In 2015, we have become accustomed to being surrounded by gadgets that would have seemed a fantasy 50 years ago. From inter-connecting smart phones to fully functioning robotics, we are at the precipice of a technological revolution. For many of us drivers, however, we are firmly rooted in the last generation, driving around in cars that haven’t changed much in many years, apart from some new bells and whistles. However, automotive technologies are being developed that will radicalise how we drive and experience driving. Here are 5 that are guaranteed to impress any motor heads.
Augmented Reality Dashboards
At one point, GPS technology would have seemed a million miles away from a trusty atlas or road map, but today we are closer to ever to having a full navigation system built into the windscreen. This will be displayed through different types of glasses that will display different information to the driver in real time. This will display not only directional advice, but will display the speedometer, parking sensors, rev counter, fuel gauge and other aspects of the cars computer. Through touch screen controls, drivers will be able to control every facet of their vehicle from the screen, including air conditioning, radio, windows and headlights. Perhaps the most futuristic is the ability to zoom in on parts of the road so drivers can see obstacles up ahead more clearly. If put into place, this could help improve driveability but also keep drivers and there passengers safer.
Solar powered LED roadways have the potential to change the world in a way that many other technologies could only dream of. Designed to not only illuminate our roads and display dynamic traffic information, but actually charge electric cars wirelessly whilst they drive. This would revolutionise how we fuel our cars and completely transform the automotive economy. This would make electric cars a true alternative to petrol and diesel powered cars, and lead towards us improving our carbon emissions by an inexplicable amount. Imagine never having to refuel your car manually while driving around on illuminated LED roads! There are even plans to make the panels heated that will melt any snow or ice that has accumulated on the LED panels, which will then be filter to a water treatment centre to use within the water supply. However, there are some questions about how economically feasible these plans are and how the roads will be constructed and maintained. However, the city of Sandport, US, is going to become the first city to have the panels by installing them within a parking lot.
Fully Autonomous Cars
This has been speculated for a long time but, in 2015, they are finally testing fully autonomous cars on public roads. A recent report suggested that by 2035, nearly 75 per cent of vehicles sold will have automatic driving capability. Google have actually been planning to make it a reality within 5 years, so we could have driverless cars sooner than we think. Whilst we have had components such as self parking cars, completely driverless cars would revolutionise how we navigate our roads and motorways. However, there have been some initial problems; for instance, Google’s attempt at a driverless car cannot tell the difference between a rock and a piece of litter that has drifted into the road and subsequently attempts to drive round both of them in the same way. Also, there are some moral questions about how much it will actually improve road safety and whether people will actually want to put their life in the hands of a computer program. Nevertheless, envisioning a future where we are essentially driven around by robots definitely seems like something out of science fiction.
Many of us have been involved in some form of accident on the roads, sometimes costing a lot of money in repairs. However, this could be all change if external side airbags are fitted on cars. Side crashes currently account for around 40 percent of all traffic accidents and we could now see a dramatic reduction in the damage these crashes cause. The airbags are designed to deploy in 20 – 30 milliseconds and protect the vehicle from the impact. This is being developed alongside cameras that will detect the moment the airbag needs to be triggered. When completed, this design could bring about a massive transformation in road safety.
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