What will your commute to work look like in a connected and automated future?

By intouch * posted 11-07-2018 16:48

By Peter Damen, CEO of Level 5 Design Pty Ltd

Imagine this possible scenario in 2040.

young-woman-reading-a-magazine-in-a-autonomous-car_-driverless-car_-self-driving-vehicle_-heads-up-display_-automotive-technology_-829197466_1257x838.jpegJessica wakes up a little earlier today as she intends to go into the office rather than working remotely, which she does at least several days per week. Jess lives in a seaside outer suburb, which is about 90 minutes' drive from the city. Jess and her family decided to live there for the lifestyle at the beach and because the distance isn’t really an issue for her as she has the choice to work from home in a virtual environment or to make good use of the commute time by being productive on the way in.

Because Jess and her family live in the outer suburbs, they still own one car but they have done away with their other car and now subscribe to an automated car sharing scheme based in their local neighbourhood.

Her husband Craig is using their own car today and will be dropping the kids at school. As Jess is getting ready for work she asks her digital home assistant, Susan, what cars are available for her commute to work this morning. Susan scans the available options in her local car sharing network, dismisses a van and large SUV, and provides three options to Jess based on her previously stated personal preferences. Susan recommends a medium sized electric Infinity based on what Jess selected for the same trip last time. Jess accepts the recommendation, books the vehicle for 7.30am by voice signature, and continues to get ready for work.

Jess ends up getting ready a little early and so asks Susan to summon the vehicle 10 minutes before time. The Infinity starts itself up at the central neighbourhood wireless charging park, which is situated 1km down the road, and begins its trip to her house, which takes about 90 seconds. Jess kisses her kids, goes upstairs to grab her sunglasses, collects her stuff and then walks outside to the kerb. In the time it has taken her to get outside the car has arrived and is waiting for her. It automatically opens the door for her and she gets in and sits down in one of the rear seats. Jess gives a hand gesture and a work table extends from the side panel, where she puts her i-device and other stuff. When she is comfortable she gives Susan a voice command for the car to take her to work. The car verbally confirms the destination, closes the doors, gives a warning alert, initiates the biometrics, sets the climate control to Jess’s preferences, starts itself up and then slowly moves away from the kerb. It drives down the street at a safe speed and heads off to its destination being careful of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. The car is connected to the cloud and other connected vehicles and devices, so knows the fastest and most direct route. It also has a full set of 3D sensors so can detect objects that are not connected to the cloud nor in plain sight including older model human driven vehicles.

futuristic-vehicle-and-graphical-user-interface_GUI__-intelligent-car_-connected-car_-Internet-of-Things_-Heads-up-display_HUD__-829192098_1258x838.jpegWhile the car drives Jess into town she finishes a presentation and dictates a few messages to clients and her team members. As the car arrives at her work, it notifies her digital work assistant, who orders her a flat white coffee at the office robot barrister on her floor. The car drops her off in the large drop-off zone under the port cochere right outside the front door of her building. The car automatically opens the door for her and waits for her to depart. As Jess goes to get out of the car Susan notifies her that she has left her i-device on the seat. Jess quickly grabs it and then walks towards the entrance. The car moves away from the kerb and heads for a nearby wireless charging park on the outskirts of the city. When it gets there it connects to the car sharing company hub and uploads data on its current health stats including battery life, tyre pressures, etc.

The work day is a very full one, so Jess is a little later to leave work than normal. As she is packing up her things she commands Susan to summon her shared car, which it does. An algorithm calculates that it will take Jess approximately five mins to get downstairs and outside to the kerb pickup zone. The traffic signals are coordinated and linked to the cloud and so the car AI accurately predicts that it is likely to be a four minute trip from the wireless charging park to her building. Hence, the car waits one minute before departing. Susan notifies the building central AI command and as Jess enters the lift lobby it recognises her biometrics and keys an elevator to come for her to take her downstairs. As Jess exits the elevator and walks outside, the automated car arrives at the kerb in the extended pick-up zone. As Jess approaches the car it recognises her from her i-device and biometrics, and automatically opens the door for her. Jess gets in and commands Susan to cue the car to take her home. The car sets everything to Jess’s preferences, seamlessly connects her i-device to the car, starts playing her favourite song, then gives a warning alert, turns on the ignition and moves away from the kerb.

Recognising that Jess is later to leave work than normal, and that in those situations she often orders take-away food for the family, Susan presents a list of take-away options for her to order and pick-up en route. Jess makes a choice by voice command and a notification is given by her digital conversational home assistant at her house for her family to hear and see. After placing her order, a confirmation number and order total flashes on the heads up display on the windshield, in addition to an updated estimate of travel time to the restaurant and home factoring in the current traffic and weather conditions.

woman-using-smart-phone-in-autonomous-car_-self-driving-vehicle_-autopilot_-automotive-technology_-692832546_1303x807.jpegThe restaurant is located in a Shopping Customer Experience Centre, that features integrated automated valet parking and car sharing drop off-pick up zones for zero emission vehicles. 

After responding to a few messages, Jess is a little tired and drops off to sleep. The car detects her sleeping state from its biometric sensors and adjusts the climate control, lighting and seat inclination to suit, and then continues on its journey.

As the car approaches the restaurant it readjusts the seat, climate control and lighting and sends Jess audible alerts until the biometric sensors assess she has woken. Susan also sends a notification to the restaurant that they are only a few minutes away. Jess wakes up and gets ready to collect her food order. The car enters the Customer Experience Centre pick-up zone and the food is already waiting for her. Jess notices a product on one of the Customer Experience Centre advertising screens and asks Susan to make a note for her to look at that again later on the large car seat back display, on the way home once they are travelling again.

Once Jess collects the food and gives a command to leave for the home, the car departs automatically once again. She also asks Susan to send a note to her digital conversational home assistant letting her family know that she has picked up dinner, that her kids should set the table, and that she is approximately 20 minutes away. As Jess approaches her home in her shared car, the outside lights turn on and the car pulls in to the kerb directly outside her front gate. The door opens automatically and Jess exits with the food. Once she has entered the house the door automatically locks and the car pulls away and heads off back to the wireless charging park in the neighbourhood, ready for its next rental later that night by another person in the local community.  

About the author

Peter_Damon.pngPeter Damen is the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Level 5 Design Pty Ltd. Peter is considered a national and international expert in emerging transport technologies, automated vehicles, parking and traffic management and operations, road safety and future transport planning. He has been involved in some of Australia’s largest transport infrastructure projects and he has an industry network that extends across the globe. Peter believes that innovation is the key to Australia’s future – in making better investment decisions and accomplishing more for the community. Contact: Peter Damen at or via 0410 438 084.