In the 21st century in particular, we’ve seen a huge acceleration in the quality of the technology that is available in everyday cars for the average driver. Of course, some aspects of this technology have been available for a number of years, but only in cars that were intended to be driven by the super rich. Now, technology that we considered to be futuristic and unaffordable for many of us is available en masse. Here are 5 futuristic technologies that are available right now.
Early generations of the heads-up display technology were slightly basic, with these models only using one colour and only displaying only very basic information. However, the information that the technology is now able to display has improved greatly, with further colours and more advanced graphic display options now available. The new displays even have the ability to overlay turn arrows onto a road, showing drivers how to get to their destination.
No matter whether you want your display to show navigation routes, audio information or other data, heads-up displays allow you to access everything you need without taking your eyes off the road, all thanks to a projecting light that creates an image directly on the windshield. How cool is that?
Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection Systems
Cars that can automatically detect an imminent crash with another car are becoming more common. Now Volvo is taking that further with pedestrian and cyclist detection. Volvo pride themselves on their pedestrian protection systems, and the technology has been available in their cars for a couple of years now. However, recently we have seen this technology updated further, with the system now also detecting any cyclists, slamming the brakes on if you get a little too close for comfort.
The technology uses a radar system which is mounted on the grill and a high definition camera within the car’s rear view mirror to detect how close the car is to a pedestrian or cyclist. This means that no matter whether you’re following a cyclist or whether one pulls out directly in front of you, the system will detect it and apply full brake power.
With safety at the heart of everything Volvo do, it’s no wonder that they’re at the cutting edge of this technological curve. Hopefully, we will see a mass rollout with all manufacturers in the near future. Such a move would not be unsurprising, with both insurers and EuroNCAP both actively encouraging adoption of this technology.
Designed to change colour at different temperatures, thermochromic paint is currently growing in popularity in the customisation sector, with workshops really embracing the technology.
This paint can be used in either ‘off the shelf combinations’, such as a simple red for hot and blue for cold, or can be engineered to suit bespoke combinations to reflect the whim of the owner. After all, why have a car that’s only one colour when you could have them all?
Obviously, this is nowhere near as essential to the future of motoring as the safety features involved in the above two products, but nevertheless, it does indicate that the concept of car design is revolutionising, with designers still appearing to push the boundaries of style and design.
A survey conducted by Populus in 2012 showed that 1 in 6 drivers struggle with parallel parking. Now, however, help is at hand, with a number of leading manufacturers including Toyota, Ford, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Range Rover and Volkswagen developing advanced parking guidance systems which allow the car to park itself.
What’s arguably the most impressive factor with this system is the way that the car parks. Using such a system is simple; all you have to do it move near to a space, select the reverse gear and then activate the automatic parking system.
From here, the car uses a range of sensors on all corners of the car to measure the space that you have selected. If the system deems that the space is large enough, it then begins to park itself, automatically steering into the spot.
What’s more, the technology is now so advanced that Volkswagen have created a system where the driver doesn’t even need to be in the vehicle!
Finally, and possibly most impressively, Google are currently developing technology that would enable completely autonomous cars that require no driver whatsoever. Quirkily named the Google Chauffeur, the car is self-driving in every regard, and it is the realisation of a sci-fi dream.
Google have recently released a prototype version of a car without pedals or a steering wheel, providing ultimate control to the vehicle. Not yet legal in the UK or Europe, there’s still more testing to come, but the Google Chauffeur definitely appears to be the future of mobility, and the technology is available now.