Future of Tech is Automotive

The automotive industry has been making big changes lately. Multiple car brands have been killing off old models from their lineups. Manufacturers are trending more towards crossovers and all-electric vehicles.

While some may mourn the loss of these iconic names, the industry needs to evolve. Every year, the high tech auto space pushes more innovations in safety, convenience, and efficiency. Some of these innovations are merely integrations with current technology (WiFi, Bluetooth, Voice Commands, etc.)

There is also automotive tech that is built specifically for vehicles. Here are a few on the horizon.

Emotional Driving

Road rage is one of the leading causes of accidents and automobile fatalities, stemming from clouded judgement while driving due to heightened emotions.

Researchers at Kia are trying to develop technology that will allow cars to sense our moods and emotions. It will accomplish this through biofeedback from heartbeats, facial expressions, and tone of voice. What the car will do to calm drivers down is up to the programming.

Maybe it will try to “cool off” drivers, literally, so the A/C kicks on in the background. Summer heat is a definite contributor to the frequency of road rage. If that doesn’t deescalate the situation, it could even decide to call phone contacts to talk it out.

Talking Cars

Engineers are attempting to make cars talk to other cars, or the roadways, not drivers in particular. They want cars to have the ability to listen to and give information to our surroundings. This could prevent so many unforeseen accidents.

Human reaction times aren’t the greatest, especially going at 40+mph speeds. If cars could talk to each other, they would be able to identify risks, and reduce speed and collisions accordingly.

Fully Autonomous Cars

This automobile technology is already here, but it hasn’t made it into mainstream production. Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors has scratched the surface, but not without controversy. His cars aren’t fully autonomous, technically. 

Google has been making headway with its self-driving cars. They’re very successful with their tests, but the next step is expanding the infrastructure to make it a mass-production reality.

With autonomous cars as ubiquitous as Lyft and Uber on the road, accident rates will plummet. Projections for car manufacturers to start advertising their own self-driving cars are within this decade.

Driving for the Blind

This next high tech auto story is for a certain demographic that is never talked about with regards to driving. Those with visual handicaps may not get to drive, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy it. Driving a car is a full body experience.

The feel of a V8 engine revving up, the g-force created by the acceleration, and the breeze whipping inside. These are universal experiences that those with impaired vision may also enjoy. Ford has a technology that will add even more to their senses.

It’s called “Feel the View” and it was unveiled as a Braille-like technology for the windshield. With cameras and special tactile glass, passengers can “see” the surroundings by feeling over the windshield. Combine this technology with self-driving cars and the visually impaired can get as close to the driving experience than ever thought possible.

Augmented Displays

Over the past few years, auto manufacturers have been tweaking digital gauges and dashboards for the future. Newer cars with Heads Up Displays (HUD) use clever tricks to mimic the sci-fi technology of holographic displays in movies. Auto manufacturers want to emulate this type of display even further.

Augmented Reality Displays will soon give visual indicators on cars in front of drivers, local shops, and road information. The key is incorporating the projection-style technology into a seamless overlay on the windshield. Look for AR displays that replace the small HUDs of today within the next generations of cars.

High Tech Auto Airbags

Car safety has made tremendous strides over the last few decades. Those old tanks our grandparents used to drive looked safe, even though they were deathtraps. Nowadays, there are efficient crumple zones to absorb impact and multiple airbags to reduce whiplash.

The next step in safety technology is to deploy airbags from the outside of the car. Having more airbags that can absorb even a fraction of an impact are a huge deal. Mercedes wants to do it first, developing airbags that will deploy around the perimeter, lifting and slowing the car down before impact.

The technology is ready for outer airbags; they have the car sensors, the deployment tech, and materials to implement it. Let’s hope this new automobile technology becomes commonplace in the next decade.

Solar-Powered Cars

This is another technology that exists and is merely awaiting mass production. Solar panels have been used on a few major car models. Scion has one covered with solar panels and Toyota has outfitted a special Prius model with roof panels.

The solar panels add a minor bump in MPG, but the concept is there. There’s also technology to embed solar cells into the car’s body panels. Toyota already has a concept car, coined ‘Nori’, and more auto manufacturers are developing towards it for future models. 

Programming the Future

Waiting for these high tech auto industry advancements may take some years still. Most people have been waiting for that flying car for decades. The truth is, though, there is plenty of great technology to take advantage of now.

Start with a quick upgrade to hands-free access and unlocking via a programmable key fob. Just one fob to rule them all. Find out how with the EZ Key, the universal car key programming tool.

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