How futuristic will your next car be?
Driverless cars are achingly close. Self-driving vehicles have already racked up millions of miles
, and their development is accelerating. But pundits say we’re further from the driverless future
than we think.
We’re not quite at widespread adoption of electric cars, either. Ford projects 70% of its cars in China will be 100% electric by 2025
. That’s still 7 years away. And people tend to drive their cars for an average of 6.5 years.
The car after your next one will probably be both autonomous and electric. But what about your next car? The one you get when you trade in what’s currently sitting in your driveway?
What Jetsons-style futuristic treats are in store for you in the near-future?
Drivers of Elon Musk’s Tesla cars already enjoy Autopilot features. With the help of an array of sensors – cameras, ultra-sonic and radar – the on-board computer helps drivers avoid crashes, change lanes on a motorway, adjust speed according to cars around it, and even park.
With the hardware already installed, new features become available as software updates, which means current Autopilot owners can look forward to a driverless future with their current car. For now, they have to make do with rain-detecting automatic windscreen wipers
Basic Heads Up Displays (HUDs) are already a feature of cars on the road today. The next step is Porsche’s eye controlled HUD, to be featured in their all-electric Mission E, due in 2020.
Drivers will be able to navigate the car’s various systems – from music to GPS – just by glancing at them, activating them with a press of a steering wheel button. The display will even track your pupils to rearrange the instrument display according to your eyeline.
And it will use facial recognition to evaluate your mood, warning you if, for example, you’re getting drowsy and you need to pull over.
Aware of other cars
General Motors has pioneered a safety device that tracks other cars
. The V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle communication) transmits and receives data including speed, direction of travel and braking information.
The V2V is already incorporated into their newest vehicles, such as the latest Caddy. It’s not especially useful at present, as it can only detect other cars with the same device, but it’s the first step towards achieving the Obama administration’s goal of having all cars talk to each other
by 2021 (a goal dropped by the current White House.)
Covered in airbags
Mercedes has an airbag that aims to actively prevent a crash
. Sensors detect when an impact is imminent and open an airbag underneath the car, which doubles its stopping speed, as well as raising it eight inches off the ground to improve bumper-to-bumper contact.
Meanwhile, GM has just received a patent for a “pedestrian airbag” that opens on the windshield. Any unsuspecting passers-by who dare to get in your way will be cushioned from your windscreen wipers, and any other sharp objects protruding from the front of your car – apparently the cause of 15% of traffic fatalities
in the U.S. in 2015.
Front facing airbags may not sound very futuristic, but we’re definitely looking forward to not having to worry about getting poked by a windscreen wiper.
Are you excited for the future tech of cars? Or do you miss the petrol and roar of classic cars?
Let us know in the comments!
PS. Ready to shop for your next car? See what futuristic vehicles we have in store right here, right now.