Microsoft’s first self-driving car hits the road with Cortana riding shotgun

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

Home » Microsoft’s first self-driving car hits the road with Cortana riding shotgun

Self-driving cars represent the hottest trend in the automobile industry. Progress is already visible even if current models do not offer the safety level users demand. Luckily, major tech companies are making major research in this field with encouraging results. Microsoft has also joined their ranks and showed off its first smart car.

You would normally expect to hear about Microsoft in the computer tech news column, but we are pretty sure that soon the company’s name will be featured in major self-driving car news articles. The smart car project is part of Microsoft’s Intelligent Revolution Platform and represents a cooperative effort between Microsoft and engineering firm IAV.

Microsoft first introduced this car at CES 2016, and three months later we can see it on the roads. The company’s self-driving car bears a Volkswagen logo, and apart from the “Connecting highly automated driving” message on its hood, there is nothing extraordinary about on the outside.

From a technological point of view, the car can accomplish various tasks such as slowing down when pedestrians are near, stopping at red lights and of course, driving itself. The car can do all these things thanks to the “connected world” where everybody is wearing a device which is connected to the car. The car knows that pedestrians are close because they are wearing Microsoft Band devices and stops at the red lights thanks to the Wi-Fi signal the red light sends to the car.

Indeed, some of these connections seem too complicated for the real world as not everybody will wear Microsoft Bands. On the other hand, as the IAV representative explained in the video that smartphones could be used to provide the car with information about the location of pedestrians because everybody uses smartphones nowadays. Another possible solution would be for Microsoft to use the Kinect sensor in its self-driving cars. Other connections are quite feasible because red lights could be equipped with Wi-Fi emitting devices to let smart cars know they have to stop.

Cortana smart car Microsoft

The most interesting thing is the way Microsoft incorporated its technology into the car since Cortana is already used to access weather apps.  This is not the first time when the tech giant integrates its programs into a car, as Office has already been brought to your car. With this development, it is quite possible that Microsoft develops a version of Cortana especially for smart cars. Speaking of apps, developers could also create specific apps for self-driving cars to feed them various information such as the location of pedestrians.

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