NBC News featured AgeLab research scientist Bryan Reimer on the topic of technologically advanced automobiles. Reimer gave his expert opinion on the growing involvement of technology companies in the automotive space. As Apple and Google continue to battle it out for market dominance, the concept of creating a more fully customizable operating system in personal vehicles is becoming a reality. Mobile connectivity is expanding out of our pockets and into our cars; Reimer explains “the car is an environment that a lot of us spend a lot of time in… [the technology companies] have a strong desire to own that relationship.” The future of car technology might include interfaces that could respond to a variety of drivers’ needs. While actions such as making a phone call and obtaining navigational assistance are already a reality in many new vehicles, futuristic cars will likely have increased abilities to inform a driver about traffic and weather conditions to help them plan their drive accordingly, or provide input based on calendars and to-do lists. Reimer suggests that advanced technological interfaces described above are fast becoming the major selling point for vehicles and could help enhance older adult mobility within the automotive space.
The move towards new interface operating systems is not the only breakthrough development happening in the auto industry right now. After Google unveiled its self-driving car, automakers got a wake-up call as a large technology company began to pressure on innovation. Carmakers are rapidly developing automated features that have the potential to reduce driver stress, improve mobility options and enhance safety. However, as Google and traditional auto companies scramble to develop more highly automated vehicles, experts question the safety of rolling out early-stage technology too quickly. Reimer expresses his opinions by saying that “the tech companies are pushing the traditional auto industry, which to some extent is good, but if you push too fast they are going to make mistakes.”
These potential mistakes Reimer refers to could be fatal to new technology. Safety of the driver is the number one concern for carmakers; Google’s self-driving car that lacks a steering wheel and brake pedal could be seen as too dependent on technology to make it practical for many consumers. Reimer admits that it could take only one accident with an automated vehicle to slow progress. But if all goes well, the cars of the future could be coming faster than we expected. It could only be a matter of time before we could safely have a conversation from our partially self-driving car while it takes us to our next meeting across town.
You can read the entire article on NBC News here.