Technologies already exist that will allow cars of the future to perform new tricks to wow consumers.
The first challenge, according to auto technology companies such as Microsoft Corp. is to refine their execution -- and that will be the result of improving their software. The second challenge is talking auto companies into adopting them.
Microsoft engineers speak of a new era of software-enabled features in which:
- Vehicles will be able to distinguish their owners in a crowd of customers walking out of a shopping mall, even detecting whether they are carrying shopping bags. Spotting the shopping bags, the car opens the trunk without being asked.
- Cars will recognize where they are going and will alert drivers to issues in the road ahead. If the next mile of the drive is a long hill, the vehicle might realize that and automatically throttle up slightly to maintain speed.
- Vehicles will process information from weight sensors in the cabin to better determine how to brake, accelerate or corner.
- Cars will alert auto dealerships that an owner is on her way in for a visit -- and, by the way, she would like her cappuccino with one sugar, please.