Why Bots Are the Future for Ride-Hailing Autonomous Cars

Automakers are dreaming big on autonomous vehicles, particularly as more and more innovative technology emerges.

And it appears bots could be the next big innovation to be integrated within the mobility landscape.

Today, bots help people shop for clothes, order food, and find restaurants. Bots can even manage money by showing your upcoming bills, bank balance, and helping you save money through text messages.

The focus right now, for many companies, is incorporating these bots into messaging services to provide various capabilities for people via cell phones, Sam Abuelsamid, senior research analyst at Navigant Research, said at Autonomous Vehicles Silicon Valley 2017, but “that’s just the beginning, that’s just scratching the surface.”

Imagine a world a decade from now where bots, for example, could not only summon a vehicle on your behalf when you need a ride, but the bot would automatically know your location, where you need to be, and how quickly you need to be at your location, Abuelsamid told attendees. The bot would be able to communicate with other bots on servers around the world to find out what the weather/traffic conditions are at that place. “A lot of these things can be automated and enable a lot of different kinds of capabilities as well,” he said.

How the user is able to call vehicles on-demand and how the vehicle and passenger pickup happens is a challenging problem in these high-level autonomy systems, Ryan Eustice, vice president of autonomous driving at Toyota Research Institute, told Mobility Buzz.

“When an autonomous car arrives, how does it know you, the passenger, are the one that summoned it?” Eustice said. “It’s actually an interesting problem there to be solved, in terms of how you are able to authenticate the user and allow them to be picked up, and this kind of mashup between how we think about [bots in] personal phones to factor authentication,” he said.

In particular, there is potential in using cameras on the phone to have the phone essentially authenticate, or recognize, the vehicle that shows up, Eustice said. “I think there is a lot of opportunity there to think about how you bring about a whole system through the mashup of the user phone application as well as what would be running on the car side.”

5 - Readers Like This Post