There may come a day when artificial intelligence brings forth the promised transportation revolution, allowing computers to replace human drivers behind the wheel in millions of vehicles.
For now, AI can be used to keep human drivers more comfortable.
IAV Automotive Engineering Inc., a global engineering services company, has developed an AI-infused climate control system that learns the temperature preferences of vehicle occupants and tailors conditions for maximum interior comfort. In the short term, the system allows automakers to wring more features from the hardware already inside their vehicles.
"We're not adding anything," said Mike Kenhard, president of IAV. "We're thinking about how we can give the customer value with what we have in a smart way."
IAV showcased the feature this year at CES, along with a complementary next-generation voice-control system called Smart Speech, which can recognize individual passengers based on voices and tailor cabin preferences to them. The broad goals: Infuse intuitive smarts into the vehicle, and minimize the number of physical interactions an occupant needs with the car.
Eventually, the profiles created and stored by these systems will hold the capability to follow occupants from one vehicle to another. That'll be ideal for ride-hailing services, where preset climate and music preferences can await riders before they clamber aboard. For now, it's geared toward car owners.
"This isn't a huge step forward, but it's enabling a smarter way of how you interact with your car," Kenhard said. "It can be very easy to overcomplicate things. The smart way forward is to simplify them."