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Are Self-Driving Cars on the Road to Nowhere?

Are Self-Driving Cars on the Road to Nowhere?

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Friday, 15 January 2016 07:17 AM Current | Bio | Archive


It’s that time of year.  CES has been in full swing this week in fabulous Las Vegas. Cue game show music. Seriously, though, tech is just as important to cars as it is everyday life.

In fact CES showed that car tech is becoming increasingly a part of our everyday connected life.

To that end, here is a roundup of some of the news coming out of CES 2016.

With each passing day self-driving cars are getting closer. That sounded a little doom and gloom. Sorry.  But it’s true. Volvo and Nvidia announced their partnership and the supercomputer that is hastening the day for self-driving cars.  This Nvidia super computer that helps the self-driving vehicles learn is being tested in Sweden, but Sweden isn’t Vegas and what happens in those tests will happen elsewhere.

On the impending autonomous vehicle note, Mercedes announced that three models from its E-class will be taking to Nevada roads for testing. In some ways, yawn, right?  Not in this case.  Ever stylish, the Mercedes models won’t have all the required weird looking sensors attached to them, so they look like, well, traditional Mercedes designs. 

Self piloted driving versus autonomous cars, what does this really mean.  Autonomous driving is different because it still requires the driver to inference with the vehicle. Audi has developed Piloted Driving which is different. Audi has developed a philosophy and strategy for autonomous driving that it calls “piloted driving.”

The name accurately reflects the Audi approach to this important and growing field of technology and aspect of the ownership experience: Give the Audi driver a digital “pilot” to guide the trip and assist in making it to his or her destination safely. Yet don’t usurp outright operating control of the vehicle or diminish the joy and satisfaction of driving that is a huge part of the Audi ownership experience. Making it clear exactly which entity is in control at each moment also is crucial, so Audi piloted driving emphasizes human-machine interface prompts to accomplish this. Illustrative of this approach is one automated-driving feature that Audi continues to define, called a “congestion pilot.” It relieves the driver of the task of driving while the system automatically accelerates, brakes and steers the vehicle, at speeds up to about 37 mph. Once the traffic jam disperses or the end of the highway has been reached, the driver is prompted to take back control. If the driver fails to respond, the system safely brings the car to a standstill.

Speaking of self-drive cars, Volvo has released the results of their poll regarding autonomous drive vehicles.  It seems that of the10,000 survey takers, most of them want to still be able to drive their self-driving cars.  Thanks, Captain Obvious. There actually is some interesting conversation going on regarding liability and other self-driver details, which is a good thing. I think being able to regain control of a self-driver wouldn’t be so bad.  What do you think?

It seems the wearable fitness trackers are making their way into Audis.  Audi announced that it has plans in the works for its Audi Fit Driver tech that will take driver biometrics and then correct any problems.  Driver is feeling tense? How about an automatic massage? A change in lighting, perhaps? Mood enhancing music or the suggestion of a break? Though there are lot of options to “help” the driver, there is no real timeline on when this would be integrated into a vehicle.  The idea is intriguing to say the least. Still, I am not so sure I want a car making decisions for me.

Volvo has something similar that it released at CES. Voice activation.  Yep talk into your Microsoft  Band2 and the vehicle can respond.  For now, consumers will have to learn standard phrases, but the future promises a learning system similar to the popular Nest thermostat.

But what do you think about all these advances? Brave new world or not?

Post your comments at http://www.laurenfix.com/car-coach-report/

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. To read more of her blogs, CLICK HERE NOW.

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With each passing day self-driving cars are getting closer. That sounded a little doom and gloom. Sorry. But it’s true.
self driving, cars, auto, pilot
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2016-17-15
Friday, 15 January 2016 07:17 AM
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