There has been a lot of buzz recently about self-driving cars. Apparently Google is fairly close to producing a vehicle that, using GPS, maps and radar, will be able to navigate the streets with little to no human intervention. For those of us who prefer to be in control, Porsche have been working on a driving technology that assists the driver but never takes over. The system is currently known as InnoDrive and it boasts a variety of impressive features that are guaranteed to get many tech and car enthusiasts talking. Porsche’s new system has two goals: to enhance driving experience and to save fuel. The system is able to draw upon a range of information from a navigation database such as the steepness of a road or the tightness of a corner, to adjusting the throttle for a more comfortable, safe and fuel-efficient journey. The InnoDrive system will constantly analyze the road during your journey by taking snapshots from this navigation database to judge the most appropriate speed at which to travel. Although many Porsche drivers may feel they don’t need this technology and would prefer full control of their vehicle, first-time Porsche drivers or learner drivers will benefit from a much more comfortable driving experience.
The Porsche InnoDrive system offers the driver three drive modes to choose from – Comfort, Efficient or Dynamic. These categories may seem straight forward, but the difference between the Comfort setting and the Dynamic setting are worth checking out. The Comfort setting will take the vehicle along at lower speeds and will also adjust the throttle around corners to make them effortless. This mode may be best for the inexperienced driver. The Dynamic setting is what may win back the old-fashioned types who’d rather not have technological interference when driving: this drive mode allows the car to take corners safely at much faster speeds than the average driver is able to perform, while still reducing the fuel consumption by almost 10%.
This new cruise control system from Porsche truly takes advantage of new digital technology. It incorporates data from a number of different sources. This effectively creates a 3D map with which the vehicle is able to navigate. The InnoDrive system selects data from traffic information, sensors, radars, cameras and its own internal GPS system to get a full picture of your journey ahead. Then it predicts what speed will be most efficient, and comfortable, based on the type of landscape being driven through. In this way the system makes sure the driver gets to their destination quickly and safely. For example, the system will know to avoid a traffic jam and suggest an alternative route; it could adjust the throttle during long, straight stretches to reduce fuel consumption; and it could even guide you quickly through a busy city-centre.
When will InnoDrive arrive?
Unfortunately, Porsche’s engineers are still in the process of testing and filtering their technology, and so it may be a few years before any of us being driven around by our cars. At the rate this sort of GPS navigation technology is developing, however, the pressure to jump ahead in the semi-autonomous car industry may see Porsche push ahead with their research. The InnoDrive system is an important move forward for those car enthusiasts who prefer control of their vehicle but are still concerned with safety and fuel consumption.