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20 January 2017 Blog

Motorpoint blogger and former Sun Motoring Editor Ken Gibson explains why he has major reservations about the roll out of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the next generation of cars

“Impressive as this sounds, and it does, all I can say is 'Beem me up Scottie'. To me it all seems very Star Trek the Next Frontier”

The huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month may not seem that relevant to car buyers.

In the past it used to be the showcase for everything new for consumers in the world of technology - from mobile phones to ipads to robots. But now its just as much about the latest technological breakthroughs in cars, with a host of the top car manufacturers unveiling their latest gadgets at the show that we could well be using in the not too distant future.

At this year’s event there was everything on show but the two things that caught my eye were the cockpit of the future and how AI ( Artificial Intelligence ) will change the way we drive.

It all sounds like something from a sci-fi movie set in 2030, but the majority of it will actually be happening in the very near future. Toyota showed off an autonomous electric car called Concept-i that demonstrated the effectiveness of artificial intelligence  in cars, with a system called Yui, which can only described as being a bit like an on-board butler. Yui adapts its functions in the car to the user’s preferences through adaptive learning and can also communicate via spoken messages, lights and touch sensitive features. As Toyota tech expert Bob Carter pointed out: “ Vehicles that can engage with the driver and passenger through artificial intelligence are the future.”

Toyota weren't alone in being ever so slightly obsessed with AI. The boffins at Bosch showed us a glimpse of the cockpit of the future which turns the car into a ‘third living space’ on the move. Drivers will turn control over to the car and the seats then move automatically backwards to create a lounge area, with two large touch screens providing entertainment. If that wasn't mind boggling enough the car’s computer system called Mykie can even link you up with your fridge at home so you can check what ingredients you to have to cook with that night! 

And, if you're missing something, don't worry because Mykie simply uses the in-car shopping app to order the food to be delivered to your home for when you get back.

Not to be outdone Nissan talked about how their next generation Leaf electric car would have an increased range up to 340 miles, and that artificial intelligence would be used to increase the decision making ability of its on-board computers.

BMW also revealed they will have 40 autonomous versions of their 7 Series on roads in Europe and America this year as it develops greater driverless systems. And their next i model to follow the i3 and i8 will benefit from driverless systems by 2021.

Impressive as this sounds, and it does, all I can say is 'Beam me up Scotty'. To me it all seems very Star Trek the Next Frontier. Call me old fashioned but I still like being in control when I drive my car!

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About the author

Ken Gibson was Motoring Editor for The Sun for 23 years during which time he became one of the best known motoring newspaper journalists in the world. Over that period Ken tested thousands of cars from super minis to SUVs and super cars, and drove millions of miles all over the world.

As well as writing a blog covering the motoring issues of the day, he also independently road tests and creates video reviews on a cross section of cars sold by Motorpoint.