Future Car Technologies

The automotive industry is constantly bringing us new technologies that we have never seen before.  There are also some technologies that have been brought up but might not make it into vehicles.

Cars Talking

One technology that car manufacturers and the U.S. government are seriously looking into and researching is a technology where it would enable future cars to communicate with each other and objects around them.  Picture coming to an intersection as another vehicle runs a red light.  You can not see them at first but your vehicle gets a signal from the other car that it’s directly in your path and warns you of the potential collision, or even hits the brakes automatically to avoid an accident.  This developing technology is called Vehicle-to-Vehicle, it is being tested by manufacturers like Ford as a way to reduce accidents on the road.  It works by sending wireless signals to send information back and forth between cars about their location, speed and direction.  This information is then communicated to the cars around it in order to provide information on how to keep the vehicles at a safe distance from each other.  Researchers aren’t only considering V2V communication but also vehicle to infrastructure communication.  This would allow vehicles to communicate with things like road signs or traffic signs and provide information to the vehicle about safety issues.

Another technology being considered is the ability for a vehicle to drive itself.  Many tv shows and movies have had this idea for a long time.  In California and Nevada, Google engineers have tested self-driving cars on more than 200,000 miles of public highways and roads.  Google’s cars not only record images on the road but their computerized maps view road signs, f ind alternative routes and see traffic lights before they are even visible to a person.  By using lasers, radars and cameras the cars can analyze and process information about their surroundings faster than a human can.  In some of the Google’s tests the cars learned the details of a road by driving on it several times.

Another interesting future car technology is airbags that help to stop cars.  Ever since airbags have been added to vehicles they have continued to make their way around the inside of the vehicle.  Airbags are part of the overall safety of the vehicle.  Car manufacturers are experimenting with airbags that deploy from underneath the car that will help stop a vehicle before a crash.  The bags will also lift the vehicle up to eight centimeters which counters the cars dipping motion during hard braking.  This improves bumper to bumper contact and helps prevent passengers from sliding under seat belts during a collision.

Energy storing body panels are another possible technology we could eventually see in vehicles.  Exxon Mobil predicts that by 2040 half of all new cars that come off the production line will be hybrids.  This is great news for the environment but one of the problems with hybrids is that the batteries take up a lot of space and are heavy.  In Europe a group of nine auto manufacturers are currently researching and testing body panels that can store energy and that charge faster than conventional batteries of today.  These panels could reduce a cars weight by up to 15 percent.  The panels would capture energy produced by technologies like regenerative braking or when the car is plugged in overnight and then feed that energy back to the car when it’s needed.

Other technologies that people would like to see in vehicles are built in car seats and boosters.  This would make it much easier for parents who have young ones.  Instead of having to figure out how to hook up the car seat it would already be installed when the vehicle was purchased.  Another feature is auto adjustable cup holders that would fit any size cup.  Right now cup holders can only hold certain size cups.  Different shaped cups or water bottles do not fit into cup holder therefore they could make a mess in your car.  All of these technologies we could see in the near future and could really benefit the automotive industry.

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