This is Microsoft's vision of the future 'intelligent car'

Microsoft has a long-standing history of pushing boundaries in the automobile sector and that includes its close connection with Ford. The company has built and refined it's Sync in-car infotainment center and has helped with many other aspects of automotive design over the years.

If you were wondering how Microsoft sees the future of the automobile evolving with the needs of the consumer, take a look at the video above. The video which includes Tanner Foust, the host of the US Top Gear TV show and Pranish Kumar, who heads up the Windows Embedded Automotive team that is focused on developing the future of Microsoft’s automotive technologies. The video talks about how the group sees the intelligent car evolving over the next few years and how these implementations can improve our vehicles. 

The group foresees that computers in the car will begin to focus more broadly on all aspects of the vehicle, instead of only infotainment and a few basic stats about the vehicle. The focus will turn towards creating more efficient cars by providing the driver with everything from tips to help improve fuel economy to over-the-air updates to fine tune the engine. 

Automotive manufactures are constantly tuning and tweaking engine settings within the cars computer system and being able to provide these updates on the fly, as opposed to when you visit the dealership, could help manufactures improve fleet performance across the board instead of only with new models that hit the show-room floor.

We will be curious to see how long it takes for these features to arrive but knowing that Microsoft already has a close relationship with manufactures, our guess is that we won't have to wait all that long.

Source: Microsoft

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Touch screens in cars are the most idiotic feature to be added to cars in years, and I can't believe the FCC didn't put a stop to it. Touch screens require you to look at them in order to use them. Needless to say, that is a huge safety hazard.

It's the whole reason console buttons have unique grooves/contours; so that you can figure out which one you're touching without having to look at them. It's the same reason controls on steering wheels were added more recently.

It just boggles the mind why someone thought adding touch screens to the dash that was a good idea.

Because many car owners are incapable of understanding non-touch interfaces. You can find iDrive hating circlejerk on any forum about cars.

People want their cars to do a lot more these days. e.g. maps - the only interface that works well is touch to interact with the map.

But the standard HVAC controls should never be on any touchscreen, which is why iDrive is such a huge failure. In the end, these are features designed to sell you the car, not to make it more usable.

The easiest and most natural interface is voice recognition, but due to stupid US laws the voice commands are gimped and made intentionally complex. Combine voice input with a HUD display, neither of which are expensive or hard to do, and you have the best possible in car system.

If the trend is moving towards a more connected and touch centric control hub for the car, I would for sure rather a company like Microsoft be working on it. Car companies do not invest in the right designers or tools for this and you end up with a sloppy, hard to use touch system. Microsoft has interface designers that recognize this.

over-the-air updates to fine tune the engine.

Mistakes happen though and you could end up with tens of thousands of disabled cars, It could be used as a remote kill switch, another thing you could use it for is to kill the used car business by not allowing ownership to be transferred.

RommelS said,
Now if only Microsoft can make Windows Phone work with Entune properly.

I am also waiting for Entune support. Will be nice if/when it happens.

They're not always inferior. The American version of The Office and Who's Line are miles better than their British originals. But then again, humor is subjective; especially across cultures.

I agree about Who's Line. But everything else is worse. Some are just embarrassingly bad (Ab Fab, IT Crowd, Spaced, Men Behaving Badly, Cold Feet) theres no denying that most are clearly bad copies.

Wyn6 said,
Wait. There was an American version of IT Crowd?

Apparently almost. It was never aired, but you can see the unbroadcasted pilot episode. I just watched a few bits... looks like it's exactly the same script as the UK version's pilot episode.... with different actors, except Moss.