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Audi knows millenials will have to deal with self-driving boredom

Audi knows millenials will have to deal with self-driving boredom
From Engadget - July 13, 2017

The automaker teamed up with the Fraunhofer Society to build a "driving" (it's actually more just sitting) simulator to conduct tests on subjects to see how they react to different stimuli. The simulation recreated the feeling of riding in a car while it drives through city streets at night using large projections on the wall while displaying information on the "windows" of the vehicle.

The researchers then studied the brain activity of 30 millennial subjects from Hamburg, San Francisco and Tokyo as they were shown ads and social media updates and asked to perform random tasks. Unsurprisingly, the EKGs of the riders showed increased arousal (get your head out of the gutter) when bombarded with information and asked to execute certain activities.

While this seems like a "well, duh" moment, the reality is that automakers need to figure out what people will do in their car when they stop driving. Both Audi and BMW are already trying to figure that out, because it's not like any other situation we currently encounter. Public transit is, well, public; driving with friends is a social experience. A single rider in an automated vehicle day after day, that's something new.

As a luxury automaker looking toward the future and wanting to continue to sell cars, it's important for Audi to determine what type of environment it will create -- even if some of those potential customers will never actually be behind the wheel.

Autonomous cars will help us reclaim lost time. Audi said that on average people spend 50 minutes per day behind the wheel. What will we do with that time? Will we watch TV, work, connect to social media or something completely different? That's what Audi's trying to find out and in the process making sure it does not create an annoying environment.

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