The biggest subject on the table, when it comes to research and development in any automotive company, is the development of the autonomous driving tech that will become part of our world over the next several years. Toyota may have the most advanced approach to this self-driving technology as they seem to be focused more on the driver being alert rather than replacing the driver completely in their vehicles. As other companies look to take away any chance of control or overriding the system in place, Toyota has a different approach to their AI.
When we turn our keys and controls over to our cars and have to trust them to get us from one place to another safely the initial change will be extremely strange. If every car on the road were driven autonomously and used the same network to communicate, they could do so seamlessly and could follow along with each other as extremely close intervals. Unfortunately, the reality is we will continue to have human drivers behind the wheel of our vehicles for several years before self-driving technology takes over the roads.
GM was the first to make it widespread to offer the Wi-Fi connectivity in your vehicle through the advanced OnStar system and now they plan to take this even farther. Sometime in the early part of next year GM will add the Watson artificial intelligence platform to OnStar and create what will be called OnStar Go. This addition is meant to learn your habits and your lifestyle in order to help offer suggestions to you and even possibly remind you of things you need to do or pickup on your way home from or to work each day.
Who would have thought when radio waves and signals began transmitting through the airwaves that at some point we would have an airspace that was completely congested, but that seems to be where we are. Not only are the airwaves becoming more congested with signals for radio, television and cell phones, but for the past sixteen years there has been a part of the airspace that has been reserved for the automotive industry. This space hasn’t been significantly used since it was on reserve at the beginning of the decade, but it seems the auto industry is on the verge of finally putting it to use.
If you want a car that can read the hand signals when driving you might find yourself and your vehicle offended. The last time I checked there was typically only one hand signal used on the roads from driver to driver and it’s not a pleasant one at all. When it comes to the ability to understand hand signals the ones that matter on the road are those which are used by cyclists as they ride their bikes around. While I’m not exactly sure how many cyclists use hand signals anymore, these are important indicators of the intentions of the cyclist that should be understood by cars before we have fully autonomous vehicles.
It’s coming and if you listen to Elon Musk of Tesla Motors it will be here much sooner than most think. His prediction is that you will be able to summon your car to your location in no more than three years’ time. This bold announcement has already garnered some push back from others in the automotive world with Carlos Ghosn of Nissan stating the first self-driving Nissan will be on the road in 2020 and the Audi USA president Scott Koegh adding he feels we won’t see fully autonomous driving vehicles for at least a decade.
The partnership between Renault and Nissan continues to be one that benefits both companies and the announcement has been made that has informed us they plan to offer more autonomous technology in ten vehicles between now and 2020. These vehicles will be offered in the United States, Europe, Japan and China. This signifies a serious growth in technology for the brand and model lineup of this this partnership. We already see some of their goals being realized in the fact that there is a zero emissions vehicle on the market in the form of the Nissan LEAF.