Intel is Designing Immersive Entertainment for Self-Driving Cars

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 - 8:09PM
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 - 8:09PM
Intel is Designing Immersive Entertainment for Self-Driving Cars
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By this point, we're all pretty convinced that self-driving cars are the future of automobile technology.

Once perfected, AI drivers will be safer than humans, while allowing passengers to free their minds to pursue other leisure activities while traveling - so long as they can stomach them without suffering too badly from motion sickness. But how can cars provide ample entertainment opportunities for passengers who might otherwise be driving?

Watching a video or playing a game on an iPad isn't the best possible use of the space - not when there's a big glass screen at the front of every car that could be put to far better use once drivers won't have to see the road in front of them in order to stay safe. Instead, Intel has a better idea: passengers within self-driving cars should be provided with immersive simulations that make them feel like they're cruising around in the Batmobile.

The company just announced they're pairing with Warner Bros to create what they call "in-cabin, immersive experiences in autonomous vehicle settings", which essentially boil down to virtual reality games, as well as more traditional forms of entertainment like movies and TV shows, all displayed across interactive car windshields.

This isn't entirely dissimilar to other existing plans to turn cars into entertainment centers once drivers take their feet off the gas pedals and become passengers to robot chauffeurs. The difference is that Intel is already poised to make this happen, and has already begun designing programs to run on their proposed hardware, including the aforementioned Batmobile sim.

Of course, there's a catch. It's also worth noting that Intel's major business plan here revolves primarily around advertising. Yes, you'll be able to pretend that you're Batman, but only if you let marketing pop-ups annoy you regularly throughout your journey.

While the full realization of Intel's current marketing plans won't come into form for many years to come, the company is already hard at work making its initial batmobile prototypes. The company is currently working to build a fleet of a hundred self-driving cars that will be the first wave of its new endeavor, and several of these cars will come installed with the licensed Warner Bros experience as a proof of concept.

If this is deemed to be successful enough, we'll likely see Intel's first larger rollout of driverless cars coming equipped with entertainment centers as standard.

It's likely that these cars will form part of a robot taxi service rather than being sold to individual buyers. Many car companies are looking to provide a service rather than selling products in the future, which they assure will be the best option for users as it means not having to worry about parking and other driving hassles. It also, less altruistically, means that automobile companies can avoid losing a large chunk of their business to the used car market, and it also gives better avenues for advertising, as Intel has already discovered.

It seems that the future of car travel will be very different. Not only will we leave it to our vehicles to do all the thinking when it comes to moving us from Point A to Point B, but we'll also expect to be entertained while traveling.

This is good news for those who hate driving and love Batman, but probably less thrilling for anyone who enjoys soaking in the scenery on a long road trip.