Friday 17 January 2020

Intel: Cars should be like iPads

Cars are becoming increasingly connected
Cars are becoming increasingly connected

Matt Warman

CHIPMAKER Intel has announced a $100million fund to support investment in ‘connected cars’.

By next year the car will be the third most-connected place users spent time, the firm’s Staci Palmer said. “And by 2016,” she claimed, “how connected a car is will be a critical buying decision”.

Ms Palmer argued that today’s one-year olds already expect technology to offer the functionality of iPads. “Imagine what sort of users experience they will demand when they reach driving age,” she said.

Although car makers are already making inroads into making their cars more technologically aware, Intel is not currently a major player. Renesas, Freescale, Texas Instruments and others are already well established, and rival makers such as Nvidia are also trying to get into the area.

Intel is hoping that by spending $100 million over the next three to five years, it will be able to act as a catalyst for improvement in connected cars as well as make connections with manufacturers.

Ms Palmer cited examples of cars that could communicate difrectly with each other so that routes could be recalculated in the event of bad weather or an accident. She also raised the prospect of ‘digital goods’ entering the car. “We see people bringing physical goods into cars to personalise them, and we expect a digital equivalent to emerge,” she said. As car dashboards become more screen-based, for instance, that could even mean digital fluffy dice.

Areas of focus could include in-vehicle applications, text to speech voice recognition,and the integration of connected car services into car design, the company said.

Ms Palmer argued that technology had made “improvements to lives, safety and productivity. There’s no better place to demonstrate that than inside cars.”

“In the US, the average driver spends the equivalent of two months of every year in car; it’s impractical for us to give up connectivity inside of the vehicle. The car is the mobile device of the future.”

Although existing schemes are focused on improving entertainment in cars, future applications could also adjust music and lighting to calm stressed drivers. Intel is employing social anthropologists to examine other possibilities, and has already carried out studies on what objects most drivers keep in their cars. It is also planning further academic research.

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