Car Manufacturers Rely On Technology To Convert Vehicles Into Real Companions
Who would have thought that the most extraordinary innovation exhibited at CES a few days ago, the world’s largest consumer technology event, would not come from Silicon Valley, but from Detroit?
The vehicles on display are tangible proof that a major change has recently occurred in the automotive sector. It must be said that manufacturers are doing their utmost to make their products stand out, taking into account drivers’ requirements for the comfort and personalization of their cars.
More than ever, cars are computerized. Car manufacturers take ownership of the technology that is traditionally the domain of gadget manufacturers like Samsung and LG: touch screens, software, applications, and social media, to increase the possibilities of the car, even to transform a vehicle into a companion and entertainment center.
“Just as a smartphone can be more than just a means of communication, a smart’auto” can be more than just a mode of transportation, “Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG, said in a speech. opening.
The presence of machinery weighing nearly two tons might seem unseemly at CES, where most of the exhibits can be placed on a desk or in the palm of the hand. However, automakers are putting more and more emphasis on technology and dashboards, which explains their increased presence every year at this kind of conference. This year, CES registered a record number of automotive exhibitors, more than 400 in total, according to the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association), the company organizing the show.
Many automakers have been striving to improve entertainment systems, navigation tools, and safety devices that are controlled from the dashboard by the driver’s voice, much like Siri’s virtual personal assistant. iPhone 4S at Apple. And the selling points for a sedan and a smartphone are more and more similar in recent years. Both appeal to us with apps, touch screens, GPS, voice recognition software, a personal assistant and the ability to place calls. The evolution of automobiles marks the efforts of manufacturers who help them adapt to the hyper-connected lifestyle of their owners. They expect to be able to update their status on Facebook, check their voicemail or browse the web anytime, anywhere.
Some car manufacturers go even further. Ford, which recently announced plans to open a research laboratory in Silicon Valley and enter into a partnership with Microsoft for its embedded synchronization software, claims the creation of a “car care for your well-being” “.
“The car that cares about your wellbeing is starting to take shape and will offer a new and exciting platform for connectivity, innovation, and change, just like smartphones or tablets,” said Gary Strumolo, International Director of Health Research. and well-being of Ford, in a group discussion at CES. “We believe that this creation will fundamentally expand our understanding of vehicle safety, which will no longer be limited to avoiding accidents alone, but rather an integrated approach to the well-being of people. our clients”.
Gary Strumolo revealed that Ford was looking for ways to integrate sensors inside the vehicle seats so that a car would be able to weigh its driver and track his body weight. A diabetic driving could also sync his Bluetooth glucose monitor with his car, receiving an alert if his blood sugar drops. In addition, Gary Strumolo described a car that would track driver stress and respond accordingly by eliminating distractions, for example by diverting all calls to voicemail until the driver is more relaxed.
Gary Strumolo wants this new technology not only to improve driver health but also to foster a more intimate connection between the human and his vehicle.
“The more you talk to a car that understands, designs and even apprehends your needs, the more emotional you will be with that vehicle,” continues Strumolo. “You will say that this machine really worries about your well-being, that it understands you, that it helps you, just like a personal assistant”.
A Ford engineer on the stand confirmed these remarks.
“I think it will be a lot more fun to drive in the future because your car can become your friend,” said Johannes Kristinsson, research engineer.
In order to help drivers exteriorize their concerns by addressing their car, automakers like Audi, BMW, and Ford are testing the mechanisms that would allow vehicles to “talk” to each other on the road. By using vehicle-to-vehicle communication, cars could track the movements of others and anticipate changes in positions, which might reduce the number of collisions.
Dashboards also give way to screens powered by software that gives them the same capabilities as tablets or smartphones. The Cadillac CUE system, expected to be available in the spring, is equipped with the Pandora app and will soon be compatible with other apps, provide directions, allow hands-free calling, and access the digital music library of the driver.
It is expected in the spring that Mercedes-Benz also offers apps on its vehicles. A Facebook application will be among the first, offering a simplified version of the social network site, able to restrict text entry if the car is running.
Yet, regulators are wary of vehicles that have too many high-tech fans reaches. The use of smartphones at the wheel has already prompted federal security investigators to pass legislation banning texting while driving. About 3092 people died in 2010 due to distracted driving collisions, according to the US National Highway Safety Department.
“We can not take a back seat, that’s for sure – every time new dashboards or portable devices are available for sale, they have the potential to create more and more distractions for the driver. “, complained Ron Medford, spokesperson for the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). “In NHTSA’s driver distraction program, we are developing safety guidelines for these systems, and we have asked the automotive and laptop industries to work with us to keep the driver safe and focused on the single task. To drive”.
The fact that drivers are not yet familiar with this evolving automobile breed can pose additional barriers for automakers, who need to educate consumers on how to handle these new vehicles. Switching from AM / FM radio to Pandora represents a relatively minor adjustment. But accepting that your car is tracking your heart rate, monitoring your weight or predicting the position of other vehicles is not an easy task, and experts will tell you.Tags: Audi