Car Technologies for Your Future Road Trip

The future holds unlimited possibilities. It only takes one look at the latest smartphone to understand the vast limits of human technology. Whereas smartphone technology has managed to rapidly reach well into the future, automobile technology has a bit of a way to go to catch up. By 2020, many automakers are promising embedded features and safety systems that will be just as advanced, if not more so, than our smartphone and tablet devices.

1. Holographic Displays

First on our list comes holographic displays that provide an in-car entertainment system. This system will incorporate both motion sensors and holographic displays to create applications for individuals seated in the back rows, which will be very similar to Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect. While the primary intention is to create games for people in the backseat, the holographic technology may also be used to show control information, dashboard readouts, as well as GPS data.

Even today, a few cars have technology that is only a step or two away from holographic. The CL-class and S-class Mercedes have Split View screens, which are pixelated in a manner that shows two completely different images, one for the passenger and one for the driver. Since it a very recent technology, it is not entirely legal in all 50 states.

2. Wi-Fi Capability

While it may be somewhat self-evident, Wi-Fi capability is one of the most vital technological developments to be added to this list. A few car manufacturers are already fast on their way to building Wi-Fi compatible automobiles. In fact, connected cars are only behind smartphones and tablets in terms of rapidly growing technologies.

For example, Toyota is installing this technology with the help of Intel, while Ford introduced this capability in a few models with its Sync system. An added benefit to these systems is that they would be able to connect to your home network; that way, you can transfer information from your laptop or computer directly to your car.

3. Financial GPS

Since your future automobile will be able to communicate with other systems, vehicles, devices, and individuals, why shouldn’t your bank be included? Known as financial GPS, consumers will get one bill at the end of each month for every car-related expense: their insurance, parking, lease, roads, in addition to full repair coverage. Every cost would be paid automatically per mile or per minute, based on your driving and parking habits.

That way, drivers could easily control their costs. Not using your car for a week would translate to significant savings on your insurance, lease, and even your municipal tax bill. Having your entire automobile function as a credit card would mean the days on annoying toll passes would be over.

4. Voice Recognition

One of the most crucial technological updates to hit your automobile will be voice recognition. This advancement is so important because it will decrease accident rates if you can perform all of your normal phone functions using speech, instead of having to look down at your phone.

Now you will be able to update your Facebook status, watch videos on YouTube, and tweet, all without jeopardizing the safety of you or the other occupants of your vehicle. Since it is a difficult technology to master, voice recognition has yet to achieve mainstream use and is now only a novelty among the most luxury car brands.

However, this trend is beginning to change, as the U.S. Department of Transportation is calling to require voice input control of mp3 players, tablets, smartphones, and other in-car devices. It may take some time, as this technology is extremely expensive for automakers to implement in their vehicles.

5. Digital Dashboard

You are driving down the road, and you realize that it is time to locate a hotel. Nowadays, you may struggle to pull up the right application on your smartphone and find directions or use a GPS navigation device that is suction cupped to your window, but, within a few short years, your car dashboard will most likely function just like a big iPad.

In addition, your vehicle’s systems will be connected to whatever cloud service your tablets and smartphones use; you can easily catch up with your calls, texts, emails, social media updates, and other applications while you are driving. That way, when you decide to check in, all you have to do is talk through a hotel map-based search, browse room types and rates, and reserve a room.

One of the automakers at the forefront of this technology is Toyota. Toyota utilizes Human-Machine Interface (HMI), which is a system that turns your smartphone or USB mobile broadband modem into a wireless router. Alternatively, they may connect with Bluetooth compatible devices, so your music and calls are entirely voice-controlled.

6. Car-to-Car Communication

Once cars can conduct information sharing with one another, they will be able to figure out alternate routes based on real-time information and caution other drivers of accidents, thus increasing safety on the road and decreasing traffic.

For example, if you are a driving a larger vehicle and there is a motorcycle in the lane into which you plan on turning, your vehicles would communicate with each other so you would be warned not to switch into that lane. That way, you can avoid a collision, thanks to the early warning system.

7. Car-to-X Communication

There are many similarities between car-to-car and car-to-X technology. This system would allow cars to communicate with other systems besides those found inside of vehicles. One of the more significant research projects, Programmable Telematics Onboard Radio (PROTON-PLATA) addresses this problem by using a broad range of digital standards and radio frequencies currently used in mobile telecommunications and digital broadcasting.

However, since these systems upgrade into “next generations” around every two years, drivers are always falling behind whenever newer systems are introduced.

Another project that is currently in progress is BMW’s active mobile accident avoidance and mitigation of accident effects through cooperative data acquisition and tracking technology (AMULETT). This system is intended to focus on car-to-X systems that communicate with people. The pedestrians or cyclists would wear a radio transponder that would warn the driver when the wearer is stepping out from behind a parked car or crossing the road.

