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  • Michael Shmilov

Should We Expect Talking Cars?

The Toyota Concept-i

Earlier today, Toyota announced it will begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020 and use artificial intelligence (AI) to connect with drivers.

The Concept-i model (on the image above), an electric car which can go 300 kilometers (180 miles) with a single charge. The interesting part is that it will be able to estimate the emotions and alertness of drivers by reading their expressions, actions and tone of voice. This information can be used to identify when the car should take over or assist.

Essentially, those are not exciting news, since already now, cars know to detect and assist in multiple situations. For example, Volkswagen's Technology - Front Assist - a monitoring system that warns me about impending collisions and applies the brakes where necessary. This system is available in my car today and I already had the "pleasure" to experience it.

There are many other active systems such as adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane assist, side assists and more. All those already today assisting to save lives and reduce injuries. To assist, those systems are using multiple sensors (e.g. proximity sensor) and already today using the generated data for additional value added solutions. For example, my Volkswagen car will recognise a change from my normal driving behaviour and recommend me to take a break with a visual display on the dashboard and a warning sound.

Following Toyota's recent announcement, those systems will get smarter by using additional sensors and AI to better detect various situations and be able to better assist the drivers. Specifically, they state that the car will be able to converse with drivers, while building up knowledge of users’ preferences, habits and emotions through deep learning.

Vokswagen's Driver Alerts

I am sure there are still many challenges ahead, for example, what will I be talking about with my car?!

Luckily this research showed that talking to yourself is beneficial to your mental wellbeing and I assume that the same will apply on talking to your car.

Talking cars or not, those systems are extremely important in keeping us safe, and you should really educate yourself before buying a new car.

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