Future Car Technology: Decreasing the Need for Human Thought

April 26th, 2013

Will future Audi vehicles predict the future?

With great interest, I opened an article that claimed cars of the future will probably be able to predict the future. How cool would that be? My mind raced with possibilities.

Could my car analyze information online and tell me if an upcoming date would be a success? Would it be able to predict gas prices 6 months into the future? Maybe my car could predict future Super Bowl winners and clue me in.

Well, it turns out the predictions are nowhere near as exciting.

The Register has the story about some of Audi’s plans for its cars of the future. One of the ideas: cars that can predict where traffic will be.

A little anti-climactic, yes?

The article says future cars will be able to analyze traditionally heavy traffic spots, comb social media for traffic information, and even take into account large sporting events that might cause congestion.

In short, future cars will be able to do exactly what human minds can do today. Audi’s system could also predict a driver’s most likely destination based on their traffic history, which, again, seems a little unnecessary considering our brains already have a pretty good idea of where they want to go.

Slightly more intriguing, Audi announced a concept for a directions system that would give directions based on landmarks instead of streets. “Turn at the rock painted to look like a football,” could replace “Turn right on second.” Perhaps there’s a market for such directions, but I think I’ll stick to the GPS in my iPhone.

Here’s something I’d sign up for, though: a smart parking feature that would keep track of parking spots and map out availability, along with prices to park. Oh yeah! I can’t even tell you how many hours of my life I have spent circling a few city blocks of downtown Seattle looking for the right spot to park my wheels. I’d even pay a monthly fee to have instant access to spots available now.

If only there were a way to reserve them…

Has car technology gone far enough, or should it start predicting the future, too? 

-tgriffith

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  1. Randy
    April 26th, 2013 at 07:14 | #1

    That’s actually old stuff. When we did TravTec back in the early 1990’s, the system was able to analyze traffic patterns and trends (as well as incorporate live transit segment data taken from our cars on the road and scheduled construction reports) to predict the best routes for the cars to take. Of course, this was a central system and that’s the best way to perform such a task. Putting the capability in each car is redundant and simply won’t work, but that’s what happens when you get companies producing this kind of drivel to piss away government grant money.
    A truly capable system of the future will know where all the cars are (and where they are going) and be able to dynamically reallocate routes among all the cars to minimize congestion. The audi system would always be trailing behind and would probably create massive jams if enough cars used it. Think of a herd of lemmings seeing smoke in the distance and running off a cliff.

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