about driver-less cars, cars that can talk to each other, cars that connect with the outside world—with traffic signals, with the road, with service stations, cars that will warn you on the road and even cars that will park themselves!!
Self-driving cars are not really new in the sense that Google, Uber and Tesla have been working on them for quite some time. In 20 or 30 years from now, cars that drive themselves are no longer going to be a novelty. Uber’s R&D center in Pittsburgh shows how serious it is when it comes to autonomous cars.
Apparently, many companies have been making adjustments and introducing features that are leading up to a driver-less future. Cars will automatically avoid collisions, be able to predict accidents, even change lanes by themselves, making hands and feet superfluous. Some of the Mercedes-Benz models have incorporated some of these features, throwing out feelers as to how the new cars will be like.
Smart homes have taken over the real estate industry and are in great demand; the day is not far off when smart cars hit the roads. Sensors and lasers will allow cars to communicate with infrastructure and buildings, talk with each other and hopefully make navigation a breeze. Online services will soon be available on the road: – Wi-Fi, streaming media and entertainment will mean that you can check and answer e-mails and even talk to someone across the world.
If you thought personalization was only related to online and customer services, then do think again. The day is not far off when cars fill be fitted with cameras that have facial recognition software and other biometric factors. These vehicles will now be able to customize the driving experience by looking at your face while adjusting the seats to your liking and up the ante on security and safety. The Chrysler Portal concept car can automatically adjust the driver’s and also choose a driving mode. Ford and Intel are working at gauging driver moods and even playing music to soothe rattled nerves. And, in case the driver loses focus for a moment, the camera tracks eye movements and will sound a warning.
Of course, you would need to register your face first without regardless of whether you’re wearing a hat or sunglasses. The infrared camera will surmount all these obstacles that video cameras struggle with. Honda’s NeuV concept car uses an automated personal assistant to read facial emotions and employs artificial intelligence to interact with drivers. If the driver decides to snatch 40 winks, the cars may automatically take over or pull over to the side of the road and stop. That’s the kind of safety cars will be embedded with. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 goes even further by transforming car interiors into mini conference rooms that allow passengers to either work or be entertained.
With photos being splashed all over the Internet, you may think that deceiving the car’s facial recognition software with a printed image is a breeze. Hold on though! Stereoscopic video cameras can clearly differentiate between a 3d object and a flat image. So impersonation is rather tricky.
Flying cars might no longer be science fiction as the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas showed. With Skycar and the Ehang 184 and Terrafugia’s plans for self-flying cars, air space could well become cramped and in great demand.
Though all this does seem rosy, you need to remember there are lots of downsides—dedicated lanes and traffic lights will lose their place, drivers will be made redundant and the concept of using one’s feet and hands to drive a car will be rendered superfluous.
Let’s wait and watch and see how the panorama pans out!