Smart Cars: Top trends from CES 2018

Jan 10, 2018 | 1605 Views

There are some interest automotive tech highlights from the CES 2018. Artificial intelligence can now control your infotainment system and the vehicle can now read your brain. Cars can actually see around blind corners.
The CES event has today become an outlet for automakers to showcase their developments in car technology. Here are three key trends from the event this year:

AI POWERED INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
In the event both Mercedez Benz & Hyundai are showing how they will integrate artificial intelligence in the vehicle's infotainment system and turn it into a personal assistant. This technology was so far  confined to smart speakers & smartphones.
Hyundai's Intelligent Personal Agent is a voice-control technology that was co-developed by Silicon Valley-based SoundHound Inc., which specializes in voice-enabled AI.

The intelligent part of such software is its ability to recognize multiple commands. For example, if you ask it, "Tell me what the weather will be like tomorrow and text the kids to remind them about soccer practice," it would recognize two separate commands in the same sentence and complete each task accordingly.

Hyundai's technology functions much like Apple's Siri or Google Assistant. It's designed to respond to commands but also to proactively aid drivers by, for example, reminding them of upcoming meetings and recommending a departure time based on traffic conditions.

The system activates with the wake-up voice command, "Hi, Hyundai." Once queried, the AI-powered agent can help make a phone call, send text messages, search destinations, search music, check weather and manage schedules. It also allows drivers to use voice control for frequently used functions such as controlling air conditioning, sunroofs and door locks. Hyundai plans to install the Intelligent Personal Agent in new models as early as 2019.

Mercedes-Benz is also debuting a new infotainment interface for its compact vehicles that's based on artificial intelligence and what it calls an "intuitive" operating system. There are few details on the system's capabilities so far, but the system is expected to make its way to some vehicles on the lower end of Mercedes' lineup this year. The display itself looks like the dual widescreen setup that Mercedes used in late-model E- and S-Class sedans.

BRAIN-TO-VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
Nissan is demonstrating that the "brain" in an autonomous vehicle doesn't always have to be a computer and that a computer can be used to make a person a better driver. The company is one of the first to conduct research on brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology.

To engage the technology, the driver puts on a wired cap. Picture a much smaller, sleeker version of Doc Brown's brain wave analyzer in "Back to the Future." The device measures brain wave activity, which the vehicle's autonomous systems analyze and then use to anticipate your intended actions.

Nissan says that brain-to-vehicle technology can predict driver behavior to shorten reaction time when a driver is in control, for instance by making steering wheel turns or braking 0.2 to 0.5 second faster. All this will be largely imperceptible to the driver, Nissan says.

Brain-to-vehicle technology also is being tested to detect and evaluate discomfort during driving. This could be used to match the car's driving style to the driver's own style when the vehicle is in autonomous mode.

"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 Nicholas Maxfield, a Nissan spokesman. "Reading brainwaves is one way to shrink that gap between vehicle action and driver expectation."

Of course, copying a human's driving style may not be ideal in all cases, he said. The last thing you'd want is an autonomous car that speeds and makes erratic lane changes. The goal is to maximize driver safety during autonomous operating without departing too much from the driver's own style.

This technology is still many years away from making it into a production vehicle, but Nissan says it shows the potential of combining human and artificial intelligence.

CARS THAT TALK TO EVERYTHING
Finally, Ford is using the CES event to announce its recommitment to making all of its vehicles connected by 2019. In the short term, vehicle connectivity means you'll see more Ford vehicles outfitted with Wi-Fi hotspots, remote unlocking and location services.

Ford also is announcing plans to adopt what's called "cellular vehicle-to-everything" technology (C-V2X for short) in the coming years. This technology will make it possible for its vehicles to communicate with smart traffic signals, other vehicles and even a gas pumpâ??to make wireless payments, for example.

This Cellular vehicle-to-everything is in fact a more advanced version of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity and makes use of cellular networks, which are faster than Wi-Fi. It uses this communicate to other vehicles & roadside infrastructure which include smart traffic signals & construction zone warnings.

This technology can communicate at short range, even in the absence of a cellular signal. This means that the vehicle can see around blind corners & also understand its environment in bad weather.

Ford believes that this technology will be vital to getting more automakers to commit to connected car-systems and will help standardize this technology. The chips being used by this system are faster and even cheaper than the ones being used in current V2V systems.

Source: HOB