Technology and automotive industries are five and six as we say in Nigeria, meaning inseparable. Now of course in such an innovative field, not so many budding ideas or prototypes actually last the creative distance to become production line technologies.
However, here are five outstanding car technologies that we believe will actually arrive in cars one day, perhaps soon:
1. Lightweight energy storing body panels
Okay, first of all the future of automotive energy is electric. One small catch, EV batteries weigh a ton, not to talk about the space they occupy. The solution? Automobile manufacturers are presently carrying out researches on car body panels that can store energy and at the same time charge faster than batteries. This is so that vehicles can be more energy efficient and lighter as well.
Of special note Toyota is working on a lightweight energy storing panel that can capture solar energy and warehouse it for future use in panels that are low weight. Altogether 9 automobile manufacturers in Europe are looking to produce vehicles that are energy efficient and light weight.
Lightweight car body panels provide a safe, efficient alternative to battery power
Volvo is also doing a research on panels that can capture energy produced by technologies like regenerative braking and use that as energy sources for cars. These panels could be made with materials like polymer fiber as well as carbon resin that can be both tough and flexible.
A prediction posed by ExxonMobil states that by 2040, 50% of vehicles produced by automakers will be hybrids. This of course is more beneficial for the environment, hence the need for energy storing panels as an alternative and low weight energy source.
2. Airbags that can help halt cars
Airbags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the various types of airbags are front airbags, curtain airbags, side airbags, the ones that deploy under us, knee airbags among others.
In recent time, Mercedes has been experimenting on a new way to use airbags in such a way that it will activate from underneath the car, perceive impending crashes and stop it by moving away from it.
>>> For those who don't know, ZF has demonstrated external car airbag system for side-impact accidents
Car stopping airbags? The stuff of movie fiction, right? This tech averts crashes and saves lives
This is made possible for the airbags by being part of an overall active safety system and safety deployment of the vehicle. The sensor lifts the car at 8 centimeters thereby acting as a counter to the car’s diving motion when hard breaking. This prevents passengers from sliding under the seat belt during a crash.
This airbag makes use of the already existing safety system of the vehicle. This totally qualifies it as a possible technology for the future.
3. Augmented reality dashboards
Automobile manufacturers are working on equipping vehicles with features that will enable them identity external objects that appear in front of drivers and display information about them on the windscreen.
Augmented Reality Dashboards will function in the same manner as a GPS or Robots that displays data of every object they come in contact with. ARD will overlay on what the driver can see in real life.
The windshield of some BMW products is capable of displaying basic information, and they are also working on augmented Reality Dashboards that can identify objects in front and tell the proximity to the driver.
With this Tech, information is literally at your fingertips- on your dashboard
A Redbox will show the direction while an arrow will give indications on how to maneuver to another lane in other to prevent a head-on collision with oncoming cars. This tech also proffers the optimum lane to be in and when to turn off the road.
Toyota has developed a working concept of ARD for their drivers, while BMW is working on the use of ARD for automobile technicians where they can use glasses to view a car's engine and detect the issues it's having. There are also in the works ARD passenger friendly automotive devices.
4. Self-driving cars
Over the years the idea of a self-driving car has grown from movies into its present initial practical testing phase. Currently, there are technologies that allow cars to park themselves. However and soon perhaps, this sci-fi notion of self-driving cars will becoming reality beyond our imagination.
Self-driving cars have been tested in California as well as in Nevada by Google engineers, covering over 200,000 miles, that is 321 869 kilometers of public roads.
Google cars can use their world famous mapping tech to find alternative routes, view traffic lights and road maps and even record road images by using cameras, radars and lasers. They then analyze and process that information using computerized resources.
Self-driving vehicles can also practice “car platooning”. A term coined to express cars moving together in a band, due to flawless communication. It is believed by many to be capable of preventing future auto crashes.
GM has successfully tested its self-driving cars, therefore the probability of seeing self-driving cars on roads in the next decades is truly high.
>>> Not just self-driving cars, take a look at these 11 world flying car projects!
Cars that automate themselves bring a whole new rage of possibilities for motoring
5. Cars that communicate with each other and the road
The US government and auto mobile manufacturers are seriously working on technologies that can enable vehicles to effectively communicate with other vehicles and electronic or smart objects in their surroundings. Such smart objects include stuff like electronic road signs.
This technology should enable cars send signals to one another at intersections or even hit the brakes to avoid a head-on collision. A developing technology called “vehicle to vehicle communication, V2V” uses signals that are transmitted wirelessly to send and receive information from car to car. Such data could be about their speed, location and direction.
At MIT, engineers are working on V2V logarithms that can calculate information from cars in other to determine the best evasive measure when another car comes into a car’s projected path. National Highway traffic Safety Administration in 2010 projected that V2V has an ability to prevent 79 ℅ of auto crashes.
When cars can "talk" to each other, and other road electronic resources, there will be fewer road accidents
All these vehicle technologies should help lead us into the future, advance the capabilities of our automobiles, as well as significantly enhance our lives.