After inundating my brain with way too much information regarding vehicle advancements in technology, I need a couple weeks to recuperate. However, the future of driving looks pretty incredible. The rate at which vehicle technology is changing accelerates year by year. Many of the advancements are still in prototype stages, but some are literally right around the corner – in some cases rolling into showrooms as we speak.
I began to wonder which technologies are most likely to go from science fiction to science fact in the near future. So I’ve compiled the top 10 advancements (in no particular order) that I feel will hit the markets in the not so distant future.
1 . Vehicle Tracking
We all know that vehicles have their own “black box” of sorts. But this will take it to an entirely new level. There are reports out there already that claim insurance companies and some governments are considering fees based on how many kilometers a person drives. As an insurance incentive, you will be offered a reduced rate if you agree to having your driving habits monitored. Personally, I hope this stays voluntary, however I’m sure it’s safe to see that it will become mandatory and most likely already built into the vehicle, where it gets synced every time you insure your vehicle.
2 . Autonomous Vehicle
I’m not talking fully autonomous here, let’s get that clear. It’s going to take more than a couple years to have a vehicle drive anywhere, all the time, without some form of human control. Consider this the cruise control system on steroids. Vehicles will be able to monitor road lines and distances between other vehicles/obstacles. Most likely, will only be available on major highways/interstates. Of course, conditions have to be favorable for the system to work – Like having good weather.
3 . Occupant Health Monitoring
It’s known that Ford Motor Company has looked into the concept of sensors embedded in seat-belts or steering wheels to track the drivers vitals. Couple this with the autonomous vehicle and now you have a car that can pull over and contact emergency medical response should the driver be suffering from a medical emergency.
4 . Four-Cylinder Super-car
In 2015, Ford presented a GT super-car that utilizes a twin-turbo V6. Now, I’m sure it will not sit well with traditional performance enthusiasts, but a V6 that is light and running 600 horsepower will surely offer admirable performance. I believe we will see a 300+ km/h super-car on the back of a 4 cylinder engine.
5 . Emergency Driver Override
This is similar to autonomous tech, but not quite the same. Where autonomous technology is driving, emergency driver override will actually disregard the drivers decisions and follow its own. There are already vehicles that stop if you fail to hit the brakes. The difference is, this technology can apply the brakes even if the driver is pressing on the gas pedal. With sensor tech ever expanding, it will give the vehicle the last word…. not you.
6 . Bio-metric Access
We went from the key, to key fobs, to keyless entry. It was only a matter of time before key fob-less entry was going to be developed. Just like a cell phone can now use your finger print to unlock it, so too will a vehicle. Imagine, unlocking and starting your car with nothing more than your finger print. The jingle of the car key is slowly going extinct.
7 . Active Window Displays
I’m sure you have seen vehicles with an active heads up display (HUD). It was developed to keep the drivers eyes on the road at all times. Pretty good technology, but imagine your entire windshield becoming the display. It would be capable of displaying colors and images. Just think, navigation systems would actually be able to indicate or highlight your next exit or turn to appear directly on the road – from your perspective.
8 . Reconfigurable Body Panels
Think transformers on a smaller scale. Picture an SUV, now imagine that same SUV retract some body panels and windows, then auto folding its rear seats into the floor boards (similar to stow-and-go), thus converting itself into a little pickup truck.
9 . Smart Marketing
You ever noticed how social media or web search engines show you ads based off of your behavior? With the advancement of technology, you can expect all vehicles to be wired up to the internet and able to provide you with custom messages from marketers based on your location. Hopefully we will be able to opt-out of this – highly unlikely.
10 . Self Repairing Paint
Even though self repairing paint has been around for a little while now, it has yet to be implemented into consumer vehicles. Picture yourself reversing out of a parking stall and you side swipe your car with a barrier. Now imagine that the paint re-configures its molecular structure to repair the scratches – using nanotechnology. Granted, deep scratches may not fully “heal” but they won’t be visible unless you look hard enough.
It all sounds pretty wild and out of the pages of some science fiction story. However, who would have thought you can walk around with a computer in your pocket (cellphone)?
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