They may look broadly the same as they did ten years ago, but the cars we drive today have changed enormously under the skin. Thanks to the great leaps forward made in the fields of wireless connectivity, communications and the internet, the technology and devices we enjoy in our homes and use in our offices have conditioned us to expect similar advances in the cars we drive.
As driverless cars pootle about the roads of California, being honed and primed for what is sure to be the next great driving revolution, the way we drive has already been transformed. Here’s how.
We drive connected cars
With time ever squeezed, we need to feel as productive as possible. That extends to the time we spend in our cars. We want be able to sync our smartphones and enjoy media over the in-car entertainment system, or listen to the contents of new emails. We can also get up to date traffic alerts and, of course, pin-point location details to help us navigate unfamiliar streets.
In-car tech and the ease with which we can turn our cars into an additional smartphone screen is a big factor now in purchase decisions. According to this survey by The Economist, 66 per cent of those questioned said in-car tech held held more sway than a car’s performance.
We drive safer cars
While vehicle manufacturers strive to make their cars as safe as possible, additional technology is available to help us adapt our cars to specific needs. Brigade Electronics and other safety tech specialists like it supply cameras, ultrasonic detectors and highly resilient hard drives that help us avoid accidents – or, should something untoward happen, enable us to accurately record it to help with insurance claims or even police reports.
We drive smarter cars
Another benefit of the connectivity revolution is that cars can communicate with other cars and roadside infrastructure. In fact, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication could be one of the keys to easing city-centre congestion and motorway tailbacks. By sharing data gathered from traffic signals and roadside sensors, the flow of vehicles can be better regulated: alternative routes could be suggested that might shave minutes or even hours off your journey time.
And we are better drivers
Technology is giving us the tools we need to be more proactive and responsive drivers. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication warns us when we are about to overtake in the face of unseen oncoming traffic. It keeps us from drifting on long motorway drives. And it stops us from reversing into other parked cars at the supermarket.
We can communicate with our cars without being anywhere near them. We can see how long a BMW i3 needs to be plugged into a local charging point before its battery is filled. As this Daily Mail story shows, Audi is developing a system that lets a driver use a smartphone to instruct a car to park itself – perfect for avoiding pranged doors in tight spaces.
And in the future, we may never need to stop at traffic lights again. If every car knows where every other nearby car is and reacts accordingly, traffic could flow seamlessly.
Category: Sci Tech