The intelligent car looks like being one of the biggest products of the next couple of years. We are already seeing models come out with lots of features which only a couple of years ago would have seemed ludicrously futuristic.
For example, we have already seen car systems like the Toyota Entune service presented this year. It includes things like a voice control process which lets you find and book a restaurant, and these ideas are now looked on as being increasingly standard pieces of equipment for the modern connected car.
If anyone knows what will come next then it would be the head of research at development at BMW. That man is called Klaus Draeger and in recent interviews he has been talking up the safety aspects which new connected cars can offer their drivers.
He points out that if you activate your windscreen wipers and brakes then the car can work out that it is raining and relay that information to a central source which in turn lets other cars know about the possible dangers. This leaves us with the situation in which your vehicle knows the weather up ahead better than you.
Another safety use which we could see sooner rather than later is when the driver suffers a heart attack and their vehicle moves on its own onto the hard shoulder. As well as this, they will be able to calculate all the possible alternative routes for you when there are roadworks or slow moving traffic ahead.
One system worth looking out for is the BMW Connected Drive, which has been getting lots of praise at the Geneva motor show.
What else might your next car be able to do for you? Well, if you can talk to it why can’t it answer you back? Anyone old enough to remember a young David Hasselhoff being out-thought by his car KITT in Knight Rider probably considered it as nothing more than a bit of harmless sci-fi at the time, but could a speaking car be closer than we think?
This is a hugely intriguing point and there is no doubt that car manufacturers are in a race against each other to see who can produce the first high quality talking vehicle. One of the main contenders is the Ford system which is going to be available on a lot of their new vehicles from next year if we believe the hype.
The technology comes from Sync and an older version has been in use in the US for a few years now.
It is believed to have 10,000 commands and that 19 languages can be understood, while regional accents are not said to be a problem either. The car is said to have a voice which sounds a bit like Cher, but as long as it just talks and doesn’t sing we should be ok.