Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

The Road Ahead

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

The Road Ahead

Article excerpt

IT'S the end of the car industry as we know it.

In a pivotal moment at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jensen Huang, the billionaire co-founder of tech firm Nvidia, pulled a computer chip the size of a postage stamp from his pocket.

Virtually a supercomputer, the chip had the processing speed required to keep an autonomous car on the move.

Huang (inset) then cut to a video of a car completing a 13km loop on public roads, negotiating 23 intersections, eight turns and two stop signs without driver intervention.

This signified the merging of tech companies and the car industry. As vehicles of the future become more complex and more autonomous, they also will be more interactive.

Toyota announced a partnership with Amazon to share its Alexa voice-recognition tech - an answer to rivals who have Apple CarPlay and Siri to control basic audio and navigation functions.

In the future you may be able to order take-away food by voice on the move. Or even take care of basic food shopping.

Kia and Google Assistant have teamed up for the same reason, while Google is working on enhancing its Android Auto tech.

It's mind-boggling stuff, especially when we are trying to eliminate distraction from cars rather than give drivers more to think about.

We can expect cars of the near future to have super-wide high-resolution screens to match the latest phones, as suppliers such as Panasonic and Samsung lend their expertise to in-car entertainment and display screens.

Panasonic displayed an autonomous concept car at CES, while Samsung's presentation talked about the "connected car experience".

Designed by former BMW and Apple engineers, the Byton (main picture) upstaged the big automotive brands with a screen so huge it looked like a home theatre. It even had a tablet-style display in the steering wheel. Mercedes-Benz provided a shorter-term glimpse of the future by unveiling the new cabin of its A-Class small car.

AUTONOMY

With our eyes captivated by the scope of these screens, the car will need to take greater control of our driving.

However, while almost every car maker claims driverless and connected vehicles are just around the corner, that's not really the case. …

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