Do you know who is believed to have first drawn up theoretical plans for motor vehicles? Not anybody directly related to engineering – it was Leonardo da Vinci. The modern-day automobiles that we drive today are believed to be a result of more than 100,000 patents. As automobile manufacturers keep innovating, the cars of the future are bound to allow you greater utility, comfort and safety. Here are a few such features that are still in the developmental phases, but which could well become the norm in the near future.
Easier and Better Navigation
If you thought the Sat Nav that is available on new cars is the coolest thing, think again. Quite a few car makers are looking at making it even easier for a driver to do very little driving and instead, just enjoy the ride. As research goes into building better sensors into the car’s machinery and using radar to prevent colliding with other moving vehicles, we will soon be seeing cars where the driver does not need to do anything, except watch the car drive itself.
Internet in the Car
With our growing appetite for staying connected on the go, it is not long before Wi-Fi in cars is a common feature. Soon, we may be witnessing a situation where the dashboard of the car offers as many options as a laptop to allow you to stay connected to the Internet for work, relaxation or social networking. Quite a few carmakers have begun offering such technology through apps in their high-end cars; soon, we may be seeing it feature in the less expensive cars, too.
Pedestrian hits are one of the common causes of accidents, as are collisions due to poor night-time vision. Some auto makers are coming up with pedestrian detection systems that can sense the presence of a pedestrian directly in the car’s path and cause the car to brake to a complete stop. Night vision systems that make use of infrared radiation are also being incorporated to allow drivers detect pedestrians who are out of line of the headlights, but may find their way into the car’s path.
Rewards for Driving Safe
Now, this is something that will appeal to those who always feel let down because no one recognises them for being well-behaved drivers. In a first of its kind, we now have cars that come fitted with a black box to record your driving style and those who drive carefully may be looking at an enticing reward – lower car insurance premiums. If you are sure about your driving skills, you can now try performance-related insurance.
With advancements in technology, automobile research is also veering towards intelligent systems based on Wi-Fi technology to help track locations of other vehicles on the road. Some of these systems are going to be designed to flash warnings of other cars on the road that are moving in a way that could pose a danger to your car. Whether it is comfort or greater safety, all these systems – that were at one time unimaginable – are soon going to be the order of the day to give you the ultimate driving experience.
Chris Mustaine is a writer and designer who’s passionate about cars, specifically riding them across foreign landscapes. When he’s not off somewhere burning rubber down the autobahn he’s indulging his passion for sharing his experiences across the web. He’s working on a book on foreign cryptozoology.