By Chris Jagielski
So we’ve heard a lot about autonomous cars over the months and I’m sure you’re sick of reading about them. Well, some of the technology that helps them communicate with each other will be coming to vehicles in the next year or two. Introducing “Smart Maps” led by eHorizon and Continental.
Zachary Bolton, a project engineer for Continental Automotive Systems states that these maps will use a modem and Internet connection to observe stoplights, speed limit, and other data from the streets and surrounding areas. These Smart Maps are being configured for Europe, North America, and Asia.
What’s spectacular about this technology is that it will read your driving patterns and predict where you are going next. It will also monitor your braking and acceleration patterns, changing them to give your car better fuel economy.
During this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Continental had a Volkswagen Golf equipped with eHorizon. During a 15-minute ride, the car drove down the road without any issues and then it was time eHorizon took control.
Once the onboard computer calculated that a slower speed would be more fuel efficient, the accelerator pedal vibrated under the driver’s foot. As the car headed toward a red light, the dashboard screen notified the driver to step on the brakes.
While stopped at an intersection, the car with using Smart Maps restarted its engine an instant before the light turned green. That’s right – before it turned green. It didn’t have to wait for the driver to lift their foot off the brake, unlike the usual stop-start system in current cars. It is pretty impressive that this technology can read traffic lights, knowing exactly when the light will change.
When these Smart Maps are first released they will not sync and share data with other vehicles. Engineers want to see the performance output before they begin letting cars communicate with each other. But it’s also due to the fact that not every car on the road will be ready for these smart maps and car-to-car syncing.
This will be some pretty neat tech once it’s commercially released. But like any other advanced piece of technology, there will always be hackers ready to take control. Let’s just hope eHorizon has a plan to increase security on its Smart Maps and what data is shared.