Saving Fuel; Saving Your Life
Thinking of buying a car in 2020? Auto technology is ever-evolving. Automakers are continually making cars more fuel-efficient, more secure, more autonomous.
The following are some of the innovative technologies to look for in new cars.
1. Biometric Car Locking Systems
Automakers are on the verge of implementing fingerprint sensors and iris scanners in car locking systems.
Cars get stolen every day. While the current car locking systems are effective, they are susceptible to human error. People do leave keys and fobs in the car. With a biometric car locking system, you would not make that mistake.
Note that, the chances of recovering a stolen vehicle can be quite low, especially considering more than 200 cars are stolen every day. That said, if you are trying to recover your stolen car, try using the VIN to locate it. The is unique to your vehicle and can be used to generate a vehicle history report, which indicates current ownership of the vehicle.
2. Driver Assistance Systems
No, we are not talking about fully autonomous vehicles. We are talking about your car stopping you from making a mistake on the road. Already, we have cars that stop if you do not hit the brakes in pre-programmed emergency situations.
Soon we will have things like driver override systems. When you step on the gas and brake pedal together (which is common in emergencies), the car will override the accelerate command and apply the brakes for you.
We also hope that in-car monitoring systems will become mainstream. In GM’s Cadillacs, there are cameras that monitor driver behavior, eye movements to be specific. If the cameras detect the driver is not keeping his/her eyes on the road, the car’s computer system sounds an alert. If the driver ignores the warning, the system can stop the car.
3. Reconfigurable Body Panels
Can’t decide between an SUV and a truck? How about having both in one purchase? Well, that is possible through reconfigurable body panels.
For example, the car would look like an SUV. But with lightweight body panels and strong motors that would retract the roof and sides to form the lower body panels of a truck.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) Dashboards
Your current probably car has an in-car display, which helps with navigation. In some new models, you will find the display on the windshield. Now, there is a possibility of an AR display on the windshield. AR will identify the object in front of the car and provide the driver with relevant information about the object. For instance, such a system would tell a driver how far away the object is.
BMW already has windshield displays that relay basic information to the driver. Now, they are working on a more advanced AR display.
The possibilities of AR are limitless. For instance, an AR navigation system could show a driver the correct lane they are supposed to be in and where to turn. And, since it is on the windshield, a driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road.
5. Energy-efficient EVs and PHEVs
Is fuel efficiency a concern to you? Consider an electric vehicle. In the U.S., the cost of charging an EV is half the price of fueling a gasoline vehicle.
However, charging is something you can easily forget, and it does take time. That is why plug-in hybrids (cars that use both gasoline and electric engines) are also popular.
EVs and PHEVs both use batteries to store electric energy. Charging time of these batteries is not the only drawback. The batteries add significant weight to the vehicle and take up a lot of space. For these reasons, automakers are developing energy-storing body panels.
The potential of energy-storing body panels are:
- reduced charging time,
- more mileage before the car requires charging,
- smaller batteries, and
- reduced car weight (up to 15 percent reduction).
The largest automaker globally, Toyota, is taking this concept further by looking at ways how these body panels could capture and store solar energy.