Long gone are the days when only high-end models would be fitted out with the newest automotive innovations. Now, in 2020 budget-friendly models are also being released with top spec adaptations and the latest safety features. Due to this increase in accessibility, we have taken a look at the current innovative inventions, as well as those that are still in the research phase but could lead the way in the next generation of automotive.
If you are keen to embrace the latest in-car tech, here is a round-up of what to look out for on your next model.
It may still be hard to imagine for most, but we are now in an age where automakers are racing to be the first to deliver driverless vehicles in the UK.
In fact, the government wants the UK to be at the forefront of self-driving cars; proposals for autonomous car insurance laws have already been created and numerous trials have popped up across the country.
Additionally, a perk of a self-drive vehicle will mean that the driver is free to connect with their business life or with entertainment, so expect enhanced in-car live streaming capabilities, augmented reality window displays, upgraded TV screens and bespoke music systems.
Convential key entry could soon be a thing of the past as wristband access reaches the marketplace. To activate and unlock the vehicle simply tap the band against a specific spot on the door panel. With one touch your car is then open, with Jaguar’s Activity Key giving drivers one of the first 'keyless' experiences. In addition, these bands have been manufactured with waterproof materials, so drivers who often engage in sports or water based activities no longer have to worry about bringing a set of car keys along.
Magic Body Control is a specially designed system by Mercedes-Benz to pre-empt, react and observe road surfaces in order to avoid issues like potholes and dips that can cause serious damage to your vehicle. In the blink of an eye, the system reacts by generating a certain suspension motion to manipulate the surface enabling drivers to smoothly drive over it without suffering the normal impact on bumpy roads.
While Augmented Reality test drives are becoming a new step in the buying journey, AR has been utilised in automotive to streamline segments of information, like the speed long with step by step directions into the driver's line of view.
Overall AR merges safety and convenience, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road rather than on busy dashboards, infotainment displays or navigational devices. For example, the first-generation of Augmented Reality in cars often feature as heads up displays (HUD), proven to improve safety as road warnings and congestion updates are set out at eye-level on the vehicles windshield.
Car safety technology can now automatically slow to match the pace of traffic and stay in their lanes, but it doesn't stop there.
Leading the way in safety innovation is Mercedes with their Pre-Safe Sound feature. This system has been produced to emit a particular frequency and sound inside the car in times when a collision is looming. Mercedes have said that the sound has been constructed to activate a natural reflex in the ear canals to mostly block out loud impact and airbag launch sounds in an accident.
Continuing to hold onto top positions in this category, Mercedes and Lexus have introduced automated emergency stop assistance, which can sense if the driver has become unresponsive behind the wheel. In those instances the system has the functionality to slow the vehicle to a stop within its lane, before activating the hazard lights and informing emergency services.
In instances where the unexpected creeps out onto the road, these models have automatic steering avoidance, which allows their vehicles to automatically swerve to dodge obstacles and pedestrians unintentionally in their paths.
In other news battery input into cars is changing. At present, teams of researchers are testing components like polymer fibre and carbon resin door panels which would work to house a power supply with the capabilites of a quicker recharge. In doing this, the weight of the vehicle would be significantly reduced.
While very much still a work in progress, the capabilities of solar power is evolving and could soon shape the future of automation. This is because experts envision a world where cars are powered by the sun using specialist glass on the windscreen. While no official statement regarding this has been released, who knows where innovation can take us in years to come!