Car upgrades has always been a dream for many enthusiasts, especially when it comes to adding bits and pieces to make your car extraordinary. However, car enthusiasts are not only adding multimedia installations and jazzing up their steel bull bars; we are talking technology on a different level. Mercedes-Benz showed off its completely autonomous F015 Luxurious in motion concept car in Las Vegas, while Buick, Chevrolet , Hyundai, Infiniti and Volkswagen all had theories sporting complex features in Motown. A number of these technologies are a long way off, but others are just around the corner, as well as entering showrooms at the moment. The pace at which technology is changing personal transport accelerates annually, which may make predicting the arrival of prospective vehicle technician a dicey proposition. This had me wondering; what automotive technology will go from science fiction to commonplace in only the next five decades. I have listed these below in an attempt to recognize the top 10 advanced car technologies we will see in showrooms by 2020.
- Autonomous Vehicle
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Note I did not say fully autonomous vehicle. Why? Because it is going to take over 5 years before a car can drive everywhere, at all times, without human supervision, and without the help of a GPS navigation for their car.
- Driver Override Systems
Driver override systems are now coming in force as a new driverless technology, but they can be seen as slightly different because it is the automobile actively disregarding your orders and making its own decisions. We have already got cars, which will stop if you do not apply the brakes. The rapid increase in detector technology will induce a change in priority, providing the car final say — not you.
- Biometric Vehicle Access
The change we have seen in recent years from keys to keyless entry and start will be followed by a change to key-fob-less entrance and start. You will be able to unlock and start your car with no more than your fingerprint (or perhaps your eyeball, but fingerprint readers are more likely than retina scanners). Sound a lot like the newest type of mobile phone security? It should, since it’s precisely the same idea.
- Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking
Insurance Companies, and some state authorities, are already talking about charges based on the number of miles per person drives. By 2020 insurance companies will offer a reduced rate for drivers who agree to complete tracking of their behaviour. I am hopeful this technology remains voluntary, but do I foresee a probable future where insurance companies will need comprehensive driver monitoring? Sadly, yes.
- Active Window Displays
Head-Up Screen (HUD) technology has come a long way in the dim, washed out green digits some automobiles projected in their windshields 20 years back. However, as great as HUD is in 2015, by 2020 we will see active glass capable of displaying vibrant pictures. Envision a navigation system that in fact highlights another turn (as seen from your perspective, through the windshield) as you approach it.
- Remote Vehicle Shutdown
This tech already exists, with OnStar leveraging it frequently. Lately the telematics company has closed down hundreds of stolen automobiles, ending police chases fast and with little drama (although most drivers still do not understand it could be done, even drivers with OnStar…).
- Active Health Tracking
Ford Motor F -0.25 percent business has previewed the concept of seatbelt, and steering wheel sensors that monitor vital statistics, although the rapid development of wearable technologies means most cars will only wirelessly pair with those devices (think cell phone on your body). Combine this with fundamental autonomous technology and you have a car that can pull over and call paramedics once the driver has a heart attack.
- Four-Cylinder Supercar
Ford just revealed an all-new GT supercar using a twin-turbo V6. New lightweight V6 making over 600 horsepower will provide world-beating performance, particularly if it’s got a mild, carbon-fiber body to pull around. In the next few years we will see the first full-fledged, 200-plus mph supercar with a four-cylinder engine (cubic inches be damned).
- Smart/Personalized In-Car Marketing
You are already getting Facebook, Twitter and Gmail advertisements based on your behaviour. By 2020 the average car will be completely connected to the world wide web, meaning that your vehicle provides marketers with a strong set of metrics to personalize their message. Hopefully these will manifest as an opt-in attribute, but prepare for personalized, location-based advertisements in your vehicle’s display.
- Reconfigurable Body Panels
The small and compactable SUV Class is seeing increased demand in the recent years, and while truck sales increase by leaps and bounds. Imagine if you could have both vehicle types in one car? Envision an SUV with lightweight body panels, a nudge bar, and advanced motors, which retract the roof and side glass in the lower body panels, pretty amazing technology, right?