How Cognitive Technologies are Transforming the Personal Transportation Experience

Even as the autonomous vehicle revolution gathers steam, ready to move into the mainstream, the entire future of transportation is already in flux. How we move ourselves and our things from point A to point B is not the only question any longer. An even more relevant question is: what happens along the way?

For example, cognitive technologies are radically altering the in-transit experience for passengers in both public and private transportation. In this post, we’ll look at how and why this is happening.

What ARE Cognitive Technologies?

In an early article, my colleagues at Deloitte defined cognitive technologies as “those technologies that can perform and/or augment tasks, help better inform decisions, and accomplish objectives that have traditionally required human intelligence, such as planning, reasoning from partial or uncertain information, and learning.”

If this sounds a lot like Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning, it’s because these precursors form the basis of cognitive computing. Cognitive technologies take things one step further: they use self-learning algorithms, data mining and pattern recognition to find solutions to problems adaptively, interactively, iteratively, statefully and contextually. Basically, cognitive technologies can intelligently adapt themselves based on environmental context – usually within designed-in parameters.

Guide for the Perplexed: An Example

Some great examples of how cognitive technologies change personal transportation can be found on the concept vehicle Techniplas unveiled at CES this year.

We used advanced additive manufacturing (including AM of embedded electronics) to completely re-think and re-create some core on-board functionalities in this vehicle.

For instance, as drivers become passengers in autonomous vehicles, the entire vehicle space will change dramatically from a focus on the functional to a more productivity and entertainment-oriented environment. In the Techniplas concept vehicle, we included the world’s first programmable cognitively-lit sunroof, designed to demonstrate how car surfaces are transitioning from core functionality to expanded human-to-machine interfaces.

Moreover, the adaptive cognitive lighting solutions we installed provide new communication capabilities between drivers, cars and pedestrians – not to mention very distinctive styling and branding. For example, our customized door cladding has integral cognitive lighting that can change color to indicate autonomous driving mode – ensuring that other drivers and pedestrians are aware who is in control of the vehicle. Similarly, our integrally-lit steering wheel changes color to offer drivers clear and immediate indications of vehicle status changes: red to alert of a technical fault, for example, or another color for an incoming call.

The Bottom Line

Cognitive technologies are already impacting our lives in many substantial ways. Mobility is a key part of modern technological society, and as such is one of the first fields to enjoy the fruits of the cognitive revolution. By thinking out of the box, personal transportation stakeholders can apply cognitive technologies to nearly all elements of vehicle design – radically changing the in-vehicle experience for everyone.

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