the road. “The question is how do we move that tech from big data centers to data centers on wheels?”
When you think about all the systems needed inside of an autonomous car: a control unit; infotainment; navigation; cameras; RADAR; LIDAR; not to mention some sort of sensor fusion system to bring it all together so that the car can make actionable decisions, the need for robust, on-board hardware becomes obvious.
In its own efforts at CES 2017, Nissan released a video as part of a new partnership with Microsoft to bring Microsoft's Cortana virtual AI assistant (essentially Microsoft's answer to Siri) to Nissan vehicles. The video features a driver interacting with his car in much the same way as a human assistant – with both making suggestions and decisions on the fly as far as his driving route and personal schedule.
Referring to the video, Seven told the DesignCon audience, “The important thing to look at is not just the voice recognition, but that the AI is responding to the human, being proactive and able to control the vehicle in an important context. It's not as simple as telling the car to do something. It's an intelligent interaction that includes proactive capabilities. That's how the auto industry is looking to evolve.” And that's the functionality that needs to happen inside of the car itself, and not via cloud computing.
To be clear Microsoft has released a statement saying that it doesn't want to build its own car: “Microsoft is not building its own connected car. Instead, we want to help automakers create connected car solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands, address their customers’ unique needs, competitively differentiate their products and generate new and sustainable revenue streams.”
But AI for cars is only a step in what Seven said Microsoft believes will be an even larger ecosystem of “intelligent things that move.”
“As we move into new spaces like drones and what place they will play in our world, we can look at automotive as a use case and start using that to open up into others spaces like logistics, retail, and even smart cities,” Seven concluded.
Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News.