24th May 2012 by Admin
Do you want a car that offers the same connectivity and usability as your smart phone? You’re not alone – many consumers are now choosing convenient, connected cars over those with a bigger engine size.
According to Audi’s Future Kids study, young drivers in particular expect their cars to be as easy to handle and sync up to a network as their handheld devices.
Toyota has noticed a similar trend, which it has dubbed ‘rightsizing’ – when consumers opt for a smaller, more economical engine with a beefed-up body and superior infotainment features.
Software and carmakers unite
What’s interesting is that software companies including Microsoft are working closely with manufacturers to meet the demand for smarter cars. A recent Financial Times article reported that Microsoft views cars as the third most important computer device after smart phones and tablets.
With the rise of cloud computing, cars can connect seamlessly to all aspects of the driver’s life, including their home and work. With location-based services, the driver can find the nearest petrol station or electric car recharger. Wellbeing features include measuring a diabetic driver’s blood sugar level and alerting them when they need insulin. The new smart cars can also warn allergy sufferers that they are driving through a high-pollen count area, before suggesting an alternative route or closing the car’s external vents.
A self-driving solution
Imagine an intelligent road surface that seamlessly guides your car through the city according to the time of day. It isn’t far off, with Audi sponsoring a project to do just that.
General Motors is also developing a self-drive car and testing it in China’s largest eco-city on the outskirts of Tianjin. The two-seat electric networked car is designed to communicate with other vehicles and public infrastructure, so that it can navigate, avoid crashes and find parking.
With these technological advances just around the corner, it’s no wonder carmakers are now exhibiting at consumer electronics and mobile technology shows.
At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Audi showed a version of its forthcoming A3, which displays upcoming traffic to the driver and has a separate passenger screen for making video calls, surfing the internet and watching movies, all with a simple hand swipe. This work has come out of Audi’s ‘human-machine interface’ team, which is developing innovative in-car technology and overseeing translation into more than 20 languages.
Is the future here?
While carmakers are keen to deliver better connected cars to consumers, competitively-priced, modest saloon cars continue to get snapped up. It’s fair to say that basic mobility never goes out of style.
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