Daimler's Automotive Utopia Includes Car as Robot


  • Daimler Future Vehicle Vision Picture

    Daimler Future Vehicle Vision Picture

    Daimler says cars are developing into robots that can serve double purposes and have their own capacity to act. | April 12, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • In the future, cars will develop into friendly robots that can help lost children and serve more than one purpose, according to a lengthy treatise on the future of the automobile published on Friday by Daimler.
  • Cars "are developing into robots with their own intelligence and the capacity to act," Daimler said.
  • Daimler asks the key question: "Will we get along with intelligent, autonomous robotic vehicles moving back and forth and around us?"

BERLIN — In the future, cars will develop into friendly robots that can help lost children and serve more than one purpose, according to a lengthy treatise on the future of the automobile published on Friday by Daimler.

Cars "are developing into robots with their own intelligence and the capacity to act," Daimler said.

Cars also will generate extra income for their owners by acting as mobile billboards and car-sharing vehicles.

Daimler asks the key question: "Will we get along with intelligent, autonomous robotic vehicles moving back and forth and around us?"

Daimler's futurologists were part of a "Future Talk" event here recently. Daimler said it is intent on "making cars even more useful" and creating "a more positive perception of cars."

One of the German automaker's ideas is dubbed "Giving Back to the City." It said this idea came about because people sometimes perceive cars as "the bad guys."

"For example, when it comes to parking," Daimler said.

To remedy that, cars will become data hubs that assimilate and process large amounts of data from the surrounding area, as well as contributing information themselves, the automaker said. In this instance, a parked car could "signal" to children that a road is safe to cross, or, if they are lost, "even point them in the right direction," Daimler said.

A car could send signals to the traffic infrastructure allowing other vehicles to slow down in a Daimler scenario called "virtual crosswalk."

It also sees cars of the future connected to other "service robots."

Daimler also envisions cars serving a "double purpose."

"Once you have driven your own car to work, you make it available as an autonomously driven taxi or car-sharing vehicle, generating income," Daimler said. "The interior can easily be modified so that the car can be used as a public vehicle without compromising its function as a private one. After its use as a public vehicle, the car is simply converted back to a standard car by its owners."

The automaker also predicts "innovative transport systems" that will allow the transportation of goods to be routed underground and away from streets and people will mainly travel above ground "where there is light and fresh air."

Daimler also says "carchitecture" will be a trend in the future.

In this case, cars would be designed to blend "mobile and immobile elements." One example of this is an electric vehicle that could replace the installed heating system in a building.

Edmunds says: No word yet on whether your future car will be able to read lips like the infamous HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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