Is Artificial Automotive Intelligence Already a Reality?

Imagine this scenario: you climb into your car to begin your morning commute to the office. You fasten your seat belt, start your vehicle, and begin driving. Before long, you’ve left your neighborhood behind and have merged onto the city streets. You take out your newspaper and begin reading, confident that your car will reach your destination without requiring any manual input from you.

What I’ve just described may seem laughably close to science fiction. In reality, the automotive technology needed to accomplish most of the above is already in development. Automakers are integrating artificial intelligence within their respective fleets that allow their vehicles to avoid traffic collisions, including those that involve pedestrians.

Below, we’ll explore a few of these “futuristic” technologies. I’ll describe how automobiles are communicating with other vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure in order to avoid accidents and reduce road congestion. You may be surprised by how close we are to enjoying a car-controlled driving experience.

Communicating And Networking

The main reason motorists get involved in accidents, heavy traffic conditions, and similar road problems is due to a lack of timely information. For example, another driver might run through a red light. That often results in a collision because other drivers are unprepared. Road congestion occurs because many motorists take the same streets. If they had access to information that warned them of traffic, many would take alternate routes.

A lot of automobiles are already equipped with devices that communicate with other vehicles. For example, lane change warning systems use sensors to identify the presence of other cars. If you attempt to move into a lane occupied by another, the system will either warn you, apply braking power, or influence steering control.

This type of technology is being used (on an experimental platform) to allow cars to communicate and network with buildings, traffic lights, and other infrastructure. Data is shared among them to help motorists avoid collisions and congestion.

The Automotive Safety Net

Adaptive cruise control systems already apply braking power given a driver’s proximity to objects in his or her path. A few automakers are using that same technology to add an additional level of safety.

Sensors and radar technology are installed within the automobiles. These devices scan the landscape and note the positions of other vehicles. If necessary, the computer will apply the brakes to prevent a collision. If a collision is unavoidable, the computer will adjust the seats to minimize the impact felt by the motorist.

A Little Help Steering

The technology used in lane change warning systems is being expanded to give more steering control to automobiles. For example, if you drift into another lane without engaging your turn indicator, your car’s computer can apply the brakes on one side. That will slowly move your vehicle back into your lane. It won’t be long before such technology enables your car to make turns and parallel park on its own.

While a fully automated driving experience is still decades away, automakers are designing robust systems that reduce the level of input required from us. In our lifetime, we are likely to witness a significant evolution in automotive intelligence.

Reasons You Should Own An Automotive Scan Tool

As the progress of science is continuous, it seems that automotive diagnosis and repair are more difficult and complicated. Recent advances in an automotive technology have eliminated many physical moving parts and linkages. Advanced technologies have replaced them with electrical devices and wires. Their jobs are not visible to the naked eye. Just seeing, hearing, or touching the parts to try to find the problem are out-of-date way of diagnosis. Modern vehicles seem cold and scary looking expensive machine when you deal with problems. But actually, they are not. They can show you a lot of detailed and precise information, current status and when problems occur they tell you what and where the problems are. All you need is an automotive scan tool to communicate with your car.

Here are reasons you should own an automotive scan tool.

Modern automobile computer systems are very sensitive. The computer can sense a small abnormality. It is so small that a driver can’t notice. Even if it happens only one time in the last 100 times of key cycles, check engine light comes on and tells a driver that the problem may exist. In this case, all you need to do is clear the light and see if the light comes back on. You should think about going to auto mechanic shop and having it repaired if the light comes back on.

Most auto repair shops have their own scan tool that sometimes cost several thousands. They have to pay for the gigantic and expensive equipment and mechanics who do the job. So they need to charge for diagnosis. Some shops do it for free of charge but that is only for reading codes, not diagnosing. If you have one you can do it yourself. That saves a lot of your time.

As automotive technology is developing, automotive scan tools have more features, more compact and most importantly, less expensive. The scan tools used to need different connectors for different makes or models. The connectors got standardized, which means you can use the same scanner for any car, regardless of make, model, import or domestic. Most budget ones can fit in the glove box. Although they have small displays they shows you code’s numbers and descriptions, and readings of vehicle sensors. Sometimes, it has testing features. And some of them make it possible that you use your laptop or cell phone as a scan tool.

Even if you own an automotive scan tool, sometimes your car ends up in a repair shop anyway. But by having one for your own, you won’t need to go to repair shops as often as you do now. I bet you.

Auto Partnerships Resulting In Top Automotive Technology

Back in the days automotive companies would focus on their own individual projects. However, lately the trend is for major manufacturers to work together either with one another or with software companies in order to develop innovative new technology. The result are cars that are more efficient and technology that is more cutting edge than ever before.

A good example of partnership creation in order to open new markets is what has happened in China. That country, with the largest population on earth, became a major target of auto manufacturers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. At the same time, the Chinese government was taking major steps to develop that country’s own auto industry. Each side knew that they could help the other. So major partnerships were created between Chinese and European, American and Asian auto manufacturers. The auto manufacturers from Europe, America and Asia used the Chinese companies as a conduit to sell their cars in the Chinese market. In return, they assisted the Chinese auto makers to develop their own vehicles. Today China is the largest auto market on Earth and just about every major brand of car is sold there.

Next came the issue of new technologies. In the old days the auto manufacturers developed their own technologies. Now they are creating partnerships with such companies as Microsoft, Gracenote, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communication, Sony Corporation, TeleNav, ViaMichelin and others to help them create new technologies. The result, for example, are infotainment systems like the Ford Sync and MyFord Touch which was developed through a collaboration between Ford and Microsoft. Microsoft has since developed partnerships with other car manufacturers to help them create their own infotainment systems. These infotainment systems are using technologies developed by Gracenote, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communication, Sony Corporation, TeleNav and ViaMichelin. Gracenote is providing upgraded music entertainment, NAVTEQ the maps, traffic and location data for the navigation systems, Nuance Communications is offering the voice recognition technology so that the driver can control elements of the car via voice command. Audio manufacturers like Sony are creating the super sophisticated audio and audio-video systems that are now appearing in cars. TeleNav, known as the largest global wireless navigation services provider, is supplying the technology that connects navigation in the car to GPS. ViaMichelin makes the Michelin hotel and restaurant guides accessible to drivers and their passengers.

Auto manufacturers also have to tackle the development of new technologies that assist in improving fuel efficiency. So they have formed partnerships or joint ventures among themselves in order to share the cost. So we are seeing Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, partnering with Chinese battery and auto maker BYD to help in the development of electric vehicle technologies. PSA Peugeot Citroen is known worldwide as an expert in diesel technology. It has partnered with Japanese auto maker Mitsubishi to produce electric cars. Volkswagen partnered with Porsche to help the luxury car maker develop high performance engines that meet environmental regulations. Later Volkswagen acquired Porsche.

When auto makers finally decided to develop electric cars, partnerships were formed to develop the technology. General Motors and Ford joined with South Korean battery manufacturer LG to develop and supply them with the next generation lithium-ion batteries used to energize electric cars. Moreover, General Motors and Reva have partnered to produce a zero emission car for India. In addition, Daimler became the first major auto maker to buy a stake in Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer.

Volkswagen has purchased a percentage of Suzuki and Suzuki has acquired shares of Volkswagen in a move that is helping both companies. Suzuki is getting access to VW’s technologies and Volkswagen is using Suzuki’s expertise to enhance its small car production.

As a result of the recession automotive companies are working together and the results are spectacular. Let’s hope that this trend of team work will continue in the future.

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