Automotive experiences: so much more than self-driving

Back in the late 19th century, Karl Benz’s invention of the motor car was revolutionary, an invention that would change travel and life forever.

Over the past 100+ years since conception, all aspects of the automobile have been developed; aesthetics, comfort, and style have all evolved, and there are now over one billion cars in the world.

Taking the effort out of driving (for better or for worse)

Projects to test driverless cars began back in the 1980s with partnerships between Carnegie Mellon University and ALV in the States, and Munich’s Bundeswehr University and Mercedes-Benz. Since then, working prototypes have been developed, the cars being tested on public roads in the 2010s.

Naturally, concerns around liability and the cars’ effects on society have been raised and continue to be debated. It’s divisive, too; petrol heads enjoy the experience of driving their much-loved cars on open roads, but others drive simply to get from A to B.

Enhancing the driving experience even further

At the recent CES 2017 global consumer electronics and technology event in Las Vegas, car manufacturers showed off their self-driving car technology, with a clear message that those without an autonomous offering are all likely to fall behind.

Driverless cars are without doubt a revolutionary milestone in automobile history, with boundaries being pushed even further with holograms, voice controls and other autonomous features being tested.

Holograms, buttonless controls and directional sound

BMW’s concept car is controlled using holograms, which allow the driver to start the car, play music and even shop, but provides tactile feedback so it feels like a button has actually been pressed.

Video calls also pop up as a hologram, and the really clever bit (just in case you’re not already wowed) is that only the driver can see and hear it. Calls remain private from other passengers using directional speakers in the headrests whilst passengers continue to listen to the radio.

Voice control taking the experience even further

Hyundai and Ford have taken voice control a step further by incorporating smart home devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home into their vehicles. With a simple command of “Alexa, set my temperature to 68 degrees”, the driver can set their home heating in time for their arrival.

A new office?

Microsoft is reportedly working on Skype and Office features to allow the car to become a second office, for an even more seamless experience.

It will be interesting to see how much of an effect the technology will have on our everyday lives, with no doubt that it will offer a more personalised and connected experience for drivers. The question remains just when we’ll start to see these cars in use across the world.

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