MWC 2017: The AI-Powered, Connected Cars Of The Future

What Happened
Monday marks the first day of the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s leading smartphone trade show. As with the previous years, a slew of new mobile and portable gadgets are introduced, and the Lab team is on the ground in Barcelona, Spain, scouting for the latest trend in mobile technologies. Today, however, it is the futuristic smart cars, not the shiny new phones, that stole the show.

Ford announced a partnership with Vodafone at its press event that will lead to 4G modems being built into a select range of its upcoming vehicles in the European market. The modem will bring 4G LTE connectivity over Wi-Fi, with up to ten devices able to connect at once, effectively turning those Ford models into a media hub on wheels.

Moving beyond connectivities for existing models, Roborace drew a lot of eyeballs at the Mobile World Congress today with a stunning self-driving race car. The British company behind the robot racing series unveiled Robocar, the world’s first AI-powered, self-driving electric race car. Powered by Nvidia’s Drive PX2, an open A.I. car computing platform, the Robocar can reach an impressive top speed of 199 miles per hour.

French automaker Peugeot took the AI solution one step further with the debut of its Instinct concept car, an autonomous car designed to drive differently according to reading your mood and needs. The car is connected to Samsung’s Artik cloud service, allowing it to gather data from other connected devices, such as your calendar schedule or your heartbeat rate from a smartwatch, in order to determine between four driving modes: drive boost, drive relax, autonomous soft, and autonomous sharp, to provide the most suitable driving experience.

What Brands Need To Do
In line with what we saw two month ago at this year’s CES, major advances in AI and machine learning has supercharged the race of developing autonomous cars among automakers this year. For brand marketers, AI is what will power the future of brand-customer interactions as the core of the post-smartphone computing. AI evolution is set to bring an influx of additional media time once self-driving cars can free our eyes from the road. While it is still a few years off till the technology fully matures, it is never too early for brands to start thinking about how to conquer this new media space.

Another important capability that AI will unleash for all brands lies in dynamic creatives that can deliver personalized user experience based on data and user input. Brand marketers need to consider how they can leverage their customer data to provide personalized experiences with the help of an AI engine.


Sources: as linked in the article

Why Some States Are Loosening Legislation Around Self-Driving Cars

What Happened
Legislators in California, Texas and Virginia are warming up to the autonomous car business by loosening regulations, as well as building research centers and testing facilities, all in a bid for the fast-growing industry, along with the new jobs and tax revenue that come with it.

What Brands Should Do
Legislation issues have long been a roadblock in the development of self-driving vehicles. Now that lawmakers are realizing its inevitability and are getting on board, the time is right for auto brands to seize the opportunity and leverage such new-found interest into concrete legislative benefits.


Source: New York Times

Event Recap: District Dialogue – Future of Transportation

Last week, the IPG Media Lab attended a panel discussion around the future of transportation. Panel members, including founders of car-sharing services, venture capitalists, and a public transportation guru, addressed multiple topics such as car connectivity, self-driving capabilities, and security. From a marketing standpoint, this territory is ripe for opportunity. However, real world applications won’t be implemented until cars are more capable of driving themselves, thus shifting a driver’s attention from the road and towards the augmented windshields and screens within the vehicle. The panelists agreed that we are only 5-10 years away from this reality.

The primary barrier to autonomous cars is not the technology (which already exists in agriculture and mining vehicles) but the physical infrastructure and government regulations that the cars and manufacturers must navigate. Steps have already been taken to challenge legal boundaries and push for more flexibility for innovation. For example, Uber successfully fought off the Taxi & Limousine Commission’s attempt to limit new driver applications in New York City earlier last month, which set a precedent that regulations cannot impede customer experience or value.

There are companies that are already working to create branding opportunities within vehicles. Two companies that are attempting to crack into this space are and Automatic. They are creating devices that plug into a car’s data port so the user can access apps and in-car WiFi. Such devices incorporate platforms for developers to build apps that are connected to the car and can also be accessed via mobile devices. Brands could potentially align with app developers to create unique user experiences within vehicles.

During the panel discussion, there was one tongue-in-cheek comment made that cars are essentially “computers with wheels.” Although this comment was made in jest, it speaks to the wide range of capabilities for brands to reach users in cars. As cars become more autonomous, drivers will become passengers and their attention will shift from operating the vehicle to operating systems. Brands will be able to collect and utilize actionable data to reach consumers on the go.

There’s Now An Artificial Town For Testing Driverless Cars

What Happened
Autonomous car researchers at the University of Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation and private companies, have created an entirely artificial town that sprawls 32 acres, providing a controlled and highly malleable environment for testing driverless cars. Officially named “Mcity”, the fake town features moveable facades that can easily be arranged in all sorts of road conditions from blind corners to odd intersections, providing an ideal “simulated urban and suburban environment” for testing.

What Brands Should Do
Mcity is back with million-dollar investments from auto companies like Nissan, Toyota, Ford, GM, and Honda, who all have direct stakes in the development of autonomous vehicles. Yet, brands from other industry verticals like State Farm, Verizon, and Xerox are also invested in this fake town, presumably for their interest in this field. Although not immediately actionable for most brands, this artificial city nevertheless signals the acceleration of developing driverless cars and the impact it will have on adjacent industries such as car insurance and in-car communications, as well as the steps some companies are taking to get ahead of competitors.

Source: Gizmodo

Header image courtesy of U-M’s Michigan News

The Future: Now brought to you by Google

Google has never been shy about it’s intention to reshape the world. This month the company unveiled two projects that illustrate a long-term ambition to go beyond strongholds like search and mobile, and to be a major player in the emerging transportation and renewable energy industries. Leveraging a considerable war chest and influence, Google’s is asking people to imagine a future that to some may sound, well… a bit like a Jetsons episode.

Google has been testing a fleet of revolutionary cars that drive themselves with the use of software, GPS, and a system of cameras and sensors. Spearheaded by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, who co-invented Street View, the program’s seven vehicles (mostly modded Priuses which always have a human on hand) recently traveled 1,000 miles on major highways and city streets without any human intervention and 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. Continue reading “The Future: Now brought to you by Google”