Ten years from now, cars may still look and drive just like the cars on the road today. But in between that time and now, we’re likely to see some major changes in automotive technologies being integrated into 2015 models and beyond, redefining the relationship between car and driver beyond hand on wheel, foot to pedal… even relieving us of these current driving responsibilities.
BMW i8 LCD Key Fob
BMW’s future-forward i8 sports car is already poised to be something special, with a checklist of fuel efficiency and connectivity technologies engineered from the ground up. But it might be one of the smallest components accompanying the i8 which may turn the most heads. If these leaked images are to be believed, BMW is upgrading the standard remote key fob into a data display unit connected to the i8’s recharging and fuel system, alongside macro-programming for comfort and access use, upgrading car keys from purely mechanical to informational.
Audi Online Traffic Light Information System
As long as there are drivers, there will always be those who risk speeding through signal lights. Audi’s icon-based Online Traffic Light Information System purports to take the guesswork out of the equation for would-be Speed Racers, serving up seemingly precognitive data for drivers to hit green lights more regularly while connected wirelessly with a city’s traffic-light network system. There’s even an engine-revving inducing countdown feature displayed while drivers are waiting at a red light, making getting stuck at a red light a little more bearable.
Microsoft Windows in the Car / Apple CarPlay
Both technology giants are vying for the hearts and minds of our biggest mobile device: our cars. Drivers will soon say goodbye to clunky and slow user GUIs with menus turning slower than grandparents looking through restaurant options. Swipe, touch, and tap is quickly being adopted as the same tactile language of vehicle technology as that used already with phones, tablets, and computers, though simplified for safer driver use, with many of the same recognizable apps and services powering car console’s as our mobile screens. Questions and concerns about road safety still remain (and rightfully so, in this age of texting while driving). For now, most drivers would likely be content with more responsive menu systems for basic cabin and audio system controls.
LED Laser Headlights
First there was Xenon bulbs, then LED headlamp technology, and now cars might soon be lighting up the roads with super bright and energy efficient laser beams of white light. Three times brighter than already bright LED headlights, yet 30% more energy efficient, BMW’s laser headlamp will boost hi-beam distances up to 1,800 feet while relying upon LEDs for regular driving. Concerns about blinding oncoming traffic is being addressed with a camera system which automatically adjusts beam power and direction downward, sensitive enough to recognize cyclists. Also, check out these laser beam lights debuted at CES by Audi.
Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Systems
V2V stands for “Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Systems”. Get used to hearing about it, as nothing will change the public’s relationship with cars in the next few years more than this developing technology. Improving human reflexes and hazard assessment by allowing nearby vehicles to exchange speed and distance information at up to 10 times per second, haptic feedback notifies drivers through the car seat about collision-avoidance and other nearby roadside hazards. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration predicts integrating V2V will reduce annual car accidents by 80%, with goals for mandatory manufacturer integration planned for 2017.