If you’ve ever read a P. G. Wodehouse novel and thought “I wish I could have a valet, but, like, a robot valet,” then you might be in luck in the coming years. Bentley is developing plans for holographic butlers to be integrated into the cabins of their vehicles. If it all works out, you could have a digital Jeeves chauffeuring you about sooner than you’d think.
A holographic butler would simply be the next step in the automotive industry’s increasing focus on luxury vehicles and autonomous driving. There are no set details as to the AI’s obligations and capabilities, but the general assumption so far is that it would play a role similar to Siri’s, offering advice and recommendations, while adding a human element to autonomous driving. Some people continue to be wary about self-driving cars, and it looks like Bentley’s holographic butler would be designed to ease some of that worry and prove that this AI is quite intelligent enough to be driving you safely around.
Despite how futuristic this all sounds, Bentley’s Director of Design Stefan Sielaff seems confident that virtual butlers, or something similar, is not only a possibility but an inevitability. “In the future,” he says, “our cars will of course feature yet-to-be-invented connectivity and technologies – perhaps a virtual butler, for example – that enhance the lives of our luxury millennial customers.”