GENEVA — The European Broadcasting Union’s Digital Radio Summit 2020 in February focused on possible future models for radio and audio entertainment.
One of the key topics was the future role of integrated radio and multimedia systems in the connected car.
During that event, Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU’s director of technology and innovation, presented the keynote speech. He emphasized the relevance of in-car audio content, both linear and not, which would result from the proper blending of broadcast and IP feeds integrated through appropriate, next generation system and user interface.
Radio World later spoke to Arcidiacono about how he imagines the car will look 20 years from now. He said he imagines himself sitting behind the wheel, finding himself in a type of semi-mobile living room in which the multimedia system welcomes him and understands his present mood.
According to Arcidiacono, the system will know that he has been in the office and so it’ll begin by providing him with the information he is most interested in, followed by a carefully defined progression of content depending on what he’s most interested in.
The driver will then be able to prompt his or her car with something like: “Well, that’s enough news for now. How long is it to get home?” The car will answer the question and then start playing music again based on the mood of the driver as well as any passengers.
“Let me explain,” said Arcidiacono. “I lived in Paris for 30 years and I believe the perfect music to listen to in the car in the French capital is jazz, because the city has a jazz spirit, and people who walk on the street walk with a jazz rhythm,” he said. “This is not necessarily the case elsewhere, so the system would offer an immersive experience that is finely balanced between mood and surroundings.”
On the other hand, if the system understands that his actual mood is tired, maybe he will expect it to play something relaxing like Claude Debussy’s “Moonlight sonata”
In 20 years the car will most likely be autonomous, so there will be no worry about driver distraction. The system will also most likely be able to offer multiple content genres, including visual ones, but always in accordance with the specific situation.
“It’ll be a matter of ‘bien-être’ as the French say,” adds Arcidiacono. “An experience able to offer maximum comfort, and also allow the user to make or receive phone calls.”
In his mind, the system will be able to autonomously detect which calls he will accept and those he won’t, and automatically manage and sort them. In some cases it’ll also be able to answer the phone calls or messages Arcidiacono receives, because it would have learned from him and will know how to appropriately respond to the most common messages and calls.
The idea is that the system will allow the driver to continue living that experience of well-being without interruption thanks to the intelligent behavior of the car and entertainment system.
He continued: “Maybe the system will also be able to understand that I don’t want to go home a certain evening, and it’ll subsequently suggest that it take me to a favorite restaurant.”
The car will also share the same proposal with his wife, who at that moment is in a different place and in a different car. If they both accept, the two cars will bring them to the chosen restaurant where they’ll meet at a table already reserved for them, he suggested.
If the first-choice restaurant did not have available space, the system will take care of offering a suitable alternative, again in line with their preferences and the mood of that moment.
“Or it could be that, for example, after leaving work I am going directly to a cultural event instead of heading directly home” Arcidiacono continued. The system will understand that the person is going to that particular event, and then during the ride will provide him or her with an overview of what they’ll see and hear, giving expert reviews so they can make the most of their outing.
This integration between information, entertainment and education, which has always been the three fundamental pillars of broadcasting, will therefore continue in the future. Arcidiacono sees them as increasingly integrated with each other.
However, if at a certain point the driver decides they don’t want the assistance, the person can simply say something like: “Leave me in peace because I want to think and have quiet time,” The car will then understand.
Speaking about the user interface, Arcidiacono thinks most of the buttons will have disappeared. “Maybe there will be only one button to turn everything off if the driver gets nervous, because being in control is also a natural feeling. A big red button to push to say to the system ‘Stop it!’ might be useful,” he concluded.