Introduction, user profiles and clever cameras
Don’t you hate it when you get in your car and you weren’t the last person driving? The seat is in the wrong place, the radio’s tuned to an awful station and the air con is on full blast even those it’s the middle of winter.
Well those issues could soon be the thing of the past as Qualcomm showed off it’s new automotive tech at CES 2015 in Las Vegas.
The brains behind the operation is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 602a processor – a specially adapted ‘automotive grade’ smartphone processor, which means it has a 10 year life cycle – and its Gobi 4G LTE advanced modem.
Analysts believe by the end of 2017 60% of all new cars will be connected through mobile tech, while one in five cars will be context aware by the end of 2018, so this technology is really on the cusp of becoming a reality in day-to-day life.
We jumped inside Qualcomm’s specially adapted Cadillac XTS concept car (you won’t be able to buy this model) to find out what it’s been up to.
User profiles for your car
You’ve got them on your computer, your tablet and even your games console – so why not have profiles for your car too?
Effectively you’re "signing in" to the car and it will automatically adjust the driver’s seat and steering wheel to your preferred position.
Glance to the screen in the centre console and your profile will be displayed, and various details can be pulled through from your phone including calendar appointments and music.
The digital instrument display behind the steering wheel can also be customised – not fussed about the rev counter? Ditch it in favour of maps or other readouts.
And when your partner comes to drive, they just sign in from their phone and they’ll be greeted by all their custom settings as just a touch of a button.
If this technology is widely adopted then you could potentially "sign in" to a rental or a friend’s vehicle and have all your own settings ready to go.
The car we were sitting in was fitted with four cameras, one on each side, giving you views of all angles of your car.
This is obviously useful if you’re trying to park in a tight spot, ensuring you don’t hit anything, and the "bird view" mode allows you to see all sides of the car at the same time.
Navigation, gestures, entertainment and charging
Street view navigation
The cameras can also be utilised when it comes to navigation. You can have the front camera display the road ahead on the dashboard behind the steering wheel, and the clever tech under the hood can then augment turn by turn directions onto your live street view.
Never again will you be questioning just which of the tiny side streets you need to turn down, as this car can literally show you the exact one. It’s right there… by Burger King. Nice.
While you’re driving you need to pay attention to the road. Fiddling with the stereo is not advised, but with a new gesture controlled system it may become a lot more safe.
In our demo car a gesture control sensor had been placed in the unit between the two front seats. Place your palm above the sensor and close it to a fist to play/paused music – swiping sideways allows for skipping tracks and adjusting volume.
This means you can keep your eyes on the road and avoids you hitting the wrong button as you try and skip through your guilty pleasures tracks.
Another advantage of having your smartphone and car play nicely together is the option to stream movies, TV shows or games stored on your mobile device to any displays you may have in the vehicle.
The car can pull content from the cloud to stream directly on front or rear mounted monitors, while also providing internet access and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hotspots for occupants.
As we’ve already mentioned the Cadillac pulled through music from the pair of Sony Xperia Z Ultra phones it had linked up.
From the screen in the centre console you’re able to browse the combined track list from both devices, and you can throw control to one of the handsets – allowing passengers in the back to DJ your road trip. Rock and roll people.
With a certain reliance on your smartphone you won’t want to arrive at your destintation with a flat battery.
Qualcomm is betting on wireless charging making its way into more and more devices, and in the cubby hole at the base of the centre console resides a Qi wireless charging matt.
You sling your compatible smartphone here and as well as keep it in a safe place, it’ll also charge it up on route – no messy wires required.