The future of car tech: Getting to know you

The car of the future doesn't just want to drive you. It wants to know you.

The Toyota Concept-i vehicle is revealed during the Toyota press conference at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 4, 2017. (AFP)

The car of the future doesn’t just want to drive you. It wants to know you.

The automotive technology showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show over the past week was in part about self-driving vehicles, but also about personalising the driving experience.

Artificial intelligence and facial recognition will allow vehicles to let you in (if it’s your car), and adjust the seating, lighting, music or other elements of the environment for you, automatically.

“The idea is to be more than a machine, to be a partner, make you happy,” said Toyota’s Amanda McCoy, who explained some of the innovations of the Japanese automaker’s Concept-i vehicle at the Las Vegas tech show.

The manufacturers want the car to hold a conversation, help you make a shopping list and determine where and how you want to travel.

In a demonstration, the Toyota vehicle started a conversation and suggested potential destinations for the driver. Its camera detected that the driver was in an upbeat mood and thus suggested “the happier route.”

The concept car will also keep a driver alert to potential perils on the road, with sound and light signals. Moving to autonomous mode, it allows the seats to recline.

Swiss-based group Rinspeed showed a prototype electric car called Oasis with a miniature garden inside.

The vehicle with an “intelligent rolling chassis” can also operate in autonomous mode, converting its windshield into a screen for videoconferencing.

“The interior of the car in the future will be redefined entirely, to meet different needs,” said Rinspeed chief executive Frank Rinderknecht. More info