Every geek has his or her own ideas about what the ultimate car looks like and what features it boasts. While some may favor the speed and agility of the Batmobile, others fell madly in love with KITT, perhaps the cleverest and most sensitive car ever to have existed. It’s a simple fact of geekdom that some cars are more fascinating than others. Indeed, there’s something inherently fascinating about the technology that manufacturers attempt to squeeze into cars these days, and it’s tempting to take at least a little peek at what the future might have in store for mankind.
If you were brought up on a diet of science fiction, Hollywood blockbusters and promises of flying cars, then you no doubt follow every motoring innovation with interest. Every passing year must be closer to a flying car and that instant when all your childhood dreams come true, right? Sadly, although there are dozens of prototypes for flying cars out there, the technology needed to make a model marketable to the masses is still some way off. That said, there are some incredible inventions making their way into vehicles right now. If you’d like to know what the car of the future looks like, then check out these features in all their prototype glory.
Augmented reality and active window displays
Let’s get this out of the way first: no matter how precious your car is, there’s a good chance that it serves a wholly more mundane purpose daily, such as transporting your kids from place to place. This first bit of tech, therefore, is for them. Augmented reality is huge right now, and its use in active window displays is about to revolutionize long car journeys with little people. Imagine being able to turn your car windows into interactive screens that enable your children’s designs to engage with the outside world. Consider the possibilities of equipment that can identify landmarks and provide a history lesson along the way. This I Spy for the next generation is still in its concept stages, so be sure to hit up the baby store prior to making any long journeys – a travel activity tray bought from an online store may not feel the same as augmented reality, but it’ll keep your whole family entertained while you’re in stationary traffic.
The introduction of cars capable of autonomous elements could be closer than you think, with many experts estimating that self-driving cars – or, at least, those with self-driving elements – could be with us as early as 2020. Although these early cars won’t drive themselves completely, they will offer something a little like sophisticated cruise control. Drivers will be able to take their hands away from the wheel in situations where there are minimal variables. Still…self-driving cars!
The Honda NueV
As mentioned, you may have wanted a car like KITT at some point. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t have gladly traded places with curly-haired hero Hasslehoff for even a second in that vehicle – even if it meant having to hold onto his 80s fashion sense for the rest of your life. Of course, KITT wasn’t the only highly popular car from popular culture, but there’s something about the Knight Rider favorite that’s always stayed with us. Dream no more, fellow geeks, for the Honda NueV could be about to make all those childhood fantasies become a reality. This model features an artificial intelligence system named Hana. Represented by a small, emoji-like face on your dashboard, Hana will quickly come to recognize you, get to know your likes, dislikes, and favorite haunts and even monitor your facial features for signs of stress or upset. What’s more, she’ll take care of drivers as they make ill-advised turns and maneuvers, dipping the engine into “easy” mode. Short of helping drivers fight crime, this car, still a concept at this stage, is everything you could ever have hoped for and more. Let’s just hope that its theme tune is as catchy as KITT’s.
You already control your online social life with taps, swipes, pinches and flicks, so why not drive a car in the same manner? Gesture controls are making their way into the cars of the future, with many experts expecting their arrival any time between now and 2020. With AirTouch technology, you’ll be able to control your radio’s volume, roll down your windows, change the heat settings on your dashboard and more – and you won’t have to press any buttons or switches in the process. The most useful thing about gesture control is that you won’t have to lean over or take your eyes away from the road. This kind of technology has limitless functions and possibilities. Also making its way into your car is biometric vehicular access, through which you can open your car with only a fingerprint for an experience out of a science fiction or spy movie.
While some of these technological developments may be a little way off yet, there’s no time like the present when it comes to designing your dream car. The future of the auto industry is looking to be a bright, innovative and exciting one where anything is possible, and some of those advances will be here sooner than you think. Innovation is paramount to this industry, pushing it further than the earliest car manufacturers ever dared to dream was possible. The technology causing excitement today will be changing the face of the world tomorrow as well as giving you one more thing to geek out about.