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Intel and Warner Bros. want to entertain you in self-driving cars

Anticipating the need to keep passengers in self-driving cars busy, Intel announces a partnership with Warner Bros. at the LA Auto Show.

Intel couples with Warner Bros. for in-car entertainment
Intel is already lining up entertainment options for passengers in self-driving cars.

How will the passengers of the future in self-driving cars spend their time? Watching "Justice League?" That's a question Intel CEO Brian Krzanich addressed on Wednesday when he announced a partnership with Warner Bros. during his keynote address at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The two companies will explore how to integrate Warner's movies, games and TV shows into the self-driving car computing platform being developed by Intel.

It's the first such partnership between a media giant and a self-driving car developer, but deals such as this may become more common as a means of enticing automakers to sign onto a particular platform.

Beyond simple video, Intel suggested it could create augmented reality applications around Warner properties, potentially transforming a passenger's experience by combining the movement of the car and a fictional world. Maybe one day you'll commute into Gotham City.

Earlier this year, Intel funded a study that found the self-driving car industry will be worth $7 trillion by 2050. Along with robotaxis, that dollar amount includes in-car entertainment. 

Intel has shown a proclivity to go beyond the initial problems of creating a self-driving car, such as image recognition and driving decisions, to anticipating how passengers will deal with the cars. It conducted focus groups earlier this year to see how members of the public react to a robotaxi ride.

In developing its self-driving car technology, Intel has emphasized 5G data connections, as these cars will need to transfer a substantial amount of data to and from the cloud. That data connection would also serve the Warner Bros. partnership by streaming entertainment to passengers.

It will be a few more years before self-driving cars enter public service, but this partnership suggests passengers won't be bored.