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What should A.I. Developers and Marketers know about the Autonomous Car revolution

What should A.I. Developers and Marketers know about the Autonomous Car revolution

Your automobile will soon be the ultimate media immersion tool, watch Netflix (jobs at Netflix), YouTube, Play VR baseball against your friend in another autonomous car. Yeah so what if that was supposed to be Science Fiction stuff, it is here now, accept it! Could you imagine planning an even longer commute to get more work done while in your car away from the husband and kids. Jason Harrison, global CEO of Gain Theory says “Cars are essentially becoming the next must-have mobile device.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers projects that spending in the autonomous-car industry will balloon to $43.2 billion globally by 2021.

Electric Car manufacturer Tesla (jobs at Tesla) is adding 1,600 employees to fast-track its autonomous driving efforts. Ford just made a deal with Google to collaborate on the automaker’s autonomous ambitions. General Motors revealed it is investing $500 million in the car-service app Lyft in order to beat its competitors to the self-driving future. Mercedes-Benz joined with connected-home player Nest to create ETA, a tool that enables a car approaching one’s house to send a signal to adjust the thermostat ahead of time.

“Rather than opening up an owner’s manual that’s 500-600 pages long, you watch a little bit of the video, put the phone down and do step one, and then pick the phone back up again to learn about step two,” explains Miles Johnson, a connected car rep at Hyundai.

Hyundai will unveil Virtual Guide, an augmented-reality owner’s manual app that lets a driver point a smartphone or tablet camera at the part of a car engine giving them trouble. Up pops a short, tutorial-style video. It works inside the vehicle, to help car owners do such routine tasks as setting a clock or streaming music.

The predictions analyst are making is that millions of these vehicles will be on the road by 2020 – can you just imagine what advertisers are concocting for that captive audience. Harrison says driverless cars open “an entirely new opportunity for advertisers. Assuming Wi-Fi-enabled cars would be targetable in the same way other devices are, they would offer high-quality targeted-audience opportunities, with an added contextual dimension such as parents and kids on the way to school, daily commutes and so on.”

Audi Engineer Thomas Müller claims “whatever you have in your living room, you will have in your ‘auto room.'” An AutoTrader study recently released finds that among 77 percent of shoppers, technology is more important than car color. Nearly four of five prospective buyers would delay a purchase by one year to get a vehicle with connected services from their preferred brands, per a recent study by AT&T and Ericsson (jobs at Ericsson). And with integration comes the opportunity of data collection for marketers—and information on travel routines, temperature preferences and music preferences could all be used to target ads.
If you think that’s a risky thing for the company, you have Kia creating all sorts of mini companies under the Kia brand so when horrible things happen the liability goes to the smaller company. Most likely a bad idea anyway but Google is doing the same thing with the Alphabet company, always easier to pass the blame by saying it wasn’t you. Anyway, Kia has pledged $2 billion to get an autonomous car to market by 2030.

What has marketer’s panties in a bunch?

In 2014 Pandora began selling in-car ads to marketers separately from its Web and mobile app promos and claimed that its audio ads were getting better results compared to other digital promos. David Deal, a marketing consultant noted “the car of the future could easily become a content-blocking machine.” As the automobile increasingly becomes a Wi-Fi-enabled media apparatus the consumer could have more control over avoiding advertising via ad-blocking technologies now used via desktop computers and mobile devices. Brand marketers can employ what they’ve already learned from the ad-blocking phenomenon.

Terry Young, CEO of agency Sparks & Honey. “We need to rethink ads [and] content and find new ways to tell stories,” he says. “I don’t think the car will be a bad marketing venue—instead, it will be held to the new standard of advertising that is reshaping the industry. Consumers expect more and can demand it by leveraging technology.” Mr. Deal also made it clear that it could also be “a great marketing venue for useful, entertaining content such as brand-sponsored programs.”

“Our vision is that no-one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020,” said Volvo program director Marcus Rothoff.

The company recently announced it would assume full liability whenever a Volvo is in autonomous mode and an accident happens. “Without trust, a self-driving vehicle is of limited use,” explains Erik Coelingh, Volvo’s senior technical leader. Volvo (jobs at Volvo) aims to have a limited run of its self-driving vehicle, called Concept 26, on the road in 2017, offering the owner three modes: drive, create (with the driver’s seat tilted back) and relax (almost like lying on a couch). All thanks to Nvidia’s newest car computer processor, known as the Drive PX 2, is liquid cooled and seriously powerful, sporting 12 CPU cores and 8 teraflops of processing power.

It’s designed to allow vehicles accurate 360-degree situational awareness of their surroundings and navigate autonomously. Nvidia (jobs at Nvidia) believes that the level of power provided by the new computer will be necessary if self-driving cars are ever to hit the mainstream. It’s processing is equivalent to 150 MacBook Pros. It’s made up of two Tegra CPUs paired with two discrete GPUs based on the company’s Pascal architecture. That hardware provides 8 teraflops of processing power, allowing for up to 24 trillion deep learning operations per second.

According to Nvidia, the deep learning system is better at addressing certain issues than traditional computer vision techniques. In particular, it’s more capable of identifying and dealing with difficult lighting scenarios, such as sunrise and sunset, and adverse weather conditions like snow or heavy rain. It can handle inputs from 12 video cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and both radar and LiDAR. All that data is combined and analyzed by their DriveWorks software, allowing the vehicle to picture the world around it, determine its position, pinpoint obstacles, and plot the safest possible route.

Ok, so now that your head hurts with all this amazing information lets consider what it all means.  From my personal point of view, it means I can actually learn how to fly an airplane from the comfort of my own automobile.  I am thinking that maybe I’ll work on getting a PhD. while my car drives me across country. Perhaps I’ll customize a whole new wardrobe for that interview next week along with a new theme song to go with it.  Basically you will have the capabilities of work and home on the road with you at all times.  You will be an interconnected mobile hub of information and entertainment traveling virtually and physically. And yes!  If you don’t stop them, become assaulted by sneaky and clever advertising ploys, but it could be a good thing if it really is crap that you want, so yeah for the future!

Image by Paul Denton

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