Automobile AI

In 1984, a year made famous by George Orwell in his novel by the same name, a new dystopian future was introduced in the movie “Terminator”. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a time-traveling cyborg sent back to assassinate a woman who could prevent a future where machines gain sentience and enslave humanity. 34 years later, we have nearly approached that future, according to tech expert Elon Musk.

We are becoming more familiar with home applications of Artificial Intelligence through products like Amazon’s Alexa, our phones (“Hey Google” and “Hey Siri”), but one of the places that AI has really been growing has been in our vehicles. We have multiple applications today in our vehicles. Here are just a few of the ways that Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we drive.

Driver-Assist Features

Drivers come in all types and skill sets. Some drive too fast, others drive too slow. Some drive just fine but get lost in unfamiliar territory. Driver-Assist features are ways that AI is used to help all of these different kinds of drivers. Some examples of these features are collision avoidance systems, automatic braking, alerts for pedestrians, cyclists, and cross-traffic, as well as intelligent cruise control. That is just the beginning.

Cars without Drivers

The autopilot car was a dream from the 1970’s that failed to gain momentum, until today. Now, with minicomputers, GPS systems, and AI, self-driving vehicles are about to become a reality. Google and Tesla Corporations are taking the lead in creating automated cars. After millions of dollars and hours in R&D, they have put test vehicles out on the road and are making their way to the marketplace.

Tesla says they are ready now. They are waiting for approval of regulations and software validation, and then they will switch their cars over to driverless mode. Uber has entered the competition as well. They have plans to build a fully automated fleet of Volvo XC90 SUV’s. They plan to make the Uber driver extinct in Pittsburg, PA where the first test drives will be made.

Cloud-Based Intelligence

Cloud technology is changing our lives, and the automobile industry is ready to connect in as well. Many companies are looking at available partnership options, including GM and IBM. How can cloud technology enhance our driving through AI? The same way our phones are already working to do for us. Imagine cars that could locate gas stations and allow you to pay from inside your vehicle. They could notify you of restaurants that matched criteria similar to your favorite eating places. They could give you paying options, send you reminders about your schedule, household items you need when you pass stores that sell them and pre-ordering food as you approach a restaurant. The Skynet is the limit.

Additional Benefits

Some of these innovations really do seem like computers are taking over the world. However, some could be a considerable headache relief and even life savers.

With internet access and cloud connection, manufacturer updates for software could be done remotely instead of at the dealer’s garage. Not only that, information could be fed and assessed by the cloud to help warn you when you have potential problems before you suffer a catastrophic engine failure, and perhaps get into a wreck, damaging your car and suffering injury yourself. Your mileage could be automatically uploaded to your employers along with refueling costs. Manufacturers would be able to update their models better with data coming in from all drivers. Perhaps most important is the possibility of your car being able to summon medical emergency help if the driver becomes unresponsive. How many more lives do you think could be saved by cars preventing accidents caused by their drivers, and getting them the medical help they need when they are unable to drive themselves to the hospital? Additionally, V2V (vehicle to vehicle) technology will soon allow your car to communicate with other connected vehicles on the road, preventing accidents from occurring at all.

Is putting AI into the driver’s seat of your car a price worth paying for safer roads? The jury is still out on that. This can be certain though: AI is coming to a vehicle near you.

Image Source: Tesla.com, Toyota.com