An onboard breathalyzer will ensure that intoxicated drivers can’t start the car.
Earlier this month, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA) unveiled a demo vehicle equipped with the latest gadgets and technologies. Fittingly referred to as the ‘connected car,’ the Lexus RX350 is powered by QNX’s Car Platform 2.0 and provides a range of features that makes driving more safe and convenient.
The car definitely has mobile-savvy drivers in mind. It comes with built-in 4G and Wi-Fi for continuous data delivery and there’s even an in-vehicle inductive mobile charging unit.
Sensors are embedded in the car that allow for gesture-based controls. At a wave of the hand, drivers can change the music, temperature, seat positioning and other non-driving components of the car. These internal sensors can also detect if the driver is falling asleep and attempt to wake up him/her up with an audible warning. The onboard breathalyzer will ensure that intoxicated drivers won’t be able to start the car.
APMA’s demo car has 360-degree proximity sensors that can detect external factors such as nearby cars and objects and weather conditions to optimize the driving experience. The car also provides warning of ambulances, fire trucks and police cars so that the driver can steer out of the way of emergency vehicles.
Steve Rodgers, president of APMA, commented that the connected vehicle showcases “where the automotive industry is headed. It is a collaborative effort, providing a seamless experience, without losing sight of technological innovation, safety and overarching connectivity.”
Although consumers seem quite receptive to high-tech vehicles, sales figures show otherwise. Take the iBeetle for example, a limited edition collaboration between Volkswagen and Apple. The car debuted in 2013 at the Shanghai Auto Show and included a list of features that connected the driver to music players, social networking sites and even gamified driving by rewarding drivers with achievement badges. Nevertheless, pre-sale figures were so low that the iBeetle never really launched in the end.
On the other hand, car brands like Audi use technology in its cars on a practical level rather than something that comes across as gimmicky. The Audi Future Initiative calls for a mobility revolution where the car of the future provides a solution for environmental sustainability and resolves issues currently faced by urban planners.