Think your spouse is needy? Your car is going to catch up soon.

Even self-driving cars will need to get your attention if road conditions warrant.

the new idrive controller 16 750x499

BMW's new iDrive gesture recognition technology allows a driver to swipe their hand to control functionality.

Credit: BMW

Advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS), such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, will grow from a $2.4 billion business today to $102 billion in 2030, according to a new report.

The 26% annual growth rate that ADAS is expected to achieve over the next 15 years will also change the way drivers interact with their vehicles, according to the report from Lux Research titled, "The $102 Billion Opportunity for Partial Automation for Cars."

As ADAS technology advances, drivers and passengers will be moved away from using knobs and touch screens to voice activation, facial recognition, biosensors and gesture recognition to control vehicle functionality. For example, BMW's next-generation iDrive human-machine interface includes gesture control functions to supplement the traditional iDrive knob in the central console and voice recognition offered in the current system.

Consumers' perceptions of what their vehicle is will also change, from simple transportation to a mobility platform that resembles more of a moving office space or even a gaming platform while you're in transit.

"Our interface or connection with the car will change. You'll no longer have to spend the duration of the drive focused on the road," said Lux Research analyst and lead study author Maryanna Saenko. "The driver will inherently be more distracted by what's going on around them in the car, so how do you interface with the car?"

As vehicles take over more of the driving responsibility, they'll also have to monitor the actions of drivers and passengers more closely, to ensure they're able to react if road conditions change.

For example, inward-facing cameras and biosensors located in seats or steering wheel will be able to determine if occupants are paying attention to the road around them, or reading emails or participating in a Skype meeting.

"Are they holding the steering wheel? And it not, the car will try to alert them. If it can't, it may pull over to the side of the road," Saenko said.

Haptic technology, which creates the illusion of touch by applying vibrations, resistance or other forces, will allow vehicles to communicate with drivers like some video game controllers can today. For example, if traffic becomes congested or roadwork appear ahead, the vehicle's steering wheel may vibrate.

"A lot of driver safety features will focused around [the vehicle] paying attention to the environment around it and then notifying the driver if something is happening," Saenko said.

Sensors placed in seat fabric may also be able to alert first responders to some vital signs before they reach the scene of an accident.

Fully autonomous vehicles, however, won't arrive by 2030, hampered mostly by regulations and a current lack of prototypes, Saenko said.

Partial autonomy features -- like self-driving on the highway -- will be slow to roll out over the next 10 years, before growing to a $22.7 billion market by 2030.

Expect that sticker price to change too

"ADAS technologies open the automotive market opportunity to new players from the software and hardware worlds, with each aiming to create as much value as possible by consolidating capabilities and offering platforms that enable 'plug-and-play' autonomy," Saenko said.

Google car

A LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) laser atop Google's self-driving Lexis prototype car. The LIDAR technology creates a 3D image of the area around a vehicle for the autonomous computer system to use in driving.

Automation will also add to the base price of vehicles. Enhanced driver-assist features will add $527 to the price of new cars in 2020. Gradually, though, economies of scale will come into play and by 2030 the enhanced features will add $481 per car. The bulk of the additional cost arises from software -- $367 in 2020, and $220 per car in 2030 -- while connectivity will account for $160 per car in 2020 and $261 in 2030, according to Lux Research.

According to the Lux Research report, internal and external vehicle sensors will account for 23% of the $102 billion ADAS market, while the connectivity and apps segment takes a higher 28% share; software to coordinate sensor interoperability and enable critical safety operations will claim a 25% share.

Enhanced driver assist has the best opportunity to succeed. Cars with basic driver-assist features, like parking assist, will cash in early, with a potential $29.6 billion market by 2022. However, enhanced driver-assist features -- such as adaptive cruise control and lane merge -- offer the largest opportunity to automakers and tier-one manufacturers and will be worth $73 billion in 2030.

LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection And Ranging, is a geospatial recognition function that's already being piloted in vehicles from BMW, Mercedes and even Google. LIDAR uses a spinning laser to paint a high-resolution 3D image of the area immediate around the car to aid the vehicle's internal computer in automated driving.

LIDAR image Infoterra

A LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) image that reveals to an autonomous driving computer the conditions of the roadway around a vehicle.

While most automakers have LIDAR on their list of hopeful features, it's currently too expensive for mass market use, with a price tag of around $75,000. Automakers are hoping mass production will eventually drive prices down.

"LIDAR is sufficiently important enough that the prospects of the costs coming down seem viable at this point," Saenko said.

This story, "Think your spouse is needy? Your car is going to catch up soon." was originally published by Computerworld.

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