Long road trips will seem a little shorter with the addition of some future technology that will make the drive more enjoyable. These features are either being developed or currently available for automakers to install in future vehicles.
Drivers who want to sing in the car will be able to select an instrumental track without taking their eyes off the road. Offered by Cerence, this karaoke experience is integrated with the vehicle’s automotive assistant so the driver can choose from 100,000 songs while using only their voice.
When safe, passengers can use the vehicle’s touchscreen to see lyrics and background videos. In both modes, singers can hear their performances through the speakers in real time and test out audio effects.
Dubbed “Cerence Sing,” this feature is to make its debut on vehicles from VinFast, a maker of electric vehicles that will begin selling them in the U.S. later this year.
“Singing in the car comes naturally to people, and our user studies reveal a deep desire and appreciation for technology that can make this age-old pastime even more fun,” Cerence CEO Stefan Ortmanns said in a press release.
Rearview Mirror Selfies
With another future tech, passengers can turn the vehicle’s cabin into a communications center in which they can make video calls or take selfies. Gentex offers a system that does so with a camera integrated into the rearview mirror, behind the glass.
This is part of a driver and cabin monitoring system that also performs other tasks such as tracking the driver to see if they are distracted, drowsy or ready for the return of manual control in a semi-autonomous vehicle.
Gentex also has a concept feature that uses both forward-facing and interior-facing cameras, combines the images with metadata, and creates a social post that includes images of the road and the passenger as well as information about the time and location at which they were taken.
“We’re engineering a comprehensive and scalable platform based on robust sensor fusion techniques that will allow us to provide features for today’s vehicles as well as transitionary and completely autonomous vehicles,” Gentex vice president of engineering and chief technology officer Neil Boehm said in a press release.
A third technology now being developed is a dash-mounted display with a “private mode” that lets the front-seat passenger watch videos without distracting the driver.
Created by Continental, the private mode of this display directs the light in such a way that the video or infotainment system would be 100% visible to the front-seat passenger while remaining less than 1% visible to the driver.
The display is switchable, so it can also be configured to allow the driver to see the content as well. The market launch of this Switchable Privacy Display is planned for 2024.
As Philipp von Hirschheydt, head of Continental’s User Experience Business Area, said in a press release announcing this project, “Modern vehicles are increasingly becoming smartphones on wheels for drivers and passengers.”