Progress in technology has seen the development of a myriad of high-tech gadgets and devices which are shaping the way we live. Sectors like the automobile industry, in particular, are applying new technologies to their productions, giving cars a transformation. This has led to vehicles being equipped with state-of-the-art interfaces designed to give drivers and passengers entertainment and increase safety on the road. While many of these technologies are still in the conceptual stage, they’re slowly but surely making their way into mass production. Here, we take a look at some of the technologies that herald a new driving experience.
1. Mercedes-Benz DICE concept
The Mercedes-Benz DICE concept is the talk of the town. Futuristically high-tech, it incorporates a fully functional and customizable dash with gesture-based controls. No longer will you need to push buttons around as DICE lets you motion with your hands to get the job done. Users will be able to get info on locations, connect with friends nearby, and control the entertainment system and navigation.
2. 3D head up display
Making Virtual Solid, a California-based company, has developed the True3D concept that takes head up displays one step further. Instead of mounting the display on the dash or close to the windscreen, the company has blended the concept into the entire windshield. It blends information onto what the driver sees in the real world, creating a 3D road map that’s as solid as it gets. The concept works under bright sunlight and remains stable even when the driver or the car moves. Volkswagen has also developed a similar concept, pasting a large map over the windscreen complete with information and infotainment options that are gesture-controlled.
3. Remote controlled parking
Park Assist features are nothing new but BMW has gone a step further to introduce a remote-controlled one that performs a whole array of parking maneuvers. It can move a car forward, backward and even perform garage parking. A driver simply has to get out of the vehicle and activate the automatic parking system with the vehicle’s key and press a sequence of buttons.
4. Auto-drive and holographic display
Toyota is leading the way in futuristic innovations with its Fun-Vii EV concept car. Still far from being mass produced, the three-seater is one high-tech vehicle. Outer slates and a holographic screen will allow users to change the color of the body and connect with friends on social networking sites. The Fun-Vii will also connect with other cars on the road and satellites to perceive blind spots in advance. If you get tired of driving, you can put the car in auto-mode and it’ll drive you to your destination with the help of mapping software.
5. Mitsubishi EMIRAI interface
Mitsubishi’s EMIRAI interface is an intelligent concept that makes use of tactile buttons and biometrics to function. The interface can gauge a driver’s heart rate and temperature and adjust the seat accordingly for more comfortable driving. A touch panel can be used to control the available features while tactile buttons on the steering wheel pop out when touched. Rear passengers can be entertained through glasses-free 3D touchscreens.
6. Self-driving vehicle
General Motors has introduced a bubble-shaped concept car, GM ENV, capable of driving itself. The Electric Networked Vehicle runs on an electric motor and produces zero emissions. The two-seater can also be driven manually if you wish but if in case you want to sit back and relax, you can let it do the driving.
7. Near Field Communications technology
Automakers like BMW and Ford are looking into connected vehicles that can communicate with each other to avoid possible dangerous situations. Near Field Communications technology can ‘see’ what’s hidden behind turnings or blind spots, warning drivers so that they can react better to the situation. The technology will also inform drivers of traffic signal changes and traffic jams.
8. Car with augmented window technology
GM recently asked students how they would redesign back seat entertainment for passengers. While the company has said it has no plans to implement the ideas as yet, if it ever does, it would make use of augmented window technology. The smart glass will be able to change its transparency as well as reflect images on the window.
9. PRE-SAFE occupant protection system
Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE occupant protection system intelligently guides a vehicle in the event of an accident. Well before a collision, the system is able to give out a warning and performs several functions to maximize safety: move the front seat to a better position to enable effective functioning of air bags and seat belts, close the front windows and sunroof so occupants aren’t thrown out, and automatically brake partially when a collision is unavoidable.
10. Eye-controlled car
A technology called eyeDriver lets drivers steer a car with their eyes. The software tracks eye movements, steering the vehicle in whichever direction a user looks. Of course, there’s the obvious dilemma of how to control the car if you happen to glance down or out of the window, but the makers (Artificial Intelligence Group at Berlin’s Free University) are working to solve the kinks.