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Artificial Intelligence, Not Autonomy Could be in Your Next Car

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【Summary】While autonomous vehicles are still some years away, artificial intelligence is making its way to everyday cars in surprising ways.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 02, 2018 8:30 AM PT
Artificial Intelligence, Not Autonomy Could be in Your Next Car
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Not to burst anyone's bubble, but autonomous vehicles are still some years away. Sure, there are some semi-autonomous cars on the road today, but fully-driverless cars that don't require steering wheels and pedals are well off in the distance. While it will be some time before you're able to buy a self-driving car, having a vehicle that's packed with artificial intelligence isn't too far away.  


Everyone might be focusing on making cars drive themselves, but artificial intelligence will play a large role in the future, as well. TechCrunch took a look at ways AI could be incorporated into cars and the list is a lengthy one with many possible avenues. 


Tesla Model 3 Camera.jpg


What Cameras Can Do From The Inside


The first place where you might be able to find artificial intelligence on your next new car is in the inward-facing camera. At the moment, automakers use cameras that face drivers as a way of preventing accidents. As the outlet points out, inward-facing cameras with AI are used in commercial vehicles to look out for things that could potentially lead to an incident – drowsiness, fatigue, inebriation, and distractions. 


When paired with advanced driver assistance systems, inward-facing AI cameras have also been shown to reduce insurance costs for commercial vehicles that are part of a fleet, states TechCrunch. 


While commercial vehicles may be some of the only cars on the road to have inward-facing cameras with artificial intelligence, the technology is beginning to spread to consumer vehicles. The outlet states that cameras with artificial intelligence have started to help locate pets and children that are left in cars. This aids in preventing heat-related deaths, which, on average, result in approximately 37 deaths in the United States every year. 


Safety may be a major reason for the implementation of artificial intelligence into cameras at the moment, but they'll also play a major role in autonomous vehicles. In driverless machines, smart cameras can be used to detect the number of passengers in a vehicle and whether they've put their seatbelts on. The cameras, as TechCrunch points out, could also help passengers ensure that they don't lose their purse or wallet when exiting the machine. 


That doesn't mean that cameras with AI won't help make autonomous cars safer. The cameras, as the outlet claims, could help reduce an accident's severity. In addition to making sure that passengers are wearing their seatbelts, sensors could help the cameras estimate each passenger's body size and calibrate a unique way for the airbags to deploy in an optimal fashion.


User experience is another area that cameras with AI will focus on. Tech Crunch claims that laptops, televisions, and mobile phones have surpassed cars as consumer products. New additions like gesture control and voice recognition will make vehicles catch up with other high-tech products, while making cars more enjoyable and easier to use. 


OBD2 Scanner.jpg


What About In The Engine Bay?


As cars get more high tech, they're becoming nightmares to fix. Automobile technicians are having to become trained in computers to keep up with the high-tech systems on cars. The problem is clear to see, as even casual mechanics that enjoy working on their own cars at home are easily frazzled by what's under the hood of their car. 


For trained mechanics, artificial intelligence could help them diagnose a current issue with a car. It, as the outlet points out, could also help predict upcoming maintenance. TechCrunch claims that modern sensors in vehicles comb through a large amount of data, but are limited to transferring that info in simple codes for mechanics to understand. 


Artificial intelligence could expedite things and make them smoother by allowing sensors to display information to the fullest. While this would help regular cars on the road today, it would also be a massive help for those that are tasked with working on autonomous vehicles in the future, as those machines are expected to be even more complicated to work on. 


Hackers are proving to be a major concern for automakers and technology companies developing autonomous vehicles. From the demonstrations we've seen, hackers have gained complete control over self-driving cars with little problem. The problem has caused some states, like Michigan, to tighten its laws against hackers. In addition to being able to detect an issue with the vehicle, AI could be used to recognize possible software anomalies and cybersecurity attacks, states TechCrunch. 


Volvo, Autoliv, Nvidia AI System.jpg


Helping Autonomous Vehicles Get Better


The last area where artificial intelligence could make its way into regular vehicles is when it comes to helping companies deploy high-tech vision systems. These refer to radar, LiDAR, and cameras. As the outlet claims, AI could be used to develop high-definition maps, which can then be used to locate vehicles, identify specific locations that are hard to reach, monitor traffic, and more. 


Autonomous features and cars may be making headlines, but some companies have started to invest in AI to get a strong foothold on the next best thing. Cars are becoming more than just a method of transportation and AI will allow companies to give consumers a better experience. Porsche, a brand that's known for making high-performance sports cars and race cars, recently invested in Israeli startup Anagog. While this sounds like an abnormal thing for a high-performance, luxury automaker to do, it's all about getting a better understanding of customer behavior in specific situations. 


Getting to know customers is one thing, while using the technology to improve safety and make cars more reliable is another. Artificial intelligence will probably make its way to vehicles before self-driving cars come out, kind of like a precursor before the really high tech stuff gets introduced. One way or another, consumers will have to shell out some more money for vehicles with artificial intelligence, as the tech probably won't come cheap. 

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