Technology changes with unbelievable quickness. Vehicle concepts that once were the stuff of science fiction films are now part of reality. Although personal jet packs are not going to be sold in car lots any time soon, a number of stunning innovations will soon be standard on cars and trucks, bringing a degree of comfort and safety from those fictional worlds into 21st century reality.
Collision Prevention Innovations
Accidents can be hard to avoid, but luxury vehicles have begun notifying drivers of impending danger through a combination of cameras and radar. When trouble is sensed, brakes automatically get pressed, so reaction time is not an issue. This technology can warn drivers of unsafe following distance. Soon these collision prevention concepts will be available in more moderately priced models like the Subaru Legacy and the Chevy Malibu.
Eyes in the Back of Your Vehicle
Backing up by looking over one’s shoulder alone or using a mirror has always left something to be desired. With those traditional methods, it’s hard to avoid blind spots, which lead to thousands of collisions yearly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s one reason why all new cars will have rearview cameras installed as standard features as of January 2015.
The uses of this camera technology will soon expand. Consider side view cameras. They could automatically be triggered by a turn signal, like Honda’s Lane Watch system. Nissan has a system that will offer a 360 degree view around the car. In time, as with many technological innovations, the price will drop, spurring greater use of the devices.
Communication Connectivity on the Fly
Communication via social media will soon be available in most cars. New GM vehicles will come with Internet and Wi-Fi ability standard, although the car’s owner will need a service provider. Eventually, vehicles may not even have a traditional radio. They may simply link to a driver’s iTunes, Pandora, or Spotify accounts. Some music streaming systems may be completely voice activated.
New Batteries and Faster Recharging
Given the massive growth in the hybrid market, manufacturers will continue producing green vehicles. Standard hybrids will evolve toward more powerful and lighter versions. Battery development has led to new recharging systems that store energy and facilitate faster recharging. Safer materials are being used for batteries like lithium ion. A new Volvo plug in hybrid features a fabric photovoltaic panel, which functions as a solar charger and then folds up for storage.
The Heads Up Display
One truly space age feature that cars will start offering is the heads up display, or HUD. Digital figures like speed and engine RPM will be projected on the windshield. This will not be a distraction, because it will be in the driver’s line of sight. In 2012, 800,000 of these displays were sold. That number is estimated to rise 1000% in the coming years. To install a complete HUD costs approximately $1000, but Garmin makes a portable HUD display for much less.
Augmented Reality Dashes
This is a different version of the Heads Up Display, but it gives the driver information about the external world. For example, it can project information the windshield alerting a driver about objects in the road or apparent traffic problems. It could also alert you to landmarks in the area.
We’ll Take Driverless Car
Society may not be ready for flying cars, but at some point cars may become virtually driverless. They will navigate for you, sense other vehicles, and speed up and slow down as necessary. The cars would use range finders, cameras, and radar to take human error out of the picture. One day cars may hover or fly. For now, we’ll have to settle for the good ol’ fashioned way of driving.
This article has been brought to you by New Jersey based car insurance company IFA Auto.