IN this fast-changing world of technology, the latest innovation is only as good as the next invention.

    This is a fact in the car industry where new technology is a must whether for safety, usefulness, entertainment or simply pure innovations.

    According to the website howstuffworks, there are five future car technologies that have a chance. Some of the latest innovations, according to the report, are exciting technologies that can even revolutionize not just the automotive industry but the whole transportation industry.

    Car manufacturers and the US governent are in the process of studying two technologies that would enable future cars to communicate. Called V2V or Vehicle-to-Vehicle, this developing technology is being tested by manufacturers like Ford to avoid accident on the road. V2V uses wireless signals to send information back and forth between cars about their location, speed and direction. Researchers are also considering vehicle-to-infrastructure communication or V21. This would allow vehicles to communicate with things like road signs or traffic signals and give information to the vehicle about safety issues.

    Self-driving cars
    Self-driving car is not a new idea. In fact, there are cars now that can park themselves but a real self-driving car or one that can drive itself is now a reality. Google engineers in California and Nevada have already tested self-driving cars on more than 200,000 miles or 321,869 kilometers.

    These Google’s cars record images of the road. Its computerized maps view road signs, find alternative routes and follow traffic lights. The cars can also analyze and process information by using lasers, radars and cameras.

    General Motors has already done its own testing and will be available in showrooms in the next decade.

    Terminator-like dashboards
    Now GPS or Global Positioning System and other in-car displays are real good help in getting us to where we want to go but in the near future, cars will be able to identify external objects and display information about them in the windshield.

    Like Terminator where a robot looks at a person or an object and gives information. Augmented Reality dashboards or AR will function in a similar way. BMW has already implemented a windshield display in some of their vehicles but they are also developing AR dashboards. BMW is also looking into the use of augmented reality for automotive technicians by producing a video where a BMW technician uses AR glasses to look at an engine, identify what parts need to be replaced and then shows step-by-step instructions on how to fix it.

    Meanwhile, Toyota has produced working concepts of their AR system that would allow passengers to zoom in objects outside of the car, view the distance of an object from the car using a touch-screen window.

    Preventive airbags
    There are various airbags now like curtain airbags, side airbags, knee airbags, seat belts airbags and even airbags under us. Mercedes in working on a new way to use airbags not only as a passive safety measure but a part of an active safety system. It is experimenting with airbags that deploy from underneath the car that will help stop a vehicle before a crash.

    Although Mercedes has been working on this technology for several years now, it isn’t available on any production models yet but with the current evolution of airbags, there will come a time that this will be available.

    Body panels that can store energy
    By 2040, half of all new cars coming off the production line would be hybrids, according to Exxon Mobil. This is good news for the environment but one of the problems with hybrids is that batteries are very heavy and take a lot of space. This is where energy-storing body panels come in.

    A group of nine auto manufacturers in Europe are currently studying and testing body panels that can store energy and charge faster. These panels can reduce a car’s weight by up to 15 percent, according to Volvo.

    Toyota is also looking into lightweight energy storing panels but they’re adding features to it by researching body panels that would actually capture solar energy.


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