Thursday, 18 February 2016

Let's Talk: Dreams of an Auto Future

I get animal urges when hearing a Ferrari V12 engine red line! Dream of driving down that winding road in an 918 Spyder at inappropriate speeds, clipping turns and spitting up the gravel off a cliff to the turquoise watery abyss inches away.

Ok you got me, I love driving and no not in traffic. It's the thrill of leaving everything behind you in a blur. Something about a beautifully engineered throaty engine and sunshine transports you to an alternate wormhole reality.

New car tech is awesome, with Toyota Camrys that can beat super cars of yesteryear. A few electric options (hurry up auto industry!) that finally look cool. But what happened to focusing on the driver experience?

While engines and drivetrains are leaping forward, the focus on the driver has taken a backseat. Modern cars are relying on touch screen input to change a radio station. What happened to an easy switch or knob to switch stations? It’s great to have a huge ipad sized screen, but it’s difficult to operate without being distracted. Heads Up display (HUD) technology has been a cool novelty when it was successfully introduced in the Corvette, and the challenge has remained providing relevant info without distracting the driver.

In 99.99% of cars, it is still not possible to send a text, get directions, or make a call without using your smartphone, and scaring your passengers out of their seats. Finally voice technology and hardware is converging on usable voice operated personalities. The Amazon Echo is a great example with a mic array (hardware) that accurately picks up voice commands in noisy environments, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) of Amazon’s Alexa (software), in a tiny connected package. Imagine combining the visual ease of a HUD with the powerful voice driven skillset of Alexa.

I think I just got the chills...

Ride with us on this journey to make driving fun again - strap in!


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