MWC2017: SEAT simulator shows what future driving may be like

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VW owned car company SEAT is just one of the many motor manufacturers at MWC in Barcelona unveiling their blueprint for the connected car future.

After configuring their mobile phone and creating their own SEAT ID, visitors to the SEAT stand at MWC2017 can sit in the Sitzkiste Simulator and experience what driving in the future might be like.

The simulator features a predictive assistant which helps drivers optimise their time, anticipating their needs and offering suggestions automatically according to the context, even before users settle into their car.

Real time traffic forecasts, en-route recommendations (restaurants, shops, services, etc.) and suggestions depending on driver schedule changes are just some of the onboard features planned.

SEAT has identified three future megatrends in the automotive industry (electrification, autonomous car and connected car) and wants to be a front-runner in vehicle connectivity.

One of the main areas that SEAT is working on is predictive navigation (as opposed to real-time navigation) which predicts traffic jams before they happen and suggests alternative routes.

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Says SEAT president Luca de Meo, pictured above:

“We spend an average of 2.5 years of our lives at the wheel, and during rush hour in Barcelona, driving time can go up by 50%. Predictive navigation can help solve this problem, but navigation systems don’t know this yet.”

The systems that the company is working on will cross-reference traffic data in real-time with factors such as school opening and closing times, forecasted traffic when major events are held or weather conditions.

However until the connected car become a reality, Seat is launching a dongle which will enable vehicles not adapted to support digital technologies to access latest generation connectivity services. Thanks to an OBD connection (On Board Diagnosis port), the Dongle securely extracts data from the car and sends it to the smartphone to be able to interact with the vehicle via an app.

One of the new spaces where SEAT will conduct research in mobility will be the SEAT-run Metropolis:Lab Barcelona, the Volkswagen Group’s sixth international research centre following the five IT Labs in Wolfsburg, Berlin, Munich and San Francisco. As announced by de Meo, it will become operational this April.

Approximately 20 specialists will work there during the first year, including engineers, developers and data scientists. They will develop software and algorithms related to mobility services using data obtained from vehicles, Barcelona as a Smart City and the movement of pedestrian traffic, with the goal of creating an easier, safer and more efficient relation between people and vehicles in urban environments.

Below: Fabian Simmer, SEAT’s Chief Digital Officer, talks about connected car technologies it’s working on including a car pool app that employees can use. They’ll even be able to start the engine using their phone too, he explains. 

Chris Price