January 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
Researching Your Future Car with my husband Dan Tynan was a blast. There are some brilliant people working in automotive design at the moment. And we had the pleasure of speaking to many of them. So many that only a fraction of what we learned made it into the final cut of that article. The vision car makers have for a future where our cars will become our personal assistants and family chauffer is one I wish would get here soon. I could certainly use a personal assistant and chauffer! But I didn’t really expect it to arrive as quickly as it did.
I just got back from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It was nothing short of amazing. The innovation going on in high-tech is mind-blowing. I knew about the advances that have been made in automotive technology but I was still astonished. Many people told me, for that article, that the technology to create a car that can drive itself is ready; it’s cost, people’s willingness to trust technology, and legislation that’s holding it back. But I didn’t entirely believe them. Sure, I thought there were probably dodgy prototypes capable of self-piloting. But at CES, I watched an Audi drop its driver off in front the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, drive around the corner, locate the entry to the parking garage, find itself a parking space, back into it, carefully adjust the car until it was parked as if a German engineer had done the job, turn off its headlights, shut off its engine, and wait. A few minutes later, the car’s driver summoned it with a tap on his smart phone and the car jumped into action and went back to the front of the hotel to pick him up.
And it wasn’t only Audi showing off this technology, though that’s the only live demo I saw. Toyota had a car in the Lexus booth that was also capable of self-piloting.
The future car is, apparently, here.
Or at least the technology is here. We will have to wait for infrastructure. (Audi had to put temporary sensors in the garage. But in the future parking garages will probably have those.) And, of course, we will have to wait for humans to be ready to surrender the wheel to…um….the wheel. We will also have to wait for legislation. As the Audi rep in the booth at CES put it. “If that driverless car gets into an accident, who are you going to sue? Audi?” Right. We will have to work out some details.
If you enjoyed, The Future Car, stay tuned. Because Dan and I have two more future stories coming up. We have been looking into the future of the home and the future of your body. And one thing is clear: The Future will be awesome!