Smarter Cars: 9 Tech Trends - InformationWeek

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7/30/2014
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Smarter Cars: 9 Tech Trends

Can your car wake you up if you get sleepy behind the wheel? Or recommend a good Mexican restaurant? These nine technologies will soon change the way we think about cars.
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The convergence of two technological trends -- the Internet of Things and the quest for the self-driving car -- is changing the way cars are being made. New sensor technologies are driving a revolution in the way we interact with our beloved cars, how safe they are, and even how fuel efficient they can be. Pretty soon, it will be hard to tell who is smarter -- the car or the driver.

That's probably OK with most drivers. People seem to love their cars like family. This survey shows that over half of British drivers name their car. The most popular name for a car in Britain? Betty. IWeek's own Susan Nunziata named her car Mabel. The funny thing is that as cars become more automated and more connected to our lives, we're only going to get closer to them. The next time a Mabel or a Betty swerves to avoid oncoming traffic, she's going to seem more like a friend than ever.

Cars are also going to get more social and even take on a personality as they become more connected to our lives. The first time Harrison (a common name for Fords) reminds his driver to pick up an anniversary gift, you can bet he's going to get rewarded with a nice wash and wax.

All of this is predicated on an increasing interconnectedness between cars, drivers, and the world around them. Your car is going to be packed with an increasing number of cameras, sensors, and networking gear that will allow it to not only see and measure the world around it, but to tap into what other cars and nearby objects are seeing. Imagine your car knowing that a child has run into the street right around the corner, because another car saw the child first.

So not only are Betty and Harrison going to talk to you, but they're also going to be talking to Mabel. All of this is going to lead to changes in the way we drive. Click on to see nine technologies that are going to make your current car look like a Model T.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 1:36:04 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
Just put down the phones when you're driving, people. 


Or pick them up AFTER you buy a self-driving car. :)
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/4/2014 | 4:26:08 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
While the tech may be advancing, peoples' use of it isn't. Just put down the phones when you're driving, people. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 12:27:02 PM
Re: outside airbags?
@leeB120- I'm 99% sure that's a hoax. I can't find a definitive link to prove it, but I really think if any bump on the hood triggered airbags they'd have long been taken out or repaired.

Either way, external airbags wouldn't go off on content. It would be too late by then. They need to go off proactively with a different system.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 12:22:12 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
My next car will have that auto-parallel-park feature, no doubt. I will drive around so much longer now looking for one that doesn't require parallel parking. My high school driving instructor would be displeased...


@Kristin- Ha! All you need to do is move into a neighborhood with a parking shortage. I became the best parallel parker in the world in grad school. :)

My skills have diminished now with a garage. 

What I want now is a car with sensor to keep from running over the junk in my garage. :)
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 9:06:19 AM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
My next car will have that auto-parallel-park feature, no doubt. I will drive around so much longer now looking for one that doesn't require parallel parking. My high school driving instructor would be displeased...
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 9:04:44 AM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
But if I'm stuck in traffic, I'd much rather be reaading a book or playing a game or talking to my family than worry about hitting the bumper in front of me.


^^Scary to think that I've seen people do all those things in traffic without autonomous cars...
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 9:03:19 AM
Re: External airbags
@Susan -- that's exactly what I was thinking. @Dave's points about the cost are another good one: At what point does a fender bender cost less than external airbags? How does this factor into whether or not they deploy? Lots of variables, but will be interesting to see if they come to fruition.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 5:14:49 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
@Lorna- Don't worry, by that time we'll be 3-D printing food anyway. :)
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 2:30:56 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
I guess that's true! I just hope these are perfected by the time I am too old to drive myself around to the grocery store.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 2:17:36 PM
Re: Connected cars
@kstaron- Ha! Well, i hope they won't be able to do Clash of Clans on their windshield. But you do bring up a point-- we have to make sure we use it to augment the driver, not distract them.

This is someplace where we can learn a lot from fighter pilots.
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