RoboCar from ZMP one more step for AI: Automotive Intelligence

When I saw this photo, I couldn’t help but think that it was cute. After all, it is a car with a cute little robot head on it. I started to have Speed Buggy flashbacks.

As it turns out, this car is part of a serious car robotics platform study by a Tokyo-based robotics company ZMP. Apparently, these people believe that cars of the future will be intelligent vehicles, able to move and interact with each other independently.

They may not be able to drive around on auto-pilot like Knight Rider, but they can communicate with each other, which will allow scientists of the future to figure out how to avoid traffic jams. These robot cars will probably have some other terrific features like parking automatically and such.

So, are we looking at a future where the cars are these robots? I’m not certain whether I want my next automobile to have a giant head on its hood, even if it has the CCD stereo camera, range of sensors, and infrared laser system like these Robocars from ZMP.

Still, the idea that cars can be intelligent, even semi-intelligent, fascinates me. I really don’t see how having smarter cars could prevent traffic jams. You would think that drivers would simply avoid them. That, or make the cars so they could fly.