The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) saw an influx of additions featuring innovative developments in automotive technology. Manufacturers showcased their newest concepts featuring advanced technology. Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz showcased vehicles equipped with artificial intelligence and infotainment systems.
Hyndai’s Intelligent Personal Agent features voice-activated technology that the company co-developed with Silicon Valley-based company SoundHound Inc. The technology takes mimics that of systems like Siri, Echo, and Alexa, but with a twist. It is capable of multi-tasking. If the user gives multiple commands within the same sentence, the AI will recognize each and complete them all separately. The system is also designed to aid the driver by recommending departure times based on traffic conditions.
Mercedes-Benz debuted an infotainment interface for compact vehicles. The interface is based on artificial intelligence and functions as an intuitive operating system. The display resembles a dual widescreen setup used in late-mode E- and S-Class sedans. The system is expected to be installed in some vehicles on the lower end of Mercedes’ lineup later this year.
Nissan demonstrated that the “brain” of an autonomous vehicle can be utilized to improve driving abilities in users. The technology is engaged when the driver puts on a wired cap likened to a smaller, sleeker version of the brain wave analyzer in Back to the Future. The cap measures brain wave activity, sending data to the vehicle to analyze in order to anticipate the driver’s intended actions.
According to Nissan, the technology is capable of predicting driver behaviour, reducing reaction time when the driver is in control. Actions include steering and slightly faster breaking, unbeknownst to the driver, greatly reducing the chance of an accident due to a panicked or inexperienced driver.
The technology also has the potential to detect and evaluate discomfort during driving. Nissan is currently testing the technology for these features, which could be used to match the vehicle’s driving style to the users when autonomous driving is engaged.
“There are a lot of situations where a vehicle’s default action when driving autonomously would not be what the driver would actually want to do if they were in control,” said Nissan spokesman Nicholas Maxfield. “Reading brainwaves is one way to shrink that gap between vehicle action and driver expectation.”
However, Maxfield also pointed out that such features would not be beneficial in all cases. Matching the driving patterns of an erratic or otherwise reckless driver could have disastrous results. The goal in the development of the feature is to maximize driver safety during autonomous driving without deviating from the driver’s style too much.
Ford announced a recommitment to vehicle connectivity by 2019. The manufacturer plans to outfit vehicles with Wi-Fi hotspots, remote unlocking, and location services, among other features. Ford also introduced their C-V2X technology (which stands for “cellular vehicle-to-everything). The technology, which enables intelligent vehicle communication, is expected to be implemented in the near future.
Vehicles equipped with technology will be capable of communicating with other vehicles, smart traffic signals, and gas pumps. The communication is effective at short range, even in the absence of cellular signals. This would allow vehicles to “see” around blind corners and gauge environmental conditions.
Some of the features unveiled at CES will undoubtedly take much longer to perfect than others. Nevertheless, they made for a fascinating event and have displayed the type of ingenuity that will usher the automotive industry into the future.