2018 was another pivotal year for the future of mobility, as emerging technologies, shifting consumer habits and hyper-connectivity continued to transform the automotive industry at a faster rate than ever before. Here are the trends that will be played out at CES – particularly, how AI, smart audio, and voice control systems will shape the in-car user experience in 2019 and beyond.
AI-driven vehicles will see the future and make it safer
With the data and intelligence gained through AI, we’ll see dramatic changes in driver safety features. This includes improvement of perception systems for object recognition, learning and predicting human behaviours, and understanding of driver alertness, says Sanjay Dhawan, president, Connected Services and Harman CTO. In addition, connected fleets of automobiles will provide data and services about traffic flows, parking availability, and more.
Smart audio to optimise the voice-enabled car
According to Chris Ludwig, vice president, EPIC Experience Team, the prevalence and sophistication of in-car voice control systems has grown significantly in recent years. Although AI and autonomous features are advancing now more than ever, the safety and productivity benefits of voice technology are still null if commands can’t be heard or understood on either end. Moving forward, there will be a greater focus on seamlessly optimising the sonic environment of the vehicle cabin to enable better in-car communication. This will be a major component to smart audio systems and how they affect the overall passenger experience.
Increasing autonomy requires a rethink of the user experience
OEMs and Tier Ones have to go back to the drawing board to reconsider how humans understand and interact with autonomous technology. This requires them to essentially redevelop the entire car dashboard. It’ll take more than adding a simple icon to ensure that drivers are 100 percent aware of what's happening, the system's limitations, and what will need to happen should they be called upon to take the wheel. Jason Johnson, director, User Experience Design, notes that there are several questions that will need to be addressed in terms of redesigning vehicle dashboards. Should it involve haptic feedback? Audio cues? Alerts on a heads-up display? This year, the user experience of the autonomous and semi-autonomous car will begin to take shape.
Cars of today and tomorrow need a sixth—or even seventh—sense
Tim VanGoethem, vice president, Advanced Mobility Solutions, Harman X, expects the complicated handover between vehicle and human to require a full suite of sensor technologies to create a comprehensive view of surroundings, especially with the development of Level 2 and 3 autonomous cars. We’ll see a rise in the use of multiple varieties of sensors simultaneously, though designers will be challenged to incorporate them in an aesthetically pleasing, yet secure and efficient way. Newer capabilities—including augmented reality and syncing across cloud platforms—will also become increasingly utilized in order to create a cohesive and safe driving experience.