Jun 4th 2009
Cars are becoming more connected, both to remote systems for navigation and information, and to each other
IN “KNIGHT RIDER”, a 1980s television show, Michael Knight fought for justice with the help of KITT, an artificially intelligent Pontiac Trans Am. The pair chatted amiably, with KITT sensing and reacting to nearby objects, navigating and looking up information about Mr Knight’s immediate surroundings and deadly adversaries. KITT could even drive itself. Thirty years on, many of the fantastical Pontiac’s features are becoming reality.
A modern car can have as many as 200 on-board sensors, measuring everything from tyre pressure to windscreen temperature. A high-end Lexus contains 67 microprocessors, and even the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano, has a dozen. Voice-driven satellite navigation is routinely used by millions of people. Radar-equipped cruise control allows vehicles to adjust their speed automatically in traffic. Some cars can even park themselves.