Technology has taken a quantum leap in recent years. It is not confined to the transformation of phones into smart-phones or mainstream mass media to social media. Technology has shaken up various industries and lead to an unprecedented evolution in a myriad of ways. Automobiles are a great example. For over a hundred years since the first automobile, cars had been a mode of transport. Their sole purpose was to transport people from one place to another. Cars did evolve in those hundred years. They became faster, safer, more reliable and various features were inducted to make driving more joyous and entertaining. However, the kind of transformation we are witnessing now is fascinating to say the least.
Present, evolving and upcoming technologies are changing the world in an unimaginable ways. Even science fiction did not predict such amazing changes so soon. Today, cars are not just a mode of transport. They are about comfort, an array of functionalities, entertainment and more. Cars are fast becoming smart cars. It is a parallel to cities becoming smart cities and a precursor to the world as we know it becoming a smart world. Here are nine upcoming technologies that may change the world of automobiles.
Enhanced Gesture Control
Audi used the prevalent technology of voice and knob controls to develop a system that can recognize and facilitate enhanced gesture control. The auto major called it MMI Touch. This was a straight upgrade of the Multi Media Interface or MMI system that Audi had in most of its models. The state of the art MMI Touch feature allows drivers to access many controls using gestures. All one needs to do is using a finger on the dedicated touchpad to write or register a gesture and the system would respond accordingly. Users can key in exact addresses to seek navigation guidance, enter phone numbers and dial, play songs and more. MMI Touch is available in many languages other than English. Audi has not discontinued its voice and knob controls. The touch variant simply offers a technologically evolved experience. Mercedes Benz has rolled out its own enhanced gesture control feature.
Augmented Reality Head-Up Display
Imagine Iron Man with all relevant information displayed right in front of his eyes within his mask made of nickel titanium alloy. Now imagine having similarly relevant information on your windscreen as you drive. Augmented reality display lets you access vital information such as speed and navigation details right on your windscreen so you do not have to look down or away from the street up ahead to know how fast you are driving or where you are headed. You can also see who is calling you to know if you should halt to receive it. You can also use apps such as HUDWAY to hook your iPhone and it can cast a reflection on the windscreen.
Apps & Firmware Updates
Cars are becoming more personable. Customization is nothing new among automobiles. There is also a vast aftermarket for such bespoke features. Now automakers are rolling out apps and firmware updates that are completely changing the average driving experience. There are country and even city specific apps providing information such as local weather, best restaurants, popular malls and tourist hotspots. Toyota Fun Vii is a good example of this. Vii is basically Vehicle Interactive Internet. You can stay connected with your family and friends, you can connect with other cars, you can check tire pressure, control the radio and do much more with such an amazing interface.
Sheet Thin Batteries
Sheet thin batteries are closer to reality than you think. Batteries have already become lighter, sleeker and more stylish in recent years. Car batteries are still chunky, especially those used in electric vehicles. Sheet thin batteries and even bendable ones are the future. They can be used to replace cosmetic parts of cars and be just as elegant. They can be concealed in plain sight and they would not add any substantial weight to the car. They would also simplify aerodynamics, form and balance of electric vehicles. Body panel battery for instance can be used in the exterior or interior.
Communication between Vehicles
Car communication is poised for an unprecedented transformation. Forget horns, hand signals and various other ways people try to communicate with other cars, be it to navigate through traffic or make maneuvers that are safe. Cars would be communicated with one another, leading to less congestion and hence convenience traffic conditions. Cars can communicate with one another and pass information such as speeding, blind spot, risk of collision and even steering if someone is about to change a lane or turn in a particular direction. Safety is obviously the most important benefit of such technology.
Smart Fuel Saving Tips
Smart cars can assess fuel consumption and the pros or cons of certain styles of driving in real time. Smart cars can offer notifications and tips as you are driving so you can take some action to improve mileage or fuel efficiency. You can be notified to stop at a gas station before you head out to a long stretch when your car may run out of fuel. You may be alerted of gas stations near you that have more reasonable prices.
Perfect Integration with Smart-Phones
Smartphones have to get integrated with cars or vice versa. The present level of integration is partial, actually very limited. It is not just about playing music using your phone or taking advantage of the voice commands. Honda has already set into motion its plan to integrate Siri Eyes Free of Apple with its upcoming models. You would be able to make calls, play music, receive and send messages, get navigational directions and even use the buttons on your steering wheel.
Long Term Evolution (LTE)
Many automakers are inducting Long Term Evolution in its upcoming models to enable easy access to the internet. Cars have GPS but they do not always have a network of their own. Hence, you need to rely on news, notifications on your phone and radio to get updates about traffic, local weather and other relevant information. LTE would become a basic feature in most cars very soon.
Self Healing Paint
Self healing paint already exists. It has simply not made its way onto consumer cars. This is said to change. You can bid adieu to scratches and aesthetic degradation along with the anxieties and expenses associated with them.