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Intel demos self-aware cars in research expo

Intel shows off car safety, power consumption and speech recognition technologies at showcase

Intel has shown off some of the latest fruits of its $6 billion research budget in a presentation at the Computer History Museum in California.

Highlights included a visual sensing application developed in association with Neusoft, designed for cars; vehicles equipped with cameras - and backed up with significant processing power - would be able to sense threats and either warn the driver or take action directly.

The vendor also demonstrated technology which allows parts of a computer - down to individual ports or components - to be powered down to conserve energy. Intel estimates that this can currently reduce power consumption by 30% in an idle or low-activity system, and hopes to increase this figure to 50%.

"Hundreds of researchers inside Intel, and our close work with other technology companies, scientists, universities and governments will bring dramatic change over the next five years," said Justin Rattner, chief technology officer and senior fellow at Intel.

"The sampling of projects on display here, and the doubling of our R&D investment over the past ten years, will speed scientific discovery, improve health care, better the environment, advance visual computing and bring a rich and wireless Internet experience from the device of your choice, anywhere in the world," he added.

Rattner pointed out that many real-world technologies and products have emerged as a result of Intel's more abstract research, including the Universal Serial Bus (USB) system, and Intel's latest line of ultra-low power Atom CPUs, which started life as project ‘Snocone' - a small operation aimed at creating low-power chips.

Intel also demonstrated speech-recognition technology designed for portable devices, as well as a system to detect changes in gait and walking to provide alerts for elderly or less-mobile people.

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