The year is 2019. And flying cars are a reality. But only in the film Blade Runner. While airborne cars are a long way from being a reality, there’s plenty of exciting new automotive technology on the horizon. We explore seven amazing features you can expect to see in cars by 2020/2021.
1. Taking cruise control to new levels
Long boring drives should soon be a thing of the past as fully automated cars break up the journey by taking over in areas with low volumes of traffic.
How is this possible? Cadillac have combined the power of active safety systems - like blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, auto-braking and self-steering - to enable drivers to take their hands completely off the steering wheel. However, you’ll still need to pay a certain amount of attention be completely as this tech is an intermediate step between current cars and fully automated vehicles.
2. You’ll never be without your car key again
Many new cars already come without traditional keys. Simply bring the fob within close range and the vehicle will start at the touch of an electric button. But that’s not the latest story as biometric tech will soon replace the traditional fob to unlock and start your car.
Ford was granted a patent for car-related fingerprint tech back in 2015. Now VW are taking the technology a step further with artificial intelligence and facial recognition forming part of their latest designs.
The new system will automatically unlock your car door and monitor your eyes to ensure you’re sufficiently alert while driving. It also watches your driving habits and customises its own autonomous driving to match yours more closely. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen!
3. Windows with more
Toyota have already promoted their Window to the World technology which allows passengers to interact with their journey using interactive systems built into the windows.
We think the tech has a way to go before it’s really useful: being able to draw a tree and zooming in on a pixelated view outside isn’t our idea of helpful. However, the potential for active glass to project your satnav onto the windscreen has much more added value. This is definitely one to watch.
4. Next level car airbags
Since their introduction as a standard car safety feature, airbags have reduced the impact of severe head injuries sustained in car crashes. One of the first to introduce airbags, Mercedes is continuing the charge on car safety by developing a new version that will help to reduce crashes in the first place.
The new airbags work by deploying underneath the car and helping the braking system using a friction coating to slow the car down faster. Designed to deploy when a crash is inevitable, the airbags will double the stopping power of the vehicle. They’ll also lift the car up by around eight centimetres, offsetting the car’s dipping motion during braking which can prevent cars from slowing down.
5. Faster charging with energy-storing body panels
The ongoing battle to make travel more energy efficient has resulted an upswing in ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs). Many of these cars capture energy from the car re-deploying it to the battery and reducing the use of fossil fuels.
Energy-storing body panels are set to take this technology to the next level by reducing the need for bulky batteries. Manufacturers are creating body panels that can store energy from lightweight polymer fibre and carbon resin. With super-fast charging and a reduction in weight cars will need less energy and be back on the road faster. Solving some of the challenges around charging vehicles on-the-go.
6. Amazon Alexa on the road
Voice controls have been in cars for a while now to carry out tasks like taking a call or changing between songs without taking your hands off the wheel. Soon, you’ll be able to do a whole lot more - at least if you drive a Toyota.
This manufacturer is introducing Amazon’s Alexa into some of their vehicles. Alexa will change songs, pull up directions and she can even link up with smart home devices. Weather taken a turn for the worse? Dial up the heating before you get in. Forgot to switch off your lights. Alexa’s got it covered.
Yet another way that car technology is making life a little safer and more convenient.
7. The machines take over
As imperfect humans, losing focus or making silly decisions are par for the course. Sometimes these behaviours occur when we’re behind the wheel of a car, which is why car designers are working on driver override systems.
Using a range of other sensor technology to control items like steering and speed, this tech has the power to completely disregard a driver’s commands, particularly in situations like potential crashes.
This kind of tech moves us ever closer to the holy grail of car tech - fully automated cars. The Department of Transport wants to see driverless cars on UK roads by 2021. Work is under way to resolve some of the glitches like sensors that can be obscured by heavy snow or fog. And irrational human behaviour that logic-based systems find challenging.
Once these kinds of creases are ironed out, we could all be sitting back and making much better use of our journeys.
Accelerating technological growth has already changed many areas of our lives. Now car manufacturers are making the most of this fast-paced change adopting and adapting technology to transform the driving experience. Only the newest cars will include the most advanced tech. Now you just need to work out how to afford one.
Don't forget, with Tusker you can get a brand new car with all the latest technology, with no deposit or credit checks needed! We'll also cover you for servicing, maintenance, road tax and much more. Log in to find out what you could be driving.