June 15, 2016
The visual of a self driving car has been around for a very long time. However, the concept was seen as futuristic or even space age. But now the idea is being made into a reality right before our very eyes. Automotive giants like General Motors, Ford, Audi and Tesla have developed and are currently testing prototypes of fully-working autonomous vehicles. There are even some new players on the field such as internet icon Google and software mogul Apple. While self-driving vehicles are taking the lead in automotive technology, BMW CEO Harold Kreuger envisions something even more advanced. Imagine jumping into your car and it has an immediate emotional connection with you to know how you're feeling and will accommodate you likewise. A more technical term to use would be artificial intelligence. BMW is a company known for its prestige, flair and cutting-edge technology, so it's no surprise that artificial intelligence has been added to its list of technological advancement to-do's. At the moment, BMW focuses on about 75% mechanical and 25% technological aspects in research and development. In about 5 years, BMW's head of research and development believes that ratio will equal out to about 50 - 50, dramatically changing the face of the BMW corporation. Autonomous driving uses a small amount of artificial intelligence combined with robotics. It's key in operating a self-driving vehicle; however, it's not to the extent that Harold Kreuger wants to develop and culture. A futuristic artificial intelligence could perhaps mimic the sensory nature of humans. Perhaps your vehicle will learn to sense that you are intoxicated. As we study artificial intelligence, the possibilities almost seem limitless. Kreuger points out two major examples that show how artificial intelligence is progressing. The first is Google AlphaGo's software program. The very complex game of Go has been around for centuries, originating in ancient China. Just recently, AlphaGo was the first program to ever beat a professional, human player. Taking a learning approach rather than mimicking, AlphaGo learned and developed new strategies for itself. The second example is a Japanese robot called Pepper. This robot is programmed to be a companion to senior citizens, by sharing and reacting to their emotions. While some see artificial intelligence as threatening to society, Kreuger sees it as an opportunity that can be beneficial if we embrace it. We are on the technological forefront of making mobility effortless and tailored to meet our specific needs. Artificial intelligence is just another huge leap for mankind.