Tencent has released a new version of mega-app WeChat that’s specifically designed for drivers — and it might be a step towards ending texting and driving forever.
Tencent’s latest foray into transportation services features no floating highways, flying cars or sexy anime girl holograms. Rather, the upgraded version of the ubiquitous messaging service is tailor-made for drivers, and aims to directly combat the dangers of texting and driving, the leading cause of adolescent death worldwide.
New Chinese Car Has a Sexy Holographic Anime Girl for a Virtual Assistant
The new driver-oriented version of WeChat is the brainchild of Tencent and State-backed Chinese carmaker China Chang’an Automobile Group. The pared down app foregoes the full functionality of its big brother in order to offer a hands-free, vehicle-integrated experience — voice recognition and a button on the steering wheel allow drivers to send or receive messages and calls while driving, and Tencent’s map app will integrate seamlessly with each vehicle’s onboard navigation service.
As of right now, Tencent has partnered with 21 different automakers, including international brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, to embed the new version of WeChat into 45 car models, scheduled to enter the market later this year.
(As a reminder, none of them fly or include sexy anime assistants with purchase.)
Is China Leading the Race Towards Mass Use of Self-Driving Cars?
It seems Chinese innovation is serving us the technology we need to survive in this perilous world just a little bit longer — although it’s unlikely we’ll see the new WeChat technology in American cars anytime soon, amidst US regulators’ highly suspicious stance on all things Chinese.
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