In Five Years, Cars Will Be Almost Creepily Smart

In Five Years, Cars Will Be Almost Creepily Smart

Get ready for your car to know everything you do. Everything you want to do. All your hopes and dreams.

At Mobile World Congress, Ford took the opportunity to share some research it conducted with RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Nearly 90 per cent of new cars in 2022 are expected to include some kind of voice recognition tech, and 75 per cent will be connected to the internet. Combine those two and you’ve got a car that you can speak to to shuffle your calendar around when you’re stuck in traffic.

Ford’s SYNC3 in-car entertainment already integrates with Amazon Alexa internationally, and processes natural language requests like “I’m hungry” or “need coffee” to find relevant nearby locations. It also works with Apple CarPlay and Siri’s various commands, as well as Android Auto’s voice commands for launching music or navigation or sending text message responses.

Research it’s running with natural language processing company Nuance is all about picking up voice better with multiple microphones and ambient noise cancellation, but Ford wants your car to ask you questions. “Shall I choose a less congested but slower route home?” That’s a hard question. “Would you like to order flowers for your mum for Mother’s Day?” That’s an easy one.

Ford reckons that gesture and eye control are going to be just as important as voice, though. Imagine looking at your destination on a map to set it, or changing the volume by twisting your fingers in the air. Neither are hugely different to, y’know, tapping a screen or twiddling an actual knob, but I for one am looking forward to a Minority Report future.