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The new Porsche Panamera is emblematic of how tech should partner with humans

The right car tech makes the mundane nonexistent.
By mauraqz
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

You leave for work ready to tackle your commute, only to realise there is significant traffic ahead. Then you soon notice that roadwork causes traffic to slow for miles. As you finally find a place to park your car, you’re reminded that you’re low on fuel. Another task to complete on your journey home.

Anyone who drives regularly is familiar with these routine issues. But what if a car could predict each of these issues ahead of time and do the work for you?

The new Porsche Panamera aims to do just that with InnoDrive, a next generation cruise-control, and a new consolidated system, called Porsche Connect. Using radar and video sensors, InnoDrive optimises your speed based on knowledge it gains from its prediction horizon of up to 3 km. Using this information the system can detect road conditions and subsequent speed changes before they come into view for the driver. The system then automatically adjusts the gearshift strategy and speed for more intelligent driving. The Panamera also learns your route preferences to adapt to who you are as a driver on any given day.

Through the use of cloud integration, drivers can login to the Porsche Connect system to have highly personalised interactions with the Panamera. These can range from providing geo-specific recommendations, such as nearby restaurants based on preferences inferred from Google, or automatically displaying your appointments for the day and then navigating you to each one on time. The car will also alert you to open parking spaces and nearby fuel stations. Drivers or passengers can furthermore sync their social media network of choice to browse newsfeeds or post from the car without ever having to touch their device or take their eyes off of the road.

By 2035, there could be as many as 12 million fully autonomous vehicles on the road. Such predictions might make it easy to lose sight of how consumers will actually adopt these new systems of mobility into their everyday lives. Unlike many car companies though, Porsche is staying committed to creating technology with the driver top of mind. Where other brands are simply letting trends guide them, Porsche is differentiating itself by leveraging what it knows about its customers: that they enjoy the experience of driving, and are not in a rush to hand the wheel over to a robot.

As a result, Porsche is designing cars with this ethos in mind. Rather than completely replacing the driver, engineers are thinking about how best to enhance the overall driving experience while minimising the inevitable pain points that come with hitting the road. The Panamera takes the mundane aspects of driving and makes them either enjoyable or nonexistent.

The introduction of technology into the cockpit requires a delicate balance. You have to offer enough features to quench the thirst of tech-savvy customers, but not so many as to detract from the driving experience. “The reason people want to drive our cars is that they are best in class,” explains Paul Kearns, Manager of Porsche Connect for Porsche Cars Great Britain. “These services are designed to make the boring things about owning the car easier so that you can spend more time concentrating on driving and enjoying your car.”

Porsche Connect, InnoDrive, Night Vision Assist, and Traffic Jam Assist (a partial-autonomous mode for inching along in gridlock), comprise what Kearns calls a “backbone” of the car. These technologies are all meant to keep the emphasis on Porsche’s core values: a passion for driving and an intimate understanding of its customers’ needs.

While we could soon see impressive technology like augmented reality windshields taking over our cars, Porsche is betting on the fact that more immediately, people will simply want to choose when and how they drive. In the future, the most effective technologies will partner with humans—not completely replace them. Where the Panamera differentiates itself is in its ability to let drivers choose when they let technology do the work for them. In this way, the Panamera is already a car of the future with a bespoke experience emblematic of the auto tech to come.

Explore the Porsche Connect technology in the all-new Panamera.

Notes:
Fuel consumption Panamera Turbo: Combined in l/100 km (mpg) 9.4 – 9.3 (30.1 – 30.4); CO2 emissions in g/km 214 – 212. The mpg and CO2 figures quoted are sourced from official EU regulated tests, provided for comparability purpose and may not reflect your actual driving experience.

This article was produced on behalf of Porsche by Quartz creative services and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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