The auto industry is constantly bringing us new technologies for safety, usefulness, entertainment or just for innovation. So what is in store for our future cars?
I explore two future car technologies which might just work. From what is being tested and on the road today, there are some ideas which could make it into car production.
First up: Cars that communicate with each other and the road
Car manufacturers and the US government is researching two technologies that would enable future cars to communicate with each other and with road objects around them.
Example: imagine approaching a junction as another car runs a red light. You don’t see them, but your car gets a signal from the other car that it is directly in your path and warns you of the potential collusion or the technology may go even further and hits the brakes for you automatically to avoid the accident.
A developing technology, aka V2V is being tested by car manufacturers like Ford as a method to help reduce the number of road accidents.
V2V uses wireless signals to send information back and forth between cars about their location, speed and direction. The information is then communicated to all the cars nearby to provide information on how to keep the cars safe distances between each other. Also what the best evasive action should be if another car started coming into its projected path. A study found V2V has the potential to reduce 79% of target vehicle crashes on the road.
However, V2V isn’t the only communication technology being considered, V2I (vehicle to infrastructure communication) is being tested as well.
V2I would allow vehicles to communicate with road signs or traffic lights and provide information to the vehicle about safety issues. Also request traffic information from a traffic management system and access the best possible routes. The national highway traffic safety administration reports state that using both the V2I and V2V systems would reduce all target vehicle crashes by 81%.
These technologies could transform how we drive and increase safety dramatically.
This leads me onto the second future technology example called Augmented Reality Dashboards.
In-Car Displays and GPS are great from getting us from A to B, and some more advanced cars have windscreen displays, but in the near future some cars will be able to identify external objects in front of the driver and display information about them on the windscreen.
Think of the Terminator, a robot looks at a person or an object and automatically brings up information about them and can identify who or what they are. AR will function in a similar way for drivers.
BMW has windscreen displays in some vehicles which displays basic information, but they’re also developing AR dashboards to identify objects in front of a vehicle and inform the driver how far they are away from the object. The AR will override information on top of what a driver is observing in real life.
So if approaching a car too quickly, a red box may appear on the car you’re approaching and arrows will appear showing you how to move into the next lane before you crash into the other car.
An AR GPS system could highlight the lane you need to move into and show you where you need to turn off, without you ever having to take your eyes off the road.
AR is also being used by BMW for vehicle technicians to use glasses to look at an engine, identify what parts need to be replaced and how to fix any problems. Toyota has produced working concepts to allow passengers to zoom in on objects outside of the car, select and identify objects, as well as view the distance of an object from the car using a touch-screen window.
AR is not yet here, but if the car companies have their way, we will be seeing it in our future cars further down the road.
These are two examples, but what new technologies for vehicles would you like to see?