Cognitive Cars: The control centre for individualized AI

What is a Cognitive Car?

Cog·ni·tive is defined as relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (as thinking, reasoning, or remembering) and car is a well, a car. When people speak of technology being cognitive they are implying that things will happen more seamlessly for the user. Artificial Intelligence is key in the conversation in making our surroundings more intelligent and useful.

Cognitive vehicles can be viewed as the control centre for individualistic AI

In a world where our cars are cognitive, they would respond to certain situations and could even have enough knowledge about their environment to be able to act autonomously. Pair this with the right services and the car has the potential to become the lynchpin of truly mobile eco-system.

We’re already well on our way down the road to autonomy, but a divide between manufacturers will come from how successfully the digitization of automotive services the passenger’s needs. The Cognitive Car could analyze the traffic and look at all forms of transport come up with an individual mobility plan tailored to their calendar, routine and even their mood. Extending outward from the individual the car can be the centre for all types of services from delivery drones to a mobile gas station that tops you up while you’re at the office. It’s easy to think of the car as the ultimate mobile control centre.

The car is only one piece in an every growing arsenal of personal technology, but unlike your Smartphone or smartwatch, the car can completely surround you. The cockpit is a cocoon of analog and digital coming together to offer a more personalized experience.

Analyzing behavior to identify and anticipate needs and adapt accordingly based on the driver’s behavior. Things, like playing the right music or adjusting the temperature, are a good start but services relating to health and safety are where things start to get highly personal and very interesting.

I started thing about the Cognitive Car when I stopped by the Mercedes Booth at MWC to hear one of Sascha Pallenberg, Former Editor in Chief of Mobile Geeks, now Head of Digital Strategy at Daimler’s “inspirational talks”. There were several innovation showcases around their booth but “Fit & Healthy” through Mercedes me caught my eye and is a meaningful first step in the direction towards the Cognitive Car.

The A to S Class models come with fine-particle filters ensure above-average allergy friendly air quality and even carry the seal of the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF). Some models can even be upgraded with energizing massage, hot stone functions or ambient lighting, up do 64 mood colors! Which is cool, but Mercedes me, “Fit & Healthy” is about to look outside of the cockpit and analyze health beyond the car to promote an all-around healthy lifestyle.

It’s an active first step toward Daimler’s overall vision for the Cognitive Car where:

The cognitive vehicle would offer self-determined access to an individualised artificial intelligence which supports human beings, entertains them and could even challenge them intellectually

Creating such personal usefulness isn’t an industry-wide effort as the internet of things will need to connect to a highly intelligent network to provide context. We’ve seen companies like Silicon Valley Start Up Capio show us what we want interactions with our car to look like, but the announcement that was meant to happen in 2016 with a major automotive maker never happened.  Creating natural language interactions are one thing but it is a whole other kettle of fish when you have to put it into a car.

I do like this video because it’s a great way to visualize just how much goes into natural language and though the concept. It also demonstrates just how far we still have to go, Google Assistant and Siri on our smartphones are good examples of how when you get it right, it’s impressive, but more often than not the questions that require context that they can answer are pretty narrow. Automotive has so much more to consider but we are seeing very solid first steps with the inclusion of biometrics and health focused solutions really putting the individual at the centre of things.

5G is still a few years away, so the pervasive connectivity that’s needed to roll out automous drive or truly intelligent systems like we’re seeing above are isn’t here yet. When it arrives, I expect the automotive insutry to be ready.

Travel & partial accommodation to MWC 2017 was provided by Daimler. All thoughts and ideas are my own.