Microsoft's car of the future [Update]

You've probably heard a lot about Google's driverless cars, but Microsoft is cooking up some cool automotive treats of their own. Kevin Dallas, the general manager of Microsoft Windows Embedded, spoke with USA Today to discuss some of their ideas.

Imagine a world where you can fold your car up when you're not using it and tuck it into a drawer, or when you can get in a little gaming while on the commute. Microsoft is working with automotive companies like Ford and BMW to make that world a reality, and they think they can get there by 2030.

Microsoft's plans for the car of the future are a lot more ambitious than anything Google has attempted, and definitely more on the conceptual side of things, and it goes way beyond driving itself.

By harnessing the power of the cloud, Dallas thinks that a car should be able to intelligently play music to suit the owner's tastes and mood, or maybe help you get in some last minute work on that report before work. Heck, why not go a step further and offer an immersive gaming experience? You're not driving, so distractions really don't matter. On the downside, though, there shouldn't be any traffic jams in this driverless future, so that means there'll be less time for gaming on the road.

Basically, your car could become a rolling 'thin client,' a cloud-connected computer capable of harnessing the power of the cloud to go far beyond the capabilities of today's smartphones or other mobile devices.

On the other hand, it's kind of hard to imagine such a model working outside of a well mapped urban environment, or alongside cars with actual drivers behind the wheel. Mixing computer systems programmed to obey every letter of the law with drivers who are capable of doing anything is a disaster waiting to happen, and in America, at least, there are still many out of the way roads, many of them not even paved.

Still, these are some pretty awesome concepts, and we can't wait to see them start to become reality. By the time they do they might not resemble what we're envisioning right now, but if one thing is for sure, that's that we'll be seeing a lot of really awesome technology coming to our cars in the near future.

What would you like to see in your next car (or the one after it)? Let us know below, and be sure to head over to our forums and join in on the discussion there.

Update 5/15/12: Representatives of the Microsoft Windows Embedded Team have been kind enough to point out to us that Kevin Dallas did not speak to USA Today at the CeBit show, but rather in a separate interview.

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16 Comments

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What would I like to see? A normal gas pedal connected directly to your air intake with a steel cable instead of the computerized gas pedal that has become commonplace (They do have issues, I've experienced it). Grease plugs so I can lubricate the joints of my vehicle like you could back in the 80s and early 90s. A transmission that doesn't require a special machine to drain, so I can flush my own transmission without spending thousands of dollars on something I will use once every 60,000 miles.

What I would like to see is a car that drivers are put back in control of. Less computers and less parts that are made to break and be be replaced.

The author has obviously never heard of the DARPA Urban Challenge. 30 some universities had working driverless cars that were able to navigate roads. Even without a map, a simple compass, known point of destination, and enough algorithms (we are talking about a cloud-connected computer after all) would be able to get you wherever you are going in a reasonable amount of time...

Enron said,
I'm not so sure about the driverless cars. As long as they're not Nvidia drivers, the cars should be fine.

Im okay with Ati Drivers, No tension of random BSOD

MWKZ said,
The problem is that when a blue screen appears while moving at 100/ KM per hour speed

That's like 60mph. Please. In America 100km/h isn't fast. Metric and their misleading 100. Let's see you at 100 mph. That's like what, 150kmh?

MWKZ said,
The problem is that when a blue screen appears while moving at 100/ KM per hour speed

BSoD? Really? That's the best you could do?.

sam232 said,
Apple's car of the future is just a VW Beetle with an Apple badge on it.

That comes with a proprietary gas nozzle, that you can only use at Apple Stores.

On a serious note though, I can see a lot of problems with driverless cars, especially to do with insurance, and people thinking they can still drive home after drinking.

metallithrax said,

and people thinking they can still drive home after drinking.

But you dont have to drive, I love this idea, but god help us when it has a BSOD @ 100kph on the motorway cos I will be too drunk to respond lol, when they look in the logs of the wreck it will say, Driver crash, how ironic in a driverless car.

sam232 said,

Apple's car of the future is just a VW Beetle with an Apple badge on it.


Actually ... it'll be a sleek gleaming white expensive supercar, with a brushed aluminium
dashboard and digital instrument panel. It'll be able to drive itself anywhere you want,
and have an artificial intelligence based computer system installed that you can have
a real conversation with. It'll cost just slightly more than a Bugatti Veyron.

NEW from Apple in 2020 .... introducing the "iKITT" . . . !

DJGM said,

Actually ... it'll be a sleek gleaming white expensive supercar, with a brushed aluminium
dashboard and digital instrument panel. It'll be able to drive itself anywhere you want,
and have an artificial intelligence based computer system installed that you can have
a real conversation with. It'll cost just slightly more than a Bugatti Veyron.

NEW from Apple in 2020 .... introducing the "iKITT" . . . !

and your warranty will be voided if you get it wet.