Although we hear so much about “the car of the future,” with self-driving cars already on the road it seems tomorrow is here.
Cars are semi-autonomous entertainment carriages, stacked with gadgets to keep passengers entertained while the car drives. Carrying out intelligent interactions with other vehicles and road infrastructure, cars can drive themselves safely to a desired destination, avoid traffic jams and drop passengers off before finding themselves somewhere to park.
At a recent showcase in Munich, Audi showed off much of this technology on models currently available, such as the Audi Q7 eTron Quattro and next year’s A8. Download the Audi app and you can use your phone to control the car remotely, locking and unlocking the car wherever you are, plan journeys and share them with the sat nav and control heating or air conditioning to prepare the car before a drive. With electric or hybrid models, you can monitor the charge in the battery.
And Audi is pioneering the use of “swarm intelligence,” where data from cars is aggregated and shared with all drivers, offering detailed live maps showing traffic levels and accidents. It allows the car to automatically plan a better journey. Specialist map business, Here – which is jointly owned by Audi, Daimler and BMW – has developed the LiveMap to share such driving pattern data from all connected cars. It can also learn and predict likely traffic build-ups. In the US, Audi also offers its Traffic Light Information system, which links to local traffic lights, informing the car of the best speed to drive to avoid hitting a red light.
Next year Audi will launch PIA (personal information assistant), which turns the car into an intelligent mobile hub, selecting favorite songs or radio stations for the journey, telling you when to leave for a meeting and prompting you to call the people you are meeting if you hit a delay on the way.
It means fewer traffic jams and less time waiting at red lights. It means a car that is more enjoyable to drive and even more entertaining to be in. All that and it will park itself. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.