Driving a car is going to get much easier. Cars are becoming more and more automatic and they are being equipped with more technology and features that takes away much of the driving from the driver’s seat. Roads will become much safer and the technologies that will soon make them so are:-
1. Self Driven: Cars will become more and more self driven. There will be no steering wheel and no pedals. Such a car is already available under the Google Self Driving Car Project. The latest prototype in this series has already been tested by Google in May 2014.
2. Advanced Automotive Cameras: Advanced front cameras which will afford a view of approaching cars over a 180 degree field is already fitted in some models of Ford, Chrysler and BMW. This camera is called a Cross Path Camera, while another one Around View affords a 360 degree view. These cameras will soon be made compulsory fittings.
3. V2V Connectivity: Future cars will communicate with each other with Vehicle to Vehicle connectivity. They will share information of their position, speed and direction to help cars to decide best on evasive measures to avoid the projected path of another car on the road. This will improve road safety.
4. Intelligent Braking System: This technology will allow for brakes to be applied in cars without any intervention by the driver. This will avoid possible collisions and the brakes will activate seatbelts to reduce injuries automatically. It gives off a warning buzz to avoid rear end collisions. It will use various inputs from sensors, cameras and GPS and can lead to the avoidance of a number of accidents.
5. Adaptive Cruise Control: This feature not only helps to maintain a constant speed, it also steers the car. It uses sensors and radar of the car to adjust to the traffic flow on the road.
6. Intelligent Headlights: High beam LEDs that can detect oncoming vehicles and reduce glare is already present in some high end cars. Now active cornering headlights will help to focus the main beam appropriately after processing data of speed and steering. Some cars will also feature laser lights instead of traditional lights.
7. Augmented Reality Dashboards: Many high end cars already have display screen on the windshield. Now cars will soon be able to identify objects around the driver and display them. They will also be able to gauge the distance between the identified object and the car. A red box in the windshield will display how to avoid a collision and manoeuvre the car into the next lane.
8. Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection: Night vision was brought into vogue by the Cadillac in 2000 itself. More recent versions will pinpoint pedestrians and highlight them on the dashboard display. BMW and Volvo also have some forms of night vision lighting.
9. Traffic Signs Recognition: Some high end cars like Mercedes and Audi use front end cameras to identify signs like ‘School Ahead’. The car can then automatically adjust the speed limits.
10. Air Conditioned Seats: Air conditioned seats will be introduced that will enable the whole body of the car including seats to be cooled effectively. The fabric of the seat covers will be porous to allow air circulation while fans inside the seat will produce the air conditioning effect.
Now one wonders whether a driving licence will be required for such a smart car after all?