Netflix in your self-driving car, will this be the future?

Volvo thinks you're going to be watching a lot of video when your car is driving itself, and it's working with Ericsson to create smarter streaming technologies to reliably get you Modern Family on your commute.

Netflix in your self-driving carOne of the key parts of Concept 26, Volvo's vision for what you'll be up to while the car handles the tedious driving bits, is an enormous video screen that flips up from the passenger side dashboard. The Swedish carmaker thinks many drivers will want to sit back, relax, and enjoy some Netflix during their commute.

That sounds great. However, not everyone has reliable, high-speed cellular connections for their entire commute. There might be sections with slower or unreliable connections, or even total dead spots. That would deliver a suboptimal viewing experience so Volvo has partnered with Swedish telecom provider Ericsson to build smarter streaming technologies specifically for autonomous cars.

Because the car knows roughly how long your drive home is, based on historical and current traffic information, the car will create a customized list of potential media, and cache enough of each show or movie to get you through any cellular dead zones.

"The car will know how long the journey needs to take and can optimize the route and driving control accordingly," says Anders Tylman, head of the Volvo Monitoring & Concept Center, the R&D lab working on the project. "With our future autonomous drive technology we will provide people with the freedom to choose the way they would like to commute."

In other words, if your car takes five minutes longer to get you from home to work but can drive autonomously the whole way (as opposed to a shorter route that requires you to actually drive), you might not mind the extra time if you can finish that episode of House of Cards.

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