Self-driving cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction – but how will future commuters cope when they’re stuck in traffic without even driving to distract them?
In the USA, the driverless Google Car is out on the streets. Traffic-jam-assistance is with us already and even more advanced automation technologies are in the pipeline. And while most researchers are focusing on safety, researchers at RMIT are looking at the driver experience. They’re working on a new in-car entertainment system called AutoPlay.
To compensate for the loss of competency and control when the car drives itself, they’re looking at applications that keep the driver engaged. Like an in-car exercise machine that connects with the car’s movements. Or a music app that creates its own compositions based on the ebb and flow of the traffic. Even a function that navigates based not on where you’re going, but on what you want, like that morning cup of coffee.
The AutoPlay developers investigated Melbourne car-commuters to work out the most stressful part of being on the road. As a result, they’re basing their applications on stop-and-go traffic.
The RMIT project proves you never know where keeping Australia clever will take us. But it’s another reason to keep vital funds flowing to universities as we embrace the future.