Cars of the Future: The Evolution of the Automobile
For years there has been a great deal of curiosity as to what the future holds for the automobile. Futuristic cars in science fiction movies can often fly, and have pretty crazy designs that have not quite become a reality. Although we don’t want to entirely discredit the possibility of flying cars, those do still seem to be a few years off. The reality is that there will be many changes over time – and all we can do for the time being is imagine what the future holds! Technology is already in place for several new ideas that seem very likely to be added to production models soon.
Automobiles are beginning to move away from fossil fuels. We have hybrid-fuel vehicles, and fully electric cars already – work is continuing on hydrogen fuel cells as well. With all of the alternative energy options, the only thing that’s certain is that the cars of the future won’t be powered by gasoline.There will most definitely be a great deal of progress in the area of renewable fuels that don’t pollute and have lower prices.
Our population has become more and more reliant on satellite navigation to drive from place to place. Most new cars come with navigation built-in. Between that and cruise control, drivers have less engagement in the actual act of driving. We will very likely see a time when the average car is built to do all the work for us. We are already well on our way with automated car studies led by Google and Uber. With built-in sensors and radar to ensure no collisions, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
- Lightwеight Materials
Maybe it’s not a feature, but your next automobile will probably be built with more lightweight materials. By keeping weight down, your vehicle will be more responsive and efficient. For example, the Ford F-150 has a new aluminum body that helps cut 700 lbs from its curb weight.
Aluminum is just the beginning; BMW is using carbon fiber in its i3 electric vehicle, including a carbon fiber passenger cell, something that’s similar to the carbon fiber used in the most expensive supercars. The next step is for carbon fiber to be put to use in more mainstream products.
- Biometric (fingerprint) Scanners
The advanced smartphones use biometric sensors to unlock your phone using a fingerprint or facial scan. It provides an increased layer of security for a very personal device. Automakers are looking to expand that technology to vehicles too, allowing your fingerprint to lock or unlock your car, or change your settings in the car like seat adjustments and radio presets.
But some of the biometric sensors can go beyond that. Ford has been struggling to incorporate a heart rate and breath rate monitor for the driver to alert them or get the attention of emergency services for impending medical issues – if this can be made effective, it would be a huge leap in driver safety.
5. Cоmрrеhеnѕivе Crash-Avoidance Technology
You may have heard of newer available options like the lane-drift prevention system, blind-spot warnings, and radar-based automatic braking systems that can mitigate or avert a frontal impact.
In the not-too-distant future, these technologies will likely come standard in the average new vehicle, and they may even be mandatory under federal law.
If you think about typical accident scenarios – rear-end collisions and drowsy driving, for instance – these systems provide many awesome safeguards. Haven’t got your mirrors adjusted just right for lane changing? Your car monitors the resulting blind spot and sounds the alarm if you’re about to cut off or sideswipe an unseen vehicle. Getting drowsy and starting to weave? Your car understands where the lane markers are and steers you back on course, issuing an audible or tactile alert in the process. Looking at your phone instead of the road ahead? You shouldn’t be, but collision mitigation systems – an evolution of adaptive cruise control systems that control a preset distance from cars ahead – can apply up to 100% braking power if an imminent impact is predicted. Imagine how many accidents could be avoided if these technologies were in every new car on the market.