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The car learns from the horse

Mobility thought backwards

According to forecasts, the car of tomorrow will not only involve the use of new, lighter materials or other forms of propulsion, but also the continued rise of vehicle intelligence. "Electric and automated: The long-term goal is the autonomous car, whose driver can devote himself to other things during the journey than controlling the vehicle," writes the Association of German Engineers (VDI). Incidentally, the same words can also be found in the Disney documentary from 1958. Is it because of the technology that this vision only now promises to become reality?

In the meantime, there are at least multifunctional cameras and radar sensors that record the car's surroundings. Coupled with navigation systems and in constant contact with the vehicles in front and behind, the autonomously steering and driving car is now not only conceivable but also feasible.

Years ago, Dr. Ralf Bergholz, head of electronics research at Volkswagen AG, coined the term "horse intelligence". It refers to the intelligence that was lost in the transition from carriage to motorised carriage: "In the past, even if the coachman wasn't paying attention, the horse trotted dutifully along the road, avoided the ditch, avoided obstacles and never collided with the carriage in front of him," says Dr. Bergholz. (Source: Zukunftsinstitut GmbH, Frankfurt am Main)


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