Historically, the newest innovations in car technology debut in high-end luxury cars. Developing new features is an expensive endeavor, and usually only wealthy shoppers are willing to pay for them.
However, times are changing and features such as a navigation system, stability control and even traffic-adaptive cruise control, once the domain of high-priced cars, are now commonplace on even budget models.
Due to this increase in accessibility, we take a look at the innovations that are being built into 2019 models as standard, as well as those that are still in the research phase, giving you an insight into impressive car innovations of the near future.
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.
Additionaly, 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.
Traditional key entry could soon be a thing of the past as wristband access is becoming available. You tap the band against a specified part of the vehicle to open the door. In theory, they’re waterproof which means you can go to the beach, the gym or out on the water without having to take your keys with you. Jaguar’s Activity Key is the leader in this category.
Magic Body Control from Mercedes-Benz scans the road ahead in order to react to bumps and ruts. In a fraction of a second, the system executes a specific suspension motion to counteract a road flaw in an effort to ride over it as though it were smooth and flat. Audi says it will have a similar system on the forthcoming 2019 A8 Sedan.
Augmented reality test drives are taking off - streamlining relevant information, such as speed and turn-by-turn directions into the user's field of view.
AR also serves as a safety feature as well as a convenience, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road rather than instrument panels or navigation and infotainment displays. For example, the first-generation examples of AR in cars act mostly as heads up displays (HUD) – and rather than distracting the driver, AR navigation actually improves safety as the warnings and traffic data are placed right on the windshield.
Now that many cars can automatically slow to match the pace of traffic and stay in their lanes, look for more additional safety features to arrive in some luxury cars.
Mercedes and Lexus vehicles have automatic steering avoidance, which means they can automatically swerve to avoid objects and pedestrians in their paths. Also available on these vehicles is emergency stop assistance, which senses if the driver has become unresponsive. If that happens, the system can slow the vehicle to a stop within its lane, activate the hazard lights and summon emergency services.
Another of Mercedes innovative technologies, Pre-Safe Sound, emits a specific sound inside the cabin when a collision is imminent. Mercedes says the sound is designed to trigger a natural reflex in your ear canals that helps shut out the loud impact and airbag deployment noises in a crash.
Side panel batteries are becoming a real thing. Researchers are testing polymer fibre and carbon resin door panels which could store power and be capable of fast recharge. This would significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle.
Solar power from the windscreen may be some way off but the experts are working hard on it and the vision is that special car glass will enable the vehicle to be powered by the sun.