On the road in sensor city – Apple Car is coming, don’t hold your breath
It’s like this: Autonomous cars are coming. They will be made available by a range of manufacturers. They will carry sophisticated collision evasion, object detection, self-direction, and autonomous intelligence systems.
They will demand a huge range of immediately activated sensors that can deliver near real time alerts and almost instant AI decisions dedicated to keeping you – and other road users – safe.
They will be connected. They won’t just be connected to the network you choose to use, but also to every other vehicle on the road, the road itself, and law enforcement and traffic management systems.
These vehicles will hum with intelligence. Think Siri gone serious, or an Alexa that can do a whole lot more than shopping. Those smarts mean these vehicles won’t just be vehicles, they’ll know what you need, what temperature you like, the most appropriate seat position for your journey, and how much activity you need to engage in today.
It doesn’t stop there.
In theory at least, these intelligent vehicles will be able to figure out what in transit entertainment you prefer, how to obtain and also provide it, where you want to go – why – and remind you about whatever it is you need to do when you get there.
You before you know it
Hungry? Your vehicle will know it. It may even recommend a place to go, or – potentially – be able to order up some food and make sure you reach the right place at the right time to collect it. These systems will be able to pack more processors than some human minds.
Shopping? Surfing the net? News reports? Your connected contraption will use a magic almost as sophisticated as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to deliver you whatever it is your brain, mind and body need.
All of this is evident. All of this is predictable. Because everything you use your Mac, iPad or iPhone for can be bought together in vehicles like these. And more.
All it takes is the sensors. Sensors in the engines. Sensors in the seats. Sensors in the steering wheel. Sensors in the front, internal and rear lights. Sensors to help you park. Sensors to help identity obstructions that never got lab-tested. Sensors designed to figure out the difference between a human being and a statue.
Artificial intelligence that can analyse all this sensor-gathered information in real time and make sure your vehicle can still tell the difference between a street side trash can and a pram. And make the right decision, in real time, as to which object to crash into at those times when the in-vehicle, in-other-vehicle, or human driver’s own physical sensors fail.
No wonder developing these blooming things is taking so very long.
But they’re coming. You know they are.
Don’t hold your breath.