5 of the coolest uses of AI in automotive

The world of automotive has always been an exciting one, and you don’t have to be a motor head to appreciate how much car technology has evolved over the years. One area of technology that’s having a huge impact on vehicle development is artificial intelligence and we’re not just referring to automated cars.

Let’s take a look at five of the coolest uses of AI in automotive.

1)   The car that finds a parking space for you

Next to sitting in traffic and dealing with aggressive drivers, parking is one of the most dreaded parts of any car journey. Automated parking has helped relieve some of that anxiety, but wouldn’t it be great if your car could find a parking space for you?

Bosch’s latest AI innovation helps drivers do just that and it ensures the spaces it recommends are likely to remain free. It does this by collecting a range of data, including current traffic volume, seasonality and trends, to stop the system directing several drivers to the same available parking space. Are these spaces usually occupied in the morning, afternoon or evening? You might not know, but the AI does.

2)   No more blind spots

Parking sensors have no doubt reduced the number of knocks and scrapes drivers incur whilst trying to park in tight spots, but their capabilities are limited. One in ten collisions with other vehicles are caused by drivers not checking blind spots, according to Direct Line.

An algorithm developed by the clever people at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory can help cars see around corners. This imaging system can detect objects, and more importantly other people, in a blind spot by using information from light reflections. If that isn’t impressive enough, it can also measure the speed and trajectory of those objects.

Unfortunately, the technology has some way to go before it is integrated into vehicles. The team at MIT is working to overcome some of the system’s limitations, as it understandably struggles in low-light scenarios. It’s being tested on wheelchairs at present, but the plan is to develop it for cars and other vehicles later.

3)   A personal assistant always on hand

Voice control within vehicles isn’t a new concept, but historically, it has never worked well. How many times have you found yourself shouting “CALL D-AAHHH-D” every time you want to make a simple hands-free phone call?  

Luckily, Alexa is here to save the day. Amazon’s personal assistant will soon be a feature in selected BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Lexus and Toyota models. Drivers will be able to ask Alexa to perform a number of tasks, including changing the navigation destination, playing a specific song and even turning the heating on at home.

4)   The car that can read your mind

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but Nissan really is developing a car that can read its driver’s mind. Dubbed ‘brain to vehicle’ communication, drivers wear a cap-like device which reads brain wave activity. It knows what action you’re going to take before you take it, allowing it to prep the car in advance, making every move you make smoother and more enjoyable.

When the car is in autonomous mode, the system can detect your discomfort, and switch up the suspension or driving style.

Cool or creepy? You decide.

5)   An emotional driving experience

Revealed last year, Honda’s concept car, ‘NeuV’, takes the AI assistant one step further. The assistant, called HANA (Honda Automated Network Assistant), uses an ‘emotion engine’ which can read the emotions behind your driving decisions. It uses this data, as well as data from your previous decisions, to make new choices and recommendations, improving both manual and autonomous driving experiences.

HANA can also check your wellbeing and make music suggestions based on your current mood.

Intelligent driving experiences

We’re not sure drivers are quite ready for all the AI experiences currently in development, but the technology now on offer is certainly impressive.

What AI developments would you like to see in your next vehicle? Let us know in the comments!

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