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This gives me an idea for a new type of automatic transmission.

Since computers are getting smaller, faster, and more efficient, this could become a real possibility. A totally predictive unit probably wouldn't work, because there will always the chance for a computer to misinterpret what the user wants, so it would still have to be a responsive unit, but this could cut down the lag to a point where it feels instantaneous.

But basically, it would have cameras mounted inside the car and outside. If the car is approaching a hill, the computer would ready the transmission to downshift so that when it does hit the hill it will "instantly" downshift. The inside camera would use body language and cues (such as how the driver is sitting, where the driver is looking, changes in pupil size, etc.) to ready the transmission to respond to the most probable desired effect.

Say you are driving on the highway and approaching a slow car. The external camera would see that you are approaching the car, while the internal camera would pick up on body language cues, so the computer would predict that the driver is either planning to pass or not pass the car. If it determines you are about to pass the car in front, it would ready the transmission to downshift so even if you don't full out step on the gas pedal, it will still downshift to give you that extra acceleration.

Another scenario is it could determine how you want to drive. If you want to go on a nice, peaceful cruise out in the country, the internal cameras could sense the body language and make the transmission shifting "calmer." Then, say the driver suddenly decides that they want to get pulled into their seat a bit and guns it. By then, small changes in body language right before the driver guns it would have told the computer of the driver's intentions and the car would be ready to almost instantly respond.

Say the same cruise, with this time the driver doesn't decide to gun it, but they do need to accelerate 5 or 10 mph faster. The computer would gauge that the driver didn't want a fast downshift acceleration, and thus wouldn't downshift unless really pushed.

A driver's body language would also express if he wanted a more thrilling ride, and would be ready to shift through the gears faster than someone looking for a smooth ride.

This type of predictive-response system could really improve driver satisfaction as it would allow much more control over the car (while a purely predictive car would be dangerous since you would be trying to respond to the car trying to predict what you want); almost like it knows what you want to do before even you do. It could also increase gas mileage without sacrificing performance by reducing shifting when the driver didn't want it, and give the driver shifting when they do want it.

Increasing camera vision around the car could also improve safety, where it could predict the possibility of an emergency acceleration to avoid a situation, and would thus be more prepared to downshift and provide maximum acceleration. Other systems could tap into the cameras to provide warning or diagnostic messages about what is happening around you (ie car approaching quickly, or if the car close to you is demonstrating erratic behavior)
What are you smoking? you want 3200 cameras on the car to predict response? The weight alone would bog the car down as it is. Quit watching Star Wars.
 
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