There is no escaping the rise of the driverless car. The Google Car is on the roads today, and new studies suggest we won’t even be driving cars in the next 30 years. Jaguar’s Smart Assistant car technology, for better or worse, is undoubtedly a sign of things to come.
The general idea behind the autonomous, car is that it will make driving safer for you, and everybody around you. Currently in the United States over 37,000 Americans die each year in auto related accidents. If the car was driving itself, that would eliminate the human factor behind the wheel — think no more distracted driving, drunk drivers, heart attacks behind the wheel, falling asleep, and certainly no more speeding.
While autonomous cars are indeed on the road in America, fully autonomous vehicles have yet to hit the road,. However, aspects of the driver less car are popping up in new model cars with Jaguar’s Smart Assistant technology leading the pack with features.
Bluetooth and GPS technology is quickly becoming standard issue in cars, allowing for hands free and voice commands. Jaguar’s Smart Assistant utilizes this technology as well, but is going the extra mile allowing the car to know you as a driver, and interact with you before you even get in the car.
Through your smartphone and a user profile, the Jaguar Smart Assistant detects you as you approach the car. Prior to you getting in the driver’s seat, the Smart Assistant can send you reminders (go to the grocery store, pick up the kid) based on your shared calendar app. It will also adjust your seat, mirrors, steering wheel to your preset liking, and even plot out your GPS rouet based on the time of day and your learned routine. Kind of cool, but a little bit freaky too, and we haven’t even gotten to the really cool/creepy part.
Once your routine has been “learned” by the Jaguar Smart Assistant, it will offer to make calls or send messages to people who you usually contact during your time in the car, adjust the climate of the car based on your temperature preference, even engaging cruise control and other driving features based on weather and traffic conditions.Now imagine pairing the Smart Assistant with the virtual windshield, also under development by Jaguar Land Rover, and you could be reading emails and GPS directions on your windscreen, rather than your infotainment system.
All of this is done to make driving a more relaxing experience, and to cut down distractions as well, but features like Smart Assistant might be just as distracting as holding a cell phone while driving with your knees, or so says AAA. It’s not necessarily the act of being on a phone that is distracting, but rather the content of the conversation that causes us to lose track of the road. AAA’s recommendation: limit the voice controls to features in the car such as voice activated windshield wipers and climate control systems, and don’t encourage outside driving activities like checking and sending email, text messages, and monitoring social media like Facebook. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Alas, there is no slowing down the adoption of modern technology into your cars dashboard, and systems like the Jaguar Smart Assistant could return some of the pleasure of driving to your morning commute. Or it could just add to the noise of a busy and loud world.