Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with the advertisers on this site. Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with the advertisers on this site. Engineers and designers have developed a technology that allows a car to read the driver's emotions and interpret voice commands and hand gestures, updates that will soon be available in new vehicles. It's thanks to three elements that come together: more sensors, more powerful on-board computers and access to large data clouds with consumer information, "says Ken Washington, chief technology officer at Ford. "This combination makes it possible to mimic the intelligence – to a certain extent – of complex (human) decision-making," says Washington. The latest advances in the high-tech sector reflect the changing relationship between consumers and automakers, says Mike Ramsey, director of research at Gartner, a global research and consulting company. While in the past, dealers were simply selling a car and no longer seeing the buyer before it was time to replace it, automakers are now pushing the automaker to promote a vehicle as a platform for a technology that can be updated frequently, much like smartphones today. Some innovations, many of which were presented at CES this year in Las Vegas, are likely to feature first in luxury models. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are perfecting their digital personal assistants. This year, the assistants of each brand will be able to take orders like Alexa, as in "Hey BMW" and "Hey Mercedes". These cars will be able to learn the driver's habits, for example by predicting that you are going to work. to work and preprogram your route with reports of live traffic conditions on the navigation system. Mercedes says that it is constantly improving its digital assistant's ability to answer complex questions and that the voices of several passengers no longer confuse it. Sensors help the car anticipate basic needs based on hand movements, such as brightening the front passenger's side when you catch something in the glove box. BMW says its helper will be able to answer real-time questions about the car's features and maintenance needs, such as an integrated user manual.

New monitors in the car

Car manufacturers are also getting into the act to make sure that drivers keep their eyes on the road. Nuance, an artificial intelligence company that collaborates with automakers such as BMW, says its system, still in development, can detect driver emotions through facial recognition and analysis of vocal behavior . Maybe the car will ask you why you're stressed when you get inside, or what's wrong if you suddenly get angry in the middle of the race. It can compare your emotional state to what is happening outside the vehicle, such as traffic conditions. What does the Nuance system do with this information? If it determines that the driver is concentrating, it can keep at least alerts and other non-critical driver entries. If he feels that you are stressed, his demands will be short and precise. If he thinks you are distracted or sleepy, he will suggest you to assume some of the driving task. Computer chip maker Nvidia is also working on a driver monitoring system called DRIVE IX, which follows the driver's gaze and hand movements. It can also indicate if a driver is sleepy or distracted and give alerts or take corrective action if necessary. Nvidia's system also uses cameras to produce augmented reality on head-up displays that add to the world outside the car. This can give rise to warnings such as flashing windshield warnings for fast-approaching vehicles or the presence of slow pedestrians at the horizon. Veoneer, a technology start-up from the manufacturer of airbags and seat belts Autoliv, focuses on the difficult exchange between a human driver and a car capable of driving under certain conditions. Using a camcorder and a microphone, Veoneer's test vehicle reads moods, monitors distractions, and measures the speed with which a driver sees what's happening on the road. At the end of a trip, the driver can be noted on his driving skills. The system, which is still in development, could also provide a graph indicating when the driver was attentive and unresponsive, and when the driver was late in noticing, for example, a construction zone or an emergency vehicle that was fast approaching. . Ideally, drivers would be motivated to get better scores and become safer drivers.

The pilot as a pilot

In recent years, discussions at CES have been devoted to autonomous cars. But this discussion has been blurred recently as companies face technological hurdles that make it difficult to get them started. Although Toyota has concluded that autonomous cars are in many years, sharing what it learns to make today's cars safer is a moral obligation, said Gill Pratt, General Manager of the Toyota Research Institute. . According to Pratt, Toyota is inspired by fighter jets that use technology to amplify the pilot's intentions. A pilot uses a joystick to tell the plane what to do, and ensures that its speed and wing angles keep it in the air. The Japanese manufacturer says that it sets up this type of control in cars. "It's not a discreet switch between man and machine," says Pratt. "It's more of a mixture of men and machines working as a team." Most of the time, under the Toyota system, called Guardian, the driver will have total control of the car. But as the car approaches dangerous conditions, she begins to work with the driver to find safety.
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