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Future Touch-sensing Cars will be a Lot Like KITT | Cypress Semiconductor

Future Touch-sensing Cars will be a Lot Like KITT

If you grew up in the ’80s, chances are you dreamed of being Michael Knight, driving around with KITT.

KITT, or Knight Industries Two Thousand, was an advanced supercomputer on wheels and the ultimate dream car with its seemingly endless variety of awesome, high-tech features.

Thanks to the advanced touch-sensing technology coming to our cars, the world of Knight Rider is not too far from becoming a reality!

Here are a few of the cool KITT-like features we can expect to see in the near-future.

Gesture Detection

KITT had a host of advanced features in its dashboard, and so will our future cars. All displays and controls will be touch-enabled and will recognize specific gestures based on driver preferences, limiting distractions and improving safety. These gesture-enabled features are already available in high-end luxury vehicles, and are expected to roll out in the mainstream within the near future.

Drivers will be able to roll the window up or down with a wave of the hand. Infotainment screen displays can be changed through a simple finger swipe. There’s no risk of accidentally triggering a switch — sensors are programmed to operate only when they recognize a specific gesture with the right timing.

Driver Identification

Just like KITT was able to identify Michael, cars will soon be able to automatically recognize the driver and adjust the seats, mirrors, temperature and audio settings according to preference. This technology is currently available in high-end vehicles, but will be mainstream soon. Imagine a world where you don’t have to readjust everything after a family member borrows the car!

This feature will also be useful for ride-sharing apps and shared autonomous vehicles, which will be able to verify the identity of the passenger to ensure they get into the right vehicle. No more embarrassing incidents of you trying to get into a car that looks just like yours in a crowded parking lot.

CEO Hassane El-Khoury used Cypress’ touch-sensing tech to incorporate driver identification in the CYManticore — the modified 1969 Ford Mustang only powers on when it identifies Hassane via fingerprint.

Advanced Biometrics

Goode Intelligence projects that the market for automotive-related biometric content will reach nearly $1 billion by 2023. Automotive companies are heavily investing in biometric features that will improve driver safety via heartbeat and facial recognition.

KITT was able to monitor Michael Knight’s vital signs through sensors in the driver’s seat, and future cars will perhaps be able to do the same! Biometric sensors integrated in the backrest, seat belt or steering wheel will detect the driver’s heart rate and alert the driver of any irregularities — and, thanks to the driver recognition features, they will call the doctor or play the driver’s favorite music to lower heart rate or stress.

In addition to detecting heart rate, cars will also be able to detect mood thanks to facial recognition technology. Cameras will look for signs of fatigue, while sensors in the steering wheel will assess the driver’s reactions. If the car senses changes in mood that could potentially cause any harm, it will slow down or park itself at the nearest rest area. Facial recognition features can also protect cars from burglars, preventing unauthorized drivers from starting the car and notifying the owner or authorities accordingly — just like KITT did in the first episode of Knight Rider.

From gesture detection to driver identification to heart-rate monitoring to facial recognition — the future of touch-sensing in vehicles is going to be AWESOME! At Cypress, we’re committed to providing the automotive solutions that will make your next car as functional, safe and cool as KITT. We’re excited to help solve the design challenges that will enable cars to identify and implement your preferences, detect gestures for safer driving, and monitor your health and mood through advanced biometrics.

Interested in learning more about our advanced automotive touch-sensing technology? Explore our solutions in-depth, and catch them in action via the real-world example of CYManticore.

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