In-car entertainment will change the way we experience travel.
In-car entertainment will change the way we experience travel.
( Source: ©Moose -

ENTERTAINMENT The Future of entertainment in autonomous vehicles

Author / Editor: Jamie Thomson / Florian Richert

As we edge ever-closer to Level 5 autonomy, drivers will soon find themselves with free time in their cars. Instead of driving, we’ll be looking for ways to stay entertained during our journey.

According to Deloitte, by 2030, we will consume more than 52 billion hours of media content in our cars, annually. And on public transport, we could consume around 23 billion hours of additional media content.
In the UK, drivers spend almost 4 years of their life at the wheel, so it’s unsurprising that in-car infotainment market is set to be worth $54.8 billion by 2027.
So, what will the future of in-car entertainment look like exactly?

5G streaming and immersive experiences

As far back as 2016, Volvo and Netflix announced plans for in-car entertainment in Volvo’s Concept 26 model. Featuring a large retractable screen on the dashboard, passengers could stream video throughout their journey – even without an internet connection.

Similarly, in 2017, Honda announced that its Dream Drive virtual reality prototype featured DreamWork’s animated movie Trolls. Passengers were immersed in a virtual reality experience as the car moved.

As such, we’d expect 5G streaming services to be a standard fixture in the driverless cars of tomorrow. Digital video providers will have new opportunities to broadcast through HD touchscreens, potentially incorporating augmented reality.

When combined with Simultaneous Localizations and Mapping (SLAM) technologies, broadcasters will be able to provide tailored content, based on the length of travel. For example, a 10-minute journey might be well-suited to a news round-up show, whereas a two-hour journey could warrant an immersive feature-length film.

Interactive mobile gaming

Mobile gaming, combined with augmented and virtual reality could change our car journeys entirely. Imagine playing a game that interacts with your surrounding environment, including other vehicles in your vicinity. The idea may seem like science fiction, but the reality is underway.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have designed multiplayer games that people in autonomous vehicles can play with others in nearby self-driving cars. A VR driving simulator renders the car interior, outside environment, and road with artificially controlled cars and intelligent computer-controlled players. The result is an immersive gaming experience.
AR-based mobile gaming could also be incorporated into public transport, creating new revenue streams for transport authorities and advertisers alike. Ad-supported gaming could be used to encourage passengers to upgrade their gaming experiences.

Mobile classrooms

What better time to further your education than on a long journey? In the future, the inside of a car could be designed to support concentration and learning in the form of a mobile classroom.
SLAM technologies could be used to tailor learning programmes to the length of a journey to maximise the learner’s productivity.
US startup Kajeet has created a platform called SmartBus, a mobile classroom for school buses that allows students to complete online assignments while travelling. Using 4G LTE connectivity, the platform keeps students safe and helps them concentrate, while administrators make use of the data.
Of course, mobile classrooms won’t be exclusively reserved for students. Focus-centric experiences can be used by workers, who want to make the most of their commutes. For workers who want to further their career, mobile classrooms could present the ideal opportunity to learn new skills.

In-car retail experiences

In Europe, mobile shoppers account for 60% of all internet shoppers. As such, self-driving cars present retailers with an opportunity to promote their products on journeys. Technology companies are already exploring the possibilities of in-car retail by enabling vehicle payment and order capabilities.
For example, tech company Telenav, saves drivers time and money by enabling payment and order-ahead capabilities in cars. By combining location-based services with advertising capabilities, drivers can order and pay for items before they arrive at their destination.
When merged with AR and VR, in-car shopping could become an immersive experience, with virtual store tours and holographic shopping assistants making recommendations while you browse.

In summary

The emergence of autonomous vehicles will have a significant impact on in-car entertainment. A range of media companies will have new revenue opportunities and passengers will experience travel like never before.
When drivers can remove all attention from the road, viewing platforms can provide entertainment in the form of movies, gaming, classrooms and shopping. When combined with AR and VR, in-car entertainment experiences will be immersive, making our journeys feel quicker.