8. Digital Applications

The shift from hardware to software in many car systems will mean that, instead of physically bringing in your car every time you need an update, all you will have to do is download an updated application. Thankfully, these systems are quite inexpensive, since this technology already comes standard in the mobile and computer businesses. That way, developers can avoid the unnecessary development stage and focus on creating apps that alert you when you start to doze off, or reduce the lighting to calm you during stressful situations.

9. Use of Remote Control

Recently, Hyundai Motors came out with Bluelink, which is an IT-controlled system that ensures smartphone users can find, unlock, and start their car remotely, in addition to turning on the AC. Not only that, it will send you a text message if there is damage or a break-in. BMW is also in the process of creating remote-controlled parking, so you do not have to worry about awkward parallel parking, and can just sit back and relax.

10. Intuitive Safety Features

While safety and emergency notifications are helpful in preventing accidents, a series of annoying blinks and loud beeps can only add to the stressful driving situation. To counteract this problem, many manufacturers are implementing a “pre-safe” system.

For example, say that car in front of you slams on their brakes, and your car senses that it is too close. Instead of automatically stopping for you, the system readies the brakes so all it takes to come to a complete stop is just a light tap of the brake pedal—so the likelihood that you will stop in time significantly increases.

Not only that, automakers have begun to incorporate advanced safety features that can take control of your car and make sure that you get to safety. For example, BMW’s Emergency Stop Assistant system will locate your vehicle, turn on the emergency flashers, utilize video and sensors to check surrounding traffic, drive you safely off of the road, and call 911 for you. It always helps to follow some basic maintenance guidelines to ensure the health of your automobile.

11. Invisible Chauffeurs and Co-Pilots

As most people know, self-driving cars have already made their debut, with Google’s test-driving driverless cars. This feature exists on the Lexus LS 460 L, which has an Advanced Parking Guidance System that parallel parks for you. All you have to do is put your car in reverse and have your foot on the brake, and your vehicle takes care of the rest. Using radar sensors located on the front of your car, the system will determine the distance and speed between you and the car in front of you, alter ing its speed to maintain a safe distance. The automated co-pilot will keep watch for lateral collisions through video, ultrasound, lidar, and radar in order to make sure the area around the car is great enough to avoid collisions. If something comes too close to the car, it will apply a “directional impulse” tug to the steering wheel to ensure safety.

12. Health Monitor

While this feature might seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, health monitoring will become a standard feature in future cars. Ford was the first manufacturer to announce the development of a car seat that had sensors to keep track of your heart rate with electrical impulses. Mitsubishi Electric wants to go even further, by customizing seat design through a facial temperature measurement, personal ID, and a heart-rate measurement device using a Doppler sensor. That way, the steering and seat match up to the particular driver.

13. Eco-Mode

Researchers are focusing on using technology to improve the eco-friendliness of automobiles. Continental is designing an interface that has an “eco” mode that seeks out the most economical route and provides conservation tips to the driver. When you perform eco-friendly driving behavior, the four-leaf clover display turns green, and the driver is eligible for rewards from the dealership.

14. Gas Mileage Never Thought Possible

When you are on a road trip, it is always annoying to constantly have to fill up your tank. Not only does this take away precious time you have with your family and friends, but it is also extremely costly and takes out a chunk of change that you could otherwise be spending on other things.

Later this year, Toyota is debuting the 2017 Prius that has up to one hundred and twenty miles per gallon. This amount of fuel efficiency is unprecedented, and it means that you can go around nine hundred miles on one tank of gas. Your family will be happy they get to the hotel sooner, your wallet will be bigger, and you will be helping to save the earth. This gas mileage efficiency will be much less if your tires are not adequately maintained.

15. Biometric Vehicle Access

Did you lose your keys somewhere in your hotel room and are struggling to locate them? Just like the transition we have seen from keys to keyless entry, soon you will be able to unlock and start your car with nothing other than your fingerprint. Your pockets or purse will be much less cluttered, and your vehicle more protected from theft.

16. Remote Vehicle Shutdown

While this technology is already in use with GM’s OnStar systems, having the ability to remotely shut down vehicles will mean greater protection from theft or other risks. In the off chance that someone steals your car, you do not have to worry about it getting destroyed in a police chase.

Final Thoughts

The amount of different technologies that will be available for future road trips is unprecedented. The inconveniences of the past will, for the most part, not be a burden in the future. It is still very early for these technologies to achieve widespread use, since they are so expensive. However, as the costs go down, and the demand increases, you will begin to see these systems appear in many different vehicles on the road.For now, imagine a road trip that requires no stops for gas and no driving on your part, and which automatically monitors safety hazards so you do not have to. No matter what technologies you get inyour car, it always helps to have an old fashioned tune up.