Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the future holds. There has always been guessing, speculation and good old armchair quarterbacking on ‘what is going to happen.’ However, nailing things down before they happen is well, challenging and a real art to say the least!
And in regard to the automotive realm, the road can take some twists and turns. That being said, what automotive technology is just around the bend? To find out, let’s take a look at two of the leaders in the automotive industry - Mercedes-Benz and BMW. We can feel quite confident that the following innovations will indeed happen as both of these automakers have a good track record with technology that becomes part of the automotive mainstream.
So here are some things to expect in your future ride. Some of them are happening now and others will happen further down the road.
An iPhone and a free app will be used to remotely preset (cool/heat) your vehicle’s temperature, lock or unlock the doors and locate by GPS the vehicle in a crowded airport parking lot.
In an effort to avoid traffic jams, radar and advanced stereo camera technology will enable vehicles to follow a car in front and maintain a preset distance. Furthermore, the vehicle will self steer around bends and keep the car in its lane. However, the driver will be required to be ‘active’ and keep at least one hand on the steering wheel. At first there will be no “Look mom no hands” as any sign of driver inactivity will be met with a loud warning before the driver is given back all of the vehicle’s control.
Near Field Communication is a wireless technology that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). It will allow a vehicle’s key fob to be used by the driver to make purchases (like a credit card without the card), avoid toll tickets, access hotel rooms without a door card, avoid lines at movie theaters, etc. The transactions will be displayed on the vehicle’s navigation screen.
Active body control will utilize stereo camera technology to read the road surface up to 200 feet ahead and adjust the vehicle’s suspension accordingly. For example, rather than the suspension going down into a pothole and rebounding, the wheel would be lifted up thus gladding over the hole and then smoothly settle down on the pavement as if the hole or rough pavement did not even exist.
Remote controlled parking will let a driver get out of a vehicle and push a button on the key fob. The car will then park itself in a garage or other defined space. The vehicle will steer, stop if objects are in its path and turn off the engine when the parking is finished. The driver can retrieve the vehicle with the parking sequence being reversed.
Lateral collision avoidance uses ultrasound proximity to alert the driver if a side scrape with a car in the next lane is likely to happen. First the driver receives an audible warning and if action is not taken, the system will make a small steering correction that feels like magnetic repulsion between the driver’s vehicle and the car in the next lane.
Well, after all of this future technology, we have to go back to just good old driving. And you know what? Such driving is enjoyable and much fun indeed!