One of the most common tropes on television or in movies when envisioning the future is the idea of flying cars. As we move into the year 2018 we don’t seem to be much closer to seeing that dream become a reality, but nonetheless, the future of transportation is exciting. Self-driving cars appear poised to be the next phase of evolution in that area, with companies pouring millions of dollars into the development and testing of new technologies in that area each day. The latest, a partnership between computer chip maker Nvidia Volkswagen aims to integrate a new form of AI into the smart car experience.
The goal of this partnership, which was announced at a conference on January 7, is to develop an AI virtual assistant that will seamlessly integrate with the sensors being developed on both the inside and outside of the vehicle to create a safe, and responsive self-driving car.
This assistant would be able to interact with the owner, recognize gesture-based commands, and detect dangerous situations both inside and outside the vehicle. In addition to monitoring the outside of the vehicle for hazards or pedestrians the sensors inside would have the capability to tell if the driver is looking elsewhere but the road, use facial recognition to unlock and start the vehicle and even potentially be able to detect when the driver is drowsy or unfit to operate the vehicle manually.
While this is the first official partnership of its kind, Nvidia says that it is working with more than 320 companies on how best to develop and integrate its proposed AI, and Volkswagen is anxious to step out ahead of the competition in an area that is already becoming very competitive.
Competition it seems is heating up on the hardware side of this advancement as well; Qualcomm, a company mostly known for its work developing the processors used in smartphones, will begin testing its self-driving software soon after being approved to do so in California.
On both sides, the announcement of this partnership is sure to set competitors scrambling to keep up, and marks the next step on the road towards getting self-driving vehicles on the road for consumer use. So while the cars may not be flying through the air, the technologies they contain definitely marks our movement into the future.