Big Blue plans artificial passengers

10 August 2005

IBM on the Future of DrivingBig business computer company IBM has just begun a series of podcasts, aimed primarily at shareholders, and the first topic covered is of particular interest: The Future of Driving.
If you are willing to endure a few unsubtle boasts about IBM’s skills - the podcast is aimed at investors, after all - the 20 minute discussion is well worth a listen.
Jim Ruthven of IBM’s Automotive Software Group and Dr Roberto Sicconi, an IBM automotive interface expert, talk about how will affect from all perspectives: design, manufacturing, usage and insurance.
One particularly interesting segment dwells on the near-term arrival of in-car systems built with speech interfaces. These will deliver what Sicconi calls artificial passengers, automated systems that are able to assist the driver, to assess the driver’s emotional state, and also to be aware of external conditions:

Sicconi: Some of our customers have asked to be able to dictate emails and send them out... If you pass a certain speed, I would advise people not to do it. So if you have information about the speed of the car, it may say, “This service is not available at this time.”
Ruthven: Heading into a hairpin turn, on a wet, slick street, is not the time you want to get the email that says your stocks just went down 15 percent. That’s a bad thing...

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