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Volvo works on distraction in autonomous cars

If driver’s don’t have worry about driving, how will they pass time?

Published: January 4, 2016, 9:30 PM
Updated: January 8, 2016, 3:33 PM

Volvo explores how drivers can while away autonomous drives

Much of the conversation of late surrounding autonomous vehicles has shifted away from the timeline required to bring the vehicles to market to who’s held accountable when something invariably goes wrong with the technology, but Volvo is shifting the conversation to a new topic.

The Swedish company has been at the forefront of autonomous driving for some time, will centre its CES 2016 presentation about what drivers can do when all they have to do behind the wheel is enjoy the ride.

Volvo has revealed its plans to develop intelligent, high-bandwidth, streaming capabilities in its vehicles, partnering with communications-technology giant Ericsson

“We recently unveiled our design vision for fully autonomous cars with Concept 26. Now we are actively working on future solutions to deliver the best user experience in fully autonomous mode,” said Anders Tylman General Manager of Volvo Monitoring & Concept Center. “Imagine a highway full of autonomous cars with their occupants sitting back watching their favourite TV shows in high definition. This new way of commuting will demand new technology, and a much broader bandwidth to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.”

Taking advantage of Ericsson’s network and cloud expertise, Volvo aims to deliver high-quality, interruption-free connectivity in its autonomous vehicles, which can interact with the driver’s programmed trip and desired route to deliver content precisely tailored to the trip duration and optimize buffering for uninterrupted viewing along the way.

“Our research shows that almost 70% of all mobile data traffic will be from video in the coming years,” said Claes Herlitz, ‎Head of Automotive Services at Ericsson. “This requires an innovative connectivity, cloud and analytics solution that is not only capable of serving multiple moving vehicles across a highway, but also has the capacity to provide the high quality, uninterrupted video service today’s consumer is accustomed to.”

The system would not only learn driver behaviour in terms of used routes and preferred roads, but also his/her media preferences. This would allow the system to work out the trip duration and then offer suggestions on how the driver can while away the commute, or figure out how long the driver’s viewing preference runs and work out a route to fill the time.

“If you want to watch the latest episode of your favourite series, the car will know how long the journey needs to take and can optimize the route and driving control accordingly,” explained Tylman. “With autonomous drive it is no longer just a question of just getting from A to B quickly – it’s about the experience you wish to have in the car – how you wish to spend the time you are saving.

“With our future autonomous drive technology we will provide people with the freedom to choose the way they would like to commute and the content they would like to experience,” concluded Tylman.