With driverless cars and voice technology, you could be the new Knight Rider

The future we watched on TV in the 1980s has arrived

In the 1980s, perhaps the coolest concept for petrol heads was K.I.T.T. – Knight Industries Two Thousand, the incredible (and intelligent) car driven by Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) in the series Knight Rider.

  • Who didn’t marvel at the ability of driver and car to interact by voice?
  • And how about the artificial intelligence of K.I.T.T.?
  • A car, able to talk, make decisions, and help its ‘master’ upon a voice command?

Of course, back then, the internet wasn’t even a thing. Who’d have thought we would soon be able to speak to our loved ones via video phone – never mind one that fits in your pocket, holds all your data, and on which you could read a whole library, watch films, and listen to hundreds of music albums?

Today, that futuristic vision of driverless cars is here. Soon, we’ll all be driving K.I.T.T. Manufacturers are rushing to get the software into your vehicles. But it’s not all thanks to smartphones that you could be the new Knight Rider.

Google, Siri, and Alexa ­– your in-vehicle friend

Smartphones are great devices. But they have failed to prepare us for a hands-free world. Think about it. Until very recently, everything you did on your smartphone was touch and swipe. Your whole interaction with technology depended on being able to touch it. Touch, tap, swipe. Well, no that is changing.

Over the last couple of years, smart devices have started to be smart. Thanks to Google, Siri, and Alexa, we’re getting used to talking to technology. We’re also getting used to technology being smarter than us. Alexa and Siri know how the weather is anywhere in the world. We only need to ask them. They can find our favourite music, locate an audiobook we always wanted to ‘read’, and help us with our work. All seamlessly and fast.

In-car entertainment is being transformed, too. You thought those switches and levers on your steering wheel were freeing and safer. Now there’s no need to get physical at all. You have fewer distractions. You can concentrate on the road ahead while asking your car to play your favourite tunes.

Navigation by voice is here

Now that we’re getting used to having technology do our bidding when we ask it to, in-car navigation systems are tuning in. Forget the instructions to never play with your Sat Nav while driving. If you decide that you want to take a different route or stop off to eat on the way to your destination, you simply tell your Sat Nav to do so.

Garmin already has voice control, but now it has linked with Alexa. Now, with Garmin Speak, you get hands-free access to Amazon Alexa. Simply ask Alexa to redirect you. “Alexa, ask Garmin to take me to…”. But with Alexa, of course, you get to do a whole bunch of other things while you’re driving. If you suddenly remember you need milk, add it to your shopping list. You can check your diary, find out what the weather is up ahead, or even order a takeaway to arrive when you get home.

So, in-car technology is getting smarter and safer. Yet ordering a takeaway is hardly the stuff that wowed us in the 80s with Michael Knight. K.I.T.T. was like this whole intelligent metallic being. Able to make its own decisions and work hand in hand with the driver. Well, your own personal K.I.T.T. may be closer than you think.

Google Assistant – transforming your car into K.I.T.T.

Google Assistant gives you the ability to interact with your car by voice. It does this by linking up via a small device called AutoPi. This plugs into your car, providing 4G connectivity. You can speak to your car from anywhere. You can log in via any device, and remotely set up your system.

Track your car from wherever you are

With built-in GPS, you can continuously track your car. If it moves, you’ll know about it. Of course, the next step is for your car to alert you to it being hit, or an attempt to steal it. Imagine your phone ringing, and you pick up to hear “Hi, this is your car speaking. I’m currently thwarting an attack on the driver’s door.”

Cool, huh? But now, take it one step further.

Remote control of your car’s functionality

So, you get an alert from your car. You now have a choice. Do you call the cops, or do you take immediate action? How about telling your car to start up, or lockdown? What about a recorded message signalling to the thief that the police have been called? Or how about your car taking off, and coming to you?

Remote control your car and make your life easier

You could have your car start up, and simply drive away from the thieves. A great theft avoidance system, now that driverless trucks and cars are getting close. But there are other uses of remote control, too. Let’s say it’s torrential rain outside. You’re about to finish work, and it’s a ten-minute walk to the open-air car park. Forget that!

Simply tell your car that you’re about to leave work, and you want to be picked up undercover at the front of your office. It will drive to you.

As the 1980s TV series always began…

“Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless in a world of criminals who operate above the law.”

Without his K.I.T.T., Michael Knight simply wouldn’t have been the same person. You may not be championing the cause of the innocent, or fighting big-time criminals, but you’ll feel like a lone crusader taking on (and beating) a dangerous world with your own personal K.I.T.T.

To stay up to date with what’s happening with vehicle technology, and to get the best tyre service in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you and your family safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.