The latest technology in the automotive industry isn’t all about squeezing an extra 5bhp out of a diesel engine or getting an extra 1mpg, below are 5 of our favourite new bits of technology that are being mooted by various car manufacturers. Put your seatbelt on and be ready to get up to speed with what could be on that ever growing features list in years to come.
Perhaps the most talked about and hyped up product in car technology. Autonomous, or driverless, cars are being put to the test in California by Google and the whole world is interested to see how this develops, after all that 5 hour motorway journey could be a lot less stressful if you are not having to do the actual driving.
The key aspect of a totally autonomous car is that the human driver is not expected to have any involvement in helping the car get from A to B, whilst driver assistance systems make decisions on behalf of the driver and have the final say, effectively overruling a driver in the interests of safety.
Google has now tested their autonomous cars on over 1 million miles of road in California and Texas and have recently announced that they are removing their safety drivers from cars in Austin, Texas. With over 90% of accidents being down to human error, Google claim that driverless vehicles are safer than a human driven car.
How this next step of the driverless testing goes will give a good signal to how far we have come in building self-driving vehicles, let’s just hope the design of Google’s car becomes as intuitive as their technology.
Our fingerprints are starting to be used across all aspects of our lives, from unlocking a mobile phone through to accessing office buildings. The next logical step therefore is for fingerprints to be used in our cars, this is exactly what Ford are looking to do.
Ford had a patent granted earlier this year for a keyless biometric system, utilising smartphones and wireless technology, to access a vehicles on board controller. This would then allow a device to be used to unlock a vehicle alongside other features through a biometric verification. A user would either use a retina scan, fingerprints, voice recognition or facial recognition to verify themselves as the owner of the vehicle.
Imagine a car that knows all your preferred settings from the moment you touch the door to open it – the seat position, temperature, dashboard display and even your favourite album. Now that really puts power at your fingertips.
Active Health Monitoring
With wearable technology on the rise with watches and health bracelets recording your every move, heart beat and breathe, it is predicted that your car will soon get in on the act by helping monitor your vital signs and detect if you are falling ill at the wheel.
Ford have already introduced this in some of their concept cars with seats doubling up as ECG monitors, tracking a drivers heartbeat and having the car take evasive action if a sudden drop is detected in your heartrate – it will even call an ambulance for you after the car has stopped.
Even if manufacturers do not use the actual car to monitor health it is conceivable that cars will wirelessly sync with wearable tech that does the measuring for them.
Active Window Displays
Head-Up Displays (HUDs) have been commonplace in vehicles for a few years now and this technology has really come on leaps and bounds since the early days of a green number showing your speed. The next step for these are full on Active Window Displays, a full windscreen of information for the driver to digest.
It is understood that information such as your next turn and directions would be highlighted with rich, vibrant images. Think about the hidden entrance you are looking for being highlighted on your windshield and as you get closer to it the screen adjusts the display, showing you exactly where it is. Combine this with your essential information from your dashboard and it could be one of the biggest advances in driving experiences over the coming years.
3D Printed, Noise Reducing, Sound Improving Interiors
With 3D printing now a plausible production method it was only a matter of time until we saw it make an appearance in our car interiors. Peugeot are due to debut their latest Fractal concept car at the Frankfurt show and it includes an interior that has 3D printed ‘anechoic protrusions’, or triangles to you and I. These 3D printed triangles work similar to a recording studio, they absorb exterior sounds and allow what you want to hear to be clearer and crisper.
The other audio-related upgrade in the Fractal is a Sat Nav that tells you to turn left from the left speaker of the car and appears to get closer to you as the car gets closer to the turn. Whilst this may sound like a gimmick and relatively minor, Peugeot claim that it is designed to stop drivers from switching off when their Sat Nav tells them what direction to travel. A simple idea but one that may just revolutionise the effectiveness of satellite navigation.
Article provided by FEV, a family business established in 1990 specialising in providing the highest quality fire extinguisher systems for vehicles and in particular – motorsport; inc. F1, Rally, GT and more.