There is a growing trend towards microchip based sensing mechanisms being embedded in consumer electronics to ensure a greater capacity of these products to react according to the environment. “Smart” technology has changed the world of electronics by giving them an ability to mimic the human ability of thinking. It does so by following a series of processes. The technology is also being used in cars to provide greater convenience to the customer. Cars already have advanced navigation systems and GPS but there is an integrated transportation system in the works, which could potentially electronically link all cars to direct drivers away from traffic jams and provide alternative routes. Present day navigation systems can also be updated with real time traffic updates to facilitate drivers.
There are many innovations that are already available in the market today whereas the others are still in the developmental phase. Let us now look at some of the possible features of future cars individually. Advanced flexible fuel systems will allow car users to use different fuels interchangeably, increasing mileage and convenience significantly. Hybrid cars use this technology but researchers are looking to combine all the technologies in one car. Active tires are being developed to handle different road conditions accordingly. Autopilot is a common feature in airplanes but soon it can become a part of everyday cars as well. The technology of GPS can be extended or roads can be magnetized to make this huge futuristic leap in the world of cars.
One major cause of concern is the high number of accidents that take place on the roads. A lane-changer warning system is being developed, prompting the driver to change lanes when it is safe to. Cars such as the 2007 Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 are offering technology like this but on a very limited scale. Collision mitigation systems are being developed as well to improve braking and to provide tightening of seat belts where there is a possibility of an accident. Engines that will save gas and cause less pollution by controlling the amount of air drawn into the engine are being developed and the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has an engine like this. One major hassle for customers is the damage caused to the paint of the car due to scratches and marks; a self-cleaning paint is being developed to solve this problem. Nissan is already looking into a topcoat made from an elastic resin that can prevent some scratches. A popular feature being developed in smart cars is the ability to park itself. Toyota has developed cars with such technology in Japan for parallel parking whereas BMW has gone one step further and the driver can actually operate from outside the car as well. A cool feature in the works is called Electric Window Tinting, which will enable the windows to switch from clear to tinted or opaque just by the push of a button.
Certain features are already being integrated in cars but their use is not widespread. Keyless entry and ignition is one such feature, the use of it is expected to increase in the future. Adaptive Brake lights are also being used, specifically by Mercedes-Benz in limited models. Cars with an economy mode are also being manufactured where the car turns off non- essential features to conserve fuel. Don’t be surprised if these features form a part of everyday cars in the future.