The digital automotive revolution has arrived in South Africa and it’s here to stay! In fact, almost seven in 10 drivers consider travelling in self-driving cars to be a positive experience, with most drivers also noting that they are willing to pay more for all in-vehicle technologies. From 3D printing to drones, Africa is quickly becoming one of the world’s hubs for innovation and auto tech is no different. There are major shifts occurring and about to occur in the automotive industries and world of transportation, and self-driving cars are just the tip of the iceberg. From advancements in autonomous driving, in-vehicle features and even cutting-edge “brain to vehicle” communication, there’s plenty to get excited about in the world of auto technology.
Autonomous driving trials in South Africa
South Africa will see its first public autonomous vehicle trials in October of 2018. Following approvals the previous year, trials will begin as lawmakers also begin to discuss the lack of regulation surrounding autonomous driving in South Africa. Regarding the trials themselves, the choice of car has been narrowed down to either a Z10 by EasyMile or the ARMA vehicle by Navya. The cars will carry passengers in three high-density locations as part of a trial to determine public perception, viability, and deployment capability in the country.
Cars that detect unforeseen risks
Of the many new technologies unveiled at the 2018 CES, perhaps the coolest, most innovative one is the joint effort between Ford and telecom chip maker Qualcomm as they continue to develop what they call a C2VX technology. This technology is marketed as an X-ray vision of sorts for your car that will virtually scan your surroundings in order to transmit and receive data from infrastructure like traffic lights or road signs up ahead. The technology will not only allow your car to communicate with other cars, but it can also alert you to potential hazards and ultimately make your car safer for driving. This type of technology is crucial in a country such as South Africa that has seen a recent growth in road deaths and overall traffic accidents.
Advanced in-vehicle technology
Deloitte has found that consumer desirability for basic and advanced automation is higher for South African consumers than in other top countries, with millennials being particularly receptive to assisted driving features. This sector of auto tech is focused on things such as increasing GPS capabilities and ensuring that driving is a less strenuous process. Honda’s Automated Network Assistant, for example, uses a heart rate monitor and face recognition to detect when you’re stressed in order to understand when to suggest that you take a break. The “assistant” can also take this data and make music suggestions based on your mood in order to decrease stress and help you relax.
The future of road tech in South Africa
As Africa as a continent continues to cultivate and nurture spaces in which top tech talent can grow and innovate, South Africa will also continue to become a hub for innovation and advancements in all area of technology. This directly relates to the automotive industry, as it continues to be disrupted and revolutionized by emerging smart technologies. Artificial intelligence looks to continue to dominate the scene with its wide-reaching capabilities to increase safety, introduce time and money-saving solutions and cut costs.