1. Car Intelligence
– Without WIFI in cars many of these other technologies wouldn’t be
possible. Ford has already launched ‘Sync‘ – a voice activated technology which uses
Bluetooth, WIFI and Cloud. Drivers can connect to the cloud using
voice controls to get directions, traffic updates, send text
messages and make phone calls. In the future connectivity could be
used to download episodes of Scooby doo to keep kids occupied or to
develop Radio Frequency ID (RFID) Tags that store information about
individual drivers so as they approach the car the engine will
start, the seat and mirrors will automatically adjust and the radio
set to preferred station.
2. Car Communication – Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V)
Communication could help to improve safety by notifying drivers of
a person/dog/bike etc they may not have noticed and even
automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision. V2V
Communication would also be able to provide real time traffic
updates by sending a signal to the cars ahead in a queue to gather
information about the jam.
3. Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) –
Communication provides information about the surrounding
infrastructure such as parking spaces and traffic lights. Living
PlanIT joint with McLaren Electronics have developed a platform
called ‘Urban OS’, they currently
have an on-going trial with taxis in Portugal which are gathering
data about traffic conditions. The idea is that in the future the
Urban OS treats the data and communicates it back to drivers – this
could result in all signage becoming internal eliminating the need
for traffic lights, motorway warning signs etc.
4. Airbags to Stop Cars
– Since the invention of airbags car manufacturers have concealed
them in almost every part of a car to improve safety upon impact.
Mercedes are working on a new way to use airbags to make them part
of an active safety system – when sensors determine that a
collision is inevitable, airbags with a friction coating would
deploy from beneath the car increasing the cars stopping power by
up to 100%.
5. Augmented Reality Dashboards – Some high end
cars already have GPS displays on the windshield, but in the future
cars will also be able to identify external objects in-front of the
driver and display information about them on the windshield, for
example, if the driver is approaching a vehicle too quickly a red
box will appear on the car and arrows will show the driver how to
manoeuvre safely into another lane to avoid collision.
6. Energy Storing Body Panels -Exxon Mobil has
predicted that half of all new production cars will be hybrids by
2040 – this is great for the environment but hybrid batteries are
very heavy and take up a lot of space so a group of nine European
manufacturers are researching and testing body panels that can
store energy and charge faster than a conventional battery.
This could reduce car weight by 15% so the saving in weight would
also eliminate wasting energy used to move the heavier car.
It’s becoming clear that a car is no longer just an instrument
used to get us from A to B and it seems the joy of driving is being
threatened by an increased number of flashing lights, beeps and
voices. Can technology in cars go too far? Some of these ideas are
more obviously beneficial than others, but can turning cars into
giant smart phones on wheels really improve safety?
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