“KITT, I need you buddy!” Not too long ago it was this mythical catchphrase that Michael Knight used to summon his multipurpose car in the blockbuster series Knight Rider. What was rather a fanciful idea for any “everyday” driver now seems to be a tangible reality. The market is developing apace with new technologies and we will soon be meeting versions of this “perfect” car on the street.
Geolocation assistance, driving wheels that determine the degree of drunkenness, more efficient engines… the trend is clear: sustainable, secure and comfortable 4.0 mobility.
Imitation is a sign of intelligence (Jean Piaget). Human beings, most living beings indeed, have always used imitation as a learning mechanism at various stages of their development. Artificial intelligence works in the same way, imitating human cognitive functions but by way of computational models (machine learning).
The remit of the autonomous car is to reduce the driver’s active role, increase road safety and make traffic management more efficient.
The market launch of the self-driving car has now become a flat-out race. The 100% autonomous car has not yet hit the roads but it’s now a question of time. And while many are looking forward to its advent, some are still beset by qualms. If drivers hold the ultimate liability for any driving situation, what consequences will it have to remove the human figure from the picture? What would be this new self-driving system’s response to any conflict situation? Are these systems trustworthy? This autonomy calls for a regulatory framework that can come up with an answer for any question, especially in relation to road safety. Even so, 2021 now seems to be the date penciled in by various manufacturers for the advent of the first cars with high autonomy levels.
Where’s the air filter?, how’s the oil level?…are small daily questions that drivers hardly worry their heads about nowadays.
Vehicle digitization poses a new driving paradigm. The aim in sight is constantly- informed, connected and, ipso facto, safer driving, achieved by means of constant vehicle monitoring, communication with other vehicles and interaction with items of the outside infrastructure.
Big Data technology for mining a huge amount of information, data privacy systems, cybersecurity, connected service providers, cooperative solutions between the various road stakeholder… from this new tend springs a whole host of significant ad-hoc services.
First and foremost, the driving experience is going to change completely; at the same time control over the vehicle will be continuous, with instant consequences.
It is now thought that by 2025 a very high percentage of automobiles will feature complete connectivity. The companies Telefónica and Vodafone, for their part, have already presented their connected-car prototypes and major alliances have now been forged between two traditionally unconnected sectors, i.e., automobiles and telecommunications.
The concept of the electric car seems at first sight to be relatively new. The truth is, however, that the first electric cars appeared way back in 1830, in fact predating internal combustion engines.
The basis on which these cars work is turning electrical energy into mechanical energy. They are very quiet, contaminate little and have increasing degrees of autonomy.
Although they generate no emissions directly, the pollution created in making and recycling batteries still needs to be properly dealt with, as well as the car-recharging energy generation method.
Governments are now inclining towards increasingly sustainable policies and campaigns advocating the use of vehicles of this type have increased notably in recent years. There is still some concern, however, about the insufficiency of recharge points and current market prices.
There is, however, a mid-term solution: the hybrid car. These combine a combustion and electric engine; batteries can be grid recharged or while the combustion engine is running.
According to the Spanish Association of Car and Truck Manufacturers (Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Automóviles y Camiones), over 35,700 hybrid and electric cars were licensed in 2016 in Spanish territory (breaking down as 87% hybrid and 13% electric). Annual sales are increasing year after year, but they still represent only a very small percentage of the total vehicle fleet.
Work is now underway to achieve more durable batteries ahead of the 100% electric, zero-emission vehicle.
The car of the future is turning into one more aspect of consumer electronics, geared not only towards safety but also a brand new leisure and user-experience concept; environmental responsibility, autonomy and constant connection.
Author: Tatiana Teresa Pagola
Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV