Artificial intelligence, machine learning and biometric technology allow cars to learn the drivers’ habits in order to make their life easier.
What would have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago could soon become a common experience when using a car. This is the goal of the specialists at the Volkswagen’s Electronics Development department, who are working to make the vehicles ever-more intelligent and capable of interacting with their drivers.
One of them, Kord Lühr, is responsible for the preliminary development of infotainment devices, and is currently working on a temperature management system for the passenger compartment that will allow the car to predict when it will be used.
Algorithms and routines
One of the first approaches in this direction is learn the users’ habits, in particular their timetables. In practice, if a car driver usually leaves work at around four o’clock on Mondays, the algorithm will acquire this information and assume that he/she will continue to do so every Monday. Therefore, shortly before the “scheduled” time, the user will receive a message asking if he/she is about to leave, and if so, whether the vehicle should turn on its heating/air conditioning.
In the same manner, and thanks to the interaction with the user’s smartphone, it is possible to understand how long the car has been parked and when it has been used. Getting information on the habitual use and position of the vehicle will make it possible, for example, to provide timely notifications to the courier who is to make a delivery into the vehicle’s boot, for example. This is just one of the services based on departure and arrival times that will be available in the future.
Biometric technology, which Manuel Joachim is working on, will, on the other hand, allow cars to recognise their drivers without the need for PINs or passwords, and activate all their personal settings: seat and mirrors positions, the shade and brightness of the ambient lights, and the infotainment system.
It is an area with great potential, very close to entering series production. Various identification systems are currently being tested, from fingerprint sensors to iris scanners, but the most promising appears to be facial recognition via infrared camera. The advantage of this method is that the user need only look through the windscreen – something anyone getting into the car does automatically, anyway.
As Kathrin Wilkens explains, by cross-referencing data from the driver’s social media, personal calendar and other apps, it will be possible to “read” the schedule, suggest the corresponding destinations and optimise routings based on real-time traffic information.
Source: Volkswagen AG